Tag Archives: menhirs

On Midsummer’s Eve

20 Jun

Rhossili

 

One lovely thing about having visitors is that we get to take people around the great places locally; it’s easy to be complacent about your home and take it for granted. It’s good to see your locality through the eyes of others. Today I took my friend down to Rhossili Bay at the furthest point of the Gower Peninsula. Using Dewi Bowen’s archaeology book as a guide, we climbed up over Rhossili Downs to find ancient stones. Despite the gorgeous Midsummer sunshine, there was a brisk wind which made it difficult to draw. I settled into the heather at the top of the Downs, just past the Trig Point, with the three jagged points of a ruined burial chamber (one of the group called Sweyne’s Howes) in the foreground and the Worm’s Head seeming to swim out to sea in the background. It’s an absolutely glorious location; Rhossili is one of the top 10 beaches in the world and the ancestors sussed it about 5,000 years ago. I drew onto prepared Fabriano Accademica paper with Daler-Rowney artist’s soft pastels.

 

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.

Close Up

18 Jun

Maen Llia 1

Here’s a closer view of the drawing I did of Maen Llia yesterday. We drove up to the Black Mountains in changeable weather but, as often happens, as soon as we stopped the car, thick black clouds loomed over the hills and dropped torrential rain onto us. Nearly Midsummer and we’re huddled in the rain!!!! Anyway, it cleared up after a while and I walked through the mud down to the stone which is a couple of hundred yards from the road. I worked on top of some Fabriano Accademica paper prepared with charcoal, white acrylic paint and my own home-made walnut ink. When I was preparing the paper, I was allowing myself to be influenced by impressions and memories of the landscapes I had been visiting on my hunt for the wild megalith. I drew firstly with compressed charcoal, drawing lines over and over again, taking a sensory pleasure in just drawing lines. Lines are beautiful. Then I chose from my box of Daler Rowney soft pastels and worked in impressions of sky, hills, pasture, mosses, lichens.

I overlaid the stone onto the background, without making it solid, keeping a transparency because that’s sort of how I feel about the stones, that they are echoes from the ancestors overlaid onto modern life; they are mostly not noticed by us, even less understood, hiding in plain sight.

 

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.

 

The Licking Stone

17 Jun

Maen Llia 2

 

I’ve been travelling around South Wales drawing ancestral stones since February and today I paid a return visit to Maen Llia. I loved it so much the first time that I wanted to go back and draw it again from a different angle and also to spend some time there absorbing the atmosphere. Last time I drew the stone from a distance but today I went up really close and was surprised to see that it’s made of uncharacteristic red sandstone, heavily pitted over its surface, interspersed with thick colonies of mosses and lichens. There was graffiti carved into it’s surface – from the 1860s! I walked down to the stream that it is reputed to sometimes drink from – Maen Llia translates from Welsh as ‘The Licking Stone’. It’s a magical site.

 

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.

Drawing The Stones

13 Mar

I’m continuing to work on a series of drawings of ancestral monuments across South Wales and here are the drawings I’ve done so far on my travels  with archaeologist Dewi and film maker Melvyn. I’m chuffed with the range of the drawings and the way my work is developing into a more expressive style over the weeks. And it’s looking likely that I’ll be exhibiting these and the others I’m planning to do sometime in the Autumn. Watch this space!

Carreg Jack

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 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 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.

 

 

The Drinking Stone

10 Mar

Maen Llia

The spectacular Maen Llia standing stone near the village of Ystradfellte at the junction of two valleys, possibly a marker stone on an ancient trackway. It’s a huge diamond shaped conglomerate slab, probably from the Bronze Age and local legend says that the stone drinks from the nearby stream on Midsummer morning.

I drew onto a piece of paper prepared with some of my home-made walnut ink. I had dribbled it across the surface and the lines it made resonated with the scars across the landscape. I drew with carbon and then, for the first time in this series of drawings, put in some colour with oil pastels.

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 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 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.

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.

catacomb

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.

%d bloggers like this: