Tag Archives: Vikings

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda: Happy New Year

31 Dec

dragons head 2

Here’s Worm’s Head on the Gower Peninsula, named from the Viking Wurme which means Dragon. So it’s Dragon’s Head which in Welsh is Penddraig. Anyway, I drew this yesterday during a very bracing walk on the cliffs at Rhossili, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. I used black, sanguine and white conté crayon into an A4 brown paper sketchbook and worked very quickly because it was so windy and cold.

It’s the end of the old year and we’re nearly into 2018 so Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chi, a Happy New Year to you xxxx 😀

Vikings, Lepers and Wild Flowers

6 Apr

Leper Stone

I went out drawing with a prehistorian and a filmmaker yesterday, down to the little church in the village of Llanrhidian on The Gower Peninsula. There’s an enormous carved stone in the church porch, The Leper Stone, fairly modern, only about twelve hundred years old. Of course, I had to scribble it. I drew with white, sanguine and black conté crayon onto a piece of paper prepared with my home-made walnut ink. The stone might be Viking, or it might be Irish.


The churchyard was awash with beautiful wild flowers, primrose (primula vulgaris), celandine (ficaria verna), daisy (bellis perennis), dandelion (taraxacum officinale) and lady’s smock (cardamine pratensis). It made a change from deep, thick mud.

I have put my series of drawings 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. This one is the legendary grave of Saint Elfys (Elvis) in Pembrokeshire, not for from the Prescelli Mountains. Elfys? Prescelli? Elvis Presley? Coincidence? hhhmmmm

St Elvis

Icy In The City

16 Nov
Across the ice

Across the ice

Some people thought we were nuts, visiting Iceland in November but it’s so beautiful! We saw the Northern Lights – I can die happy now. Proper snow that sticks, not like over here. Bright, crisp days and iced up lakes and that low slanting sunshine that makes everything glow. We walked alongside the frozen lake in Reykjavik, past a house that we had heard about the day before during our afternoon at the Icelandic Elfschool. The house had been the site of Elf sightings and contact for decades.

Like many old European cities, it has grown organically and the older parts are full of little nooks and crannies, lovely odd houses and surprises around corners. Bright paint decorates many of the corrugated metal walls and roofs and the climate in the city is warm enough for trees.

The food is fabulous! Fish is a staple, in many forms, cooked, pickled, soused, salted, smoked. Lamb is another staple and the national Icelandic Lamb Soup, Kjotsupa, is very similar to the Welsh Cawl and Irish Stew, possibly a nod to their mixed Celtic / Viking heritage. We ate mostly in Cafe Loki which has the maddest mural Husb and I have ever seen. It takes up an entire wall and has scenes from the life of the Nordic god Loki, who was a bit of a bad ‘un so it’s full of slaughtered corpses receding into the distance. But that doesn’t detract from the ambience of the cafe, nor from the delicious food.

East Meets West In The North

4 Dec


Iceland is a lump of lava up by the North Pole. The reason it’s there is because volcanoes keep erupting in the area because the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasian tectonic plate are pulling apart from each other. And this keeps setting off volcanoes. As the plates rip apart from each other, a large bit of land in the middle is gradually falling down between them, forming a rift valley. It was one of the places we visited and it is the site of the ancient Viking parliament, Thingvellir. It’s an extraordinary place; one minute you’re standing on the Westernmost point of Europe and a short drive later, you clamber out on the Easternmost point of North America. Awesome. I made this drawing of an unusual rock formation in the high cliffs on the American side. I used a small piece of mounting board, pre-prepared with a grey wash and drew in compressed charcoal, white conte crayon and soft oil pastel.

drowning pool                                       church

Not far away was this frozen pond, in the top photo, which is called ‘The Drowning Pool’. It was used in times past to execute women by drowning. The trees were too small for hanging and men were executed by beheading. Grim. Underneath it is a photo facing south along the rift valley, taking in a typical country church.

the rift

On the left, North America. On the right, Eurasia, a rift valley in between.

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