Blog Archive

Friday, 12 August 2022

Summer of Sunflowers

 It's been a busy summer.  I've had many visitors.  Been lovely to see you all!  I haven't made much work though, in this time.  I have been enjoying Sunflowers this summer. The joyful yellow has been lighting up my kitchen for the last month.  

These were a gift from a friend, so I decided to draw them.  

I have another bunch now, that are sadly just going over.  I thought I would learn a little more about this flower.  They are heliotropic, which means they turn their heads to follow the movement of the sun across the sky east to west.  They then return at night to face the east, ready for the rising of the sun. How lovely is that?

Of course they are a symbol of optimism and happiness and lift the spirits of anyone who receives them.  They certainly lift mine.  Depending on what is going on in your life, they can be for rememberance or moving forward.  

Traditionally, they have power and authority. A yellow sunflower means goodness, lifegiving, truth, endurance and timelessness. They’re the essence of love and loyalty.

I did read this, and whilst the Sunflower is only one of my favourite flowers, I'll take it -

"Choosing the sunflower as your favorite flower says a lot about your personality. You’re an open individual that has lots of energy. You’re optimistic and cheerful. You create a place of love, happiness, and warmth. Wherever you go your enthusiasm goes with you."

Sunflowers are grown for their edible seeds, which can be eaten on their own or processed to make oil for cooking and skincare.  I expect we all eat the delicious seeds. Might have some now. 💕

I am happy to report (see Echium Vulgaris from a while back) that the petals, leaves and stems are used to treat snake bites!  Apparently, they're good for fevers and sores too.  The petals, leaves and stems of the sunflower plant are also edible. In fact, from a website I was just looking at, they can treat just about anything.  A miracle plant all round.  Mentally and physically.  

Now I am going to press another favourite yellow flower, Calendula.  I might draw that as well.  It's another positive and hopeful deep yellow.  Full of hope and a reminder that good things happen. 

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Monotype workshop at Bread and Roses. With Crowdfunder link. "Hearts starve as well as bodies, give us bread and give us roses"

 We had a really positive and lovely workshop at Bread and Roses.  The point of the workshop was to explore textures and mark making.  I wanted the participants to play with the inks and experiment with the random way the marks were made.  This took away the pressure to produce representational work and allowed for expressive and accidental outcomes.  As you can see the outcomes were fab!  Everyone went away with work that they liked and felt good about the morning.  Hopefully, we can do this again! 

We used gelli plates, rolling the ink onto the plate and placing plants onto the ink.  This way you can make a stencil and have a print that shows the detail of the plant or leaf that you are using.  Going forward, I would introduce other ways of monoprinting using direct drawing, subtraction (taking the ink away) and collographs. The possibilities are endless!

At the end you can see Alison and Helen discussing what they had done, just before we had a delicious lunch in the cafe.  

Here is a link to the Crowdfunder to help Bread and Roses, which is a wonderful cafe in the centre of Bradford.  The food is delicious, the people are magnificent and the place needs to be there.

Monday, 25 April 2022

So far, so good. Show and upcoming workshops - link at the bottom of the post.

Had a great night at the opening of my show at Bread and Roses.  Lots of people and lots of positive vibes.  The top photo is of old friends.... as in we've all known each other for a very long time!!  The rest are pics of people at the show, looking at the works and generally having a fun time.  Met some new people too.  

This one has sold. One of my faves, so I'm glad it is going to an appreciative home. 

This is called Bottom of the Allotment; Chaos or Creativity?  On show now at Bread and Roses.  Show up until the end of May.  

I will be running a workshop, first on on May 11th.  Eventbrite link below.  If you think you would like to try out monoprinting then sign up!  It's a great way to try out new ways of drawing and mark making without being too hung up about the outcome.  The outcome is usually really interesting and not what you imagine at all.


Monday, 28 February 2022

Allotment life - work in progress

I am lucky enough to be sharing an allotment now.  It's really beautiful and really near to my house.  So, work in progress is both the allotment and my prints!  There is always something interesting in other people's allotments.  These drawings are showing the bottom of the space.  This is the pizza oven, or the kiln!  Martin has been digging up clay and making pots and firing then.  Unfortunately, the recent storms have rather ruined it.  

The fire bin has rusted and developed an interesting patina.  The green leaves are the raspberry bush.  There were raspberries on them at the time (late September and I will be adding them to the print) and they were delicious.  Looking forward seeing those back!  Late raspberries are good.  

We have been preparing the beds for planting.  Everything is planted later up north!  But I am determined to be ready with plants when the time comes.  I am chitting potatoes already.

Here is one of the beds.  We are following the Charles Dowding 'no dig' method and hopefully it will be a positive experience!  You can see the view.  Looking over towards Baildon Moor.


Friday, 18 February 2022

Working on a new description of my work.


Anita Gwynn


My artistic practice focuses on drawing and printmaking.  I build up the print in layers, sometimes using collagraphs and stencils.

Our lives depend on the gifts that the earth gives us. I particularly like the plants that spring up, tenaciously, between the cracks.  Each flower has a use and a story. They are food to us, the bees, butterflies and insects, or have healing properties that have been used for centuries.  Without them we would not survive. Leave the ‘weeds’ alone!

