Bird on a Wire – Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about a visit to Home Bargains and the painting I started work on with the materials I bought there. See Bird on a Wire – Part 1 for more

I worked on the painting on and off yesterday and then finished it this morning in the cool February light.

Here it is:

bird-pic09-complete-perhapsIt’s fuzzier and darker than I imagined but it keeps its fundamental energy. (It’s also darker in the ‘flesh’ than this photo)

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Bird on a Wire – Part 1

The other day I was meandering around the aisles of Home Bargains when I came across this display of Hulk Hogans.

They were large action figures, the picture doesn’t really show how big they are, but if you look behind them you can see a box of those long rolls of wrapping paper, that should give you an idea.

They were reduced from £49.99 to £10.99. (I wonder why?)

For the briefest moment I considered buying one, (in an ironic way of course, as a kind of art object you understand . . .), but decided my meagre supply of pennies would be better spent on something more relevant and practical, so carried on perusing the shelves.

I came across a stack of “artists’ canvases 50 x 60cm wooden wedges included”. At just £1.99 they were a proper bargain. I picked one up thinking that even though I don’t have the room to paint at the moment I could keep it tucked away until I do, or until the weather improves and I can paint outside. Besides I had just foregone spending eleven quid on a giant plastic action figure so I reckoned I was entitled to indulge myself.

On a shelf above the canvases there were tubes of cheap (and probably nasty) acrylic paints in garish colours for just 99p each. There was no white, as usual, and I like to use standard primary colours anyway and mix them up myself, so I hesitated. But, I thought, bugger it, I’ll challenge myself – after all, isn’t that where true art comes from – making something interesting from unexpected sources?

So I chose the three most inappropriate colours and bought them along with the canvas – total expenditure less than a fiver – a massive saving over buying the Hulk Hogan figure – wins all round!

I brought the canvas and paints home and chucked them in a corner until I could find a space to store them. But lying in bed last night I was thinking about what I could paint with those weird colours and an image of a bird popped into my head.

So, then, this morning, I decided to set up a makeshift studio in the dining room. I covered a dining chair with bin liners and set it all up. I started painting at 8.34am and stopped at 9.11am, intending to let the paint dry a bit before carrying on. Then other things got in the way and it’s now after one in the afternoon and I still haven’t got back to it.

Here’s a few photos to show what I did this morning – apologies for the poor quality of some of them. I’ll post a pic of the finished painting if and when it’s done.

EDIT: See Bird on a Wire – Part 2 for the finished work

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Two Black Cats in the Garden

Image

Cats & things

Over ten years ago we adopted two black cats via the RSPCA, one dainty and friendly, the other fat and feral – they were sisters, two years old. The RSPCA were extremely thorough – they sent an inspector to visit us at home to check if we were suitable, then they inoculated and ID chipped the animals before we were allowed to take them.

two_black_cats_in_the_garden

This is the painting I did of the ‘Two Black Cats in the Garden’. It was sold a couple of years later. I miss it . . .

The piece below is what I wrote at the time.

There are cats; there are things. Sometimes cats are the things and sometimes the things are cats. Two black cats came into our lives. The big one disappeared for a week, then came back for food and wouldn’t come in or near us. So I trapped it, like a man, with a wooden compost bunker, a broken bamboo and a length of blue nylon string that my wife bought on Carmarthen market when she was thinking about making spinning wheels for a skills lesson on a teaching course last November. She settled for mini pompoms in the end, in fluorescent coloured yarn.

When I trapped the cat, it mauled me – bit through to the bone of the little finger of my left hand and left me with a cluster of deep scratches on the back of my right hand.

I held the beast tight against my chest and got it into the house, proud of my hunting skills – it was a macho affair. The cat pissed on me and hid under the kitchen units. The next morning she was still lurking under the sink and I decided she could have her way and her freedom; so I poked her out with the handle of a brush and shooed her out of the back door. I relaxed, thinking I’d never see her again.

I’ll never forget the images of that cat collected over those few days – a vicious feral beast, terrified and terrifying, with hard white teeth and crisp sharp claws – the smell of the piss, the fur, raised and dirty with cobwebs from under the sink, the eyes pleading, frightened, threatening. The lope as it ran down the garden path, and its teeth piercing the flesh on both sides of my little finger.

Then suddenly, two weeks after she left and immediately following the installation of a cheap cat-flap for the benefit of her sibling, she came back and called me from the living room with her meows because she wanted food. Then she padded around the house, soft and friendly as if she’d never been away.

The other cat got freaked out and they hissed at each other, so we coaxed big puss outside for the night and locked the cat flap.

A few days later, just as the cats were settling down at last, my wife got a massive allergic reaction to them that required steroid injections at the hospital.

Sadly, I took the lovely vicious felines back to the RSPCA.

PS: A few weeks later I got a phone call from a vet’s practice in Blackpool telling me that a black cat registered to me had been found on the loose in the town. She’d been recognised from her ID chip.

