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.
I work part time as a teacher and have 6 weeks of holidays in the summer.
These means I have more concentrated time to paint.
My paintings grow in size during the summer and I have a chance to explore different artistic themes.
So summer represents a time of greater experimentation and size of paintings, especially my “refractionist” landscapes that take about three days to paint as it is time consuming, breaking down light into colour segments. This has become a signature style although I spend increasing time painting urban portraits of city scenes and people portraits of city folk.
Here is a “refractionist” oil painting I painted this week called “Toward Pennard Pill” which is 92 x 73cmm and is £495 to purchase.
“This is a refractionist oil painting of a much loved inspiration for several of my works, the wooded area of Ilston in the Gower Peninusla, near Swansea. This brook or pill leads to the sea at Three Cliffs Bay, via Pennard Pill, hence the title.”
New oil painting – “Uplands from Swansea Beach” – 60 x 50 cm – £295
“The title of this painting has a double meaning as Uplands also refers to the area of Swansea in the background of this painting as well as being upland from the beach, up the snaking road from Bryn y Mor. I loved painting the variety of colours in this painting, all the sudden spring colours of April. The lime and blue greens, purples and burgundies of newly sprouting leaves on various types of trees, the light pinks and oranges of fragile, floating cherry blossoms. Swansea is a leafy city and trees sprawl across the many sea facing hills of Swansea. I tried to contrast this light, fragile, often transient colouring with the that of the more concentrated, weighty, more permanent huddled terracotta houses and in turn with the sandy changeability of the sandy beach and wispy blue and white of the sea. “
Unmounted prints of this painting are available here
Here is my latest oil painting – “Tree by the Brook” – 60 x 80cm – £395.
Email if interested in buying.
This is the latest in a series of oil paintings, based loosely on my refractionist style, of a wood in an area of the Gower Peninsula called Ilston. This painting is of a green moss coated tree, lit by the low lying rich winter light, whose roots plunge into and drink from Ilston Brook.
I love winter light more than any other light and how it’s eye filling light illuminates the barks of trees. How it casts mist greys and pinky, purple pastel hues into the background light.
I am very excited to have an article in today’s Irish Independent on Sunday about me and work by Niall McMonagle. Below is my expanded Q & A interview that was much edited to feature in Niall McMonagle’s What Lies Beneath feature . It’s interesting to see that the online version had a different […]
I am delighted to have another of my painting adapted for a novel cover by an Irish writer. This time my painting “Cottage on Bunbeg Harbour” (2019) has been used for the Spanish translation of Donal Ryan’s “Strange Flowers” or rather “Flores Extrañas”. I have started reading the original and I am thoroughly enjoying it. […]
In my last post I decribed visiting the abandoned fishing village of An Port tucked away in a remote corner of the Donegal shoreline (read it here). We were inspired to seek out this very remote spot by American artist Rockwell Kent, who visited and painted the area in the 1920s. I was waiting for […]
An Port has loomed large in my imagination for a long time. It’s very remote and quite difficult to get to. To reach it, you have to drive down a very, very long single track road (it’s about three miles but it feels longer) on the way to Glencolmcille. There are plenty of sheep and […]
New Work & Recent Sales
Washing Line, Arranmore _Emma Cownie
Inishcoo (To The Fore of Arranmore) – Emma Cownie
Kinnagoe Bay (Inishowen, Dongal)
Over Glenlough Bay, Donegal-Emma Cownie
Still, On Gola (Donegal)
An Port, Donegal_Emma Cownie
House on Ishcoo, Donegal-Emma Cownie
On Rutland Island, Donegal -Emma Cownie
Spring on THree Cliffs Bay, Gower_Emma Cownie
Sun on the Reeds (Glentornan, Donegal)-Emma Cownie
View from the Pier (Portnoo)-Emma Cownie
From Port to Glenlough (Donegal)
Fishing Boat at Port Donegal-Emma Cownie
Portnoo Pier, Donegal_Emma Cownie
Down to Rossbeg Pier, Donegal
Errigal reflection (Donegal) _Emma Cownie
Errigal from Cruit Island. Donegal _ Emma Cownie
Over to Fanad Lighhouse (Donegal) _Emma Cownie
Errigal painting – A Commission 2022
From Arranmore (Donegal)- Emma Cownie
Abanoned (Glentornan, Donegal) -Emma Cownie
Ferry Home (Arranmore, Donegal) by Emma Cownie
Summer Morning on Pobbles Bay
On the Way to Kinnagoe Bay (Drumaweer, Greencastle)
Down to Doagh Strand (Donegal)-Emma Cownie
Lambing Season at Fanad Head
Fanad Lighthouse (Donegal)
Down to the Rusty Nail
Carrickabraghy Castle, Inishowen
Upper Dreen_Emma Cownie
Portmór Beach, Malin Head, Donegal
Down to the Rusty Nail, Inishowen
The Walls of Derry
Painting of Derry City
Derry Walls by Emma Cownie
Shipquay Gate by Emma Cownie
Over to Owey Island (Keadue) Donegal
Lighting the way to Arranmore
Old Stone Cottage in front of Errigal (Donegal
Boat at the Pier, Gola
House on Inishbofin, with distant Seven Sisters (in studio)