Playing is the name of the game today. For this image I took a throw away sketch and added the little lambs….This is a good way to warm up and at the same to use old sketches.
For the lambs I used my sepia colour Tomboy Pen, plus some Winsor & Newton Permanent White gouache – allowing some of the sketch beneath to show through.
Tombow Pen/watercolour/gouache – using old sketch as a ground After meeting the group at The Dragon, I thought it would be a good idea to take a quick look at the High Street which is always bustling in the mornings.
By the way, after I lived with my cousin and the family for six wonderful months I rented a little flat next to the Dragon (43 High Street) where I was very happy for a year before moving to my cottage on Mill Street. . Chris and Allan who then owned the Dragon allowed me to use the functions room to paint portraits of the locals. It was the perfect set up.
When I walked from my cottage to the post office most days (this was before e mails) it took a long time, because there were so many people to greet and talk to including Dai the Post and Carl the Milk…..a real community.
The High Street. – always busy in the mornings. Mike Cashell’s the family butcher is to the left..and in my estimation his meat and cheeses are as good as anywhere and the service is nothing short of fabulous. One of my favourite Welsh cheeses is Y Fenni – it’s delicious.
Hi Mike Cashell – lovely to see you:)As I mentioned at the beginning of this trip – when I lived here I was able to walk to the butcher, baker and candlestick maker…and it is still true today.
I have spoken with friends during lock down…and have been told that all the shopkeepers were working together delivering food and anything else needed to the community.
Before we get too involved with the shops we’ll pick up some goodies from Bookish – a lovely place for coffee, cake, lunch and browsing through their superb book range. and then Gareth the taxi driver will take us by mini van to visit Tretower Court – about two miles from Crickhowell.
A late medieval defended house, possibly better than any other surviving example, it reflects the changes in fashion and taste of the wealthy landowners of Wales between 1300 and 1700.
The house is the direct successor of an earlier castle stronghold just 200 yards away. Together they demonstrate the transition from castle to domestic residence, and thereby reflect important changes from a situation of warfare and defence in the Middle Ages, to one of more settled and peaceful times in later centuries.
There is such a feeling of mystery in this part of the world. A place steeped in legend and folklore. When the mists fall over the valleys there is a sense of other worldliness…..
watercolour/gouacheOne of the other positive elements for artists in and around Crickhowell is that regardless of weather..there are plenty of places to paint inside – looking out...such as here at the Court.I have given workshops within the house and the surrounding grounds many times….and particularly enjoy the shadow play and drama of the interiors.
Shakespeare productions are performed here during the summer months. The walled garden is a lovely place to sit and sketch….often visited by beautiful chickens strutting their stuff.
Let’s begin with some warm up exercises. The important thing is to not get stuck….be PLAYFUL.
Throw some colour on paper – and let the paint do its own thing. It is only paper….this will set the stage for your sketching. In my mind warming up is one of the most important parts of the overall process.
Using yellow ochre I start with a quick sketch of the tower and then add colour into the NEGATIVE SPACE – the areas surrounding the subject. It’s all very loose and spontaneous. A sort of map.In this next frame I add more strength of colour to the trees and dark wall in front of the tower using Winsor & Newton Burnt Sienna/Prussian Blue mix plus the Daniel Smith Underwater Green.
Here I add more body to the sky. After laying in a wash of blue I then bleed in W & N Permanent White gouache for the clouds. I then strengthen the colours throughout.
Remember this is playing.…sketching…don’t get stuck on trying to make everything perfect....Allow yourself and your brush to be free. Something that always occurs to me when I am visiting an ancient ruin is how man believed then, and still does that by building immensely thick walls he is protected…but ultimately the walls do crumble and only nature survives.
After a stop into the pub at Cwmdu (pronounced Cumdee) for a little respite, it’s back home to clean up and then drinks and dinner at The Bear. (a two minute walk from the dragon)
Here, over a good meal we can talk, laugh and enjoy one another’s company.
I love Jacob sheep – one features in the church panels. On my daily walk to the canal I would pass a small holding where some lived and of course I would sketch them.
This bunch of Jacob sheep are quite amusing – they look like the best friends of Shaun the Sheep:)
Tomorrow is our last day….and so I will try to list all the places and things I didn’t have time to mention before and show some portraits of the people I painted when living in Crickhowell…AKA The Magical Town of Crickadoon.