Tag Archives: Carmarthenshire

A Grand Day Out

7 May

old lady 1

Hot Hot Hot! Apparently a record-breaking temperature today. Husb and I took an elderly relative to visit the beautiful Dynefor estate near Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire. It has great walks; a magnificent 17th century house, remodelled by The Victorians; a deer park; very rare white cattle; beautiful Picturesque scenery; a medieval castle; magnificent trees, up to 700 years old; a tea room serving bara brith; a Ha-ha and a shop. A grand day out.

(I had a scribble. Well I would, wouldn’t I?)

Gold Mine In The Rain

2 Apr

Dolaucothi

It’s the British Bank Holiday so of course, the rain was tipping down. Husb and I got fed up looking out of the window at the Easter deluge and took off up to Dolaucothi to have a look around the Roman goldmine. It’s a lovely part of the country and we had a good time, despite the torrential sky juice.

The mines were originally worked in pre-Roman times, then the Romans invaded and took them over. Then they fell into disuse until the Victorians had a go and they finally closed in the 1940’s so there was a lot of historical stuff to see on site. I had a scribble, sheltering in the engine house and sketching the industrial machinery and landscape outside, using white, sanguine and black conté crayons into my A4 brown paper sketchbook.

The Solstice Sunset

22 Jun

Llangynydeyrn 3

My second drawing done at solstice sunset on Mynydd Llangyndeyrn Mountain in Carmarthenshire using Daler Rowney soft pastels onto prepared canvas sheet. It was lovely being up the mountain at night after the searing heatwave of the past few days.

 

Llangynydeyrn 4

The standing stones were eerie and ethereal against the solstice sunset. The stone circle on Mynydd Llangyndeyrn is on the mythical trail of Y Twrch Trwyth, The Boar Hunt, a tale from the Welsh book of legend, The Mabinogion.

 

For a limited period I am putting a new drawing of an ancient monument on my Artfinder gallery every day.  If you’d like to check them out, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

 

 

 

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

Ripped Abstraction

5 Oct

carmel-cairn-2

Another drawing en plein air from the summit of one of the ruined cairns of Carmel. It was precarious climbing to the top, the stones are uneven, unbalanced and wobbly and I tottered with my drawing materials in a high wind. We start off at the bottom of a hill in fine sunshine but the gusts get stronger as we climb, not easy to negotiate with a large drawing board and portfolio, but I had some help from my collaborators.

I worked onto some prepared paper that I had initially soaked until it almost disintegrated and developed tortured rips in its fabric, then I gessoed it, smeared with yellow ochre acrylic, charcoal and more gesso. I sat on the pile of stones, more uncomfortable than you can imagine even though I’m pretty well-padded, and used Daler Rowney artists’ soft oil pastels to apply thin lines and streaks of the colours I saw around me in the landscape. I became completely dissociated from reality and produced the most abstract piece of art I have ever done.

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 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

Honeysuckle Rose

6 Jul

stone flora

One of the loveliest things I’m experiencing as I’m travelling across South Wales drawing ancient Neolithic stones is the flora; the lichens on the stones unchanging throughout the seasons, plants in the fields and hedgerows an ever-changing delight of colour, scent and texture. Last week’s journey to Kidwelly and Ferryside took us through hedgerows full of wild roses and honeysuckle, rhosod â llaeth y gaseg in Welsh. In Shakespeare’s plays, the little white rosa arvensis is called musk rose and the honeysuckle is woodbine, which also used to be the name of a brand of strong cigarettes many years ago. Technically, lichens are not plants but a composite life form of algae or cyanobacteria living in a symbiotic relationship with filaments of fungi and they can be many years old.

 

While I’ve been travelling across South Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen, drawing megaliths in the ancient Neolithic landscape, we’ve been accompanied by film maker Melvyn Williams and he’s been editing up short films as we go along. Here’s his latest instalment in the story of The Hunt / Yr Helfa. It’s just under 4 minutes long and it’s of me drawing and talking about the stones and how they inspire me……

All the work I’m doing will eventually be featured in a solo show in The Worker’s Gallery in the Rhondda Valley in September. If you want to know more, please click here. And to see more of my work for sale, please click here.

The Staring Stone

4 Jul

second stone

The stone near Penlan Uchaf outside Kidwelly in Carmarthenshire has an amazing view over the countryside and out over the sea to the Worm’s Head, in the background. This is another stone that has some human-like attributes and there is a sort of face staring across the water to Rhossili.

penlan uchaf flowers

After a few weeks of sunshine and lovely weather, we’re back to torrential rain and the ground was muddy again, almost as bad as when we started back in February. It’s much warmer though and I walked through fields of summer wild flowers; clover and campion I know but I don’t know what the yellow flowers are called.

 

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 might have encountered.

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

 

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.

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