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A Visual Response to Today

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An interesting excursion

Having very little room to work in at the moment I bought a cheap pack of 6 watercolour paints for a fiver (black, white, green, blue, yellow and red) and was given a pad of 12 small watercolour papers that cost about seven quid.

Here’s the result

pepepepeA bunch of weirdoes if ever I saw them. Don’t know if I’ll take it up – watercolour painting that is, not sure if it’s my medium.

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Lost Artwork

The new header image of this website (above – although if you’re reading this (as is likely) more than a few weeks after the beginning of May 2015, it may not be above, because it will have been replaced by something else – therefore it’s also below:)

Yn Y Goedwig

Yn Y Goedwig

Anyway – the new header image (new as of May 3rd 2015) above is a photo of one of a series of acrylic abstracts painted about 4 years ago at the end of a pretty rubbish couple of years when the shop I was involved in got crushed by the after-effects of the global financial meltdown that first sneaked up on us in mid 2008.

I displayed the paintings on the blank walls of the almost empty shop in the absence of proper stock to flog. A few paintings did sell but to my shame I can’t remember which ones. Part of the reason for this is that a couple of tumultuous years and house moves later we took up residency in a small terrace where there was no room for all the paintings I’d accumulated :( – (even more sadly there was also no room to paint), so I left them out in the back yard under sheets of tarpaulin – there were over a hundred, some quite large, like the one above which was 800 mm x 1000 mm or 32in x 40in.

A year later we had to move house again and when I examined the stored paintings I found (not surprisingly) that most of them had been damaged by damp and mould. We were moving to an even smaller place, so what to do?

Reluctantly I decided there was no choice other than to grit my teeth and dispose of them, in an environmentally-friendly way if possible. I took the paintings to the new place, which luckily had enough space behind the railings at the front of the house to store them while we completed the move.

When the time came a couple of days later, I cut out all the canvases from their wooden stretchers and rolled them up. I broke up the wood and piled it up along with the rolled-up canvases in the back of our small hatchback. I can’t remember how many trips it took but I drove the loads to the nearest council waste and recycling centre and tossed the constituent bits of the irreplaceable art into their respective skips.

Afterwards I felt relieved but sad. Each one of those one hundred or so paintings was unique and impossible to recreate. Maybe that’s what art is?

Anyway, they were just paintings.

Click here for a link to a previous piece about some of the artwork written at the time of the exhibition in the shop.

PS: We’ve just moved again to a nicer place, maybe the lost art will return . . .

 

 

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Bright Environment

This is one of my favourite paintings.

I have had offers for it in the past and have turned them down but I’m now willing to consider sensible offers. I’m very attached to it so make it worth my while please :)

bright environment-1024Bright Environment – Acrylic on Canvas 2003/4 – 39″ x 32″ – 100cm x 80cm

Apologies for the low-quality phone photo. It looks even more amazing in real life

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Orange Mess

orange-mess-5-rs

Orange Mess

Mixed Oils and Acrylics on Canvas 18″ x 22″ – 46cm x 56 cm

For Sale – reasonable offers please, sure to increase in value
Used for the cover of my short story book – Dead Flowers

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Red Woman on Yellow Background

Some more work in progress – almost finished I think

5-red-woman-resized

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Birth of a Blue Woman (With Yellow Flowers)

A Ble Woman with Yellow Flowers is a painting. The pictures show how it developed over a few days. To be honest I’m not sure if it’s finished or whether it ever will be. It will probably end up in a corner of the shed and get chucked during one of my periodic clearing-outs at some point.

It’s painted in acrylics on a home made canvas. Dimensions 65cm x 55cm – about 26″ x 22″

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Blue Woman with Yellow Flowers

Blue-Woman-with-yellow-flowersSome Work in Progress

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Some of my friends

Gallery

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Related Posts:Bird on a Wire – Part 1Two Black Cats in the GardenA Visual Response to Today

Four abstract paintings at Rainbow Pontcanna

Gallery

This gallery contains 4 photos.

I have a mini-exhibition on at the moment. Over the Rainbow gift shop in Pontcanna, Cardiff, have got four of my abstract paintings on display: Click on the thumbnails to see more. All paintings are for sale at Over the … Continue reading

New Novel – Boys from the Backfields

My new novel Boys from the Backfields has just been published

The cover of the book features a painting I did of the Cefncaeau Estate in Llanelli. The story is set on a very similar housing estate where in 1963, Mick, a 13 year old boy, witnesses the murder of Betty Fish. Half a century later the murder is still unsolved and  still overshadows Mick’s life.

cefncaeau-view

Cefncaeau View – Oil on Canvas

Boys from the Backfields is available as a paperback and as an ebook in all the usual places, or can order a signed copy directly from the publishers Opening Chapter.

