Taking a breather…

After 2 months solid work on the Conwy windows, the designs are submitted and awaiting approval. My students all left extremely happy after their weekend intensive painting course, and I am taking a few days off to take stock and recharge my batteries. We had a wonderful walk at West Williamston Nature Reserve yesterday on the Cleddau estuary. It is a wonderful time of year, the bare trees and jewel-like berries and a fine crop of field blewitts which Den is making into soup as I write.


I couldn’t resist a little dalliance with the past by visiting Carew Castle and looking at the amazing 11th Century celtic cross nearby.

We rounded off the day with a delicious lunch at Caffe Vista in Tenby, where we managed to bag the table with the best views in Pembrokeshire looking across North Beach. This was followed by tea and cake with our good friend, Anne – perfect!


Tenby Tiger

Had a fantastic evening swim on Tenby South Beach with a friend after a day in the studio (not nearly as cold as I expected, and really refreshing!), and then we came across this valiant Scarlet Tiger Moth on the sand…such exquisite colours showing petrol greens and emeralds over black and then a shock of poppy red petticoats….perfect end to my day.

London revisited

Having spent Sunday drilling and beading the glass pendants, I hot-footed it to London on the 7.58 train on Monday morning to deliver some work to the Royal Academy for the Summer Exhibition. I took these 2 paintings down so let`s hope at least one is selected!

"Turbulence", Acrylic on paper, 20 x 20 cms

"Spring Flood", Mixed Media on Card, 35 x 40 cm

Thanks to Phyllis at Briar Walk B&B for a welcoming and comfortable stay in her lovely house in Putney.

A highlight of my visit was seeing Tenby artist, Naomi Tydeman`s, paintings at the R.I. exhibition at the Mall Galleries. It was lovely to catch up with Naomi and see a bit of Pembrokeshire in the heart of London, and her work was definitely the best in the show!

It was great to catch up with some friends and to have a chance to see the fabulous Watercolour exhibition at Tate Britain. It is a mind blowing overview of watercolour from the 16th century to present day and contains some real gems.

I also saw the Susan Hiller show, which was a revelation in terms of how Hiller uses visual art conceptually to convey and evoke meaning – brilliant!

I also went to Contemporary Applied Arts Galleryand was absolutely bowled over by the work of Colin Reid – unbelievable skill and artistry with glass.

So, I returned with lots of inspiration and loaded with pigments from Cornelissens for making up some new glass enamels and working on some new pieces.

Valentines at Pendine

A gorgeous Valentines Day walk from Pendine along the coast and back through the woods yesterday. I found this duck on the beach and hoped it was one of the ducks being tracked by Curt Ebbesmeyer as part of his study of ocean currents, but sadly, handsome as it is, it is the wrong sort of duck!

It is amazing to be in a limestone landscape for a change, you go into those caves and within seconds you are in silence and total darkness.

The colours of the lichens and algal growth are amazing! Like blobs of paint and brush marks in themselves.

A highlight of the walk was seeing a Greater Horseshoe bat deep inside a sea cave.
Bats are very sensitive so we left as soon as we saw there was one there, Den tells me that the heat from a human body can change the temperature in a cave enough to disturb a hibernating bat in minutes. Every time a bat is disturbed during hibernation, it looses roughly 2 days worth of hibernating energy which it might not be able to replace at this time of year when it is running out of fat reserves, so it is crucial to minimise disturbance.

A Greater Horseshoe bat hanging in a cave (picture http://www.bats.org.uk)

We were blessed with sunshine and sharp showers, we saw catkins, buds on the trees and our first open daffodils of the year at Marros.

We finished the walk with a fantastic cup of tea and toasted teacakes at the brilliant Point Cafe on the beach at Pendine.

I had forgotten places like this existed! A real local run-down-welsh-seaside-honest-to-goodness-cup-of-tea-kind of place, with surely the best view of any cafe in Wales!

View from Point Cafe, Pendine.

So now it is back to the studio and I hope Ruby will walk the dog today and give my aching legs chance to recover!

Sundog Millionaire (sorry, Simon!).

I took this picture this afternoon on South Beach, Tenby. Evidently, the 2nd “sun”, parhelion , or “sundog” is caused when the sunlight bends through ice crystals in the atmosphere at a particular angle. Whatever the cause it was incredible to see!

This landscape will never cease to amaze me!

Economy of Scale

My new conceptual piece will be installed in Tenby Museum this week.
Entitled “Economy of Scale”, the piece is inspired by the life of Robert Recorde, a mathematician who was born in Tenby in 1510. Recorde was the first mathematician to write mathematical treatises in English, he invented the “equals” sign, he was a medical doctor, he was Controller of the Bristol Mint under Queen Mary,  and died in debtors prison in London in 1558.
The piece is made from recycled wine bottles from Tenby, an antique apothecary balance, silk thread and silver beads. The exhibition opens on Friday 6th August and will run until September 5th.
Thanks to Tenby Museum for the inspiration and access to their collection, the British Museum for access to their coin collection, Platagenet Restaurant, Tenby, for the (empty) wine bottles, and Tina Norris for photographing the piece.