Tag Archives: Llangynog

The Greyhound’s Kennel

20 Feb

Twlc Y Filiast

This is the first of the ancient stone monuments I drew a couple of days ago when I was trekking around muddy Carmarthenshire with an archaeologist and a film maker. The Welsh name is Twlc Y Filiast which translates as the Kennel of the (female) Greyhound, but the monument is also known as Arthur’s Table or Ebenezer’s Table. It’s a Neolithic chambered tomb. There are a number of ancient burial sites associated with greyhounds. In Welsh, greyhound is milgi (female is miliast) and means a thousand dogs (or a thousand bitches) as a greyhound was considered to be as valuable as a thousand ordinary dogs because of it’s hunting ability, absolutely vital in ancient societies.

The setting is strange and ethereal. I’m used to seeing dolmen out in the open, often overlooking the sea or set on top of a hill and it was odd seeing this in a shadowy hollow by a stream just behind the now closed* village school in Llangynog. It’s well hidden and easily missed and the route was treacherous after the many weeks of torrential rain and awful weather.

Llangynnog 1

I had almost finished the drawing when I noticed the stone face in profile, looking towards the stream and the woods on the opposite side. I drew with willow charcoal onto a vintage British paper. I had a range of drawing materials but I instinctively reached for the willow charcoal; when I reflected on my choice later I realised that I had gone for an organic, natural material that had itself come from the woods and would have been used by ancient peoples.

*Many village schools have been closed by the Welsh Government, depriving rural communities of an important resource. A national disgrace in my opinion.

MUD!!!

18 Feb

Maen I Llwydion 3

A great day out today, scrambling across the West Wales countryside with irrepressible archaeologist Dewi Bowen and inquisitive film maker Melvyn Williams, finding ancient burial sites and standing stones and drawing in the mud. This site is called Meini Llwydion (Grey Stones) and it’s near Llangynog in Carmarthenshire. After almost 4 months of rain, the ground was absolutely sodden, despite the bright, dry, sunny weather today. The mud put my new walking boots through their paces and the mud won.

Maen I Llwydion 2

People often assume that artists have an easy time of it, sitting around dabbing a bit of paint in warmth and comfort, but here’s the reality – wrestling with a drawing board in a quagmire! The acres of liquid slurry finally got the better of me and I gave up on the drawing board and loose sheets and I drew into my Daler Rowney ‘Ebony’ sketchbook with a white conte crayon. We’ll be continuing this journey across Bronze Age South Wales intermittently in coming months, as Dewi researches for his new book, Melvyn makes his documentary film and I draw inspiration from my ancestors marks on the environment.

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