"The artist...is also a born adventurer. His explorations, unlike those of a tourist, are rewarded by the discovery of beauty spots unmentioned in the guide books, and with tireless curiosity and an exceptional proneness to wonderment, he will come upon objects of remarkable interest overlooked or even shunned by more disciplined observers."

Augustus John, R.A.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

A new take on an old subject

St Govans Chapel, Pembrokeshire.
Watercolour. 240mm x 150mm.

One of the most atmospheric of all welsh chapels. Nestling at the foot of the cliffs on a platform above the sea. Although traditionally regarded as the cell of a dark age holy man, the existing building is unlikely to be earlier than the 13th century.
There are various legends concerning the identity of Govan but very little historical documentation regarding the site. Said by some sources to be the arthurian knight Gawain or alternatively St Gofan, wife of a celtic chief. Perhaps a more likely candidate is Gobhan, the Irish Abbot of Dairinis Monastery in Wexford, a contemporary of St David himself.
The image was drawn using a 6B Graphite pencil onto a sheet of white cartridge paper which was then soaked in water and stretched onto the drawing board. The portrait format emphasising the viewpoint down onto the little building from the cliffs above. Loose washes of colour were then laid down, working from light to dark gradually strengthening the tones in the painting, relying on the strength of the underlying drawing to hold the image together. As usual with my paintings, in order to maintain colour harmony only a limited palette was used; Ultramarine Blue, Yellow Ochre, Light Red, Cadmium Yellow and Alizarin Crimson.
Ornithologically the area is very good with Peregrine, Chough and Ravens on the cliffs, Gannets, Cormorants and Manx Shearwaters offshore and only a short distance away from the Elegug Stacks with their Guillemot Colonies.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Storm Clouds

Gathering storm on the Wolds
Pastel. 285mm x 220mm.

Looking west as the storm clouds gather across the evening sky.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Gannets and Kittiwakes

Late summer at Bempton.
Watercolour. 180mm x 240mm.

A studio painting based on the field drawing posted earlier, although with some compositional reorganisation. Painted with a limited palette of only six colours; cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, light red, ultramarine, prussian blue and burnt umber.
At this time of the year the cliffs are empty of auks, their young having already fledged. Only a few late fledging Kittiwakes and young Gannets remain on the cliffs.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Pencil and Wash Drawings

Female Merlin. Pencil and Wash. 90mm x 120mm.

Great Crested Grebe feeding young. Pencil and Wash. 100mm x 180mm.

More illustrations for the bird club report.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Filey Bay

We spent the last week on the east coast at Filey. For the first three days the bay was fog bound with sea frett. The drawing above was done early one morning looking down through the mist onto the beach at Reighton Sands. Just as the tide was starting to flood.
Another view down onto the beach this time on an ebb tide.
Cloud shadows on the sea. A wider variety of media on this than normal; pen and ink, pencil, watercolour and pencil crayon.
An hour spent at Bempton Cliffs produced this drawing of an immature Gannet preening. The bird was in almost complete adult plumage apart from the two dark central tail feathers.
This Porpoise was fishing just offshore, remaining faithfull to a discrete area of water. As far as it goes this was as good a view as it gets with this species. I've seen them before in Filey Bay off the Brigg, usually in early autumn with rougher seas. This time the light was better with a calm, clear sea and providing it didn't dive too deep the animal was clearly visible beneath the surface.