Tag Archives: #FolkloreThursday

A White Raven Emerges

8 Jul

15942348378041480404380.png

Inspiration can be a slow process for me. I heard a poem performed by Welsh artist and rapper Rufus Mufasa back last year which featured a raven and it’s been buried somewhere inside and emerged a few days ago. As a female raven, as a manifestation of the ancient Welsh goddess Brânwen and now, today, as a white raven. None of this is being consciously directed by me, I’m just getting on with it and seeing where it leads me. I had a go drawing her on my Samsung Galaxy tablet today, with a free drawing app called Markers, which is the only drawing app I’ve ever used. In this format she’s come out as quite feisty, almost perky, which is nothing like the tragic history of Brânwen.  I’ll try developing her in different media and see what happens.

This is the drawing I did originally at Rufus’ performance, it was a spontaneous reaction and the raven is just starting to emerge.

RM1

And a couple of days ago I drew this one in HB pencil.

raven 3

I’m getting an urge to try this out in collage next, something I rarely do, but this white raven has really gripped me all of a sudden and I’m going to go with the flow.

There’s a podcast called the Celtic Myth Podshow which tells the story of ancient Celtic myths, episode by episode, including the one about Brânwen – check it out here, it’s good.

And please do check out Rufus Mufasa, she’s amazing. She’s here on SoundCloud.

Now – where’s my Pritt stick?

Scribbling Brân

2 Jul

raven 3

I practised drawing a raven today, from a photograph, as I have the germ of an idea for some new work. I find birds really hard to draw because they have such strange proportions. My first one was way off, the second is getting there. More work to do. I’m thinking this may end up in a screenprint at some point.

Thing is with birds that it isn’t just the weird proportions to get to grips with but also the foreshortening. Tricky. I used an HB Derwent pencil onto a medium weight cartridge paper. In Welsh mythology, the god and goddess Brân and Brânwen were brother and sister. Brân means raven and Brânwen,  a white raven.

Preparation And Plein Air

10 Feb

drummau-3

Here’s another view of Maen Bradwen, or Carreg Bica on Mynydd Drummau Mountain in Neath Port Talbot. It’s a massive stone and local legend has it that it bathes in the River Neath on Easter morning. I drew this fairly quickly with Daler Rowney soft pastels onto Fabriano paper that had been prepared with two layers of white acrylic gesso, then rubbed with compressed charcoal, then overpainted in parts with gesso again and finally I dribbled white acrylic paint from one edge. The preparation of the background took much longer than the drawing en plein air.

drummau-3b

I’m travelling across South Wales with prehistorian Dewi Bowen and filmmaker Melvyn Williams. Dewi is researching his new book, ‘Hunting The Wild Megalith’, based on the premise that the ancient Welsh legend, The Boar Hunt / Y Twrch Trwyth, from The Mabinogion, can be tracked across the sites of Neolithic monuments throughout the South Wales landscape and Melvyn is making a film of our journey. Here’s a short one he did late last year…..

 

I am putting my series of drawings of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to see more, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

St Elvis

Devil’s Bridge

16 May
The gorge at Devil's Bridge

The gorge at Devil’s Bridge

Hunting wild megaliths in West Wales last week, we took a detour to Devil’s Bridge in Ceredigion, near Aberystwyth.It’s an extraordinary gorge – at the top, three separate bridges are stacked on top of one another. The most recent is an iron bridge  from 1901, under this is one from 1753 and under that, the original from 1075–1200.

Here the River Mynach drops a spectacular 90 metres down the ravine until it meets the River Rheidol. According to legend the original bridge was built by the Devil because it was too difficult for humans and in return the Devil would take the soul of the first living thing that crossed it. He was tricked by an old woman who threw bread onto the bridge so that her dog ran across. The Devil was furious but didn’t want the soul of a dog and disappeared in a puff of smoke.

I drew onto Fabriano paper prepare with my home-made walnut ink, using carbon and Daler Rowney soft pastels.

I’m travelling around South West Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book on Neolithic / Bronze Age monuments based on the trail of The Boar Hunt, Y Twrch Trwyth, from The Mabinogion, a book of Welsh Legend. 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: