Welcome to my June blog devoted to the Under Milk Wood drawings and forthcoming exhibition.
I would like to say thank you to everyone that sent me kind words of support and encouragement last month when I announced my Under Milk Wood project. I was overwhelmed by your feedback and much heartened to find so many Dylan Thomas fans. This month I would like to introduce you all to the delightfully poisonous Mr Pugh who night and day fantasises about doing away with his nagging wife. Personally Mr Pugh is one of my favourite characters, after all who amongst us has not dreamed of escaping an inconvenient relative every now and then - murder being only an extreme option! The Mr Pugh drawing seeks to illustrate a single line. First Voice: "Alone in the hissing laboratory of his wishes"
In creating this drawing I’ve tried to make Mr Pugh look like an archetypal mad professor rather than portrait a real person. This mark of madness is particularly revealed in the eyes. I’ve given Mr Pugh abnormally small irises leaving more than usual of the whites showing. I don’t know why making the whites of the eye very large gives someone the appearance of madness but its a trick widely used by Disney. Just look at the eyes of any of their villains, they all share this characteristic. The Victorian handlebar moustache is specifically mentioned in the text, but not the glasses or skull & cross bones emblazoned on the bow tie - but as the village school headmaster of course he has to have a bow tie.
Detail of eyes. Work in progress.
At other points in the play we learn that Mr Pugh’s arsenal of poisons include Rat Soup, Nightshade, Hot Frog, Cyanide and Bat-Spit. I’ve enjoyed suggesting this strange collection of potions in the bottles and jars surrounding Mr Pugh - there’s a touch of Georges Marvellous Medicine here and I wonder if Roald Dahl was influenced by Thomas, likely I think.
Each drawing is taking up to 100 hours to complete so this is a huge commitment of time. The collection of Under Milk Wood drawings will be publicly exhibited for the first time ever at Llantarnam Grange Art Centre starting on 14th May 2024 before moving on to other venues in Wales The exhibition will include drawing & writing workshops, an audio interpretation and short film. The team at Llantarnam Grange and I are actively seeking other venues in the hope of turning the exhibition into a touring show; you can help by spreading the word. If you would like to receive a copy of the touring pack please drop me a line. As we get closer to the exhibition date I will be announcing a competition so remember to spread the word, share with your friends and keep following. Thank you.
If you would like to receive more information about this project please sign up for the mailing list on https://www.bhhawkins.com/undermilkwood
More information is also available from Llantarnam Grange https://llantarnamgrange.com