Tag Archives: North Devon


3 Aug

1 Pantycelyn

Husb and I took a stroll along the magnificent Pantycelyn Road earlier. It has one of the most beautiful views in Swansea, over the bay to north Devon. I think Pantycelyn means the Holly Bridge in Welsh. I drew quickly with Daler Rowney medium willow charcoal sticks into a Khadi handmade paper sketchbook in the late summer evening sunshine.

My Geographic Palette #3 – Walnut Ink

23 Jul


culvert 1a

About 3 or 4 years now some friends gave me a bag of fresh walnuts – that’s walnut fruit – the nut is in the centre of an apple sized green fruit. I made my own walnut ink from them, please click here if you want to see the technique I used.



Anyway, I used it to work up a painting using ink washes of different intensity based on one of my original sketches of culverts way up in the Brecon Beacons. I was on a field trip with colleagues from The FIRE Lab a few weeks ago and I’m using those sketches to develop a new body of artwork.

The ink looks lovely when it dries out – it rehydrates as well so it doesn’t go to waste.

walnut ink dry

The FIRE Lab has some great blog posts, check out this one about the technology of the Tawe Path walk.





My Geographic Palette #2 – Bideford Black

22 Jul


Bideford 4

So, day 2 of drawing from my geographic palette. This is Bideford Black, an unique oily carbon-based pigment from North Devon, where is sits in the ground next to anthracite coal. It was mined for about 200 years up until the late 1960s but lost out to cheaper competitors and the mines closed. I was sent some by artists based near the geological seams a while back, in exchange for some of my homemade walnut ink. It’s quite greasy to draw with and a bit crumbly, and when used dry it looks a bit like a dense charcoal on paper.



I put some bits into a pestle and mortar and crushed it – surprisingly tough – into a fine powder and mixed it with water to experiment into an A5 300gsm Waterford sketchbook. I like the result. It’s a dense black – I watered it down quite a bit – and it flows easily. I based the little drawing on a sketch I’d done a few weeks back while I was out on a field trip near the source of the River Tawe with colleagues from the FIRE Lab team from Swansea University. FIRE Lab has a cool website with some great blogs – here’s one on walking the River Tawe path.




Comparing Blues

12 Nov


I did some experimental cyanotypes yesterday, comparing different papers and fabrics. I used some of my sketchbook drawings for the imagery. The best results were given by a medium weight white cotton that was dipped into the cyanotype chemicals and squeezed to remove the excess. There was also a good result with the white Somerset paper, applying the chemicals with a brush. The brushwork becomes a part of the overall image. The original drawing is a sketch I did in Llandeilo.

I’ll be developing some more images onto larger pieces of fabric for a new group project I’m involved with called ‘Divided By The Meltwater‘, which is a collaboration between artists in Swansea and North Devon. We face each other across the sea. At one time in the distant past, it was all dry land. Then the sea levels rose and we became separated. The project explores this concept.

Who Wears Short Shorts?

11 Jul


We wear short shorts! It’s summer and everyone on the beach is in shorts. It’s the law lol 🙂 I stopped for a scribble with my tiny spotty A6 sketchbook and a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen size S. There’s Mumbles in the background. The name allegedly comes from the French, Mamelles, or breasts, spotted by French sailors arriving into Swansea Bay. Those French! And behind Mumbles, across the sea, is England, the hills of North Devon.

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