Tag Archives: landscape

Quick Little Pastel

9 Aug

pastel

Today I was giving someone some tips for using pastels, so I thought the best way was to have a bit of a scribble myself. It’s so nice to work onto proper pastel paper; the darker tone of the paper and the toothed texture make a huge difference. That’s half the battle with art, using good quality materials that are suited to the job. I just did a quick post-impressionistic semi-abstract landscape in my usual scribbly style.

 

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

St Elvis

The Ripped Land

3 Oct

carmel-cairn-1

Walking and working with prehistorian Dewi Bowen and filmmaker Melvyn Williams on a series of drawings of Neolithic and Bronze Age stone monuments, we fetched up on a hilltop near Llanfihangel Aberbythych, not far from Carmel in Carmarthenshire where there are the remains of three stone cairns, unfortunately badly mutilated by years of quarrying.

Now, cairns are piles of stones and that’s what they are. When they’ve been moved and degraded they’re not particularly imposing or interesting to draw so I sat on top of one of them, incredibly uncomfortable and more than a bit dangerous, and drew what I could see from the rocky summit. In the distance, the land is ripped by the quarry so I chose some paper which had been prepared with charcoal, gesso and walnut ink and went to work with artist-quality Daler Rowney soft pastels. The result is an abstracted and emotive study of the stratified and scarred landscape.

I’m continuing my journey of discovery with  Dewi  and Melvyn as we travel along the route of the legendary Boar Hunt, Y Twrch Trwyth, from the story of Culhwch and Olwen in the Mabinogion, the book of Welsh mythology, researching, filming and drawing the ancient stone monuments along the way.

There’s more of my art to be seen in my online Gallery in Artfinder, please click on the image below to take a look. Thank you.

Quoit

The School Stone Redrawn

23 Jun

Cockett Valley stone graphite

 

I’ve been travelling around South Wales drawing ancient stone monuments in the field but I’ve now started to look at the drawings and photos to decide how to develop them; maybe more complex drawings or mixed media pieces: etchings or linocuts? The first stage in this process for me is to do some small ‘thumbnail’ sketches from my original drawings and site photographs. These thumbnails help me get more acquainted with the subject as the field drawings are done very quickly and intuitively.

I’ve drawn with 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. It’s a beautiful paper with deckled edges. This is the Cockett Valley Stone, found on the playing fields of a local comprehensive school.

 

I’ve been travelling around South 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. Also with us  is film maker Melvyn Williams, recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. If you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

Battle Mountain, Little Mountain

22 Jun
Tower

The tower on Mynydd Cadle Common

Sometimes when I go out to sketch, the scenery is so atmospheric and so fleeting that only photographs will do. This evening was one of those times. Husb and I were driving along Mynydd Newydd (New Mountain) Road which bisects Mynydd Bach (Little Mountain) Common to the northside and Mynydd Cadle (Battle Mountain) Common to the southside and I saw the incredible late evening light hitting the Tower on Mynydd Cadle. Husb’s family hail from this area and I’ve heard many fleeting references to ancient battles but I’m not sure when they happened.

trees

It’s a semi-rural area and home to many species. As the sun set I caught these trees outlined against the vivid clouds.

fence

Turning towards Mynydd Bach common and looking West into the setting sun, the West Wales coast is just there in the distance.

 

I’ve been travelling around South 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. Also with us  is film maker Melvyn Williams, recording a documentary about our experiences. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. If you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

Letting Go Of The Comfort Blanket

3 Apr
big ink a

Work in progress – where will I go with it next?

Here’s something scary, I’m getting out of my comfort zone which is working from what is in front of me. I’ve been clutching to the comfort blanket of working from reality all my life and now I’m trying to let go. And I am not enjoying it one bit. But making art is something I don’t particularly enjoy anyway, if I want to enjoy something I make a cake. That’s my hobby. Art is my vocation. And it’s hard work, lots of work, continuous self-doubt and always pushing against complacency.

I’ve been going out and drawing Neolithic and Bronze Age ancestral stones over the past few weeks and struggling to make them relevant to me. I don’t want to churn out picturesque landscapes, that’s why I’ve tended to avoid doing landscape art in the past. I’ve been trying different techniques to take me away from realism or topographical drawing and into something expressionist, gestural, emotive, visceral.

