Tag Archives: St. Edmunds church Crickhowell Wales

Monochromatic Underpainting for St. Edmund’s church, Crickhowell, Wales

Monochromatic underpainting for one of the two panels in St. Edmund’s Church, Crickhowell, Wales.

church panel underpainting

I lived in Crickhowell, Wales (aka – The Magical Town of Crickadoon) from 1993 til 2005.

In 1995 I was commissioned to paint two large panels for St. Edmund’s, the ancient church which sits in the middle of Crickhowell.

Because I wanted the panels to tell a story, I began work with monochromatic underpaintings, which allowed me to compose the paintings before adding colour.     These  formed a  foundation block showing the tonal range and overall rhythm of the composition.        During this process, changes can be made and indeed many were on both panels before colour was added.

The two finished panels….`My friend Cyma Horowitz standing with me beneath the panels.

st eds murals 2

When I was commissioned to paint the panels, I was given the following passage from Song of Soloman as inspiration.

‘Arise my love and come to me for the winter is past the rains are over and gone.      Flowers appear on the earth, the season of singing has come, and the turtle dove is heard in our land’  (Song of Solomon 2:10-12) 

I had already fallen in love with the outstanding natural beauty of the area and its people, and so this passage resonated with me.     My daily walks prompted a sense of deep gratitude and celebration.     Using symbolic imagery, my goal was to integrate these feelings with the words from the passage and I particularly wanted the paintings to speak to the children of the area.

For example, the egg shape window in both panels represents new life; the peacock – everlasting life; the calla lilies – trumpets,  and so on.    The children of the area are depicted as angels.    Many of the animals represented I knew and loved.     The church spire and 16th century bridge that crosses the River Usk are included.

To the left of this detail is Bumble the golden labrador.    Bumble introduced me to the people of Crickhowell as I took her on long daily walks.   Christeve the Cat is front and centre and a friends beautiful sheep dog sits to the right. 


As I added colour, I took into consideration the colours used in the stained glass windows and alter dressings – therefore seeing the church in its entirety as my canvas.

I see the underpainting as a metaphor as I compose and establish new rhythms in my life today.

A bientôt

Community Interconnections – with Christeve the Cat – 2

My morning with the children at St. Mary’s Primary School, Hampton was lovely.   Actually it was better than that….it was exactly what I needed.

There were sixty children in total broken up into two groups.   I painted a large watercolour for each group.

Some of the lovely children with one of the Christeve paintings.



The children will now paint their own pictures inspired by the book ‘Christeve the Cat Finds Her Home’ – in preparation for an exhibition of their work on November 21st.   Their paintings will be for sale, and proceeds will go to Shooting Star Chase Children’s Hospice. 

Christeve the Cat dreaming of magical Hummingbirds.


I haven’t worked with young children for a while, and was reminded yesterday of how important it is for all age groups to interact with one another.     Personal experience has taught me that there is no better way to do this than through the power of art – in all its many forms.

Christeve in her garden in the Magical Town of Crickadoon. 


Yesterday came about because of a ‘Self Expression and Leadership Programme’ I recently completed through Landmark Education.     The key element of the programme is for participants to design a not for profit community project.

I cheated a little in that my project, Community Interconnections, has been tried and tested. and so it was more a case of revitalising than creating something new.

When I first came up with this idea in 1999, non of the social media that we now take for granted was in place.       it meant that I had to physically travel to schools and could only reach one small audience at a time.       However, through technology I can now see this project having a much wider impact.

Christeve the Cat with Magical Hummingbird – this print is available through HummingbirdHQ.com


The message in the story – Christeve the Cat Finds Her New Home – is to trust and have faith in the unseen, and to never give up.   

And to always remember that non of us is ever creative enough to know how things will actually turn out………



A Bientôt