In this episode, I joined my friend Brian for a walk around Teifi Pools. This series of pools and reservoirs is near Pontrhydfendigaid. This upland landscape is bare and bleak and windswept. Grass tussocks, mosses and heather dominate, but we also spotted some nice lichens and it seemed like an ideal spot for sundews, though I didn’t spot any.
It was a blustery day, but the sun came out several times. Top tip for sketching or painting outdoors: bulldog clips! I’ve learned to my dismay that if you don’t clip your sketchbook open, the pages will flap around very annoyingly. This is ten times worse if you are trying to film a vlog on your phone at the same time as you paint.
I hope to carry on with this series of videos, but they may be less frequent now – I’m returning to work after a long period of furlough. I’m trying to think of ways to document my creative process that won’t take up much time. I may just make short clips of works in progress. Though, really, the videos I have made so far have not taken much time to produce. I use iMovie, and the editing process is very quick and straightforward.
I’m very lucky to live a stone’s throw away from Penglais woods. These woods form part of a nature reserve on the edge of Aberystwyth town. Having the woods nearby has been so wonderful, especially during lockdown, providing a place to escape and a place for my daughter to play. (During full lockdown, we also used to go and kick a ball around the golf course just behind the woods. Is that trespassing? Shhh).
Having the woods nearby also means that I had a handy subject for the week’s video. I took my watercolours and a flask of coffee and sat down and painted for a while. I then used the watercolour sketches to make a painting back home in my studio. If you watch to the end, you may hear my daughter asking some questions in the background. She is in the “why?” stage at the moment. And I often find myself answering: “because!”
I wasn’t thrilled with the outcome of this painting, but that’s ok. A painting session is never a waste of time. Even when the finished result is disappointing, you always, always learn something. Sometimes the less good paintings teach the best lessons.
In my most recent vlog, I documented a trip to Nantymoch reservoir. I camped overnight and made a few sketches, then back home, I painted a canvas, mostly from memory. Please have a watch of the video below, the soundtrack is by ‘Emily and the Simons,’ a beautiful tune called ‘Un Soir.’
In my most recent painting excursion, I was joined by a friend for a walk around Talybont. It was a lovely hot day and I cooled down with an impromptu dip in the river (in my undies, as I had neglected to bring a swimming costume).
The painting I made back in the studio was informed by the sketches I made of the view across Borth bog (Cors Fochno). I used to live in a nearby village, Taliesin, so this gorgeous view is familiar.
I named the painting ‘Golau dros Cors Fochno’ (Light across Borth bog), and soon after posting on Facebook, it sold. I’m happy that this painting is soon going to a good home!
My previous videos have followed a similar format: I take the viewer for a walk, sit down and make a few sketches, then I head back to the studio. There is usually then a time-lapse showing my painting process.
Having made five videos in this style, I don’t want to get bored. So, instead, this video swaps back and forth between real-time video of me painting, and scenes from the walk that inspired the work. I’m interested to know what viewers prefer…
I was about to upload Vlog 6 here, and realised that I haven’t posted number 5!
In this episode, my mum joined me for a walk up to the old Aberystwyth Castle. It meant that she was able to hold the camera sometimes, while I drew. Much easier than holding the camera with one hand and drawing with the other!
Here is the third instalment of my Vlog. If you enjoy these, please do subscribe to my youtube channel. I’m currently working on vlog no. 4.
In this episode, I took a walk up Constitution hill on a very rainy, misty day. There is usually a great view from up there, but visibility was terrible in the mist and drizzle. I do love how rain seems to make colours more intense and jewel-like. Like beach pebbles that are wet from a rock pool. Greens really glow on a wet day.
Back in the studio, I made an abstract landscape using this wet-day colour palette. You can watch the process here, I started with a collage and then added juicy splodges of paint. The finished painting is now available for sale.
The second instalment in my vlog series! I’m enjoying making these videos. It motivates me to go out, even when the weather isn’t great. The third instalment is in production now, and involves a very rainy day. Subscribe to my channel to be notified when it is published.