I’ve started ripping up big-ish pieces of Fabriano paper and daubing, sponging, painting them with my home-made walnut ink without reference to the real world, photos or drawings. I’m relying on the feelings, sensations, thoughts I have experienced when I have been out drawing the ancient monuments.

Oh crikey! Does that make me sound like a hippy?!!!! 😀 😀 😀

Dewis 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 working on a series of expressive drawings of ancestral sites and if you want to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

Yes? No? Maybe?

28 Mar

rubbing

I did an initial cut on a square of soft vinyl a couple of days ago, dividing the piece into 9 small squares and now I need to get an idea of whether they’re okay, which ones need more cutting, which to discard. I could ink it up and put it through a press but that’s messy and time consuming so I put a sheet of tissue paper over it and rubbed it with the graphite stick in the photo, like people did with brass rubbings back in the 1970s. That’s enough information for me to decide which to carry on with. Two of the nine will be dumped straight away. One is simply the wrong shape for the square format and the other is too abstracted and I need to give it a rethink. So onto the next stage, most of them need a little bit more cutting, a bit of tidying up.

They’re all based on drawings I did in the field (literally) over the past few weeks of Bronze Age and Neolithic stone monuments across South Wales.

Scribbling Iceland

23 Nov

volcano 1

I spent a few days in Iceland recently and although I took a sketchbook and some pastels with me, it was too cold to draw. Even just 30 seconds or so without my gloves and my fingers stopped working. So now I’m back home and back in the swing of all the arty shenanigans going on in Swansea at the moment, I’ve taken a look at the photos I took and I’m catching up with some drawing.

 

I took this Daler Rowney Ebony sketchbook with me and also a set of Daler Rowney artist quality soft pastels. The black paper lends itself to the climate and volcanic landscape of a wintry Iceland and is a good starting point. I used the pastels mainly in strong diagonal strokes, occasionally rubbing the surface with my fingers, again diagonally.

The Little Volcano

12 Nov

wpid-wp-1447365486585.jpeg

I’m in the land of ice and fire, Iceland, for a few days. Arrived this morning and on the bus from the airport to Reykjavik, I snapped this little volcanic dome in the grim lava landscape. Been awake since 3am so I am going to get some shut eye now. Good night 😊

Land Of Ice And Fire

4 Nov

trolls small

Husb and I visited Iceland (the country, not the shop) three winters ago and we managed to get a really cheap package deal to go again in a couple of weeks. It’s a fabulous place for an artist, although hard to draw outside in winter temperatures. I tried out different preparations for the papers I took last time so I’ll be replicating those when I go again. You need robust, thick paper, like a heavyweight Khadi, or card – I used mount board (matte board). I laid down some colours onto my papers and cards with ink washes and acrylics last time and drew over them with oil bars and soft pastels. I’ll be doing that again. My usual M.O. of lightweight sketchbook and drawing pens just doesn’t stand up to the moisture in the air and the piercing cold.

We’re hoping to see the Aurora Borealis this time – they didn’t show up on our last visit and I’ve booked myself into a half-day introduction at the Icelandic Elf School.

The Final Cwtch

2 Nov

Tair Carn Uchaf

Another unseasonable warm and bright day, but glorious weather to say goodbye to artist Ann Jordan’s ‘Cwtch’, a giant woollen blanket and environmental installation. You can read more about this extraordinary piece here. It is in it’s final resting place, a circle of eroded peat bog up on the Black Mountain in the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales. A multi-generation group went up the mountain with Ann and some rangers from the national park and helped to stretch and lay it in place and then, after weighting the edge with local stones, we scattered a sackful of local heather seed over it. The blanket should provide a good environment for the seed to germinate and grow and stop the patch from further erosion.

cwtch photo

Of course, I took the opportunity to have a scribble. I’m looking west-ish here towards ‘Tair Carn Uchaf‘, the Welsh for The Three Upper Carns, ancient burial mounds in the distance and Carn Pen y Clogau on the right of the drawing. One of the park rangers described the area as a ‘Bronze Age Landscape Of The Dead’. That phrase brought up all sorts of images. I think I’ll be heading this way again, soon, to do some more drawing.

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