Summer came and went.
Memories of play on fields between the town and sea
Heat, hot, haze, the smell of mud on wrecks of ships that saw the world.
The curlew calls as dusk descends and steals the light away from rooftops dressed in slate.
Beach Road lights ignite floodlights for kids to play, to run, to shout, to scream and dream
and stare beyond the sea.
Shafts of light stab stubborn clouds that hang above the Glyder proud
light tip-toes on tips of slate where men once toiled in freezing rain
bitter wind bites at faces of folk folorn as the Ogwen cuts through rocks of ages past
to Penrhyn Dock, where masts once rocked on seething tides and took the stone away.
With powder black and steely rod, on Glyders dark and grey
strong men cut out the heartless rock and sent it on it's way.
From Pesda hills to Hirael Bay the cargo blue and cold
to distant shores and continents, to nations young and old.
From the Cegin to the Mersey, via islands hot and dry
tallships and people struggled to keep the lord on high.
In Penrhyn fields of green, green grass, a castle large and hollow
stands testament to shame and class, a monolith of sorrow.
Music by Pete Jones (KUNEVIN) can be accessed via: https://soundcloud.com/pete-jones-351772901
"Love will tear us apart" Acrylic on canvas, 98cm x 78cm. This painting is based upon a work by Polish artist Jacek Malczewski entitled "Death". His original imagery struck me as being very interesting with the female figure of "death" cutting a very benign figure in comparison with other artistic representations. In this piece I was exploring the notion of two people who love each other and the pain that comes from inevitable loss.The title is a reflection of my interest in the words of Ian Curtis, former singer with the band "Joy Division". During July 2019 an event took place at the Pontio Arts Centre, Bangor to mark the 40th anniversary of the band Joy Division playing their only ever Welsh gig which took place in the city during October 1979 (which I attended). The event featured a short film by Yannick Hammer which features an interview with me, in Welsh (At 5.07) about my recollections of the gig and the meaning behind the painting .
FOR SALE: £2250
"Breuddwyd am storm yn Bae Hirael" (Dream about a storm in Hirael Bay) Oil on canvas (2020). We used to live in Foundry Street in the Hirael area of Bangor. This area was occasionally prone to flooding from the sea. At high tide our houses were below sea level and the council occassionally issued sandbags. Growing up I was always aware (and frightened) of the prospect of being flooded out. I recall many dreams and nightmares of oncoming deluges. This painting was based on such imagery.
"Across the Western Ocean" (2018) Acrylic on canvas, 116cm x 90cm. This painting is based upon the work by Scottish Artist William McTaggart entitled "The Emigrants" (1889). The original depicts Scottish families in the Hebrides boarding boats for America.I was thinking about the whole process of emigration and wondered how to depict the land that was left behind when everyone had gone. I tried to capture the pathos of an empty coast, all human life gone to distant (and sometimes dark) horizons. I was mindful of a song by the Pogues entitled "Thousands are sailing" which also deals with the experience of the Celtic diaspora and the title of the painting comes from Shane McGowan's beautiful lyrics.
FOR SALE: £1750
"Unresolved portrait, Bryn y Neuadd". Completed during 2016. I was working to paint a portrait of a former "patient" at Bryn y Neuadd hospital. I was working from a series of photographs and my own visual memory of the person. I had been trying to work on the face and features for some time, laying on layers of paint and rubbing it away. Quite often I struggle to know when to stop on a painting but there came a point that I realised that the unresolved face of this person perhaps made a more profound visual statement regarding the erosion and loss of personal identity that befell so many thousands of people who had been labelled as having a "learning disability" and who lived (and died) in the hospital system. Now privately owned.
"Capel Celyn" (2018). Acrylic on canvas, 104cm x 79cm. I have always been interested in political cartoons and symbolism (e.g.Hogarth, Scarfe) and this painting, I think, falls within that category. It is a perhaps clumsy attempt to explore the notion of Welsh culture (whatever that means) in a metaphorical battle against drowning. There is an obvious (perhaps too obvious) reference point in the title to the village drowned to supply water to Liverpool during the 60s. The skeletal figure is based upon an illustration I found in 1980 from a medical textbook of a skeleton arched backwards.I always found this image interesting and have used it several times. The horses skull is a direct reference to a Welsh cultural icon , the Mari Lwyd, which I thought put the painting within a specific Welsh context. I'm still not sure how successful this painting is (which is how I feel about much of my work). "Capel Celyn" featured in my exhibition at Oriel Mon during 2019. Now privately owned.
"Het a Scarff", Oil on canvas 72cm x 55cm. This is another image of one of the "patients" of Bryn y Neuadd, where I worked as a nurse. David was a lovely character who wore is hat and scarf all day, every day, whatever the weather (I think he might have worn his hat to bed at night also but my memory fails). His hat permanently covered his beautiful, piercing blue eyes, eyes that very few people got to see. The painting itself was one of first I completed using oil paint, which I still find difficult to use, preferring the immediacy and drying qualities of acrylic. The wooden frame of the painting has it's own story as I found it, old and weather beaten, in a hedgerow at the very edge of Pen Llyn whilst walking. On completion of the painting I noticed the frame in the studio and inserted the painting which, to my surprise, fitted not only physically but enhanced (I think) the image of a man who himself had been "weathered" by fate and time. The painting is now part of the collection at the National History Museum at Cardiff. RIP David.
"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance" ARISTOTLE.
"A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art" CEZANNE.
"The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity" GIACOMETTI.
"The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery" BACON.
"Art is not what you see but what you make others see" DEGAS.
"Life etches itself onto our faces as we grow older, showing our violence, excesses or kindnesses" REMBRANDT.