These are colour studies created using acrylic on paper extracting colours and marks from a sensory exploration of the bay.
This is a collection of drawings in black ink on grey paper exploring the enigmatic nature of the female nude.
Newlyn Snippet Drawings
A process of recording through observation by turning the page a quarter turn after drawing a snippet of landscape.
Concertina Sketchbook 1 and 2
Ceibwr: On the far corner of Wales just below the headland of Pen Cemeas within the bounds of Trewyddel there is a small cove. It is situated on the path that runs the whole length of the Pembrokeshire, following the contours and inundations of the coast. On stormy days when the South Westerlies beat their path across the Irish Sea it is relatively sheltered, the opening to the sea falling slightly to the Nor’ Nor’ West, but there is evidence of the relentless pounding none–the-less. Great spumes of froth rise above the rocks guarding the entrance and the noise, that relentless noise of surf and wind and rain – a tumultuous howl is an overwhelming sensation. This deep cut in the ancient volcanic rock bares witness to the millennia of upheaval. Great folds and twists delineate the entrance and deep caves hide the mysterious monsters that guard these precipitous cliffs and waters. The Witches’ Cauldron – Pwyll y wrach is evidence of a collapsed cave.
There are various approaches to the cove; along the quiet lane running the top of the hillside thorough farmyard and wood, following the course of the stream down the valley enveloped in stunted oaks and over the top from either side along the narrow footpath. All of these eventually bring you to the limekiln – now dissolving with the tides, and across the cold crystal stream either by the rocky ford or by the gigantic slate bridge. There is little sand, mostly an even distribution of stones and pebbles which at low tide change colour from a dry grey to a damp vivid green as they near the waters edge. The landside of the cove is furnished with dense undergrowth made of yellow gorse and thick wiry grass edged with giant boulders. In spring the wild flowers are magnificent – pink Campion and yellow Primrose abound, whilst into the woods the bluebells and the sheep’s parsley proliferate. In high summer the sun sets directly out to sea and the warmth can be felt late into the evening, bathing the entire bay in a glorious orange glow. In winter the bay is dark, gloomy and drenched in low cloud as much damp from above as from the sea. I have stood there in a howling gale, soaked to the skin not knowing which way is up.
The cove is a place of warmth and laughter when the sun shines but it also has its dark side. Renowned for its use as smugglers cove – its remoteness a key attribute, it is also a dangerous place to swim, with several locals drowning from the draw of an undercurrent and a treacherous tide. Ships have gone aground and sailors lost. It is an ancient place where the Irish came and settled and a pre-historic defense wall marks the cliff top meadow, before it is truncated by the sheer drop to the sea a hundred feet below. If you stand still on a stormy day you can almost feel the power of the geology through the motion of the wind as it twists and buckles in the eddies around the cliffs and rocks and carries the desperate cries from the sea. On a quiet day, when the wind is gentle and the slow sea barely moves, the gulls haunting shriek can be heard echoing from the cliffs, whilst the kites cry and larks sing as they fly over head - a more benign or munificent day. Sometimes when the gods are with you, the mermaids come – silently their grey speckled muzzles sniffing the air as they rise above the surface of the water. They are the very likeness of the stones on the beach. They look you hard in the eye and then slip away out to sea.
The high tide mark is rich with pickings. Crab and bird carcasses entwined with orange binder-twine and fishing net. Rope and drift wood, plastic and jewel-like glass. Each a precious object to be collected and wondered at. Sometimes further down the beach at low tide in the rock pools you can find the handsome greenback crabs, the anemone, soft clots of blood adhered to the rock or the silvery guppy fish and sprats flitting into the crevices and the encrustations of Cirripedia – (Semibalanus balanoides): Blistering Barnacles. To look into the pools and under the rocks is to reflect on the eternal. Every body represented in the grain of sand and the very life force a sensation to be found when you stand and face the bay eyes closed and wait. To draw what it is to be there, to distill the sensation of a moment on the beach is what these paintings share. Not a visual representation but an embodiment. Paul Klee wrote “Art does not reproduce the visible. It renders it visible” and that “one eye sees, the other feels”. I continue to find a way of rendering it visible.
The colours are those of the wind and the rain, the sea and the sky.
Soon to be on exhibition at the Jam Factory in Oxford this series of work is diverse. It consists of films, mixed media pieces, drawings and paintings all inspired by this bay in West Wales.
Silver Birch Glade - Oil on Canvas £1200
This was painted in the beautiful woodland East of Marlborough in Wiltshire.