This painting is of the back of the beautiful gardens lying behind the Caldey Island Monastery on the holy Island of Caldey Island, off Tenby in West Wales, UK. Caldey Island is a veritable ‘Eden’ when the sun illuminates this tree bunched island, the only Welsh island to have trees planted, and so many of them and in such rich variety, each speckling and sculpting shadows in their own way.
The atmosphere on this Holy Island is so relaxing, while peculiarly uplifting at the same time. There are seals frolicking around in the salt-watered topaz and jade, rich turquoises and biro blues which lap on to the gorgeous rough and ragged coastlined ridges which strain and arch to keep this island out of the Bristol Channel.
Peacocks honk and ponies bellow, all meshed in a pot pouri of sound with a medley of birdsong and the plaintive sound of the Cistercian monks singing Divine Office drifting from the Chapel to intermingle as it does with this natural orchestra of the island. The all rejoice in this Creation, give thanks for this plenty. Psalm singing with and without words. It is a very special place to be particularly when God showers the island in sunshine and His glad tidings.,
This painting is of the Abbot’s gate which leads via various steps, up a steep incline to the side of Caldey Monastery on Caldey Island, off Tenby, West Wales. The steps lead to the Abbot’s Chapel which is a wonderful wooden-paneled chapel, used seldomly and usually on special religious occasions or when the electricity fails in the main Chapel! This painting evokes long summer days spent languidly walking around the wonderful Holy Island of Caldey – the long shadows cast by the trees seek to evoke this stretched languidness and summered relaxation.
Visitors to Caldey will be used to walking past this gate, forlornly perhaps as they hurry to catch the last boat back to Tenby. The long shadows also hope to express the time dwindling as the sun begins it’s descent to the West and over the sea’s horizon, pulling the last light of the day with it. I use purply blues to evoke this sense of leaving somewhere special, affirming, spiritual even, as purple expresses both the hues of the sun-setting and the spirituality of this monastery and holy island; both leaving a lingering impression.
Wonderful Caldey is also set apart by its trees which is very unusual if not unprecedented among the Welsh islands. Thus this painting has two great Caldey signatures, the gate and incline to spiritual nourishment and the joy of time spent on this unique treed island.
I will be exhibiting for 2-3 weeks in Noah’s Yard, Uplands, Swansea starting on the 23rd July 2013 – this is the opening night and you are all invited to the opening do! Noah has kindly given me his main brick wall to play with so I will be exhibiting at least 12 pieces of artwork for a few weeks. It would be lovely to see you there particularly on the opening night on the 23rd July
People have commented variously how this painting “captures sunshine”, “reminds me of hope”…and sometimes comments inform you about what the painting evokes in others and in a sense what it is about, almost.. The subject material here is one of my very favourite chapels in Wales. Not only is it the smallest but I also love it’s crooked bell tower. Mostly, I love how it is bathed in traditional Welsh white, unusual in that most chapels are not these days. This white helps catch the brillance of the sunshine, which puts it in start contrast to the “gloom” of the gravestones.Personally, unlike most perhaps, I love graveyards, particularly old ones; I love the gravestones and how they tell a thousand stories of people who have passed on but still “alive” in the memories and stories left behind. Some other comments have mentioned how the painting rises above the death association. I think it has done so because there is an intrinsic hope in sunshine isn’t there – that is what I have tried to capture in the sun. It is also clear that light and dark need each other, shadow and brilliance. Despair and hope. Beyond the graves there is a light, and the title of the painting points to a Christian reference, mentioned in relation to those who have moved on, “Let perpetual light shine upon him/her…”, so there is hope in this message, for some, of eternal light beyond the grave.