Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Last month in the arts ... dragons at the Oak

Well – a lot going on in June, and continuing into July – two exhibitions opening, submissions to be made for others – trying to find time for some grant applications, and in between all the marketing stuff, trying to actually do some art!

June's first exhibition started at the Great Oak café in our home town of Llanidloes, at the beginning of the month, and is under way there until the end of July.

In 2008 I was commissioned by LLANI Ltd. and the Town Council to design a set of 10 plaques to form a “town trail” around Llanidloes.  Ten of the drawings on show at the café are the original designs for the plaques, which were then made by local sculptor Sue Thornton and can now be seen on various buildings around the town centre.

The trail is meant to be followed by solving the riddle poems written in Welsh by children from Llanidloes High School, and these are displayed next to the pictures. Don't panic – there are English translations there as well! A leaflet containing all of them can be obtained from the Visitor Centre on Longbridge Street.  The names of the 10 dragons were also chosen by local schoolchildren

One of the original designs was never used and there is therefore an elusive eleventh dragon.  Visitors to the café can suggest a name - the winner will receive a signed fine-art print of the original eleventh dragon drawing.

"The 11th dragon" : Sanguine pencil on prepared paper : Copyright © 2011 by Martin Herbert

The drawings are done using some of the oldest drawing techniques used by masters such as Da Vinci and Rafael.   The paper is prepared using a diluted wash of red egg-tempera which I make by hand, by grinding red iron oxide pigment with a medium composed of Dammar varnish, beaten egg and water.  The drawing is done with red and sepia earth-colour based pencil and highlighted with white chalk pencil and white egg-tempera or gouache.  Sepia ink is also used on some of the drawings.

All the original drawings are for sale, and open edition fine-art prints are available to order at £75 (unframed).

At least our local news photographer was there to record the occasion...

A private view was held on the 11th of June and unfortunately coincided with someone's birthday party, which is a sure recipe for disaster in a town with only 2,500 people.  It's at times like this that you find out who your firends are - well, apparently I don't have many, that's for sure.  A grand total of several people attended - no sales.  Not the most uplifting start to the month, but we soldier on ....

The exhibition, “Dragons at the Oak” continues at the Great Oak café, 12 Great Oak Street, Llanidloes, Powys, until the end of July –  I hope you'll find time to visit.

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