Tag Archives: countryside

A Taste Of Things To Come

21 Jul

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An arty day, printing up a small vinyl block I cut some weeks ago. I’m working with prehistorian Dewi Bowen to produce a limited edition booklet for our event on July 31st at Swansea’s Cinema & Co. This is stage one…….

We’ve been travelling across the wilder spaces of South Wales for about 18 months with filmmaker Melvyn Williams, tracking down the wild megaliths for Dewi’s new book

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Here’s a taste of things to come ….

Hunting The Wild Megalith

14 Jul

HUNTING THE WILD MEGALITH: A FILM, A CONVERSATION, AN EXHIBITION

Monday July 31st, 6.00 – 7.30, Cinema & Co, Swansea

Rose

Looking happy (not) with my drawing board

Mud! Gales! Snow! Lurking ponies! Scary cattle! More Mud! That’s what you get when an artist, a prehistorian and a filmmaker go out and about over the South Wales countryside hunting ancient stone monuments.

This collaboration between Dewi Bowen , Melvyn Williams and me began back at the start of 2016 when Dewi enlisted us to travel with him to Neolithic and Bronze Age sites to research his latest book, “Hunting The Wild Megalith”.

Melvyn

Filmmaker Melvyn Williams with the Bryn Maen Farm stone

Eighteen months later, this meeting of minds has resulted in my current exhibition at Swansea’s Cinema & Co, a short film by Melvyn and the bulk of the research done for Dewi’s book. On July 31st my exhibition ends but on that last evening, Melvyn will be premiering his short film, at 6.30 and then Dewi will be in conversation with Melvyn, from 6.50, about the age-old mystery of Welsh standing stones.

Dewi

Prehistorian Dewi Bowen lounges on an Iron Age settee

Here’s a trailer to give you a taste of what’s to come.

 

And the quirky and lovely Cinema & Co is showing cult 1970’s movie The Wicker Man from 8pm (please book tickets for the film online in advance).

 

And there will be cake!

Victoria Sandwich

 

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.

Look What I’ve Got!

30 Jun

Press

Look what I’ve got! Ner nerner ner ner! 😛

Husb and I did a road trip up to Ynyshir in The Rhondda Valley today and bought this gorgeous Victorian book press off the charming Mike. I’ll use it for lino and wood block prints. I don’t know the make or date of manufacture so if anyone out there knows, I’d be grateful for any information. There’s a very worn logo on it, with a Lion and the letter ‘D’ underneath. Nearly corpsed Husb when he carried it in from the car.

We also crammed in a visit to the re-opened Cynon Valley Museum and Gallery in Aberdare which is showing an exhibition by Gayle Rogers, ‘The Parochial Artist’, for another week. Gayle is also a founder of The Workers Gallery in Ynyshir so we popped in there as well. A grand day out.

Gayle

 

 

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 Art. The Megaliths. The Film. The Rain!

29 Jun

 

Coming soon to Cinema & Co, an exhibition by Rose Davies, a film by Melvyn Williams, an illustrated talk by Dewi Bowen……..

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

From Pakistan To Pentre Ifan: Art, Cake And Neolithic Wales

26 Jun

My solo show, “Yr Helfa / The Hunt”, is now on at Swansea’s quirky artspace, Cinema & Co throughout July and we’re finishing with a fabulous event on Monday July 31st from 5.30 pm featuring a film from Melvyn Williams, an illustrated talk from Dewi Bowen and I’ll be launching a new edition of a lino print made especially for the event.

I am exhibiting a series of drawings made of ancestral Bronze Age and Neolithic monuments in the field – mostly muddy fields – drawn on my journey across South Wales over the past 18 months with prehistorian Dewi Bowen and filmmaker Melvyn Williams. This body of work has its roots in a life-changing journey I made to Pakistan some years ago, where I became fascinated by rock carvings over 10,000 years old.

