It’s still winter here in on the Gower peninsula, Wales. However, the days are starting to get noticeably longer. Instead of night arriving at 4pm, now on a clear day it doesn’t go dark until 5.30-ish. There are more sunny days now too. It’s still very cold, but sunny. Spring is round the corner. Nature has taken note. Tiny snow drops gather in little crowds along the river bank where we often walk in the woods near the ancient Ilston village in Gower. I can also see sturdy green shoots pushing their way up through the mud. Hundreds of them. There is lots of mud as it has been a very wet winter. The path is inaccessible unless you are wearing Wellington Boots (“Wellies”).
The stream is full and rushes across the Ford at Ilson. You have to be very early to catch the sunlight on the water here. For most of the day it is in shadow. I really like painting the woodlands in spring. Before the leaves have comes out there is still lots of light on the ground and reflecting on the water. Even when the bright green leaves pop out there is still plenty of light in the early morning light. Every time I visit the woods the light is different. The plants and flowers change. The blossoms will go through nature’s spectrum: white, yellow, blue and white again. The snow drops will be replaced by clumps of small yellow daffodils and primroses, then by the violet bluebells and finally by a thick carpet of white wild garlic. They each make a fantastic and hurried show before the foliage of the beech trees casts heavy shadows throughout the woods in May.
A new oil painting “The Shadows We Cast” this oil painting is inspired by watching three people waiting, on a brilliant sunny day, on the High Street for their loved ones inside the shop.
“Although the old man who was waiting for his wife and daughter, he is not with the man who is protectively looking on as his son plays with the shadow cast on the pavement. They both wait for their wife and mum.
However, they all seemed connected, and this is heightened by them by being male and in the act of waiting.
I was going to call the painting “The Three Ages…” (of man) as we can see Bampi (grandfather), father and son but then thought the “Shadows We Cast” more lyrical as it not only describes literally the shadows cast, by the sun on the hard street and equally by the old man and boy, both “playing” in the contrasting darkness as they wait, which is in contrast to Dad’s watchful eye but also lyrically the protective loving effect others have on other lives and they have on other’s lives.
The casting shadows are their consideration of others and their consideration of them.
The old man is connected to the the two others in that he is waiting for the legacy he has in this wife and daughter and the man look on at his legacy in his son, a sense of now and the future in his facial expression, a wondering of the shadow he is casting in his son.
The father is a great juxtaposition here as he is seriously intent and firmly in the present reality of the moment whereas the son is in a fantastical revere of play and the oldman deep in the imaginary of a fondly remembered past.
The past can also cast a shadow on this sunny moment just as the child’s playful musing?
Only the father is resolutely here in the sunny present, perhaps allowing the other two their play?
Perhaps that is the shadow we cast, the protection that allows others to be happy and secure in their play, in themselves?”
This is the last of the summer wine of a substantial series of oil paintings of a woodland area in Gower Pensinsula between Ilston and Parkmill, which the locals call Cannisland Woods.
It is amazingly beautiful at any time of the year but the light is rarely better than in Winter when it is glassy clear and this helps create a riot of colours and hues in this most dank time, in the mulched leave-layered ground, in the trickling everchanging brook of the Killy Willy, in the distant haze behind the barren trees and in the wonderfully green-mossy trees and shiney, slippery brown barks of the twisted trees by the Killy Willy.
This is another “refractionist” (expressionist) style painting which is similar to Sapling Wood and Rainbow Wood in it’s sweeping streaks of colour but much more grand in it’s ambition and luxuriant in its detail. This will probably be the last of this series of paintings for some time so enjoy.
The painting has sold but you can buy a large limited edition mounted print here
This is a painting of a most enchanted wood, halfway between Ilston and the Gower Inn in the Parkmill area of Gower peninsula in Wales. These woody areas, as many artlovers will have realised by now, are a constant source of inspiration for much of my refractionist and post-refractionist work. This pine wood lies on one side of a bridge with ancient woodland on the other, the contrast between the knarled, mossy twisted ancient branches of the ancient wood across the bridge in clear contrast to the straight, textured, orderly pine trees this side of the bridge. In fact, crossing this bridge gives one a heightened sense of having moved from one region or realm to another, adds to the feeling of having been transported somewhere different.
