Archive | June, 2016

The Red Janus

30 Jun

first stone

Back hunting wild megaliths today in Carmarthenshire high above the lovely village of Ferryside. Maen Llwyd is very unusual, made from limestone which has been pitted by erosion, but it has reddish globules in places as if the stone had been melted then stained. It’s also scattered with lichens in grey and a piercing sulphur yellow. But the most significant thing for me are the two mouth-like gashes across either side, giving it the appearance of a Janus, a head with two faces on opposite sides. Strangely, Mean Llwyd means Grey Stone in Welsh but there’s definitely a reddish tinge to this stone.

 

I have spent the past few months travelling across South Wales with Rhondda-born archaeologist Dewi Bowen and Swansea film maker Melvyn Williams, hunting the wild megalith, accompanied by my portable drawing board, portfolio of Fabriano paper and a bag full of assorted artist’s materials.  Dewi is researching his latest book on Neolithic monuments and Melvyn is making a documentary film of our literary and artistic adventures. We are following the legendary trail of the boar hunt, y Twrch Trwyth from the Mabinogion, recording the Bronze Age ancestral stones that those ancient hunters would have encountered.

If you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

Greatness threat level

29 Jun

If you’re Welsh, or if you’re not, this hilarious blog about the shenanigans of Welsh political life is a good read….

Not So Great Dictator Speaks With Words

Due to the recent Brexit vote it is strongly anticipated that Britain will definitely be great again in the very near future.  As a result of this momentous event First Minister The Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM has decided to unilaterally abandon the system of advertising the Terrorism Threat Level and replace it in Wales with more useful Level of Greatness.  Please see below our handy guide to the new system which will come into force immediately.  We thank you for your compliance and appreciate your alertness in all matters of greatness.

What the levels of greatness mean

Levels of Greatness are designed to give a broad indication of the likelihood of greatness.

  • QUITE GOOD.  Still mainly known as an international unit of deforestation
  • RATHER GOOD. Having a musical legend under the age of seventy, who’s not in prison.
  • GREAT.  Beating New Zealand at rugby without the…

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Rummaging

28 Jun

scribblestone 1

I have draws full of bits of gorgeous papers, leftover from print and drawing projects, little odd offcuts, recycled prints and drawings I wasn’t happy with and every so often I have a rummage and pull out some of these lovely bits to see what I can do with them. A few months ago I found 8 small pieces, cut from a failed collagraph experiment on a heavyweight Bockingford paper. The original print was heavily embossed in black and white so I put a layer of white acrylic over the surface and then brushed a walnut ink wash across in stripes and then did some random scribbles in a thin drawing pen. And then I put them away in one of my drawers until they emerged from a rummage a few days ago. I’ve been working on a series of drawings of Neolithic stone monuments across South Wales out in the field, literally, and the past few days, I’ve been redrawing thumbnails from my sketches. But today I grabbed some of my little bits of recycled paper and started to draw stone shapes from imagination with Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens and a 6B Graphite stick. I don’t often draw this way, I prefer to draw from life, but this is an interesting little development so I’ll stick with it for a while until I finish all 8 pieces of paper.

 

I have spent the past few months travelling across South Wales with Rhondda-born archaeologist Dewi Bowen and Swansea film maker Melvyn Williams, hunting the wild megalith, accompanied by my portable drawing board, portfolio of Fabriano paper and a bag full of assorted artist’s materials.  Dewi is researching his latest book on Neolithic monuments and Melvyn is making a documentary film of our literary and artistic adventures. We are following the legendary trail of the boar hunt, y Twrch Trwyth from the Mabinogion, recording the Bronze Age ancestral stones that those ancient hunters would have encountered.

If you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

Ezra’s Automata

27 Jun

I’m sharing a blog by fellow Swansea artist, Melanie Ezra who is also one of The Workers Gallery artists, like me. Her work is fascinating. I hope you enjoy this glimpse of it 🙂

The concepts behind my Automata series is to bring life to the inanimate and to consider different uses and meanings behind what is expected. It’s a way to consider the uncanny and also to provoke uncomfortable reactions out of viewers of my work. This latest piece considers the corset. I’ve used stitching to clinch the waist in […]

via Holding it all in — melanie ezra

Coming Up Fast!

26 Jun

The Hunt Rose Davies poster

My very first solo show is coming up in September in the fabulous Workers Gallery in Ynyshir in the Rhondda Valley.  It’s a terrific gallery run by illustrator Gayle Rogers and sculptor Chris Williams who took over the old library in the village when it was closed at short notice due to austerity cutbacks and I’m so pleased that the stones will get their debut there.

planning

 

It’s not all about art. There’s so much planning to do for a solo show. Husb and I took some time to do our forward planning earlier this week and went a bit mad with the sticky Post It notes, but we now have a clear plan for the next three months. I’d better get cracking!

 

I have spent the past few months travelling across South Wales with Rhondda-born archaeologist Dewi Bowen and Swansea film maker Melvyn Williams, hunting the wild megalith, accompanied by my portable drawing board, portfolio of Fabriano paper and a bag full of assorted artist’s materials.  Dewi is researching his latest book on Neolithic monuments and Melvyn is making a documentary film of our literary and artistic adventures. We are following the legendary trail of the boar hunt, y Twrch Trwyth from the Mabinogion, recording the Bronze Age ancestral stones that those ancient hunters would have encountered.

