Friday, 22 February 2013
I just had to post this...it's the latest book that my partner Petra has illustrated and I love it. By Tanya L. James, it's a very enjoyable book, written in an engaging, easy style full of humour. Sid is a real dog, belonging to Tanya, and apparently is every bit as pesky as his literary counterpart. Having some experience of Jack Russell terriers myself, I think Petra has caught Sid perfectly, especially the painting of him howling because he can't find his ball in the back seat of the car...
The photo at the head (by Tanya) is of Sid's wife Nancy reading the book and thinking "I don't remember this..."
It's published by the Welsh publisher, Gomer Press under their Pont Children's books imprint and is available from booksellers or Amazon from February 28th.
link to more of Petra's illustrations of Sid.
Saturday, 20 October 2012
|A digital sketch of the Moelwyn Mountains from Diffwys floor six.|
I've been inspired to take up painting on canvas, after a gap of a good few years. I'm normally to be found scribbling with a pen, or trying to make sentences hang together for a living, so I had wondered if I might have lost the touch for colour and paint.
Partly in the way of work, Petra and I have been visiting quite a few galleries lately. The high spot must be our foray to the magnificent Oriel Tegfryn at Menai Bridge, quite the best privately owned gallery I have ever visited. It was full of the very best contemporary and recent Welsh painters including Peter Prendergast, Shani Rhys-James and Kyffin Williams. We both came out absolutely buzzing with inspiration. A pity they don't show Barbra Rae and Albert Irvin, but I might have died with happiness if they had.
Quite a contrast to the Oriel Mostyn, whose superb gallery space is covered mostly by mediocre photography and lame conceptual art...(the David Nash show was a dazzling exception) For fans of painterly painting, I am afraid I can only recommend it as somewhere to go for a pee if you are in Llandudno, as the loos are very fine.
I've also discovered some fab artists through Tumblr...I must be the oldest person on there. While thus browsing the web, I came across several painters whose work immediately hit me between the eyes, notably one William Wray and a Scottish painter called Bridget Hunter. Her semi-abstract landscapes display such felicity of colour and form...they work so well and evoke the landscape in the way I would hope to do myself, if I could reach that high. So, no pressure, then!
I've done some rough digital sketches of themes based on the quarry landscapes here in Blaenau Ffestiniog; the top photograph is my latest. I'm in the process of translating this onto canvas. It'll be very frustrating and huge fun, by turns...I'll let you know how I get on!
Bridget Hunter's Paintings
The Oriel Tegfryn Gallery
|William Wray's "San Pedro"|
Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Here's one of Augustus John (1878 -1961). I'm not sure why, but I can't warm to his work, although I'm very familiar with his "Blue Pool" and often admire it when I visit Aberdeen Art Gallery. I certainly prefer his landscape work done here in Wales while staying with Dickson-Innes near the Arenigs. Here's one of his paintings from that period below. Looking at it now, it could have been painted on an Apple tablet device, rather like Hockney!
Here's an artist I really like- just as well, as he is a neighbour. David Nash is one of the world's foremost living sculptors, famous for his work with large blocks of wood and living sculptures. His "Ash Dome" is near to where we live and is a beautiful piece, growing amid the changing moods of an ancient wood. His "Wood Boulder" was a huge round boulder set free in the Afon Dwyryd, eventually making it's way to the sea after many years. It was last spotted in the Dwyryd estuary in a sandbank opposite Portmeirion.
Tuesday, 21 August 2012
Wednesday, 8 August 2012
|Mary Lloyd Jones, "Swyn"|
|Gwilym Pritchard, "Cadair Idris"|
I have loved Graham Sutherland's work for as long as I can remember. He's deeply unfashionable these days, yet for me he really captures the brooding magic of Pembrokeshire.
|Pembrokeshire Landscape - Valley above Porthclais (Wales, 1935)|
Ernest Zobole was another discovery for me. Despite his name, he was born in the Rhondda and painted a wonderful body of work celebrating the place. In later years his work took on a more wistful quality, his love for the valleys manifesting itself in beautiful, semi abstract works where he makes the centre of the work seem like a bed or a nest, as if he is going to make himself comfortable within the painting. It's not to everyone's taste, but I love it.
|Ernest Zobole, "Painter and Landscape"|
|James Dickson Innes, "Arenig Sunset"|
Then, there was Thomas Jones, at the top of this post. Something of a dilletante painter who was given to Claude-like landscapes, until someone spotted that he'd been drawing and painting rather un-idealised studies of towns on his "Grand Tour". Probably to his own surprise, he became celebrated for these honest works, which do look strangely modern to my eyes. Later, he inherited the family estate and gave up painting. A shame, because he had a great talent.
There's more, of course.I've left out dear old Kyffin, for one. I will post some more soon...
|Thomas Jones- "A wall in Naples"|
Saturday, 4 August 2012
Most people that read this blog know that Petra and I have an unusual hobby- we like to explore old slate and mineral mines. No matter how many photographs I take underground, no matter how careful I am with the lighting, I never seem to be able to really capture the atmosphere or the drama underground; that moment when you enter a really large chamber, shine your lights round and whisper "bloody hell!"
So I have taken to sketching, filling in the emotions that the camera removes. The top picture is a small A5 sized sketch in my little Daler book, done with a pencil. If you are thinking of sketching underground, you had better have a plastic bag for the sketch pad, as water falls constantly from the roof . A very powerful head torch is a good idea too! I finished the sketch off later when things weren's so urgent.
The pen sketch is done at home using my trusty fine liners and is of an adit at Cwt-y-Bugail where the roof is going to go very soon....really not the place to hang around sketching!
Tuesday, 31 July 2012
In a lull from scribbling for money, I had a try at working up a sketch into a proper painting, using the brushes that I had made in Photoshop. The pencil sketch was scanned in, then I painted over using several layers. I think I will go back to building paintings up with lines, because that's my style, but this was worth a try.
We purchased a new scanner for work last week, and it scans slides...so I was able to see these two paintings which were sold to the shipbuilding company about 25 years ago. Shocking to think that there is nothing left there at Clydebank now except the mighty (stuffed) Titan Crane, and of course, a retail park...
|Clydebank, old John Brown's buildings, 1986. acrylic on board, A2. collection UIE|
|"Sky Hook" acrylic on board, A2, collection UIE|