Tag Archives: Gothic

The Ancient Yew

27 May

Yew 1

Husb and I drove up through mid and north Wales yesterday to go to a John Cale gig in Liverpool. It was awesome! On the way, we took an idyllic shortcut between Beulah and Newbridge on Wye and stopped for a spot of lunch at the venerable old Red Lion Inn at Llanafan Fawr. Opposite the pub is the church of Saint Afan and in the churchyard is an ancient yew, around 2,200 years old.

Yew 2

Of course, I had to have a scribble. It is huge and forms a dark cave around it’s enormous trunk, or network of trunks where there are fallen gravestones, so old that the carved writing has all but disappeared. It was very spooky and Gothic in there. I drew with black, sanguine and white conté crayon into my A4 brown paper sketchbook.



I have put my series of drawings en plein air 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. So did you know that Elvis Presley is descended from the Welsh? This drawing below is the legendary grave of Saint Elfys (Elvis) in Pembrokeshire, not for from the Presceli Mountains. Elfys? Presceli? Elvis Presley? Coincidence? hhhmmmm

St Elvis

Telling Stories

29 Jul

storytelling July 2016

Husb and I are just back from storytelling night at Tapestri, a regular event with a different mix of performers each month. It’s in a old courtroom that’s been renovated and used now for art and culture, although they’ve kept the raised boxes for the judge and defendant and there are some very comfortable jurors chairs too. There are always lots of interesting faces to draw and these elder women were sitting, rapt, in front of a vast modern stained glass window. I usually have my sketchbook on me so I had a quick scribble while I listened to West Wales teller, Nick Brunger and his riveting Gothic tales.


I have been 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.

If you want to know more about my solo show in The Worker’s Gallery in the Rhondda Valley in September, please click here.

And if you want to see some of my other artwork, please click on the image below.



Drawing Rooms

10 Jul

window 2

The opening on Monday evening of the group exhibition my work is in, Commensalis in Bath, was fab, really busy, great fun and loads of happy people who enjoyed the art. I stayed over to invigilate the next day and also to do a short residency; I set up a tabletop easel and did drawings of the interior throughout the day. I don’t normally draw buildings and I find it hard not to make them look like architectural drawings, so I tried to focus on atmosphere rather than detail. It’s a fascinating building, sparse and a bit Gothic, a mortuary chapel surrounded by very old graves. I did the drawing onto an A3 canvas sheet, prepared with a yellow ochre oil wash, using dip pens and Indian ink, black and white conte crayons and wet wipes (yes, the things you wipe babies bottoms with) to get a wash effect.

Here are a few pictures of the opening featuring my ‘Art Here’  banner and the marvellous ‘Lady Margaret’, of The Natural Theatre Company, who kindly and graciously opened the exhibition, aided by the ‘Wind-up Merchant‘ Nick Steele with his antique HMV Gramophones and DeeJay set of vintage 78 vinyl platters.

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The show is still on until Sunday, 12.00 to 18.00 daily, so if you fancy a day trip to Beautiful Bath, pop in and see the exhibition in Walcot Chapel. And on Sunday, between 3 and 4pm there’s Tea With The Artists – lashings of tea, scones and Victoria Sandwich…….



Art, A Mortuary and Beautiful Bath

10 Jul

Yesterday was incredibly busy and tiring; I’m part of a group of six artists from Swansea who travelled to the lovely city of Bath to put up and launch our exhibition, Commensalis. We started packing the car at 7.00 am and arrived back home just before midnight. PHEW! It’s on until Sunday evening and includes poetry, storytelling and Swedish Jazz/Folk, along with two artists in conversation (I’m one of them) and it’s all FREE. So if you’re anywhere in the area please look in – the programme is on the website.

Just before we opened I sloped off outside for a quick scribble. The venue, Walcot Chapel, is an extraordinarygothic mortuary chapel dating back to the 1840’s. At the front is a massive porch so I sat outside for a few minutes, looking through the archway on my right, sketching the old, yellowy Bathstone buildings across the graveyard. Bath is such a lovely city and one of my favourite places in the UK. I was given a copy of a marvellous book of photographs and quotations, Beautiful Bath: A souvenir in words and images that marries gorgeous photography with pithy quotes from the last 1000 years. Lovely.

A Lovely Bit Of Gothic

14 Oct

Ink drawing: The Gothic Station in Copenhagen.

We visited friends in Copenhagen last winter – lovely city – amazing towers everywhere. We climbed one of them – The Church of our Saviour, a twisty one that went up 300 feet or so. Not a good idea, not a good idea at all when you’re terrified of heights! I’d intended to draw from the top, but ended up clutching the wall and handrail, whimpering in terror while small children skipped merrily past, oblivious to the hideous life threatening danger. I stayed at ground level from then on.

Although I normally draw people [and cats], it’s nice to draw the places I visit because it’s more memorable than taking photos. It’s easy to rattle off thousands of digital images but what are you going to do with them all when you get back home? I prefer to look critically around me for something interesting and memorable to draw [and if I’m honest, something that I’m capable of drawing lol].

We’d been on our feet for hours and wandered into Copenhagen’s magnificent train station. We sat down for a coffee and a rest and I drew the scene in front of me. It’s a gorgeous mess of stone, cast iron and wood, cathedral-like in places, soaring high above modern bland, mass produced kiosks. It’s a challenge drawing architecture so that it doesn’t end up looking like an architectural drawing. There’s no point in that – the architect did it better!


The drawing is in Faber Castell Pitt pens into an A6 Cotman watercolour sketchbook.


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