Tag Archives: @BigPitMuseum

Out Of The Blue…

22 Jul
2018 sunshine coal

Buried Sunshine

 

Where do we draw inspiration from? Well, frankly, could be anything, anywhere, anytime. Sometimes it flows from a planned programme of research, other times it just hits you out of the blue. I try to listen to a TED Talk each day and one popped up yesterday by the oceanographer Penny Chisholm about the tiny species Prochlorococcus, the most abundant photosynthetic species on the planet. She was describing how aeons ago, vast amounts of photosynthetic organisms, which lived by absorbing sunlight, sank below the sea, became compressed over unimaginably vast amounts of time and turned into coal and oil. Then came the phrase that hit me … “coal and oil are buried sunshine“!

WOW! I live at the edge of the South Wales coalfield which was mined right back in the 15th century; mining really took off at the beginning of Britain’s Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, continuing until the 1980s, and I’d never thought about the buried sunshine beneath my feet.

Some previous drawings en plein air from Big Pit in Blaenavon.

 

I immediately started to imagine some visual images so I drew one straight away with Daler Rowney artist quality soft pastels onto Khadi handmade paper. While the idea of buried sunshine is beautiful, coal and oil lock away vast amounts of carbon and once they come out of the ground and they’re burned, that carbon is released back into the atmosphere. Which isn’t good. Perhaps we should leave the rest of this ancient sunshine safely buried.

 

You can see Penny Chisholm’s TED Talk on this video…

The Coalfield Part 3

15 Mar

Big Pit 2e

Here’s the completed drawing, one of several I did on my visit to Big Pit / Pwll Mawr near Blaenavon last Sunday. I used my sanguine conté crayon to do the final strokes on the drawing, after the black and white. It’s a lovely area with spectacular hills and intriguing industrial heritage.

Big Pit 2d

Husb and I were visiting with a group of artists from The Workers Gallery in Ynyshir which currently has a group show of its gallery artists (I’m one of them) and a solo show from Norwegian artist Tobbe Malm, who creates extraordinary metal sculptures.

 

Last week was the opening of Swansea’s International Women’s Day exhibition at Cinema & Co. It was fantastic, loads of people there and lots of arty and fun things happening. Cinema & Co is putting on a terrific programme of films through the month because it’s also Women’s History Month. Please check out the programme here …..

wmd-invitation

 

I have put my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to see more, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

The Coalfield Part 2

14 Mar

Big Pit 2c

Husb and I visited Big Pit / Pwll Mawr just outside the World Heritage Site town of Blaenavon. I had a scribble en plein air in my A4 spiral bound brown paper sketchbook. I stood on the grass up above the mining site and after quickly drawing the darker areas of the rugged mountainous landscape of the South Wales coalfield, I added highlights. There was a pronounced line of white above the very dark hilltops and more nebulous white in the sky and dappled over the land. Tomorrow – the final stage – with sanguine…..

We were out and about with a group of artists linked with The Workers Gallery in Ynyshir which currently has a group show of its gallery artists (I’m one of them) and a solo show from Norwegian artist Tobbe Malm, who creates extraordinary metal sculptures.

 

Last week was the opening of Swansea’s International Women’s Day exhibition at Cinema & Co. It was fantastic, loads of people there and lots of arty and fun things happening. Cinema & Co is putting on a terrific programme of films through the month because it’s also Women’s History Month. Please check out the programme here …..

wmd-invitation

 

 

I have put my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to see more, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

The Coalfield Part 1

13 Mar

Big Pit 2a

Visiting Big Pit / Pwll Mawr in Blaenavon on Sunday with Husb, I took the opportunity to do some drawing en plein air in my A4 spiral bound brown paper sketchbook. I stood on the grass up above the mining site and quickly drew the darker areas of the rugged mountainous landscape of the South Wales coalfield, stretching into the distance.

Big Pit 2b

I used both the point and the flat edge of the black conté crayon to get fine lines and large areas of texture. Then I grabbed my white conté crayon, but I’ll blog that tomorrow. We were out with a group of artists linked with The Workers Gallery in Ynyshir which currently has a group show of its gallery artists (I’m one of them) and a solo show from Norwegian artist Tobbe Malm, who creates extraordinary metal sculptures.

 

Last week was the opening of Swansea’s International Women’s Day exhibition at Cinema & Co. It was fantastic, loads of people there and lots of arty and fun things happening. Cinema & Co is putting on a terrific programme of films through the month because it’s also Women’s History Month. Please check out the programme here …..

wmd-invitation

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to see more, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Big Pit / Pwll Mawr

12 Mar

Big Pit 1

Husb and I had a grand day out today, driving up to Big Pit National Coal Museum near Blaenafon. We met up with a gaggle of artists (is that the right collective noun?) from The Worker’s Gallery and Workshops in Ynyshir in the nearby Rhondda Valley. It’s a fabulous small gallery that punches way above its weight and well worth a day trip to go and see what’s on there.

At Big Pit, we had a guided tour underground and then explored the site and the excellent exhibitions set out in the historic industrial buildings. And a cup of tea and some Welsh cakes in the warm and cosy cafeteria with spectacular views. Of course, I had to have a scribble. It was very cold and blustery and difficult to draw, but sometimes you need extreme conditions to force you out of your comfort zone and zoom in on what’s absolutely essential for your drawing.

This building is the Fan House, where the big fan is. It’s used several times a day to pump clean air into the pit. I worked quickly with white, sanguine and black conté crayon, in that order, into my A4 spiral bound brown paper sketchbook from Seawhites. I used the point of the crayons for a scribbled line and the flat side to cover areas quickly.

 

Earlier this week was the opening of Swansea’s International Women’s Day exhibition at Cinema & Co. It was fantastic, loads of people there and lots of arty and fun things happening. Cinema & Co is putting on a terrific programme of films through the month because it’s also Women’s History Month. Please check out the programme…..

wmd-invitation

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to see more, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

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