Tag Archives: Welsh

Walnuts And Gesso

21 Apr


This is the third drawing I did at Maen Ceti / Arthur’s Stone at Cefn Bryn on the Gower Peninsula this week. I used a piece of Fabriano paper that I had prepared with two coats of textured acrylic gesso. When it was dry, I sponged some of my home-made walnut ink over it. The ink pooled at random, giving a spotty sort of texture. This seemed to reflect the texture on the massive capstone itself, covered with colonies of lichens. I drew with conté crayons in black, sanguine and white.


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. This one is the legendary grave of Saint Elfys (Elvis) in Pembrokeshire, not for from the Presceli Mountains. Elfys? Presceli? Elvis Presley? Coincidence? hhhmmmm

St Elvis


20 Apr



I was at Cefn Bryn on the Gower Peninsula yesterday, drawing at Arthur’s Stone – Maen Ceti in Welsh. It’s a Neolithic burial chamber surrounded by cairns, truly an ancient landscape of the dead. It’s a very popular site and I’ve drawn it many times, so it’s hard to come up with a new approach, a different angle, which is what I tried to do yesterday.

I drew with Daler Rowney artists’ soft pastels onto paper I’d prepared in advance with two layers of gesso and some of my home-made walnut ink, so there was already a great deal of abstract imagery on the surface. I kept the outline of the monument deliberately sparse, sketched lightly in white and then chose colours that matched those in the landscape to work with. The paper was already streaked horizontally with the brown walnut ink so I emphasised the horizontal stratification of the land and seascape by using the pastels in parallel with the walnut lines.

I did three drawings in all at the monument yesterday, the final one tomorrow!


Siadwel Live!

14 Jul


Husb and I managed to get hold of two audience tickets for a radio show recording at the BBC featuring the comedian John Sparkes’ character  Siadwel (pronounced Shadwell). We’ve been fans for years and think he’s one of the most underestimated comedy actors in Britain so it was a real treat for us to be there as he recorded an hour of hysterical and surreal comedy. I was hoping to scribble Siadwel himself but he was so entertaining that I didn’t want to get distracted from the comedy so I did this sketch of some of the audience during the break.

Here’s some classic Siadwel on YouTube.

And here’s a Podcast . Treat yourself 😀


Sparta Says…..

25 Dec

bah humbug

One of Husb’s drawings of the little furry tyrant. Season’s Greetings – Cyfarchion y Tymor xxxxxxx

The Celtic/Welsh May Cat, Y Gath Mis Mai

25 Sep

Pastel drawing: The Welsh May Cat.

Sparta, our two-year old tortoiseshell [calico] cat is simultaneously a tiny, sweet, adorable, cuddly little kitty and a rampaging murderous scourge of anything smaller than her that moves. Worse than that, she brings her prey into the house. People tell us she’s bringing us ‘presents’ but you know, I’d rather go without her little gifts. The worst thing of all is that they’re often alive when she throws them at our feet and we’ve often had to deal with terrorised rats, mice, voles and birds trapped in the house.

This morning we found a fairly large rat hiding in our hallway; it had probably been there all night. We devised a strategy to try and get it out the front door as it didn’t seem to be injured and it’s horrible to have to kill an animal. It was hysterical with fear and it’s not a good idea to get too close to a panicked rat, but eventually it rushed out the door. And all the while Sparta lolled about on top of the boiler in the kitchen, looking bored!

My father-in-law, who is a fluent Welsh speaker, told me about the Welsh ‘Cath Mis Mai’ translated as ‘The Month of May Cat’. According to Welsh tradition, you should avoid giving a home to a kitten born after the month of May as they will invariably bring their prey home. Sparta’s birth month? September!

Here she is in a pastel drawing I did on BFK Rives 250 gms paper that I had previously coloured with acrylic pigment mixed with acrylic medium and metallic powder.



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