Tag Archives: sketchbooks

From Pakistan To Pentre Ifan: Art, Cake And Neolithic Wales

26 Jun

My solo show, “Yr Helfa / The Hunt”, is coming to Swansea’s Cinema & Co throughout July and I’d love to invite you and your friends to the opening on Friday July 7th from 6 – 7.30 pm with lashings of home-made cake and art and an illustrated talk. I am exhibiting a series of drawings made of ancestral Bronze Age and Neolithic monuments in the field – mostly muddy fields – drawn on my journey across South Wales over the past 18 months with prehistorian Dewi Bowen and filmmaker Melvyn Williams. This body of work has its roots in a life-changing journey I made to Pakistan some years ago, where I became fascinated by rock carvings over 10,000 years old and I will be presenting a short illustrated talk from 6.45 about my journey with the art of the ancestors. The exhibition runs from July 2nd to 31st.


Back in February 2016 I started trudging through mud and slurry, fording turbulent streams and climbing over brackish hilltops through hail, rain and snow with Dewi and Melvyn to hunt down Neolithic and Bronze Age burial chambers, ceremonial circles and standing stones that lie scattered across the landscape of Wales. Coming face to face with these ancestral symbols both of a long lost culture and of continuity in a rapidly changing world has had a profound impact on me.

Please check Cinema & Co’s Facebook page for opening times during the exhibition.



For a limited period I am putting a new drawing of an ancient monument on my Artfinder gallery every day.  If you’d like to check them out, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.




The Solstice Sunset

22 Jun

Llangynydeyrn 3

My second drawing done at solstice sunset on Mynydd Llangyndeyrn Mountain in Carmarthenshire using Daler Rowney soft pastels onto prepared canvas sheet. It was lovely being up the mountain at night after the searing heatwave of the past few days.


Llangynydeyrn 4

The standing stones were eerie and ethereal against the solstice sunset. The stone circle on Mynydd Llangyndeyrn is on the mythical trail of Y Twrch Trwyth, The Boar Hunt, a tale from the Welsh book of legend, The Mabinogion.


For a limited period I am putting a new drawing of an ancient monument on my Artfinder gallery every day.  If you’d like to check them out, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.




Saturated Sunset

21 Jun


I went to Mynydd Llangynydeyrn Mountain yesterday evening with prehistorian Dewi Bowen and filmmaker Melvyn Williams to check out the Solstice sunset over the stone circle there. I know that Solstice is this evening, but we were hedging our bets in case there was cloud today.


I worked onto a pre-used canvas sheet that I prepared with gesso and some of my home-made walnut husk ink, using Daler Rowney artist quality pastels for the drawing en plein air. The stones in the circle, backlit by the disappearing sun, took on a dark and sinister appearance which is reflected in the work. The sunset was spectacular, with vibrant, saturated, unbelievably bright colours zinging across the sky, in stark contrast with the dark and sombre earthbound tones.

The vegetation around the site was lush and stood out against the dying brightness of the sky.




For a limited period I am putting a new drawing of an ancient monument on my Artfinder gallery every day.  If you’d like to check them out, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.





Giving An Impression

20 Jun


Here’s another quick scribble I did at a course I was at the other day. I went to learn the basics of social history recording and found a few minutes to have a scribble. while one of the teachers was explaining something. His hands were very animated and moved constantly, which makes it quite difficult to capture, so you just have to go with the flow and give an impression of them.



For a limited period I am putting a new drawing of an ancient monument on my Artfinder gallery every day.  If you want to buy one, you can click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page.





Face And Foxgloves

19 Jun

Social training 1

I went on a training day in recording social history and of course, I found a few minutes for scribbling. Things like courses and lectures are great because people are so absorbed that they tend to keep fairly still, which is a boon when you’re having a scribble.


I also went for a walk to the beautiful Penllegare Woods and took this photo of foxgloves under the trees. Lovely.

Hands Off!

17 Jun

Hands Off Oriel Ceri Richards! The slogan behind the protest at Swansea University earlier today, against the imminent closure of this established and popular gallery on the campus.

Oriel Ceri Richards

I had to have a scribble of course. I love to draw en plein air and I used white, sanguine and black conté crayons into my A4 brown paper sketchbook.

The protesters had made fab placards, very arty ones. To find out more about the campaign to keep the gallery open, please click here.

Daily Habit

14 Jun

Cafe 360

I’m falling back into good habits. For years I’ve been doing a drawing every day, even if it’s just a sketch that takes a minute or two. I think it’s like a singer running through her scales each day, good practice. But lately, I’ve fallen out of the habit and although I’ve been doing a lot of drawing, they’ve tended to be more complete drawings, often doing several at a time and I’ve neglected the quick little daily practice sketch. So a few days ago I dug out my tiny flowered sketchbook and I’ve been randomly sketching wherever I’ve been. These two women were scribbled at a party celebrating the wedding of two old friends, who were tying the knot after 25 years together. Marvellous. 😀

That’s sage and golden marjoram behind the sketchbook, I photographed it in my herb pot in the garden.

The Man In The Cafe

13 Jun

man in cafe

Husb and I often pop into the cafe upstairs in Waterstone’s bookshop, for a coffee and a chat in the comfy seats. I often have a quick scribble as people are generally absorbed in what they’re doing and I can sketch without them noticing. Here’s a recent one, in my tiny flowery sketchbook, it’s about a size A6, maybe a bit smaller. I photographed it in my herb pot in the back garden, on top of the sage and golden marjoram.


12 Jun


Our very last visit on our recent trip to Berlin was to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial church, which is in fact 2 churches. The newer church, built around the ruins of the older, has a spectacular – and huge – statue of Christ, designed by Karl Hemmeter, dominating the space. I had a quick scribble but underestimated how much space I needed for the spread of the arms, so I had to seriously squish them to fit into my A4 brown paper sketchbook. There was an organ recital going on when we wandered in so we, Husb, two great-nephews and myself, sat in the awe-inspiring space and enjoyed some classical organ music. Lovely.


Like Nana’s Range (might be distressing)

11 Jun


As Husb and I walked around the Saschenhausen Concentration Camp in Berlin last week (on a Sandemans Guided Tour) I sketched what I could on the move. It made it easier in some ways because I could detach myself slightly from my surroundings. A lot of the camp was destroyed by the Soviets after they took control of East Germany, but some parts remained, although badly damaged, like the crematoria that were used to destroy the bodies of the tens of thousands of people who were murdered here. Their bodies were originally shipped out in trucks to crematoria in the city, but one truck overturned and spilled bodies across a street so these crematoria were built so that the citizens of Berlin wouldn’t have to see such a distressful sight again.

All that’s left are a few small brick walls, the black metal ‘ovens’ and the metal girders that supported the brick structure. This was the point where I broke down. The ‘ovens’ look for all the world like the black iron range in my Nana’s kitchen when I was a child; happy memories of her kettle always bubbling away and goodies coming out of the little oven. Horror can look so ordinary and benign!

My parent’s generation lived through the war, many died on all sides. It is our duty to them to make sure it doesn’t happen again. These vile attitudes are on the rise once more in Europe. We have to stop them, we have to safeguard the future.



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