Tag Archives: Ferryside

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.

The Stone In The Lower Wood

24 Jun

is coed

 

Continuing with thumbnail sketches from some of my original drawings, this is the Is Coed (Lower Wood) stone near Ferryside in Carmarthenshire. Ferryside is a gorgeous seaside village on a spectacular railway route from Swansea to Carmarthen that skips along right next to the coast for much of the journey. I’m doing the thumbnail drawings to get better acquainted with each stone before deciding which ones to develop into prints – etchings and lino blocks. It’s an important part of the process between the drawings in the field and a finished original print. It helps me to analyse the form of the drawing, what medium it would best be transferred to, what aspects to emphasise and minimise. I used a fine graphite stick (6B) onto a small piece of heavyweight textured paper from the Tate Gallery shop that I had prepared by sponging lightly with a sepia wash.

 

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.

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.

The Stone Outside The Village

7 Apr

stone 1

A journey around Carmarthenshire today, to find, record and draw more Neolithic stone monuments, the first is the Is-coed Stone just outside the gorgeous seashore village of Ferryside. And now I’m tired and aching zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

The Iscoed Stone, Ferryside, Carmarthenshire

The Iscoed Stone, Ferryside, Carmarthenshire

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.

 

%d bloggers like this: