Friday, 1 July 2022

PAINTING WITH PETER

 This is he who comes after me and he was preferred in honor before me; he whose sandal strap I am unworthy to loose.... John 1:27

 

The other weekend my dear friend, the artist Peter Spens and his fab wife, Jo, came to spend a few days down here in Laugharne. 

 



A MORNING VIEW  PETER SPENS OIL ON BOARD



  We billeted them at the excellent Strand  House B&B, a grand house on the foreshore.

 

   I was expecting to happily ferry Peter all over Carms and Pembs enabling us to draw, paint and talk. 





Instead, most of the time we were right here on the foreshore, drawing and painting the ever-changing estuary waters and sky.




ESTUARY AFTERNOON   PETER SPENS    OIL ON BOARD





 

I have sat at Peter’s feet for some twelve years now; lucky enough to do print making alongside him in his London studio part of the Cranley Gallery.

 

Across the weekend I rediscovered the joys of purposeful, unhurried drawing. Work to collect ideas for painting.  And discovered a new oil painting palette, a set of colours which yielded a different, exciting outcome for me.


PETER SPENS  THE JOY OF DRAWING

 

We did leave Laugharne to go to Manobier in Pembrokeshire to see Peter’s art college chum, the sculptor Bob Booth. Bob, full of beans and ideas, his workshops chocker with all manner of tools and machines. Coffee and cake in his wife’s wonderful garden.

 

A weekend fully powered by conversations and creativity.




AND I DISCOVER A NEW PALETTE OF COLOURS


Wednesday, 22 June 2022

WELL BEYOND HALFWAY IN CARDIFF

Cardiff’s vibrant contemporary art scene enjoyed a turbo-boost last Thursday with the opening of THRESHOLD, a show at the Print Market Project  41a Market Street, Cardiff. An exciting five-man exhibition full of variety and vitality.

 Threshold runs until 26th June, Thurs - Sat 11- 6 Sun 11 – 4  At 41a Market Road, 

Cardiff CF5 1QE

 

Artists Charlie Celf, Sally Green, Lynn Edwards, Katie Fiszman and Harriet Williams display highly individualistic approaches. Work that is influenced by the eccentricities of life, or poetry and Italian street art, emotive installations, the countryside and coast. 



Five to watch: Celf, Green, Fiszman
(with Pete Williams) Williams and Edwards
 


 

 Surprisingly that they are, all five, transitioning into their final year at (lucky) Carmarthen School of Art’s Fine Art department. 

‘The idea is to show our work at an important turning point in our lives’ 

states the show’s blurb.

 

 Under the guidance and support of master printmaker Pete Williams (who runs and owns) The Print Market Project, the five conceived, produced, promoted and hosted this significant show. 

 

 In evidence much energy, focus and experience in, dare I say it, five so young.

Celf, Green, Edwards, Fiszman and Williams. Look out for these names next year and beyond.

 



The Print Market Project story is here http://www.printmarketproject.com

Saturday, 18 June 2022

STRING QUARTET

 The Quartet

 

I have long adored the string quartet . 

 

“For the string player the quartet it is the purest compositional form” 

according to my dear friend Jonathan Evans Jones who has been a violinist since the age of ten and is still very active professionally.




 

Last week we enjoyed on of our  semi-regular phone catchups. He always ends our conversations by asking if I want for any listening recommendations or have questions. I mentioned how I enjoyed the Škampa Quartet playing Beethoven and Borodin Live from the Wigmore earlier in the week. Adding, with my usual gaucheness, an observation, that within the quartet a tune gets passed around from player to player. 

 

Jonathan agreed, He spoke of  answering the of phrases adding that this form of composition provides for “a classic distribution of voices” -  two violins, are the upper voices, viola the middle range  and cello providing the bass. 

A good example being Mozart’s String Quartet No. 21 in D major (known as the Prussian No1).

 

In the quartet listening is as important as playing, to really attend on voice that has gone immediately before.

 

There is so much to explore in this genre. Hyden, Beethoven, Mozart have all contributed so much. Latterly Debussy, Revel, Janacek, closer to home Messer’s Tippet and Britten. To explore more modern works head over to the website Classical Music Only for a wide-ranging list of suggestions.https://classicalmusiconly.com/lists/works/chamber-music/string-quartet/century/20

 

 

In preparing the piece I discovered the wonderful Enso Quartet. A US East Coast quartet that have several recordings out on Naxos. Well worth checking out too. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ensō_String_Quartet




Saturday, 28 May 2022

TAKE STOCK: Year 1 at Carmarthen School of Art

28 May 2022

Well its nearly the end of this year on the BA Fine Art Carmarthen School of Art. Results and grades next week.

We handed our work in on April 25 and get our results and feedback week of June 6. The Final Year (3rd Year's) Show is open and the PV was yesterday evening. Great to see all that work on display and think about it.

High spots this term have been two programs of tutorials. 

The first was on oil-based processes (oil painting in common parlance) with tutor Rhodri Rees 

>> Instagram https://www.instagram.com/rhodri.rees.25/?hl=en 

We covered some really strong foundations of solid oil painting work. I have been oil painting for a number of years however I learnt a huge amount under his guidance and encouragement. You can spot an inspiring tutor, clear direction, no nonsense and a light touch.

 Second stream of work that stands out sessions are in print making with Pete Williams 

>> Instagram https://www.instagram.com/printpete/?hl=en


A wide-ranging program across the 10 weeks, mono print, etching, screen printing and wood cut. The latter two completely new areas for me. Again first-class teaching and someone else from whom you can learn so much. Pete has his own studio in Cardiff and has been involved in programs and projects in the US and Far East.

