Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bargoed Oaks


Those of you that have followed my art output may well be familiar with the Bargoed I-IV pictures of twisted oaks covered in moss. Its a strange sort of forest just to the north of Bargoed village (or is it a town?). Stunted or very slow growing oak trees line a hillside. There are two or three footpaths threading their way through it. Wildlife is absent. This is mainly due to the number of locals who walk their dogs through here.
The forest itself looks like the set for some gothic film, especially in mist and rain (which seems to be 90% of the time)
Anyway, here's an image from my sketchbook of yet another Bargoed oak. At the time, heavy grey clouds were gathering overhead and shortly afterwards a heavy downpour necessitated a hasty end to the drawing session. Typical Welsh weather really.

He's Back!

Returned from the "Grand Tour" with grandkids in tow, well two of them.
Visited Yarnton, a small village just outside Oxford. It is an area with charming little mediaeval churches and the countryside is relatively flat, therefore more conducive to liesurly cycling.
After a few days we decamped to Ellies place in Wales where I rode around a couple of cycle trails there. For all Wales' noted mountains, these tracks were fairly flat too.
Then on to Birmingham for an overnight stay before coming home.
Tomorrow it is Wednesday. More of my family will be in Lancaster. Its going to be a crowded time. School starts again next week so all will return to their respective homes on the week-end and peace shall return......
Let's wait and see. There's always summat happens.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Off On Another Grand Tour

I'll be out of Blog circulation until August 28. We're off visiting family and friends in Oxford, Bargoed, and Birmingham. The bicycle's coming too. Taking a sketchbook as well but that goes without saying I suppose.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Joy of Making Art

I guess this is something that writers, musicians and artists have in common.
I have been working on the centre picture of the triptych referred to in the last posting for quite a number of days and for some reason things refused to work out. For example, The background is black. It being the interior of dense forest it would be. For this I wanted an intense black. I built it up, layer upon layer. Rather in the way Mondrian made his black lines; endlessly repeated layers of charcoal and graphite. Barbara Hepworth, in her memoirs refered to this incidence when she along with other artists, including Mondrian, lived in London before the outbreak of World War II. She asked Mondrian why such intensive layering was nescessary. His reply was to the effect that he needs to have the blackness of those lines as intense as possible.
Usually this works but I was using an unfamiliar type of cartridge paper. The paper is very white indeed and is quite heavy at 300gsm. It just seemed to absorb the material in spite of me using 12B graphite. But 12 hours of layering up and suddenly it "gelled". The finished item is not 100% what I envisioned at the beginning but there is a harmony about it that is pleasing.
Its alovely feeling when it all comes together like that. There is an excitement about it that takes me by surprise every time.
Is this what it means to be an artist, I wonder?
I have watched musicians, from organists like Andy Sievwright at Hexham Abbey to jazz pianists like Duke Ellington improvise, invent and explare harmonies and other musical combinations, (sometimes disharmornies) until something beautiful, if unexpected is produced.
All art is a journey of discovery.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Studio Latest

I usually have two or three projects going on at the same time in my studio space. Right now is no exception.
Some time ago I completed two drawings and a painting, "Group" which have been shown on the Blog, and at the time I hinted there would be more "groups" to follow; but of different tree groups.
During my last visit to the Forest I identified several tree groups for future work and the first of these is on the large drawing board. At present it is little more tan a few marks on a large piece of 300 gram Fabriano 70 x 80 cms.
Another ongoing work is a "changes" series which was going to be a five part but now looks destined to be a triptych. Well, it happens. Especially in art. Things never seem to turn out the way they were planned. But that's the joy of it, its unpredictability. Logically this shouldn't happen. But it does.
I'll show more images when I get more of my work photographed.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Pure Line


Sometimes I draw using technical drawing tools. In this case a 0.35mm Rotring pen on tracing paper. The tree is drawn freehand but for the background cross hatching I used tee square and set square.
I had originally thought of doing it like this to project onto other images to create further work but this seemed to be a complete statement in itself and so I have left it as it is. It is mounted against white paper on a mount card ready for framing at some point.
The original drawing was done from life at a bird sanctuary near Lancaster.

Ongoing Project



A series of drawings showing changes. In this instance, the same imgage but each frame shows a different technique. Reading from the left, a line drawing, then one with some tone added followed by on with some tinting and ending with heavy shading. Different ways of looking, onr the one hand and showing the way the same scene is transformed by changing conditions on the other. I am doing several in this way. The picture in the previous posting is another example.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Sitka at Jedburgh, 2006


I will be having an exhibition at the Community Arts Centre in Jedburgh during June, 2006. The show will run from June 3 to June 25. It will be of my work featuring the Sitka and its environment.
Jedburgh is a border town some ten miles into Scotland on the A68 running from Newcastle upon Tyne to Edinburgh. The town actually stands outside the Border Forest Park ityself but is an integral part of the ancient Jedforest of which there are still some traces.
The exhibition itself will feature paintings and drawings and it is planned to display found objects in a sculptural way. For example, pieces of timber with the bark still in-situ but the exposed wood polished to reveal the grain.