Tag Archives: dolmen

Through Darkness To Light

30 Mar

Drawing ‘The King’s Quoit’ from another angle, I could see underneath the capstone, through the inky darkness below the huge rock into the bright sunlight beyond.

Kings Quoit d

The shape reminded me of being in a cave, looking out through the entrance and it occurred to me that the ancient people who created these monuments might have lived in caves, or at least sought sanctuary and shelter in them and I wonder if they echoed this experience when they built their stone megaliths across the landscape?

Kings Quoit c

The King’s Quoit is situated on the cliff path above the glorious beach at Manorbier on the South Pembrokeshire coast in Wales. It’s a sub-megalithic type, where the back of the capstone rests directly on the ground without an orthostat supporting it. I drew with carbon and white conte crayon onto Fabriano paper that I had prepared in advance with my homemade walnut ink. I had originally done a very large drawing in the ink but didn’t like it so I ripped it down into smaller pieces that would fit onto my portable drawing board. I liked working over an existing image – I don’t like working directly onto white paper, it’s intimidating.

It was chilly and very windy on the cliff – here I am drawing in the short video below….

This drawing is available to buy in my Artfinder gallery here.

Drawing The Stones

13 Mar

I’m continuing to work on a series of drawings of ancestral monuments across South Wales and here are the drawings I’ve done so far on my travels  with archaeologist Dewi and film maker Melvyn. I’m chuffed with the range of the drawings and the way my work is developing into a more expressive style over the weeks. And it’s looking likely that I’ll be exhibiting these and the others I’m planning to do sometime in the Autumn. Watch this space!

Carreg Jack

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 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 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.

 

 

Grumble In The Jumble

26 Feb

capstone 2 b

What influences a drawing? Lots of things; the subject, the artist’s reactions to the subject; the drawing materials; the weather. That’s right, the weather. I was so cold by the time I reached this sub-Megalithic burial chamber on Mynydd Llangynderyn that I couldn’t be bothered to faff about with my carrying tube of paper and my drawing board. So I reached into my bag for my Daler Rowney Ebony sketchbook and a piece of white conte crayon and spent a few minutes sketching this, the fourth of the ancient monuments on the mountain. It was a long but steady walk up the mountain to the highest point and then a scramble over the ridge to reach the two dolmen, side by side. Unfortunately we had to cross an area of bog to get to them and that was dire. And cold. So by the time I got to this I was pretty fed up. And hungry. And grumbling.

capstone 2 a

The chamber is in amongst a jumble of rocks, mostly fallen from the ridge above. It was very common for these earlier monuments to be constructed at the site of natural rock formations so sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate them from what nature put there. The materials and the quickness of my drawing lent itself to representing the mishmash of rocks on the site.

The Greyhound’s Kennel

20 Feb

Twlc Y Filiast

This is the first of the ancient stone monuments I drew a couple of days ago when I was trekking around muddy Carmarthenshire with an archaeologist and a film maker. The Welsh name is Twlc Y Filiast which translates as the Kennel of the (female) Greyhound, but the monument is also known as Arthur’s Table or Ebenezer’s Table. It’s a Neolithic chambered tomb. There are a number of ancient burial sites associated with greyhounds. In Welsh, greyhound is milgi (female is miliast) and means a thousand dogs (or a thousand bitches) as a greyhound was considered to be as valuable as a thousand ordinary dogs because of it’s hunting ability, absolutely vital in ancient societies.

The setting is strange and ethereal. I’m used to seeing dolmen out in the open, often overlooking the sea or set on top of a hill and it was odd seeing this in a shadowy hollow by a stream just behind the now closed* village school in Llangynog. It’s well hidden and easily missed and the route was treacherous after the many weeks of torrential rain and awful weather.

Llangynnog 1

I had almost finished the drawing when I noticed the stone face in profile, looking towards the stream and the woods on the opposite side. I drew with willow charcoal onto a vintage British paper. I had a range of drawing materials but I instinctively reached for the willow charcoal; when I reflected on my choice later I realised that I had gone for an organic, natural material that had itself come from the woods and would have been used by ancient peoples.

*Many village schools have been closed by the Welsh Government, depriving rural communities of an important resource. A national disgrace in my opinion.

Rehomed

17 Feb

 

Pentre Ifan

Pentre Ifan

Back in the Autumn last year, Husb and I spend a weekend drawing ancient monuments around Pembrokeshire – in the rain, as ever. This is one I drew at Pentre Ifan, in chalk, charcoal and pastels. I drew it over an existing drawing I made in home-made walnut ink onto antique paper of the St. Paul’s catacombs in Malta. I’m chuffed that this drawing has just been sold from Artfinder and is being rehomed in North Wales. More of my work for sale can be found by clicking on the Artfinder widget on the right hand side of this page.

