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
As this oil painting depicts the end of March and the coming of spring, one of my artloving friends sent me a section of a poem by William Wordsworth which he felt my paintings of this area of Gower expressed to him.
“One impulse from a vernal wood
May teach you more of man;
Of moral evil and of good
Than all the sages can.
Sweet is the lore which nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Mishapes the beauteous forms of things
-We murder to dissect.
Enough of science and of art;
Close up these barren leaves;
Come forth, and bring with you a heart
That watches and receives.”
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 people portrait is intentionally quite poignant as it features an elderly man who seems to be carrying some of his belongings in a plastic shopping bag. It is not clear if he is unkempt in his crumpled rain coat because he is homeless or has gone beyond caring too much about his appearance.Either way, he looks sad and almost life-beaten.
I wanted to contrast his sad, beaten, forlorn facial expression, and drooped shoulders and shuffling gait with the excitement of others striding off into the distance, either shoppers hurriedly returning home after a successful day’s shopping or employees from these shops doing the same after a hard day’s work. There is also a frission or juxtaposition between the elderly man’s crumpled slightly smudged coat and dishevelled appearance and the gleaming reflection-clean floor of the shopping mall and the tidy, orderly professional look of the shops.
The elderly man looks like he doesn’t fit in here or even maybe he has no where to go, unlike the others, where he can fit in. It is as if society has locked him out of what others have and perhaps even take for granted.
He seems lonely, and forlorn on his way to wherever he is going, to wherever he calls home?
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.”
This is a new “naive” style oil painting “Swansea from Mumbles” 80 x 60cm £435 –
This is a rarely seen view of Swansea town centre and surrounds as seen through a telescopic lens from the beach at Mumbles – I loved this viewed when I first saw it, especially as one can see The Black Mountain (in the Brecon Beacons National Park) in the distant background.
This painting shows me why I love Swansea and South Wales. With all the huddled up houses hanging onto hills and valleys and sliding down to the sand of Swansea Bay. It is like the Valleys of South Wales are transplanted to the seaside. As a result this view almost has a slight incongruity to it.
It is as if, in a child like manner, two of my favourite aspects of Wales have been sandwiched together, the glorious coastline and the beautifully sculpted valleys in one view. Best of both worlds. For me this makes Swansea the heart of and gateway to South West and West Wales. A transition physically and geologically from the Valleys to the breathtaking coastline that lies around the corner of Mumbles and all the way up West Wales to the jutting rugged glory of the North Wales coastline. I love this part of the world. It is so beautiful and inspiring.
A new oil painting – 40 x 50cm – “Ice cream with Nan and Bampi” – this people portrait is a snapshot of life in Brynmill, Swansea where I live. This is a refreshments kiosk in the picturesque Brynmill Park where we can see two grandparents, after the school run, treating their grand child to an afternoon ice cream.
I love the colours in the painting, they remind me of the bright bold colours of Ladybird books from my childhood. I am especially proud of the movement in the figures I think I managed to achieve; the caring consideration towards the grandchild illustrated in the movement of the grand parents. Bampi is a slang name in South Wales for Grandad.
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)