Tag Archives: River Tawe

Having A Rummage

29 Jun

manier couleur

Inspiration…

We find inspiration often in the oddest places. I never thought that I’d be inspired by Victorian culverts way out up in the Brecon Beacons, but here we are. I recently made a series of sketchbook drawings of culverts on a field trip with scientists Steph and James from the FIRE Lab project in Swansea University’s Department of Zoology. I’m playing around with the imagery to see what emerges.

Rummaging…

I was having a rummage in my paper draw the other day and found some pieces of paper that I’d stretched ages ago, gessoed and sponged randomly with thin glazes of acrylic paint. I’d forgotten all about them so I grabbed one and smeared compressed charcoal over a section of it and then started rubbing into it with wire wool and aluminium oxide paper. Finally, I added a few charcoal lines. I like it. It’s very different to what I’ve been doing most of my life.

 

 

Otherworldly

24 Jun

manier 3

I’ve been doing a manier noir drawing (above) the past few days (click here if you want to see the process), based on an original sketch I did a few weeks ago on a field trip with scientists from Swansea University’s FIRE Lab project. We were looking at culverts up in the Brecon Beacons. I found them fascinating, lovely stone architecture, probably Victorian. I thought there was an otherworldly atmosphere to them.

 

From left to right: paper prepared with charcoal; original sketch; manier noir drawing in progress using wire wool and aluminium oxide paper.

 

I like this technique, it has a spooky, soft, ethereal quality. Manier noir means “the dark manner” which I think suits it.

 

 

Cutting The Vinyl

20 Jun

lino 1

I did a lino cut today, well it was on vinyl, from an original sketch I did in my sketchbook when I was on a field trip recently with the Fire Lab, to study Victorian culverts on the Tafarn Y Garreg road towards Brecon.

The drawing is quite abstracted, I was looking down along the stream bed as it wound its way down the valley wall into the River Tawe. I transferred the drawing, in reverse, onto the vinyl using powdered chalk and a hard pencil and then cut it with my Flexcut tools.

Just In Case….

2 Jun

 

ochre 1

I have been out on field trips up along the course of the River Tawe recently, with colleagues from Swansea University’s FIRE Laboratory project. We spent some time examining culverts under the road that runs alongside the Tawe near its source up in the Brecon Beacons. There were differences between the culverts; different plants, different environments, different creatures. Most of the stream beds were made up of plain grey stones but I came across this one, towards the end, which glowed with speckles of a vivid terracotta orange.

ochre 2

I pulled out a few pieces and rubbed them against a dry grey rock and the soft pigment marked the surface easily. I collected a few to bring back, checking them for little creatures, and then a threw a few coins into the stream, as a token to appease any Gwragedd Annwn who might be hanging out in the crystal waters. Just in case …..

Like Liquid Silk

30 May

culvert 1

I did some development work today, using one of the drawings I did en plein air on a recent field trip with colleagues from Swansea University’s FIRE Laboratory. I sketched some culverts up in the Brecon Beacons, near the source of the River Tawe and today I worked on a very large piece of vintage Waterford paper with my own home-made walnut ink and some Isabey brushes.

The paper is lovely, very thick with deckle edges and the ink glides across its surface like rich sepia liquid silk. I used the ink neat and watered down into a mid-brown wash and I also splashed ink across the surface. I’ll leave it a couple of days then decide how I want to proceed – do I use colour or not? Or should I put in some darker tones with Indian Ink?

 

 

Abstract And Graphic

28 May

 

culvert 4

I took a different viewpoint for this drawing of a culvert up in the Brecon Beacons, sketching from above, facing along the path of the stream as it trickled downhill to join the River Tawe. I was travelling along the route of the River Tawe to it’s source in the Brecon Beacons, accompanied by two colleagues from the FIRE Laboratory unit at Swansea University who were studying the environment around and under the culverts. I used compressed charcoal and chalk into an A4 brown paper sketchbook. The thickness of the media encourages an abstracted  technique and I like the rather graphic qualities of this drawing.

Little Ecosystems

27 May

 

culvert 3

Travelling recently along the route of the River Tawe to it’s source in the Brecon Beacons, I accompanied two colleagues from the FIRE Laboratory unit at Swansea University. We turned off the A4067 just after the Tafarn y Garreg pub and took the road to Trecastle, looking at culverts that transported streams and tributaries under the road. Each has it’s own little ecosystem. I walked around the sites, until I felt inspired to draw. This was a fine culvert, quite long and fairly large and dark, with an intense splash of sunlit colour at the far end. I didn’t find it easy to draw moving water, especially with fairly primitive drawing materials – compressed charcoal and chalk.

culvert 3a

Protected From Feral Sheep

26 May

culvert 2

Another drawing from my second field trip with Swansea University’s FIRE Laboratory project. We were studying culverts that carry tributaries down to the River Tawe, up near its source in the Brecon Beacons. Using compressed charcoal and chalk into an A4 brown paper sketchbook, I focussed on getting an impression, rather than detail. There was a cretaegus growing out of the sturdy Victorian masonry, possibly because it’s well protected from the feral sheep.

Dan Y Ffordd / Under The Road

25 May

culvert 1

This week I went on my second field trip with Swansea University’s FIRE Lab project. We went along the old road after turning off the A4067 at the Tafarn y Garreg Inn. My colleagues were studying the bridges and culverts that direct the numerous streams under the road on their way down to merge with the River Tawe, which is quite close to its source here. I worked into a brown paper A4 sketchbook with compressed charcoal and white chalk.

A Real Townie

23 May

Rose 6

I’m a real townie, the countryside is where the landscape lives along with lots of animals and birds I don’t know. I know what pigeons are, and seagulls, robins, sparrows, magpies and blackbirds. I am reasonably familiar with starlings, tits, sparrows, crows and budgies. On my “Walk and Draw” field trip along the Tawe riverbank last weekend I saw a jay (colourful), a kingfisher (even more colourful) and a grey heron (big). There were a few people fishing and we stopped to sketch this one guy. I did a quick drawing with ballpoint pen into my A6 cloth covered sketchbook.

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