Tag Archives: lichen

Honeysuckle Rose

6 Jul

stone flora

One of the loveliest things I’m experiencing as I’m travelling across South Wales drawing ancient Neolithic stones is the flora; the lichens on the stones unchanging throughout the seasons, plants in the fields and hedgerows an ever-changing delight of colour, scent and texture. Last week’s journey to Kidwelly and Ferryside took us through hedgerows full of wild roses and honeysuckle, rhosod â llaeth y gaseg in Welsh. In Shakespeare’s plays, the little white rosa arvensis is called musk rose and the honeysuckle is woodbine, which also used to be the name of a brand of strong cigarettes many years ago. Technically, lichens are not plants but a composite life form of algae or cyanobacteria living in a symbiotic relationship with filaments of fungi and they can be many years old.


While I’ve been travelling across South Wales with archaeologist Dewi Bowen, drawing megaliths in the ancient Neolithic landscape, we’ve been accompanied by film maker Melvyn Williams and he’s been editing up short films as we go along. Here’s his latest instalment in the story of The Hunt / Yr Helfa. It’s just under 4 minutes long and it’s of me drawing and talking about the stones and how they inspire me……

All the work I’m doing will eventually be featured in a solo show in The Worker’s Gallery in the Rhondda Valley in September. If you want to know more, please click here. And to see more of my work for sale, please click here.

Walnuts And Mud

2 Mar

fieldstone 1

My journey around ancient monuments last week ended is an unbelievably muddy field just outside the tiny village of Meinciau in Carmarthenshire. Some distance from the road, through a couple of fields is The Gwempa standing stone, a large menhir covered in elaborate patterns of lichen and scored heavily with lines near the bottom. The word menhir is often used to describe a standing stone and it is just one letter away from the Welsh ‘maen hir‘ which translates as long stone.


I’ve been experimenting with the paper I’ve been using on these drawing trips. I prefer not to work directly onto white and I’ve marbled a lot of pieces with black oil paint. I’ve also been using a black sketchbook (Daler Rowney ‘Ebony’) but I also had a large piece of Fabriano that I’d used for a walnut ink drawing based on St. Paul’s Catacombs in Malta. I made a batch of walnut ink a while back and it’s absolutely gorgeous to use. Click here for the method. I didn’t much like the drawing of the catacombs though, so I ripped it in two and used a piece for the drawing of the Gwempa stone; I drew with black carbon and white conte crayon. I really like the effect of the textured and patterned walnut ink underneath the drawing. It’s quite random but I think it works.

fieldstone 2

I’m travelling around with archaeologist Dewi Bowen who is researching his new book. His previous book on the standing stones of Ancient Siluria (South East Wales) can be found here. Accompanying us is film maker Melvyn Williams who is recording a documentary about the process. Some of Melvyn’s short films can be seen here. If you want to see some galleries of my artworks, please click here.

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