Tag Archives: Powys

Portal To The Otherworld

24 Apr

On our last day in North Wales, earlier in the week, Husb and I visited Pistyll Rheadr, a magnificent waterfall near Llanrheadr ym Mochnant in Powys. On the edge of the Berwyn Mountains, it’s the longest single drop waterfall in the UK and is also reputed to be one of the six portals to Annwn, the Otherworld of Welsh legend, that coexists with our own, a bit like a parallel universe. It’s beautiful and neither the photograph nor the drawing do it justice. Both only show the lower drop, the whole waterfall is much higher and spectacular. I used watercolours, my home made walnut ink and white conte crayon onto a rough handmade vintage blue-grey paper.

Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year are currently looking for artists to take part in the new series of the programme.

This amazing opportunity is open to all artists over 16, resident in the UK. To enter send in a landscape artwork that you have created within the last five years, via their website.

If selected to take part in the competition you will then be given the opportunity to paint a specially chosen, stunning landscape within the UK. The prize on offer is a £10,000 commission for a major British institution plus £500 worth of art materials from Cass Art. The deadline for applying to the competition is 30th April 2021.

Precision

22 Apr

mari drop 3

Working with Andrew Baldwin at Trefeglwys Print Studio last weekend, I got in some practice doing a double drop print from my aquatint plate. It’s a very specific and precise process. After carefully printing in Vermilion and taping the print to the press bed before peeling it back, we put a heavy weight onto the etching plate to hold it exactly in place and then put a couple of Perspex squares tightly against the plate, along 2 edges, and again placed very heavy weights on them. Then the plate could be very carefully removed, cleaned and inked up in Prussian Blue.

The First Colour

21 Apr

mari drop 1

After inking up my little zinc aquatint plate with a Vermilion oil-based etching ink, I worked with etching expert, Andrew Baldwin, to print the first colour of a two-colour double-drop print. Working with utmost care, I taped the long edge nearest the roller before peeling the damp paper back from the plate. It’s imperative that nothing moves, not even by a millimetre.

Vermilion!

20 Apr

mari vermilion

I started making this aquatint plate back last September the first time I spend a weekend at Trefeglwys Print Studio, but it was the third plate I made that weekend and I didn’t finish it. So during my recent, second, visit to Trefeglwys, I prioritised finishing and proofing it. Here it is being inked up in Vermilion, the first colour in a double drop print process….

The Difference

17 Apr

 

double drop 3

Preparing an etching plate or a wood block or a silk screen is just the first stage of creativity in making an original print. The second creative input comes with the actual printing – the inks, papers and special effects you use. I printed the one above using the ‘double drop’ technique, printing the plate first in Vermilion and secondly in Prussian Blue. Although it’s quite monochromatic, it has a richer, more intense colour than the print below, which was just printed once, in black ink.

single drop .jpg

Metal Marbling

15 Apr

 

marbling

I’ve done marbling onto paper before but this is marbling onto an etching plate. I spent the weekend at a masterclass in etching at Andrew Baldwin’s Trefeglwys Print Studio in Powys. We covered quite a few processes and I’ve wanted to see this one for a while. Andrew marbles a metal plate with his B.I.G. (Baldwin’s Ink Ground) and bakes it to harden it up and then etches it. The results are gorgeous. Here he’s just poured some of the B.I.G., thinned out with lavender oil, onto a solution of vinegar and water and is dragging a stick through it to enhance the marbled effect, just before dipping a prepared aluminium plate onto it.

The Swansea Open

29 Nov

mari siglo

The Swansea Open, December 8th to February 2nd 2019, Glynn Vivian art gallery.

I just heard today that I have had 2 artworks accepted into the Swansea Open exhibition and I’m chuffed to bits as Swansea is full of talented artists and the competition is stiff. I submitted two monotypes of the Mari Lwyd, based on drawings I did in my sketchbook at the end of last year. The Mari Lwyd is an ancient Welsh tradition, where groups of revellers wander the streets and pubs accompanied by a life size puppet constructed around a decorated horse’s skull. It may hark back to the worship of the Celtic horse goddess, Epona and has links with Wassailing, May Day hobby horses and Yule celebrations..

Mari thumbnail

The two pieces are intaglio prints – an etching and a mezzotint – that I made during a weekend course with accomplished printmaker Andrew Baldwin at Trefeglwys Print Studios a couple of months ago. It’s a beautiful studio in an ancient building in Powys and I learnt so much from Andrew. He has developed an innovative low toxicity etching ground – B.I.G. – that can be used in both traditional and inventive ways. You can find out more about it here.

The Ancient Yew

27 May

Yew 1

Husb and I drove up through mid and north Wales yesterday to go to a John Cale gig in Liverpool. It was awesome! On the way, we took an idyllic shortcut between Beulah and Newbridge on Wye and stopped for a spot of lunch at the venerable old Red Lion Inn at Llanafan Fawr. Opposite the pub is the church of Saint Afan and in the churchyard is an ancient yew, around 2,200 years old.

Yew 2

Of course, I had to have a scribble. It is huge and forms a dark cave around it’s enormous trunk, or network of trunks where there are fallen gravestones, so old that the carved writing has all but disappeared. It was very spooky and Gothic in there. I drew with black, sanguine and white conté crayon into my A4 brown paper sketchbook.

 

 

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. So did you know that Elvis Presley is descended from the Welsh? This drawing below is the legendary grave of Saint Elfys (Elvis) in Pembrokeshire, not for from the Presceli Mountains. Elfys? Presceli? Elvis Presley? Coincidence? hhhmmmm

St Elvis

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.

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