Tag Archives: mythology

Flowing

9 Apr

Chris 6

 

Thinking and planning what to work on next. I want to develop a series of large woodcuts working with a retired female soldier and life model, so I’m looking back through my sketchbooks at the work I have already with her done over the past three years to get the creative juices flowing. I like working with older models, particularly women because we’re so often ‘disappeared’ in our youth-obsessed society.

 

Andraste

27 Mar

Andraste is a warrior goddess of the ancient Britons; she was invoked by Boudicca before battles with the invading Romans around 2,000 years ago. She is the Britons’ equivalent of the Irish / Celtic war goddess Morrigan.

May 6

Andraste The Warrior

For over a decade now I have been working with a male life model who is also a soldier and have developed a large body of work, drawings and various forms of printmaking, around the concept of The Warrior. I have also more recently been drawing a female retired soldier and I am thinking of developing these drawings … and more to come … into another body of work focused on The Warrior, but this time the female aspect. And I’m interested in linking this to the ancient mythology of the war goddess. Early days yet.

The Ripped Land

3 Oct

carmel-cairn-1

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

Ponies And A Monstrous Cat

6 Mar

Graig Fawr

Out again today exploring ancient neolithic monuments in South West Wales, quite near to home this time. Our first stop was a fair hike up Graig Fawr (Big Rock) mountain near Pentrebach (Little Village) not far from Pontarddulais near Garreg Llwyd (Grey Rocks) farm in the County of Swansea. We walked in the freezing weather up to two small chambered tombs considered the most westerly of the Cotswold / Severn type tomb in Britain. The stones are not named so I’m going to call them Carreg Palug (Palug’s Stones) after a monstrous cat in Welsh mythology that terrorised warriors in Anglesey. Why not, eh?

We also met some gorgeous ponies up on the mountain. They were very curious, especially when they spotted my lunchbox!

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 more of my artworks, please click here.

 

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.

The Glamour

10 Feb
The Glamour

The Glamour

Continuing with my series of drawings of Baby Boomers, my latest model is at the top end of the demographic and is now aged 70. I have known her for over 40 years and she is still probably the most glamorous woman I know, always beautifully dressed and groomed, the sort of person who makes heads turn when she walks into a room, not because of outrageous clothes or acres of bare flesh but simply because she oozes sprezzatura, an effortless impression of elegance, confidence and charm. In Celtic mythology, the glamour was a magical ability to weave spells on humans.

I’ve been doing these recent portraits at The SPace on Swansea’s High Street. It’s been a short-term project in partnership between Swansea Print Workshop and Coastal Housing Group and it comes to an end on Saturday. It’s been a lovely venue for doing these portraits and I’m going to have to find somewhere else to draw them from now on, I still have to do about 60 of the 100 I plan to draw. I drew this with a mid-grey graphite stick into an A4 spiral bound sketchbook.

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