Tag Archives: ancient history

The Stone With No Name…..

19 Jan

llangain

This is the second stone we visited yesterday in muddy West Wales, near Llangain. Quite a few of the Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments around here don’t have names and this is one of them. It’s a large, fine stone with an unusual feature that makes it look like a face from some angles. It’s surrounded by pylons and power cables. We could here the electricity crackling…..

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

MUD!

18 Jan

llwyn-ddu

Mud. Mud and standing stones. After a break of about three months I’m off out traipsing across the muddier parts of South Wales with filmmaker Melvyn Williams and pre-historian Dewi Bowen. There are still a lot of ancient monuments to be explored, recorded and drawn before Dewi is able to complete his new book. This small group is an unusual configuration called Llwyn Ddu, which translates from Welsh as Black Grove. It’s a strange place with a dark atmosphere so I drew onto a piece of paper I’d prepared with 2 layers of gesso and compressed charcoal. I had then rubbed different tones away with wire wool at random. I used black, white and sanguine conté crayons to draw with.

mud

Mud, mud and more mud. A field in January on our way to the Llwyn Ddu standing stones.

 

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to buy one, you can see them by clicking on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Silbury Sunset

18 Oct

silbury-2

Husb and I had a few days away, visiting friends in the south of England. We drove back today across ancient landscape and stopped for a little while at the most extraordinary Silbury Hill, just as the Autumn sun was setting.

silbury-1

 

 

The Ripped Land

3 Oct

carmel-cairn-1

Walking and working with prehistorian Dewi Bowen and filmmaker Melvyn Williams on a series of drawings of Neolithic and Bronze Age stone monuments, we fetched up on a hilltop near Llanfihangel Aberbythych, not far from Carmel in Carmarthenshire where there are the remains of three stone cairns, unfortunately badly mutilated by years of quarrying.

Now, cairns are piles of stones and that’s what they are. When they’ve been moved and degraded they’re not particularly imposing or interesting to draw so I sat on top of one of them, incredibly uncomfortable and more than a bit dangerous, and drew what I could see from the rocky summit. In the distance, the land is ripped by the quarry so I chose some paper which had been prepared with charcoal, gesso and walnut ink and went to work with artist-quality Daler Rowney soft pastels. The result is an abstracted and emotive study of the stratified and scarred landscape.

I’m continuing my journey of discovery with  Dewi  and Melvyn as we travel along the route of the legendary Boar Hunt, Y Twrch Trwyth, from the story of Culhwch and Olwen in the Mabinogion, the book of Welsh mythology, researching, filming and drawing the ancient stone monuments along the way.

There’s more of my art to be seen in my online Gallery in Artfinder, please click on the image below to take a look. Thank you.

Quoit

The Last Leg

2 Aug

prep August

I’m on the last leg of The Boar Hunt, Y Ywrch Trwyth, my quest to draw Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments across South Wales that coincide with the route of this story from The Mabinogion. Just a half dozen or so left to visit and draw, along with Rhondda-born archaeologist Dewi Bowen and Swansea film maker Melvyn Williams. I like to draw on prepared paper and I’m nearly out of it so I’ve prepared some more.

prep August 2

I stretched a very large piece of Fabriano Accademica paper onto a wall and gave it two coats of white gesso. Then I rubbed compressed charcoal into it, covering the surface densely. Then a coat of thinned gesso, applied randomly and quickly and a second coat, again brushed on roughly. Finally, I used my home-made walnut ink, which breaks up nicely over the gesso undercoat. I love the way it runs.

We’re setting off early tomorrow. I hope it stops raining!

If you want to know more about my forthcoming solo show, Yr Helfa / The Hunt, in The Worker’s Gallery in the Rhondda Valley in September, please click here.

And if you want to see some of my other artwork, please click on the image below.

Quoit

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.

 

Prison Or Protection?

23 Apr

Carreg Coch

Across the field from the Clos Teg standing stone there’s another maenhir in the hedge, Y Garreg Goch – the Red Stone, a monument of red standstone. It’s trapped between two fences and until recently was overgrown with ivy. It looked to me like it was imprisoned, but archaeologist Dewi reasonably pointed out that being in a hedge, fenced in, might have saved it from being moved or destroyed and that hedges often offer shelter to stones.

I had already prepared some Fabriano paper with walnut ink and I selected a piece I thought fitted the scene and drew with conte crayon in sanguine and white, following the contours of this fine stone. I kept the drawing simple as I wanted to focus on the barbed wire fence.

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.

Ethereal, Insubstantial.

12 Apr
The third stone at Llechdwnni

The third stone at Llechdwnni

This is the latest of the series of drawings done en plein air out in the wilds of West Wales, the smallest of three fine stones on farmland near Llechdwnni Farm on the mountain between Ferryside and Pontyberem. I worked on top of some Fabriano Accademica paper that I had prepared with my own home-made walnut ink, diluted into several washes of different intensity. When I’m using prepared paper, I don’t decide which piece to use until I’m looking at what I’m going to draw, then I choose the one that I feel best suits the subject. The drawings are evolving, becoming more insubstantial, which seems odd given that they are massive stones, but their purpose and history are unknown and that, to me, is what makes them ethereal. I used carbon for the intense black, white conte crayon and three Daler Rowney artist pastels in a light blue and two shades of green.

The Third Stone

11 Apr

Llechdwnni 2

This is the third standing stone in the Llechdwnni group. It is positioned opposite the pair I posted yesterday and the archaeologist I’m journeying with, Dewi Bowen, thinks that the three stones might have been planned as a circle originally and either were not completed or the rest have disappeared over the millennia.

Dewi Bowen's first book

Dewi Bowen’s first book

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.

 

Larks Hovered, Kites Circled, I Drew…

31 Mar

The Cairn 2

Out and about again today with archaeologist Dewi Bowen and film maker Melvyn Williams searching out ancient stone monuments. We had a tough walk up to a late Neolithic stone cairn on Mynydd Bach Trecastell not far from the little village of Trecastle in Powys. To be honest, the cairn wasn’t particularly interesting, I’ve seen better, but it’s site is truly spectacular. We walked about 2 miles to get there, mostly uphill and across, firstly, the Usk tributary Nant Tarw, up and over the mountain and secondly crossed the river Usk, relatively small as we were near its source.

Mynydd Du Fan Brycheinog

In the distance is The Black Mountain, Y Mynydd Du, huge and slab like and covered with snow which stratified into black and white stripes like a 1960s op art painting. This became the focus of my drawing as much as the stones on the small cairn. Fan Brycheiniog is the part facing me here. Despite the snow in the distance, we were pretty warm after our strenuous walk in the clear, bright Spring sunshine. Song larks hovered and sang all around us, groups of soldiers ran past us on manouvres (they looked terribly young) and red kites (barcud in Welsh) circled, eventually landing on the cairn after we left, to see if there were any pickings.

kite

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 standing 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 working on a series of expressive drawings of ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

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