 

We are so lucky to have access to this quality of teaching talent and generosity.

 

A few pieces from this semester  below.


Limbering up   Oil on Paper 42 x 30 cm


Self Portrait  Oil on Card 14 x 10 cm

Red Dress 5 minute pose  Oil on Paper 14 x 21 cm

The road to Llan y bri   Oil Pastel over Acrylic 40 x 60 cm


Fields above Laugharne   Woodcut  40 x 80 cm

Heron on the estuary   Etching 14 x 10 cm



'The rhymer in the long tonged room'..  Screen print 40 x 30 cm



Tuesday, 24 May 2022

A RIGHT LEMON? The label dilemma

The other day in the Post Office having paid a heart-stopping 95p for a First Class stamp I was pacified by the opportunity to buy a pair of lemons. 

 


One lemon had a small label/sticker on it the other did not. This set me thinking (I probably have better things to do, but you know). My line of thought was who makes the decision to append fruit labels? Does every lemon, avocado, orange and banana start off with a lemon and some poor fruit loose them in transit?  Or do the producers or shippers have some label protocols? Label some fruit and not others? How is the decision made?

 

Are produce stickers biodegradable? A question in an article on the EcoEnclose blog?

‘Currently, the vast majority of produce stickers are still NOT biodegradable.

 

The use of plastic as part of the sticker facestock* is functionally important because it means the stickers can better withstand water, sprays, transit, and packaging as it moves from the producer to the shipper to the retailer. But the use of vinyl and other thin plastic films means these stickers do not compost or biodegrade, and you should remove the sticker before composting’.https://www.ecoenclose.com/blog/heres-what-to-do-with-those-annoying-produce-stickers/


My personal label from Spain 


 

And do these innocuous looking small labels constitute a health hazard? 

Will Dunn editor of New Statesman's regular policy supplement Spotlight, writing in Delicious Magazine tells of a friend’s mishap.

‘I know a friend of a friend who ate an apple without checking whether it had a sticker on it. The next day he found his stool incorrectly labelled as a granny smith. If this incident alone doesn’t forever turn you against fruit stickers, I don’t know what will.’

https://www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk/why-stickers-on-fruit-should-be-banned/

 

Will has a point. Should Granny Smith be capitalised?

 



* Facestock is the material that holds ink on one side and adhesive on the other, making it the core of any label construction. Just as there are a variety of label adhesives, facestocks come in a range of materials. 

Paper or Synthetic? A guide to Label Facestock | Dascohttps://www.dasco.com › Blog

Saturday, 21 May 2022

PSEUD’S CORNER* : Am I nearly there yet?

Living by an estuary and seeing its mood change is a superb surprise each day as I walk to my studio.

 

Infinity Books were running a competition:

 ‘Every year, ‘Love the Words’ (a quote from Dylan Thomas) asks for contributions to its annual poetry competition as part of International Dylan Thomas Day, 14 May. This year, writers around the world were asked to pen a poem on the theme of ‘water’, inspired by Dylan’s name – which means ‘son of the sea’

 

I was keen to contribute inspired by my daily walk.

 

RESTLESS CALM

 

Each day change; rise and fall,

Constant, the stalking heron and ballyragging gull.

Bleakest grey or incredible blue, above tawny shifting sands,

fashioning a new passage every day.

 

Salt mingles with fresh water,

Both anoint the green marsh,

Slop against the desultory keel

Middle distant white farms punctuate impossible green.

 

Across to Black Scar, 

No two days the same,

The ferry now forgotten.

Its shelter seen not sought,

Blessed are we who stand and pray by the flood.

 

 Full details of the competition and to download this year's Love the Words book 

View and Download


 

Laugharne Estuary   Sumi ink on Hosho paper    45 x 1800 cm

 

*Pseuds Corner

Listing pretentious, pseudo-intellectual quotations from the media. At various times different columnists have been frequent entrants, with varied reactions. In the 1970s, Pamela Vandyke Price, a Sunday Times wine columnist, wrote to the magazine complaining that "every time I describe a wine as anything other than red or white, dry or wet, I wind up in Pseud's Corner". The column now often includes a sub-section called Pseuds Corporate, which prints unnecessarily prolix extracts from corporate press releases and statements.  

Saturday, 7 May 2022

HEY PESTO!

In the narrow lanes high above Pendine Sands there is much wild garlic this year. This perennial delight, also known as cow’s leek is the wild cousin of onion and garlic. Records of its consumption go back 1500 years with the Celtic Britons enjoying it. It is also a favourite of brown bears and wild boar.

 

Aside from its culinary applications in salads, as a vegetable, in soups and sauces it is also a good aid for cardiovascular and digestive ailments.

 

Do be careful that you are not picking lily-of-the-valley by accident, it does look similar, lily-of-the-valley is poisonous. To be sure grind a couple of leaves between your thumb and forefinger and you should get that delicious garlic aroma if you have the right stuff.

 

Locations of wild garlic in parts England are a closely guarded secret. A friend of mine who has just moved to near Arundel in Sussex told me that the locals were less than keen to tell of where to find wild garlic in the local woodlands. Sussex silence?




 

About 200 g of garlic wild garlic leaves and 300 mL of good quality olive oil and 100 g of pine nut kernels salt and pepper to taste will make you a superb pesto sauce. That you can keep the whizzed-up sauce in a Kilner jar in the fridge, ready for some fresh pasta.

 

Do go to it for wild garlic!