If you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

The Stone By The Motorway

25 Jun

Tyn Cellar

This is a thumbnail sketch I’ve done based on field drawings and photos of the Tyn Cellar Neolithic stone, near the motorway not far from Margam. I’m doing thumbnails, small working sketches, to learn more about the subject, to get used to it, to explore different ways of making marks, looking for ways to develop it. This is starting to look like it might be good cut into wood or lino and printed up, maybe in 2 colours with some chine collé in the background. I’ve used some heavyweight Tate Gallery paper and randomly sponged it with a walnut ink wash. Once it had dried I drew into it with a 6B graphite stick and a white Kohinoor stick.

 

I’m travelling around South West Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book on Neolithic / Bronze Age monuments. His previous book on the stones of Ancient Siluria (South East Wales) can be found here. Accompanying us is film maker Melvyn Williams who is recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. I’m currently working on a series of expressive drawings of ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

 

The Stone In The Lower Wood

24 Jun

is coed

 

Continuing with thumbnail sketches from some of my original drawings, this is the Is Coed (Lower Wood) stone near Ferryside in Carmarthenshire. Ferryside is a gorgeous seaside village on a spectacular railway route from Swansea to Carmarthen that skips along right next to the coast for much of the journey. I’m doing the thumbnail drawings to get better acquainted with each stone before deciding which ones to develop into prints – etchings and lino blocks. It’s an important part of the process between the drawings in the field and a finished original print. It helps me to analyse the form of the drawing, what medium it would best be transferred to, what aspects to emphasise and minimise. I used a fine graphite stick (6B) onto a small piece of heavyweight textured paper from the Tate Gallery shop that I had prepared by sponging lightly with a sepia wash.

 

I’m travelling around South West Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book on Neolithic / Bronze Age monuments. His previous book on the stones of Ancient Siluria (South East Wales) can be found here. Accompanying us is film maker Melvyn Williams who is recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. I’m currently working on a series of expressive drawings of ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

The School Stone Redrawn

23 Jun

Cockett Valley stone graphite

 

I’ve been travelling around South Wales drawing ancient stone monuments in the field but I’ve now started to look at the drawings and photos to decide how to develop them; maybe more complex drawings or mixed media pieces: etchings or linocuts? The first stage in this process for me is to do some small ‘thumbnail’ sketches from my original drawings and site photographs. These thumbnails help me get more acquainted with the subject as the field drawings are done very quickly and intuitively.

I’ve drawn with a fine graphite stick (6B) onto a small piece of heavyweight textured paper from the Tate Gallery shop that I had prepared by sponging lightly with a sepia wash. It’s a beautiful paper with deckled edges. This is the Cockett Valley Stone, found on the playing fields of a local comprehensive school.

 

I’ve been travelling around South Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen, who is researching his new book on Neolithic / Bronze Age monuments. His previous book on the stones of Ancient Siluria (South East Wales) can be found here. Also with us  is film maker Melvyn Williams, recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. If you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

Battle Mountain, Little Mountain

22 Jun
Tower

The tower on Mynydd Cadle Common

Sometimes when I go out to sketch, the scenery is so atmospheric and so fleeting that only photographs will do. This evening was one of those times. Husb and I were driving along Mynydd Newydd (New Mountain) Road which bisects Mynydd Bach (Little Mountain) Common to the northside and Mynydd Cadle (Battle Mountain) Common to the southside and I saw the incredible late evening light hitting the Tower on Mynydd Cadle. Husb’s family hail from this area and I’ve heard many fleeting references to ancient battles but I’m not sure when they happened.

trees

It’s a semi-rural area and home to many species. As the sun set I caught these trees outlined against the vivid clouds.

fence

Turning towards Mynydd Bach common and looking West into the setting sun, the West Wales coast is just there in the distance.

 

I’ve been travelling around South Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen, who is researching his new book on Neolithic / Bronze Age monuments. His previous book on the stones of Ancient Siluria (South East Wales) can be found here. Also with us  is film maker Melvyn Williams, recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. If you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

Cool Sea. Hot Sky.

21 Jun

2016 Midsummer

 

Husb and I went out to look for the Midsummer sunset this evening from the top of one of the city’s hills. I had a bit of a scribble, looking South West across Swansea Bay. The still sea was misty and smudged into layers of pale cool blues interspersed with pinky-purply smears. I drew into my Daler Rowney ‘Ebony’ sketchbook with Daler Rowney artist pastels,

Midsummer

I turned around to face North West and just had time to take a couple of photos of the sun setting over the hill, throwing fire across the sky. And from now on, the nights will be drawing in again. Ho hum.

 

I’ve been travelling around South Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen, who is researching his new book on Neolithic / Bronze Age monuments. His previous book on the stones of Ancient Siluria (South East Wales) can be found here. Also with us  is film maker Melvyn Williams, recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. If you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

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