Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Master ?

Making a series of work based around the voices manifest in the hills - voices both audible - that of the creatures that inhabit the uplands - and inaudible - those that invade my mind and heart whilst being there - has focused my thinking around the word connection.

Limited studio space limits the size of work made, and I feel the need to expand - not just the scale but the limits of the materials I use exploring the concept of connection - can we truly connect with life and its mysterious force outside of ourselves - and what is the nature of that connection ? With this in mind I have decided to explore the possibility of pursuing a Masters Degree.

Today I took some images of current work and a piece from my degree show back in 1983 in order to reflect on whether I have travelled very far on my artistic journey, and to show Ryan Moule Pathway Leader MA Fine Art at UWTSD to see what he feels.

We will see.

Big Fish 1983


Universe 2017

Sink

Siphon



Post Industrial Lanscape2017



Paul

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Working on ' it'


When is a painting finished ?


I returned to the hills to walk the dog and take some reference photographs to try and capture the essence of the hills that I love along with many others who live and work within this landscape.




It is a visceral thing - walking the living ground seeing the weather and wilderness.

'It' is difficult to capture in life and in words.

I read a passage in the diaries of Virginia Woolf which expresses this much better than I could :

"I enjoy almost everything. Yet I have some restless searcher in me. Why is this not a discovery in life ? Something one can lay hands on and say 'This is it' ? My depression is a harassed feeling - I'm looking: but that's not it. What is it ? And shall I die before I find it ? Then (as I was walking through Russell Square last night) I see the mountains in the sky: the great clouds; and the moon which is risen over Persia, I have a great and astonishing sense of something there, which is 'it'. It is not exactly beauty that I mean. It is that the thing in itself is enough: satisfactory; achieved. A sense of my own strangeness, walking on the earth is there too: of the infinite oddity of the human position; trotting along Russell Square with the moon up there and those mountain clouds. Who am I, what am I, and so on: these questions are always floating about in me: and then I bump against some exact fact - a letter, a person, and come to them again with a great sense of freshness. And so it goes on. But on this showing, which is true, I think, I do fairly frequently come upon this 'it' ; and then I feel quite at rest."

This is a great description of the 'it' that motivates me to write, draw , paint and scribble.



 
So I return to the painting again and again trying to capture it !

Paul.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The need for rememberance

2/10/17


I went into the hills again to remind myself of the colours of autumn.
The yellows, oranges, golds.
The smell of wood smoke drifting in the air, and decaying leaves - of pine and mustiness
Of the river - its smell, light and sound.
Water has an indescribable smell - I cannot describe it - I'm not even sure if it is a pleasurable scent except perhaps to the thirsty.

I hear the sound of dry leaves clattering.

I collect all these in my minds eye and bring them back to the little room I call my studio.
I try to translate them into marks and colours.




I also collect conkers (a glut this year) in order to pot them up and  produce saplings in the spring - ready to be returned to the valley.



All these things dim the horror and bring the good things to remembrance.






Paul.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Telling a story

I have been drawing in the hills - returning to a favourite perch. Today I took my flask of coffee and the dog, my head still in its own fog - my reactions in slow motion.




I apologise to the minibus driver who must have thought I was ignorant - not ignorant just slow of brain.

I have been trying to capture the mood of the hills which strangely mirror my internal life.






A large queen bumble bee climbs into my drawing tin - she is dark with the drawing in of the year
I am such a foolish man
I want to cry - repent - be washed

Sheep bleat
A recorded voice drifts up from Dan - yr - Ogof

Ravens meet overhead
Waters meet underground

Underground is where I wish to be
To hide my bones

But today the sun lifts the hills into a reverie




Paul

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Storytelling




I had a great day yesterday along with fellow artists, spinners and weavers, musicians and story tellers at Craig y Nos Country Park in the Story Telling Festival. I was going to read some of my prose in poets corner, but bottled out. Instead I wrote this about the day :

Sunshine and shadows on a page
I hear of the Canadian shores of Vancouver Island
Spiders being hand fed bluebottles
Spinning and fiddling echoing in the park.

Dogs
Dog's dinners
Dog's biscuits
Flowering shirts
Leaves leaving trees.

Cold
Colder
Cold
Until the sun shines and the ale flows.

The stories and musicians and the physicians of Myddfai
Magicians and tumblers juggle and giggle
Words and strings, beats and flutings
Telling how the Welsh love legends
Stories with unhappy endings
Yearnings and unfulfilled longings.

The light fades and the tent lights twinkle
Heart warmed by 'Chameleon' coffee and connected conversations
I blend into the night
Unseen.










Paul



Saturday, 19 August 2017

Poem on plaster

There is something about the work of Graham Sutherland that has seeped into my bones. I encountered his work when a young man in Swansea. There was an exhibition of work by various artists at the Glynn Vivian gallery depicting the world of coal extraction from South Wales, which included some drawings by Sutherland.

I was captivated by the almost sculptural feel of his work using pastel and resist techniques. He lived and worked in Pembrokeshire for a number of years and was inspired by the landscape and the natural forms of trees, rocks and the effects of light and shadow - carving out paintings and drawings into three dimensions. It is the visceral and tactile that I love in his work.

In June this year I walked in the hills at the head of the Swansea Valley, with friend and fellow artist Eleanor Greenwood. Penwyllt is a strange place - post industrial, a landscape shaped by quarrying. There is a pavement of millstone grit which has been split and formed by ice and rain over millennia. There are huge blocks of stone like monoliths scattered about the landscape.

It was on one of these blocks that I came across a dead ram some weeks later on a lone walk with my dog. I am always conscious of our fragility and brevity - mainly because of many years working as a nurse and seeing the results of disease and accidents upon our bodies. I am also keenly aware of our search for meaning to make sense of this strange existence - being a product of the natural world but somehow separated from it.

With all that in mind I did a sketch and wrote a scrabbled poem.




This week I translated the sketch into a painting on a casting of plaster that had failed and broken when lifting it from the rudimentary mould. The shapes the broken casting suggested were the shapes made by the hills, and it reminded me of the sketch. So here is the work - it is not pretty but speaks of deep and anchoring things.





Hope this makes some sense,

Paul


Saturday, 29 July 2017

Plodding along

Dear Monty,




I hope the wedding day went well - in fact I'm sure that everyone ensured that it did. The weather held too - your hope of dry weather won out over the scientific predictions!

I have begun to realise that plodding through the ups and downs of life holding on to hope is what really sustains. And what is more I see that the downs are just as important as the ups.

I have been out in the garden watching the insect visitors and appreciating the activity and beauty of butterflies, dragonflies, bees and hover flies, they are the ups, the downs are the thrips and aphids but these are in turn food for others and on the whole a balance is maintained.




I am currently documenting the butterflies that visit the garden in fresco again ready for this year's show at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.



I plod along and am occasionally stopped in my tracks by the mystery and beauty of all that is not of us.


Paul