artists books drawing

drawing with card

Drawing doesn’t have to be on paper, it can be with paper – or today with card and objects.

I don’t have a clear idea where I am going, but I’m wanting to experiment with some artist-book forms, and so I feel like I need to play with shapes, and to bypass my mind and think some things through with directly with my hands. I’m just making a beginning by playing with offcuts of card on my workbench.

art painting

make your own damn art

Today, a very quick look at a painting and a painter to cheer us up. Click the link to see the painting, which is called ‘make your own damn art’.

The artist is Bob and Roberta Smith (one person). He has painted this using sign-painting techniques, and I love it that he is sending us out of the gallery (in this case the Royal Academy in London), and packing us off home to make our own art using wood recycled from out of a skip. Or anything else we feel like using.

By telling us to ‘make your own damn art’, Bob and Roberta Smith is very succinctly saying that our personal creativity is the route to our empowerment – and it seems that ultimately he has in mind that it is also the route to radical political change. In his film of the same name, he points out the social inequality in our culture ‘sector’. Saying that in his view our culture is being made by ‘a sort of gentry in disguise’, which means that ordinary people’s stories are always getting written out of history, or maybe not getting written in, and that ‘I think art should be made by everybody.’

drawing painting


drawing my pile of acorns today, before I plant them…

art drawing

large tree drawings

Today’s post is just a signpost to my large tree drawings, which I did around this time last year:

Have a look at my tree drawings projects page if you’d like to see more.

reflection Uncategorized

truth & art

This is a post to help me to think about truth & art; about information and misinformation.

Because I have been thinking about them this week, I am going to show you in the direction of a group of creatives who were nominated for the Turner Prize (for Contemporary Artists) in Britain in 2018 – called Forensic Architecture.

Forensic Architecture don’t call themselves artists or creatives. They call themselves a ‘research agency’. They do often choose to exhibit their work in art institutions and museums. Which is really interesting, because they are very very political. They speak about the need, when they show their work in those kind of art settings, to take care, to avoid trivialising the violence about which they speak. Which is also interesting, because it implies that that there is a potential for triviality in our galleries and our museum settings (in our art).

The practice of Forensic Architecture involves co-operation between experts in various creative disciplines: architecture, film-making, software development, law, sound engineering, and so on. The focus of the co-operation is evidence-based examination and reconstruction of acts or systems of state or corporate violence. The moral space delineated by these creatives is very clearly stated and set out:
“We want also people to know that art is not only a license to fictionalise, that the aesthetic practices could be very useful, that there are things we could do with the very basic tools and techniques we have as architects, as filmmakers, as artists. The software that we all have on our laptops could be very powerful tools in confronting state and government lies.” Examples of their work, from the top of their website: an investigation and compilation of data on the systemic crisis of justice in the US; an investigation into discrimination against migrants from sub-Saharan Africa at the Spanish / Moroccan borders of the EU.

What I think is perhaps most interesting, is that the work of this ‘agency’ is a practical extension of the notion of ‘commons’ – the investigative practice of Forensic Architecture is premised on ‘truth’ being a part of our commons. Commons meaning that which is collectively owned by everyone, for example we have common grazing land, here on the mountain in Llangyndeyrn. This takes the idea of ‘commons’ into an area where we have not been accustomed to place it. The organisation’s Director, Eyal Wiezman says:
“In my understanding, truth is something that is like a common resource. The truth is just like air or water, something that we all need in order to understand our position on earth… “

This in turn is interesting, because if truth is a commons, we need to do work, the same sort of work that needs to be done with the commons on the mountain (and the air and the water for that matter). We need to figure out ways of valuing our treasure, of tending it, allowing it to be itself, looking after it by respecting it, avoiding polluting and destroying it.

(quotes from Tate Shots Video).

art drawing

more drawing

Doing some work on my large drawing today, the one based on ripples in water.

I’ve added egg tempera paint, made with egg yolk, pigment and water – a most magical substance with a beautiful surface and shine. Just mixing it is such a pleasure!

art painting

painting a pumpkin

Painting a pumpkin today with the lovely Gwendraeth Arts Lab on-line group.

art artists books

four scrolls

A short video, still working with the watercolour scroll forms.

I heard a palliative care doctor talking once, she said that there are four things that people very often need to say before departing.


evening workbench

I had many many thoughts and ideas this evening, and I wanted to write some of them down. There was nowhere to write them though, because I have reached the back cover of my beautiful electric blue sketchbook – and they are the kind of ideas that belong in there, and not in my black notebook.

I need my books and the differences between them. Lets just say because this is part of what I am like, and one of the ways that I manage to show up and work. Colour coding and indexing my notebooks (and knowing where they are at all times) is a way that I can see and keep track of what I am doing.

Running out of room in my electric blue book is a good thing and well timed, because I am certain now that I am standing at the beginning of many things.

I knew immediately what to do. I wrote a few important things down on a scrap of paper with a plum coloured felt-tip pen. Then I prepared the papers and sewed another book right away – if I glue it now, it will be dry in the morning. I have not chosen yet what colour I will use to cover it, but I have some orange book cloth, so that might work.


three small joys