This is the third drawing I did at Maen Ceti / Arthur’s Stone at Cefn Bryn on the Gower Peninsula this week. I used a piece of Fabriano paper that I had prepared with two coats of textured acrylic gesso. When it was dry, I sponged some of my home-made walnut ink over it. The ink pooled at random, giving a spotty sort of texture. This seemed to reflect the texture on the massive capstone itself, covered with colonies of lichens. I drew with conté crayons in black, sanguine and white.
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. This one is the legendary grave of Saint Elfys (Elvis) in Pembrokeshire, not for from the Presceli Mountains. Elfys? Presceli? Elvis Presley? Coincidence? hhhmmmm
I was at Cefn Bryn on the Gower Peninsula yesterday, drawing at Arthur’s Stone – Maen Ceti in Welsh. It’s a Neolithic burial chamber surrounded by cairns, truly an ancient landscape of the dead. It’s a very popular site and I’ve drawn it many times, so it’s hard to come up with a new approach, a different angle, which is what I tried to do yesterday.
I drew with Daler Rowney artists’ soft pastels onto paper I’d prepared in advance with two layers of gesso and some of my home-made walnut ink, so there was already a great deal of abstract imagery on the surface. I kept the outline of the monument deliberately sparse, sketched lightly in white and then chose colours that matched those in the landscape to work with. The paper was already streaked horizontally with the brown walnut ink so I emphasised the horizontal stratification of the land and seascape by using the pastels in parallel with the walnut lines.
I did three drawings in all at the monument yesterday, the final one tomorrow!
Went hunting wild megaliths today, this time to Arthur’s Stone, Maen Ceti, a Bronze Age burial chamber on the Gower Peninsula. And now I’m tired ……….. Goodnight 😀
I circled Arthur’s Stone yesterday, making three drawings of this Neolithic monument. Although the popular English name links it to King Arthur (its Welsh name is Maen Ceti), it is far older than the Arthurian legend, which was written down in the 12th Century C.E. It is thought that the story of Arthur might refer to a warrior king or leader around the 6th Century C.E. when the Britons were fighting the invading Saxons. Either way, the monument is ancient, around 4,500 years and counting.
I did a sparse drawing, trying to tap into the feelings the place inspired in me rather than slavishly copying what was in front of my eyes. I had prepared the paper with washes of my home-made walnut ink and I wanted to keep a lot of it intact – the surface of the ink is thick and satiny, it holds the shapes traced by the brushstrokes beautifully and I didn’t want to lose too much of that because it adds a lushness to the work. Here’s a previous blog on how to make walnut husk ink here.
There’s a theory that the name Arthur comes from the ancient British word ‘arto’ meaning bear (‘arth’ in Welsh) and ‘ursa’, the Latin for bear. The battles between the Britons and Saxons happened in the century or two after the Roman withdrawal from Britain and a mixture of the British and Latin would have been very possible at that time.
I wanted to draw the Midsummer sunset over Arthur’s Stone at Cefn Bryn, a Neolithic tomb 4,500 years old . It’s a spectacular place and the setting sun threw a dazzling pallette of colours across the Gower landscape. A lot of people were gathered to see it this evening. The sky was almost unbelievably colourful, fusing iridescent yellow, orange, pink, purple and blues behind the dark mass of the dolman. Generations of local schoolchildren get their first glimpse of Arthur’s Stone (Maen Ceti in Welsh) on school trips and I guess I was 7 or 8 when I saw it for the first time. I keep going back to visit; there’s something magical about the place.
I used Daler Rowney artist’s pastels into a Khadi handmade paper sketchbook, 6″ square. I had to work very quickly as the sun sets fast. Today, the Summer Solstice, was the longest day of the year and sunset was around 9.40 pm. The nights will be drawing in from now on. Before we know it, it’ll be Xmas.