 I love this quote from Dara McAnulty (Author of “A Young Naturalist” and particularly astute 17-year-old): “I don’t know what the future will be, but I absolutely know that joy and the things that give us joy in this world, especially the natural world, are essential for everything”.

 Having recently located to Bradford from an increasingly urbanised Lewisham (tower blocks appear on a monthly basis), I am constantly filled with joy when I look out of the window and see hills and trees.





Monday, 10 January 2022

Learning about my new geography,

 I've been on so many glorious walks on the moors.  So easy to get to and so awe inspiring.  It's great to see the big sky and the hills rolling back into the distance.  My local landscapes are now so different.  It's hard to know where to start!  I am so used to drawing the things in front of my face, because that is what I was looking at when I lived in London.  There wasn't much space.   Obviously, my trips to the coast were different, but I do find that I don't quite know how to start!  I have lots of ideas and so start I must.  I have tidied my little work space and have printed up some backgrounds.  I am going to go down there in a while to add to them.  

In winter the colours are so different. I find I am noticing that more here. The bracken has died down and turned to a deep rust colour.  The heather is over, but still you are able to imagine it a deep purple. The wild plants have left their skeletons behind and that in itself is beautiful. 

This is a photo I have messed about with on photoshop.  Trying to pick out the aforementioned winter skeletons of last years wildflowers.  This was on a walk along the River Wharfe, near Grassington. (there are otters!  Looking forward to seeing them one day.)

Further along the walk and approaching the abandoned lead works on the way up to the moor.  Always dry stone walls and always lots of moss on them. Adds a beautiful bright green to the landscape.

A drawing of the bulbs of the paper white narcissus. Might do another one this week.  It is growing rapidly.  I like to draw the winter bulbs. So full of promise and hope.  Am also trying to do at least one drawing a day. Even if it's just a quick sketch.  I have much to catch up on.   

Finally, my backgrounds.  Off down there now to get on!

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Onwards and Upwards

 I have just this week decided to take stock and think about starting to make some new work.  I have spent time on my computer looking at photos of old work to try and remind myself what I am about!!  Sounds mad, but moving house is one of the most stressful things I have done. I realise that this is what everybody says, but believe me, until you pack up 21 years of your life (30 years in my studio - gosh) you have no idea!  My head was full of that for months and no time to think about my practice at all.  

Anyway - here I am.  New house, new life, new places to explore.  With this in mind, I have booked myself onto a Risograph course next Monday.  It's at Bread and Roses, a great little space in Bradford.

I am hoping I can find a way to make a book using some of the ideas I have had over the years.  

Thinking of starting on some drawings of Butterbur.  There was masses of it in Hirst Wood Nature Reserve last spring.  Very good for migraines apparently.  And allergies.  It's a dramatic looking thing, the large flowers emerge before the larger leaves. 

Friday, 30 July 2021

Moving on with new inks and new secateurs

The above photos are of the natural inks I was given as a leaving present*.  The colours are just lovely!  I am looking forward to using these next week when I spend a week in Northumberland.  Fingers crossed it doesn't rain continuously! (I was also given a pair of Niwake secateurs. If you like Japanese engineering, have a look at that website!!). 

Well, it's been a strange couple of weeks.  I left my job after 5 years*, because I'm leaving the Smoke and moving North. It's always been a vague plan, but here we are, probably only weeks away from the reality.  All a bit daunting but very exciting too, of course.  So it's back to Bradford!  I'm so looking forward to being closer to the beautiful countryside of West Yorkshire and being that much closer to the rolling hills and moors of North Yorkshire and the North Yorkshire coast.  Looking forward to redesigning the tiny garden as well.  If it all goes through without any hitches, I will be 5 minutes walk away from Heaton Woods and a beautiful view over Baildon Moor.  So excited!!

So not much work in my studio recently.  I have started packing it up.  I have been there for so long, it's proving quite stressful.  However, once you start you have to finish so, next week I will mainly be in my studio covered in dust.  

Here is a leaving photo of the wall of gelli prints.  I usually start these prints when I am feeling uninspired and it's a way of getting my eye back in and sometimes they make interesting backgrounds to my drawings.  I wonder how much my work will change when I am living in a completely different environment?  The lower prints are of a burdock leaf that I watched being eaten over a couple of days. They eat away at the leaf, so  only the veins remain, leaving a beautiful bit of lace.


Monday, 10 May 2021

Supernature No 2 is fast approaching.

Common Mallow, that cheered up the summer of 2020.  

I am exhibiting at this art fair on the weekend on May 22nd and 23rd. I would love to see friendly faces and would love it if you would come. It's been miserable and I think we should grasp every opportunity to socialise now! There's a great cafe on site and the gardens are lovely at this time of the year. The Constance Spry exhibition looks nice too. There is an opening, on the Friday night, although I can only invite 8 people. You can book for the PV and pay £6.00. 

Click on this link to book.  

I have made some new work.

Who you calling common?

Who you calling common?

starling sketches

starling sketches
Ongoing work...waiting for a breakthrough!

The Waters of March

The Waters of March

It's the joy in my heart.

It's the joy in my heart.

Collected Items

Collected Items
the broken, the wrinkled and the uneven