Tomorrow, I’m going on my travels around West Wales again to draw more ancient sites.

Drawing It Out

4 Dec

dolmen

A few weeks ago I spent a couple of days in Pembrokeshire, drawing ancient monuments mostly in the rain. When I’m drawing something from life, I concentrate on getting the appearance and proportion right, doing a fair representation. I often use these original drawings as source material for something else, usually a print – an etching, silkscreen, monotype – but today I thought I’d try doing a drawing from my original sketch of Carreg Samson, a dolmen perched above the North Pembrokeshire coast. It was quite liberating as all the basics had already been done so I could focus on experimenting with making marks and developing the mood of the drawing. I only spent a few minutes on this but I think I might do some more and spend more time on them. I worked with carbon into an A3 Daler Rowney sketchbook.

The Big Draw-ing

30 Oct

Dolmen 8

 

The 15 Hundred Lives art collective that I’m a member of is holding a Big Draw event at the Creative Bubble artspace for a couple of days. October is not only the month of the national Big Draw, the world’s biggest drawing festival, it’s also the month of All Hallow’s Eve, an ancient festival for remembering the dead. It’s a Christian festival, part of Allhallowtide; a pagan festival based in the Celtic Samhain; Calan Gaeaf, the Welsh winter festival; and the 20th century secular Halloween tradition of trick or treating.

A lot of my artwork is based on memories of those who have died, my ancestors, and I started a big drawing inspired by this and by my recent couple of days in Pembrokeshire drawing ancient burial monuments.  I don’t see it as a depressing thing at all.  I started by ripping up lumps of newspaper and sticking them on to a roll of Fabriano Accademica with Pritt stick. Then I started drawing onto it with compressed charcoal. Here’s a slide show of the development of the work.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We had quite a few people drop in and draw with us, some lovely work and lots of great discussions. Another day of it tomorrow – I might do another big drawing.

The Blue Stones

21 Oct

pentre ifan

I’ve been thinking about how to develop the drawings I did last weekend in North Pembrokeshire. I have seven drawings from four different Neolithic sites and I thought that one or two of them might look good as cyanotypes.

Cyanotype is an archaic form of photography invented in early Victorian times by Sir John Herschel which results in a blue image. The original charcoal and carbon drawing onto marbled paper was done in the field at the enigmatic ancient burial tomb of Pentre Ifan in the Presceli Mountains in Pembrokeshire, Wales. This striking Neolithic dolmen is almost 6 thousand years old. It is a lasting reminder of Celtic ancestors and the site is inspirational. I worked quickly in the late afternoon Autumn sunshine to catch it before the sun went down.

I turned the original drawing into a negative and coated a sheet of Bockingford paper with the cyanotype chemicals. I put the negative onto the paper and put a sheet of glass over it. I exposed it for three hours in the weak Autumn daylight, as the Victorians would have done. It was then washed in cold water to develop it.

Here’s a lovely video from Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, showing how Pentre Ifan might have looked when it was originally built.

 

This artwork is for sale through Artfinder

 

 

The Last Of The Stones

20 Oct

marbled drawing

Here are the last couple of drawings from my weekend sketching ancient burial chambers in North Pembrokeshire. This one at Pentre Ifan is drawn in charcoal, carbon and white conte crayon onto Fabriano Accademica that I had marbled with black oil paint mixed with turpentine.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

stones 2

The Pentre Ifan dolmen, Nevern, Pembrokeshire

 

Pentre Ifan

Pentre Ifan

Here’s the dolmen drawn over a previous drawing of Maltese catacombs in home-made walnut ink. What next? Well, I’m doing some experiments with cyanotype. Hopefully, if they’re successful, I’ll blog them tomorrow.

Scribbling Sacred Stones

19 Oct

Carreg Samson drawing

Here’s the fourth ancient burial site I drew over the weekend on my visit to ancestral graves in North Pembrokeshire. It’s a beautiful little chambered tomb called Carreg Samson, near Abercastle. The dolmen looks out across The Irish Sea from a farmer’s clifftop field in a glorious setting. It’s around 5,000 years old and is the site of over 1,000 burials and more recently a shelter for sheep.

 

stones

I forgot to take a drawing board with me so I scrabbled around on my hands and knees, drawing on the grass. I drew very quickly because it was cold, blustery and uncomfortable. I drew with a piece of Daler Rowney carbon onto a piece of Fabriano Accademica paper (200 gsm) that I had marbled with oil paint mixed with English Turpentine. I like the effect that the marbling gives to these Neolithic stones.

stone and drawing

When I got up off my knees, I realised that the field had been recently occupied by cattle. The evidence was on my leggings. I suffer for my art 😡

 

%d bloggers like this: