Tag Archives: Blwyddyn Newydd Hapus

The Pagan Skull

2 Jan

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Another of my Mari Lwyd drawings from last week. The Mary Lwyd (Y Fari Lwyd in Welsh) is an old midwinter tradition in Wales where for centuries a puppet made from a horse’s skull, decorated with ribbons and bells was accompanied around villages with singers and poets, knocking on doors of houses and pubs, engaging in ribald banter with the occupants (usually in the Welsh language in the past) and hopefully being invited inside for spiced cider (Wassail) and cake. The tradition had almost died out, there was a lot of opposition from Christian churches and chapels because of its pagan origins (there are links to the ancient horse goddess Epona) but there is now a revival.

We visited 7 pubs over 2 evenings and this is one of the last of my drawings, growing in confidence with much stronger dynamic lines and an almost cartoon-like quality to the characterisation of the Mari. It wasn’t deliberate as it was too quick and frantic to spend a while thinking about it. I used black, white and sanguine conté crayons into my A4 spiral bound brown paper sketchbook.

 

 

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

Midwinter Mare

1 Jan

 

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For the second night, Husb and I went out with the Mari Lwyd, trawling around pubs on North Gower with the Gower Old Horse Wassail. Midwinter celebrations date from thousands of years ago and ones involving animal skulls are common across the world. Horses were particularly important to the British Celts, a symbol of power and fertility and it’s possible that the Mari Lwyd harks back to these traditions and also incorporates elements of Wassailing.

I drew quickly, tucked away in a corner, using white, black and sanguine conté crayons into my A4 brown paper sketchbook. I’d loosened up a bit by the second evening and drew with more confidence, trying to express the spirit of the event rather than focus on detail.

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

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda – Happy New Year

31 Dec

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The Mari Lwyd (the Grey Mare), is an ancient Welsh New Year’s tradition undergoing a revival. Husb and I have been out with our local Mari Lwyd, The Coppertown Mari, Mari Trecopr, for the past two nights as it, along with a band of merry singers, poets and mischief-makers, did a tour of some of the pubs of North Gower, part of the Gower Old Horse Wassail.

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The Mari Lwyd is a large puppet, made up of a decorated horse’s skull, ribbons, bells and shroud, operated by someone inside who traditionally behaves very mischievously. It looks really naughty in the photo. It is being operated here by David Pitt.

I did four drawings on the first night. The first three are quite tentative; I was getting used to the subject matter and it’s not easy to draw in rambunctious crowded pubs. By the fourth I was getting into my stride and getting into the spirit of the thing and it started taking on a life of its own.

So Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chi – Happy New Year to you 😀

 

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

The Beautiful Machine

31 Dec

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A while back, I had a small rubber stamp made up from a silkscreen print I did based on the fabulous Frida Kahlo, an artist I admire very much. I printed it onto small leftover pieces of a beautiful Japanese Shiohara paper that I had been using for another print job.

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I had been wondering what to do with them and I finally decided on making them up into a self-contained installation that I will be building over the next week.The first stage is to make them more robust  – the Shiohara is a lightweight tissue and won’t take a lot of handling. However, it’s also a well-made natural fibre paper and can be sewn so I made a start by sewing them onto a very robust handmade paper – 300gsm – that I’d bought at the Tate Gallery a few years ago. I’d been wondering what to do with that as well! They really suit each other.

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I’m sewing them on an antique Singer sewing machine. It’s Edwardian and dates from around 1904 and it’s a great piece of mechanical engineering as well as being extremely beautiful. It’s so finely balanced, it’s a joy to use. I’ll be carrying on with this in a couple of days, after the holiday.

So a very happy New Year to everyone, I really appreciate you looking in at my blog. Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chi gyd.

 

 

Thank you, Diolch x

30 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog. Thank you, all you people who have subscribed and who read my blog. I really appreciate it and also the comments and feedback I get. Knowing that you are reading it keeps me going. Have a lovely New Year. Blwyddyn newydd Hapus i chi gyd xxxxxx

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 33,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 12 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

 

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