Oriel y Shed Exhibition Opening!

I presented my week’s work on Skomer to all the inhabitants and occupants of Skomer island on Thursday evening in a show in my temporary studio space (better known as the Volunteer’s Lounge and Sue`s Potting Shed!) on the island. Everyone came and the opening was probably the best attended, noisiest and most friendly I have ever had!

Thanks to Chris and Sue for letting me use the space, to Mary Jo for the delightful canapes, and to everyone who came along and made the event a success.

Here is a selection of the work on show:


To the studio (via Bath!)

Finally I got back in the studio today after working my socks off in the gallery in the run-up to Xmas and over New Year. There is always so much admin to do, it keeps me from my proper work – painting. So I have decided to go straight to the studio in the mornings from now on, and not to turn the computer on or answer the phone before 4pm!

This is a new resolve, having had a weekend away in Bath to recover I was able to get stuck in to some new work today. I started by breathing in the fantastic colours of the sodden fields of Pembrokeshire while I was walking Alfie around Rosebush, feeling my way back into the landscape after the shopping malls and yellow stone walls of Bath. The contrast really helped!

I have been thinking about glass a lot, and after a few hours of painting I turned my attention to enamelling some glass pieces to layer together in a painterly way. I always feel my work is held back by the technical aspects of working with this transformative medium, in some ways the technical side fascinates me and satisfies my nerdy side, but in others it is like trying to communicate in a foreign language…today I tried not to let that hold me back, I tried to work with the enamel powders the same way I work with paint. How well that will work I will find out when I open the kiln tomorrow!

This is what it looked like before firing.

My favourite painting from Bath was this one by Fred Cuming at the Adam Gallery.

The other painting I liked there was by Barbara Rae, called Valentia Pass.

It was also a lovely surprise to see David Tress`s exhibition at the Victoria Art Gallery. David is a Pembrokeshire-based artist and I am constantly amazed by his incredibly energetic work and the subtle truth of his colour. I liked his somewhat humorous take on Bath, while Den loved the churches, which reminded him of the many happy hours he spends looking at churches in the summer while he is doing bat surveys!

But Bath was not all about art. We also had some delicious meals, most memorably at Demuth`s (which has to be my favourite British restaurant). The ‘Port poached williams pear with celeriac and hazelnut stack and port and jasmine jus’ was just about the most perfect dish I have ever eaten – it looked pretty good too!

We also enjoyed a comedy gig at Komedia, Michael Fabbri was our favourite – I hope we can get him to Narberth Comedy Club sometime.

So, all-in-all, the weekend away was a success and, like all good holidays, it has made being at home much nicer!

Glorious Xmas

After a raucous and nail-biting Monopoly marathon with friends (congratulations to Ruby and Elizabeth for an evil win!) to celebrate Den`s birthday on Xmas Eve, we had lovely peaceful Christmas day. We had some glorious Xmas walks, across the snow-covered fields to give our friend`s chickens their Xmas dinner, (the irony didn`t escape me) and then a wonderful, bitterly cold, night walk up to Cerrig Lladron complete with a shooting star!

We woke to a very pink sunrise on Boxing Day….

We went walking with friends on the beach at Whitesands and Porth Sele in a brisk wind, we could feel the change in the weather.

The rock formations never cease to amaze me…

It was fabulous to see ice on the sand, even though it was melting…change in all its various paces..by this morning the snow was all gone, the skies were overcast and we had the first rain for over a month. Not such a stunning spectacle, but better for encouraging visitors to brave the wilds of the Preselis to come to my New Year Show.

Newport Freeze!

Another exceptional walk in a transformed landscape today, this time at Newport, Pembrokeshire. We left the grumpy teenager in Mor Awelon Cafe sipping hot chocolate and nursing a dental extraction, and walked Alfie round to the beach. It was amazing to see frozen spume and piles of ice shards on the sand and sheets of ice draped by the falling tide…

Again the ice is an inspiration, covering and revealing the landscape, layering texture and colour.

It is almost too much visual excitement! It will take a while to process it all, let it gestate and emerge in my work…

I am thinking about my glass casting and embedding landscape detail all the while…

Then there is the colour, the frozen foam like a river of marble flowing to the distance… as you can see it is difficult not to get carried away!

After warming up with a fine parsnip soup back at Mor Awelon, I collected three paintings to complete my New Year Show which opens on 27th December for one week.

Join us for a glass of mulled wine anytime until 3rd January at the gallery in Maenclochog in the Preseli Hills.