Tag Archives: landscape

Bat Walk

19 Sep

Bat Watch

Husb and I spent a happy hour or so up at the lovely Rosehill Quarry this evening with a load of other people on a ‘bat walk’ headed up by Swansea University’s Dr. Dan Foreman. I had a scribble of course, with a 6B graphite stick into my ‘cat’ notebook. I focused on making marks to represent the tree-studded quarry bowl in an abstracted manner. A couple of bats made it into the picture. Not the vampire bats that Dr. Foreman mentioned though, just Pipistrelles. Apparently the warmth of our collected bodies attracted gnats and midges (oh yes, they made their presence felt) and the bats were attracted to the insects. We were like a sort of batty fast food joint.

 

 

A lot of my artwork is available on my Artfinder gallery.  If you’d like to have a look, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

Gors Fawr, near Mynachlog-ddu in the Preseli mountains, a lush green bog fringed with glowing hills.

 

As Dark As It Gets

11 Sep

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This started as a very pale watercolour landscape that I uploaded onto my Samsung Galaxy Note tablet into a free Markers app. I’ve been making it darker and darker with cross-hatching and scribbles but I think this is about as dark as I can go with it.

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The slides show the process from the original little painting, Winsor & Newton half pans onto St. Cuthbert’s Mill watercolour paper, through to the final, rather Gothic, drawing of darkness. I don’t normally work like this, it’s been good for me to break out of my comfort zone.

 

 

A lot of my artwork is available on my Artfinder gallery.  If you’d like to have a look, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

Gors Fawr, near Mynachlog-ddu in the Preseli mountains, a lush green bog fringed with glowing hills.

 

Getting Somewhere

5 Sep

I started this little watercolour a couple of weeks ago, when I was in Ceredigion, using Winsor & Newton half pans onto St. Cuthbert’s Mill watercolour paper. I’m not used to watercolours and the scene before me was very pale and misty and I was a bit disappointed by it, to be honest. So I photographed it into my Samsung Galaxy Tablet and started experimenting with a free Markers app, building up layers of black crosshatching over the pale paint. I’m getting somewhere at last.

 

A lot of my artwork is available on my Artfinder gallery.  If you’d like to have a look, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.

Gors Fawr, near Mynachlog-ddu in the Preseli mountains, a lush green bog fringed with glowing hills.

 

Getting Darker

29 Aug

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I’m carrying on drawing experimentally on top of a little watercolour sketch I did en plein air a couple of days ago. I uploaded it onto my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet into a free Markers drawing app and I’m working over it with cross-hatching and scribbling. The version I did yesterday is better than my original, which was very wishy washy and mundane, but today I took it a few stages darker and I’m liking it more. I’m going to keep working over it to see how dark I can go before I lose the subject all together.

I think it’s an important part of the creative process to take time out to experiment, to play with no pressure to meet deadlines or conform to the brief of a commission. I’m not keen on using either watercolours or digital drawing apps, but they’re good as a means to an end, trying out new ideas that might lead somewhere.

 

 

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

Wishy Washy

28 Aug

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I’ve been having a go at watercolours recently, since I won a really nice St. Cuthbert’s Mill Saunders Waterford glued watercolour block in a Facebook competition. I’m not really into painting but this is lovely paper and there’s a lot of it and, frankly, waste not, want not, as my Nana used to say. Husb and I stayed over in Lampeter yesterday, a mini staycation, and there was a lovely view from our room, but I’m always a bit stumped where to start with landscape so I decided to just block in areas of colour without being too worried about details. I used Winsor & Newton half pans. It was a very overcast and misty morning today and the colours were very soft and muted and to be honest, way too wishy-washy for my liking.

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When I got home, I photographed it onto my Samsung Galaxy Note tablet and loaded it into my free Markers app and started scribbling over it. I feel a lot happier with the overlaid cross hatching and scribbled textures, but I think I need to go further; I think I need to work over it again and make it really dark and Gothic with just some tiny flecks of colour showing through. Something to do tomorrow.

 

 

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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