A July weekend in Powys

Harbour walls Aberaeron
Last month I spent a long weekend with my sisters at the barn in Machynlleth. Though the weather could have been better, a little rain has never put us off walking the beach at Aberdovey, the coastal path or the hinterland of Powys.

Between showers I did manage some quick sketches, finishing a couple of them off once we were back home.

Towards Tywyn

The two colourful monoprints shown here are my response to our walks, and to a visit to one of the fishing villages on the coast. Aberaeron is a very pretty village south of Aberystwyth – well worth a visit, if only to visit the fresh fish man on the harbourside.

 

 

On the way back to Aberystwyth   Quick sketch between showers

 

Stones/Boulders Borth

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Some sketches from Wales

Aberdovey

Aberdovey

Last weekend, we spent a fabulous few days with my sister (Liz) and brother-in-law (Dave) at their place in Machynlleth. We met up at Powis Castle, which you must visit when the gardens are in full bloom – they are quite beautiful. Powis Castle is a National Trust property.

Headland from Borth beach

Headland from Borth beach

One of the walks we did on our visit was circular from Dinas Mawddwy – a mere 10 miles! It is fantastic and the panorama once you reach the top is awesome. Of course, we couldn’t visit one of our favourite places unless we walked along the beaches of Aberdovey and Borth.

Dinas Mawddwy

Dinas Mawddwy

There is nothing better than sitting on the terrace of the Victoria pub in Borth to watch the sun go down and listen to the waves (all the while sipping a glass of wine or beer!).

Included in this post are a few sketches I made during our few days stay. Hopefully, artwork may develop from them… who knows?

Borth from clifftop

Borth from clifftop

Bath Artists Printmakers Open Studio

I am happy to say that three of my prints, which are based on my sketch of the Remarkables mountain range in New Zealand, have been sold at the Bath Artists Printmakers Open Studio.

Thank you so much to the new owners. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed visiting the Remarkables when I toured New Zealand earlier this year.

Also, a big thank you to Pat Groves-Hill. I will be in touch with you soon, Pat.

Monoprint made while with the NZ printmakers at their studio

Monoprint made while with the NZ printmakers at their studio

The Remarkables, Otago, South Island NZ

After a long weekend celebrating a “big” birthday, first in Liverpool followed by a surprise party in Manchester I have finally managed to produce three prints – two colour, one black-and-white – taken from sketches made whilst in New Zealand.

These images are based on a range of mountains in Otago, South Island, called The Remarkables.   Apparently they are one of only two ranges which run north to south, and live up to their name by rising sharply to create an impressive backdrop for the waters of Lake Wakatipu. They can be seen from Queenstown on the lake’s south-east shore.

During the summer visitors drive up twisting roads to admire the scenery and take numerous photographs.  But if you stopped for a snap every time you saw a marvellous view you would never get anywhere!  In the winter months they are home to avid skiers, snowboarders and other winter-sports enthusiasts?

The Remarkables 1

The Remarkables 1

 

Helpful suggestions

When trying to work out how I feel about art – as a personal practice, rather than as a viewer – I often look at my sketchbooks, which contain lots of quick impressions of the countryside made while enjoying walks in the open air.

In particular, this charcoal collections includes many sketches made while visiting my sister’s small renovated barn in mid-Wales, from which you can reach beautiful, quite locations really quickly.  As a family we love walking and within five minutes of leaving the barn you can be trudging up beautiful Welsh hillsides, or – after a 20-minute drive – wandering along the always amazing Ceredigion coast.

While I obviously find such scenes inspiring, only rarely have I taken these pieces forward into finished forms of art such as paintings or prints. Which leads me to ask: am I really a dedicated artists? Is it enough for me to record and remind myself of places I love?

At the moment, I tend to think it is. I do find making these sketches both rewarding and fulfilling. But could I get more out of them, and if so what would be the best ways to move my practice forward? Any ides would be very welcome.

Grasses in Sand dunes Ynysla

Grasses in Sand dunes Ynyslas

Grasses in Sand dunes Ynysla

Hinterland

Hinterland

drawing 2 for blog

Hinterland

drawing 3 for blog

Hinterland

Sketchbook

To begin with I thought I would have a lot of time to fill my sketchbook, as usual things do not work out as planned.  I did manage to make a number of drawings which hopefully will enable me to make an interesting body of work.

Here are a few samples.

Mount Aspiring
Russell headland
Bay of Islands
Lake Wanaka
Lion Rock Piha
The Remarkables
Glenorchy

South Island, Sydney, Singapore… and home

Approach to QueenstownMajestic mountains and mind-blowing scenery were our first impressions of the South Island during our flight and the approach to Queenstown airport. These amazing views are said to be the most impressive in the world, and to us they were.

We spent five days touring around from our base near Arrowtown. Everything about those few days was awesome: the scenery (think Lord of the Rings), the walking and jaw-dropping waterfalls around Milford Sound.

People do say the South Island is like Scotland, with better weather maybe! Having only seen a small chunk of the beautiful island I cannot really compare.  All I can say is that we loved it.

Glenorchy       Glenorchy - Paradise

Our five days there over, we flew to Sydney to spending three days doing all the usual tourist things: the Opera House, Harbour Bridge, the Botanical Gardens and Taronga, where rather than look at animals in the zoo we chose to walk the coastal path to Balmoral Beach via Chowder Bay and George’s Head.

Boy, were we glad we had. It is a marvellous trek along a well-maintained path that follows the harbour’s north-west coast, with magical views through the trees all the way along.  The path also allows access to hidden beaches, great for private swims. If anyone gets the opportunity I urge you to do this walk.

It takes eight hours to fly from Sydney to Singapore, five of them to cross the northern territory of Australia alone.  Singapore was the last port of call on our trip, and what can I say about it: hot, humid, busy, cosmopolitan and expensive.

We spent a day being given a guided tour by relatives of the harbour area, surrounded by impressive modern buildings such as the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which has a boat-shaped pool on top and a Las Vegas-style “Venetian” canal complete with gondolas underneath. All in all, an experience not to be missed.

So then to Heathrow… and home.