This is the inspiration for this painting, this feeling as we view the clear late October light falling across this woodland path. I tried to catch the fact that the path is covered in layers of pine needles, mulched to make the most soft and slightly bouncy carpet of needles. It is these needles, layers heaped and heaped on each other that softens the light and gives it texture, catches the light in its soft grasp, making it almost fluffy. The carpet of pine needles fall to create a complete deadening of noise in this wood which is quite a beautiful affect, this complete silence. This adds to the wood’s sense of enchantment. The silence makes this almost a world apart, a secret quiet place to escape to and roam and explore and enjoy as a child. It is a great escape to somewhere unusual and oddly mystical. Enchanted even…
The painting has sold but you can buy a large limited edition mounted print here
This oil painting is of an area that inspires many of my landscapes, the Brecon Beacons in Mid Wales.
Unlike most of my other landscape paintings of the Beacons which paint areas of the Black Mountains, this painting is on the opposite side of the central Brecon Beacons from the Black Mountains, in an area called, somewhat confusingly, the Black Mountain.
The Black Mountains are more rural and more farmland dotted whereas parts of the Black Mountain are quite desolate and coarse in their moorland bleakness. One area seems generally more cultivated compared to the wildness of the other. This is why I love both in different ways. I love the Carmarthen Fan as this is more wild and unkempt although this soon gives way to the farm lands and patchworked fields like the other side of the central Beacons, as the earthy colours of agricultural Carmarthenshire also slide down the sides of these great glaciated monuments and into the the dim distance as they do on the other side too.
I love to convey some of this “giving way” to this naturally quilted farm land from these hard glaciated rocks of the Black Mountain in this painting. From the sandy fair illusion of softness in the far heights to the lush fruity colours in the near distance. I have also attempted to show the wondrous movement of clouds one experiences throughout the Brecon Beacons too, rolling their awesome way like herds of fluffy sky giants, tickling the tips of hills and caressing scarred ridges as they go. The movement of these ever-changing clouds over hills and mountains produces this amazing silverly grey light that when illuminated by the peeping, fleeting sun makes everything more more clear and the depth of perception much deeper.
It appears to hold everything in is wrapped clear focus. Almost magnifies the clarity of our onlooking vision. This makes the foreground colours deepen and seem more rich. It is a particular feature of upland Welsh areas, this brilliant luminescent light. Always changing and bestowing it’s chromatic good fortune on whatever it traverses.
This oil painting returns to Gower for inspiration. The area painted is further upstream from the earlier “Ilston” series”. I wanted to paint more of an expanse behind the trees and brook to give a heightened expression of that fresh, crisp, nose tingling feeling of early morning in late October.
The background morphed into burnished orangy-purple hills, perhaps unconsciously inspired by the rustic settings and autumnal colouring of the “Group of Seven” paintings and Tom Thomson in particular. I want the viewer to gasp, full lunged, the fresh air when viewing this painting.
Every weekend my husband and I explore and almost mine the beauty of Gower peninsula with its amazing variety of beaches, woods, hills and valleys for inspiration for my next paintings. Increasingly I have used this peninsula to keep my artistic juices flowing. It is almost as if we are harvesting the beauty of Gower in some way and using it to create art before sharing this bounty with art lovers throughout the world.
Different paintings of Gower adorn walls in the homes of art lovers on various continents. Our weekend walks are not just for our aesthetic enrichment but for others too it would seem. What a joy to share the beauty of this stunning peninsula designated Britain’s first Area of Outstanding Beauty.
In a meditative manner, to the music of Eric Satie’s gorgeous “Trois Gymnopedies”, I attempt to describe how working close to nature but in the city is a major influence on my painting, blending with my technique to create my artwork. In fact, place and painting are inseparable. I am greatly influenced by the light and beauty in Wales and around the Swansea area in particular. Most of my paintings inspired by the bountiful beauty that surrounds me, the sounds as well as the images. You might even notice the odd inspiration that made it to be a painting too (as well as the odd painting of my inspirational Swansea). Welcome to my Attic Art Studio and the place and surrounding area that inspires much of my artwork.