Llwyn Celyn Visit 22nd Feb 2017

March 3, 2017

Things have moved on considerably inside the house since I last visited a couple of months ago. The beautiful arched roof support beams are being replaced where needed, and new windows are being made, all with locally sourced materials wherever possible. I was able to sit in a corner and sketch the craftsmen at work. The bats are being encouraged to return to a new home nearby instead of the main building (Has it got WiFi and BT Sport??)


Making a new window in the downstairs area

In the main entrance hallway and in the living room,  layers of old wallpaper and paint are exposed. There is an amazing cobalt blue coming through, and earth pinks and pale ochres. All my colours! I have started using them in my two big drawings, along with some fragments of the wallpaper. I’ve just made some bold marks so far on the drawings, to cover the paper and make it less intimidating, so I have something to work against instead of having to stare at unsullied white paper. My studio wall is covered in sketches, written ideas, maps, rubbings, prints, poems and quotes. Some will be incorporated into the drawings over the next few months as the drawings develop.



Like abstract paintings!

Prompted by a suggestion from Rebecca Spooner from the Peak project at Arts Alive  to make use of materials on site to draw with, I picked up some fragments of the purple stone roof tiles and some white limestone and have been experimenting with grinding them into dust and making  pigments. I added gum arabic and water, resulting in a rough sandpapery ‘ ink’ in off-white and pale sepia colours. I’ll try it with other materials I find next visit.



Detail of Drawing 1 with tile pigment


Detail of drawing 1 with blue of the wall and some wallpaper fragments


Detail of Drawing 1 – A field named Meadow by House in the 19th century tithe maps


Detail of Drawing 2 with rubbings of old machinery from the site, the cobalt blue and pale ochres and pinks


Detail of Drawing 1 with rubbing from signpost, part of the River Honddu and quote from poem by Brian Aspden




Welsh Landscape – Tirlun Cymru

July 22, 2016

To co-inside with the Eisteddfod taking place in Abergavenny this year, I am showing a group of work at the Artshop and Chapel Gallery, Cross Street, Abergavenny, with three other artists: Dan Llywelyn Hall, Sarah Thwaites and Kumar Saraff. I’m showing large paintings, prints and drawings of the Black Mountains. It starts on 26th July and runs until 20th August.IMGP1530

From the Blorenge, charcoal on paper, 59x41cm



Llwyn Celyn Update May-July 2016

July 22, 2016



New scaffolding was put up in April/May and the site is now going through the next phase where building work is beginning and suddenly the place is busy with the transformation. I will use the colours and shape of this bit of tin roof from the back extension of the main building.


The back of the main house


The Cowshed with impressive cracks and corrugated iron sheets in front


Llwyn Celyn from Bryn Arw

On 14th July, the other Artists in Residence and I gave a presentation to members of the Arts Alive Creative Network and a representative from the Llanthony Valley history group. With sculpture, soundscape, film-making,photography, printmaking and drawing, we each have a different take on the subject using diverse media. It’s exciting to see all the work unfold.  I showed my sketches to date and talked about my plans for my large drawings which I will start in September. Three main themes are taking shape. The first is the idea of maps. I want to use my drawings from above and take elements from old maps I’ve researched to indicate the changes of agricultural use,  field names, pathways, and to devise my own map which would include quotes from writers and poets, illustrating some of the flora and fauna.

In the second drawing I want to make prints, or one big print, with monotypes, gum-arabic transfers, rubbings etc. of some of the found objects on the site such as bits of old farm machinery with the names of the makers, tools and kitchen items.

The third drawing will be about the occupants of the house – a kind of time-line including memories of the place from people I have met, with a drawing of the house from my sketches.

This is the plan at the time of writing – all subject to change!

IMGP1534 One of the Artists in Residence, Toril Brancher, trying out Stefan Caddick’s prototype sound-sculpture

Portfolio Year 4 Students Workshop at Llwyn Celyn 20th July 2016


A scorching day !

I was one of the participating artists in this workshop along with sculptor Matt Caines. It was part of a week-long project devised by artist Morag Colquahoun funded by Powis Council and Arts Council Wales. The aim is to give a group of 15-19 year-olds from local schools  who have an interest in pursuing a career in the arts some extra insights into art practice, including a visit to studios and to a public art gallery. For our day they were ‘Artists in Residence for a day’. With Matt they produced imaginative sculpture out of found objects from the site. With me they sketched from the buildings and fields, jotting down their ideas and colour notes. They produced paintings on discarded fragments of roof-tile, wood and other flat objects, leaving some of the interesting patinas of the surfaces to work with their paintings. The lovely enthusiastic group produced some inspiring work which will go on display when the Beasthouse is ready to be a permanent exhibition site. The artworks will adorn a specially commissioned Welsh dresser made by a local craftsman using some materials employed for the renovation of the house.