More information at http://openingchapter.com/books/boys-from-the-backfields/

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Book Cover for Cheats and Liars

The front cover of my new novel Cheats and Liars

CLFRont temp-small-res

The book will be available in a few weeks, more details soon . . .

in the meantime, here’s the first three chapters

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shopping-monsters

Shopping Monsters 2003

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Opening Chapters of Cheats and Liars

Updated May/June 2013

The first three chapters of Cheats and Liars. Publication Spring 2013.

CLFRont temp-small-resEveryone’s a cheat or a liar, or both. What happens when the Greatest Living Artist in Wales decides to stop playing the game?

Brian Llewelyn is an artist at the peak of his powers, in fact he’s the Greatest Living Artist in Wales. Despite his success, or perhaps because of it, his life seems worthless. He decides to redeem himself by investing heavily in a community arts project.

Following this altruistic path exposes the fragile foundations his success is built on. His life disintegrates and his career evaporates as the corrupt liars and cheats propping him up turn on him.

Cheats and Liars is an exploration of success and its fallout set deep in the psyche of Brian Llewelyn, The Greatest Living Artist in Wales.

* First rough draft is complete. Here’s the first 3 chapters while the rest of the book is being edited for self-publishing in Spring 2013 – unless a publisher makes me an offer before then 😉

* Update May 2013 – Proofreading almost complete – nearly there

* Updated with new small edits – June 7 June 21, 2013

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

CHEATS AND LIARS

You should know that I am a cheat and a liar.

 

O N E

“Are you ready?”

I’m in the kitchen snaffling a crumpet dripping with raspberry jam. Of course I’m not ready. I’m never ready. I am a work in progress.

“Come on. You don’t want to be late for your own exhibition.”

I gulp. A crumb of crumpet sticks in my throat. I cough and the crumb dislodges. Jam stained spittle dribbles over my lip.

“Look at you.”

She tuts and picks up a damp dishcloth.

After she rubs the goo from my mouth and from the lapel of the blue linen jacket I grab the car keys.

“I’m driving,” she says, taking the keys from my hand. “You can drink. You always do. Just try not to offend too many people.”

“What’s it matter? They stick like dry shit whatever I say.”

“Brian! You may be known as the Greatest Living Artist in Wales but nobody likes an arsehole.”

“Like? What’s like got to do with it? They don’t care and I don’t give a toss. It’s not real Lizi; it’s a performance.”

“Then perform, pretend.”

She’s right, and I’ll need to drink so that I can stomach the unspeakable pricks. Every year I bare my arse and they come like slime to a stagnant pond, for I have no talent and they have no taste. This isn’t my life. This is some jerk spewing on cotton canvas and picking the overfull pockets of the privileged and the gullible. The gentle boy in me is lost; he’d feel sad to look through these eyes now, to see my betrayal with its parade of pseudosmilers and its fake humility. I am a hollow husk, devoid of depth. I am dead. Continue reading

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Supermarket prices

A contribution of mine for the people’s panel on The Guardian’s comment is free section:

* * *

A strong smell in the car park heralded an in-store promotion. I hate being manipulated as much as I hate the smell of fish, so was immediately irked. It was the first time we had been to a supermarket for months, a visit prompted by curiosity and boredom rather than a desire to pick up a bargain.

We have never liked supermarkets, and like them less now since the lovely local wholefood shop we owned went bust recently, due, in part, to their behaviour. They take on brands tried and tested in small shops like ours and plant them at cheaper prices in strategic positions in their aisles. Then, when they’ve enticed our customers into their emporiums they quietly drop the products or replace them with watered-down own-brand versions.

In the past I’ve worked for companies that supply the big four, and can say from personal experience that they are ruthless when it comes to dealing with their suppliers too. They squeeze until the margins are so tight that the companies supplying them go out of business or are sold off for a pittance to larger brands. Despite our cynical and defensive attitude, we still succumbed to the Tesco trance and racked up a bill three times as high as it would have been if we had gone shopping in the local Co-op.

Don’t be fooled by the price cuts and the friendly visage, the supermarkets exist only to make the maximum profit for their owners; the customers are simply part of the equation, and that equation involves the customer spending at least the same amount of money on each visit. Tesco’s move to cut prices will have little effect on us, the damage has already been done. Who’s next? You have been warned.

* * *

Direct link to the full piece with comments

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/30/peoples-panel-supermarket-wars

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A small creature with a brain shouts into the void

can you hear?

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Art Sale Expanded

The Art Sale in aid of Pulse Wholefoods Coop has been expanded and extended, as well as the 6 paintings HERE, an additional 2 paintings have been added to the sale.

These are:

Sisters

Oil Pastels on Canvas – 8″ x 8″ – 200mm x 200mm

Cefncaeau View

Oil on Canvas – 24″ x 30″ – 600mm x 750mm (approx)

These photos of the paintings don’t do them justice – they need to be seen to be appreciated.

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