 

Back in February 2016 I started trudging through mud and slurry, fording turbulent streams and climbing over brackish hilltops through hail, rain and snow with Dewi and Melvyn to hunt down Neolithic and Bronze Age burial chambers, ceremonial circles and standing stones that lie scattered across the landscape of Wales. Coming face to face with these ancestral symbols both of a long lost culture and of continuity in a rapidly changing world has had a profound impact on me.

Please check Cinema & Co’s Facebook page for opening times during the exhibition.

 

 

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 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.

 

 

 

Saturated Sunset

21 Jun

 

I went to Mynydd Llangynydeyrn Mountain yesterday evening with prehistorian Dewi Bowen and filmmaker Melvyn Williams to check out the Solstice sunset over the stone circle there. I know that Solstice is this evening, but we were hedging our bets in case there was cloud today.

 

I worked onto a pre-used canvas sheet that I prepared with gesso and some of my home-made walnut husk ink, using Daler Rowney artist quality pastels for the drawing en plein air. The stones in the circle, backlit by the disappearing sun, took on a dark and sinister appearance which is reflected in the work. The sunset was spectacular, with vibrant, saturated, unbelievably bright colours zinging across the sky, in stark contrast with the dark and sombre earthbound tones.

The vegetation around the site was lush and stood out against the dying brightness of the sky.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Methodology, Mountain And Memorial

11 Jun
mel june 2016

Melanie Ezra with some of her automata

 

South Wales is so full of talented artists, despite the poor economy and our relative isolation on the Western fringes of Europe – or maybe because of it. Property is cheap and there’s an intensity and freedom to be had from being so far from the frenetic centre of the art establishment in London. Husb and I went to the opening of Melanie Ezra’s new exhibition, Methodology, at The Workers Gallery in Ynyshir in the Rhondda Valley. I love The Workers Gallery. Started by illustrator Gale Rogers and sculptor Chris Williams about 18 months ago it continues defiantly in an area of immense social and economic deprivation, receiving no public funding, building a stable of enthusiastic and eclectic artists across the area. It was lovely there this afternoon, with lashings of tea and Welsh cakes. I also met up with some fellow artists who follow this blog and had some great conversations with them. About art of course 😀

 

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My favourite trainers overwhelmed by wild flowers

 

The image that many people have of Wales is one of post industrial dereliction but what avaricious industrialists once destroyed, nature has reclaimed and the mountains and valleys are now breathtakingly beautiful and can stand comparison with anywhere in Europe. We drove back across the mountain via Treherbert and stopped at a viewing spot above Llyn Fawr, a carpet of wild flowers spilled over my feet.

 

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The memorials above Llyn Fawr

 

People have constructed memorials at the edge of the mountain, looking across the valley. This resonates with so much of my work, from Yr Helfa (The Hunt) about the ancient Neolithic ancestral stones I have been drawing in recent months; to last year’s series, Er Gôf, based on the Holocaust Memorial; from the currently ongoing drawn portraits of Baby Boomers, to the series of monotypes, Warrior, working with a young Welsh soldier – so much of my art is about loss, mortality and memory.

 

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.

Hidden In Plain View

8 Apr

As I’m continuing to work with Dewi Bowen, the archaeologist, I realise just how many ancestral stone monuments there are across the Welsh landscape. Apart for a few years in England, I’ve lived in Wales all my life and I never realised how ubiquitous these ancient monuments are.  They seem reasonably well documented, on websites like The Megalithic Portal and the Modern Antiquarian and in county surveys, but how many people actually know the extent of them outside of a relatively small group of academics and enthusiasts? Despite their monumental size and their presence throughout millennia, they almost seem to be hidden in plain view, unseen and ignored by motorists and ramblers and dog walkers.

The Is-coed stone near Ferryside

The Is-coed stone near Ferryside

This reflection is beginning to influence the way I’m working. I have been drawing onto Fabriano paper that I’ve prepared with washes of home-made walnut ink, allowing my feelings and impressions of the ancient sites to guide what I put down. Then, out in the field, I draw over the background imagery with carbon, white conte crayon and occasionally soft oil pastels. This week, my drawings are far less substantial because I’m beginning to realise how peripheral these stones are to our everyday life and culture. Which is a pity.

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.

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.

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