Tag Archives: Ancient Siluria

Sponges, Brushes And Cloths

4 Apr

master 1d

Continuing with the work I was doing yesterday, and will probably be doing over the next few days, working onto Fabriano paper with my home-made walnut ink, making expressionistic drawings inspired by, but not directly related to, the several days I have recently spent wandering mountains around South Wales to draw Neolithic and Bronze Age stone monuments. At the moment I’m building up the ink washes with sponges, brushes and cloths with no particular focus. Once I’ve completed a few more, I’ll go back and take a look at them again and see how to develop them.

Dewis 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.

 

Letting Go Of The Comfort Blanket

3 Apr
big ink a

Work in progress – where will I go with it next?

Here’s something scary, I’m getting out of my comfort zone which is working from what is in front of me. I’ve been clutching to the comfort blanket of working from reality all my life and now I’m trying to let go. And I am not enjoying it one bit. But making art is something I don’t particularly enjoy anyway, if I want to enjoy something I make a cake. That’s my hobby. Art is my vocation. And it’s hard work, lots of work, continuous self-doubt and always pushing against complacency.

I’ve been going out and drawing Neolithic and Bronze Age ancestral stones over the past few weeks and struggling to make them relevant to me. I don’t want to churn out picturesque landscapes, that’s why I’ve tended to avoid doing landscape art in the past. I’ve been trying different techniques to take me away from realism or topographical drawing and into something expressionist, gestural, emotive, visceral.

I’ve started ripping up big-ish pieces of Fabriano paper and daubing, sponging, painting them with my home-made walnut ink without reference to the real world, photos or drawings. I’m relying on the feelings, sensations, thoughts I have experienced when I have been out drawing the ancient monuments.

Oh crikey! Does that make me sound like a hippy?!!!! 😀 😀 😀

Dewis 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 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 Three Rs

3 Mar

original

The Three Rs – Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse; it’s what I do with paper all the time. If something doesn’t work out, no point in keeping it hanging around. And as I use really good quality paper, I’m not going to bin it. I did a massive drawing on Fabriano Accademica about a year ago (you can see my fingers at the top), using my home-made walnut ink. I never liked the drawing so it’s been rolled up in a cupboard but I liked what I did last week when I was out and about drawing ancestral stones in West Wales. I drew over a similar walnut ink drawing (here) and decided to do some more when I go out again this weekend.

I chopped the big drawing into 14 smaller pieces that will fit onto my portable drawing board. Some of them looked great as they are but I decided to work into a few with some more walnut ink. I hadn’t used it since last summer; the original ink was fine but the two bottles of wash that I’d thinned out with some water both had a thin layer of mould on top. I scraped it off and it didn’t smell bad so I used it. The ink is thick and silky. It flows beautifully off the brush and leaves lovely, slightly shiny brush marks across the paper. I’m ready for two or three more drawing trips now, following the mythological trail of the Boar Hunt, Y Twrch Trwyth, from the Mabinogion, the book of ancient Welsh legends.

cut paper

I’m travelling around with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book. 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 the process. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. If you want to see some galleries of my artworks, please click here.

Walnuts And Mud

2 Mar

fieldstone 1

My journey around ancient monuments last week ended is an unbelievably muddy field just outside the tiny village of Meinciau in Carmarthenshire. Some distance from the road, through a couple of fields is The Gwempa standing stone, a large menhir covered in elaborate patterns of lichen and scored heavily with lines near the bottom. The word menhir is often used to describe a standing stone and it is just one letter away from the Welsh ‘maen hir‘ which translates as long stone.

catacomb

I’ve been experimenting with the paper I’ve been using on these drawing trips. I prefer not to work directly onto white and I’ve marbled a lot of pieces with black oil paint. I’ve also been using a black sketchbook (Daler Rowney ‘Ebony’) but I also had a large piece of Fabriano that I’d used for a walnut ink drawing based on St. Paul’s Catacombs in Malta. I made a batch of walnut ink a while back and it’s absolutely gorgeous to use. Click here for the method. I didn’t much like the drawing of the catacombs though, so I ripped it in two and used a piece for the drawing of the Gwempa stone; I drew with black carbon and white conte crayon. I really like the effect of the textured and patterned walnut ink underneath the drawing. It’s quite random but I think it works.

fieldstone 2

I’m travelling around with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book. 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 the process. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. If you want to see some galleries of my artworks, please click here.

Arthur’s Table

29 Feb

capstone 1 a

Up a mountain (Mynydd Llangynderyn), over a ridge, through a bog to a pair of small sub-megalithic burial chambers next to each other under a rocky outcrop. Together the pair is known as Bwrdd Arthur (Arthur’s Table). This is the western burial chamber, called Gwal y Filiast (Kennel of the Greyhound Bitch), which is the same name as several other ancient stones across South Wales and reflects the high esteem in which greyhounds were held for their hunting prowess.  I drew with carbon and willow charcoal onto a piece of Fabriano Accademica paper that I had previously marbled with black oil paint.

capstone 1 b

We’ve been getting better weather lately but the months of rain has left the ground sodden and cold, although these few days of sunshine have been great for getting out and doing some drawing.

I’m travelling around with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book. His previous book on the standing stones of Ancient Siluria can be found here. Accompanying us is film maker Melvyn Williams who is recording a documentary about the process. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. If you want to see more of my artworks, please click here.

Channelling Cezanne

28 Feb

circle

Each ancient stone monument I visit on my travels across South Wales affects me in different ways and this is being reflected in my drawings. Here at the Neolithic ring cairn atop Mynydd Llangyndeyrn, Carmarthenshire, the angular stones contrasted sharply with the grassy hummocks surrounding them. I’m not interested in doing topographical drawings, I want to try and interpret what I feel about each site.  I found a dry rock (a luxury) to sit on opposite the stones and pulled out a piece of willow charcoal and some marbled Fabriano Accademica paper and just let the charcoal do its own thing. And it started getting a bit Cezanne-ish, the underlying geometry started to emerge to my surprise, I have never drawn like this before but it just seemed to happen that the drawing arranged itself into simple forms and planes.

I’m travelling around with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book. His previous book on the standing stones of Ancient Siluria can be found here. Accompanying us is film maker Melvyn Williams who is recording a documentary about the process. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. If you want to see more of my artworks, please click here.

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