Tag Archives: South Wales coalfield

Out Of The Blue…

22 Jul
2018 sunshine coal

Buried Sunshine

 

Where do we draw inspiration from? Well, frankly, could be anything, anywhere, anytime. Sometimes it flows from a planned programme of research, other times it just hits you out of the blue. I try to listen to a TED Talk each day and one popped up yesterday by the oceanographer Penny Chisholm about the tiny species Prochlorococcus, the most abundant photosynthetic species on the planet. She was describing how aeons ago, vast amounts of photosynthetic organisms, which lived by absorbing sunlight, sank below the sea, became compressed over unimaginably vast amounts of time and turned into coal and oil. Then came the phrase that hit me … “coal and oil are buried sunshine“!

WOW! I live at the edge of the South Wales coalfield which was mined right back in the 15th century; mining really took off at the beginning of Britain’s Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, continuing until the 1980s, and I’d never thought about the buried sunshine beneath my feet.

Some previous drawings en plein air from Big Pit in Blaenavon.

 

I immediately started to imagine some visual images so I drew one straight away with Daler Rowney artist quality soft pastels onto Khadi handmade paper. While the idea of buried sunshine is beautiful, coal and oil lock away vast amounts of carbon and once they come out of the ground and they’re burned, that carbon is released back into the atmosphere. Which isn’t good. Perhaps we should leave the rest of this ancient sunshine safely buried.

 

You can see Penny Chisholm’s TED Talk on this video…

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