Monday, 29 August 2011

Featured Artist Interview

Alwyn, tell me about your work.
I’m constantly looking up to the skies, not for inspiration or
even divine intervention but to check on the weather. If the conditions are good, not too wet and not too windy, then there’s a chance that I can go off for a wander. I paint landscapes and need to be outside. I know my way around North Wales having lived here all my life apart from living in Manchester and Cardiff during my art training. Paintings are sometimes started and finished alfresco, other times I make colour notes and sketches then finish in the studio. Walking in the countryside is always a pleasure although not without its hazards as I have been bitten by dogs and horses, chased by pigs and charged by a herd of bullocks!

What or who inspires you most?
The landscape and the effect of the sun and the weather on it, usually in the autumn and winter months.

What is your favourite material to use?
Pastels and a Rotring art pen on white conservation board.

When did you become interested in art?
I think I was born with a pencil in my hand! I would sit for hours and look at the work of Frank Bellamy and marvel at his use of direct light and dramatic composition. My parents always encouraged me to draw. Although their enthusiastic support began to wane a little when I began to drag redundant television sets from the local tip, place them on the dining room table and paint the spaghetti of coloured wires. On another occasion I borrowed a cabbage from my mother’s kitchen, placed it again on the dining table and painted it as it slowly rotted. Eventually it had to be thrown away, but I still have the painting! I would draw anything and everything. My old sketchbooks are full of things as diverse as dust bins, pylons, shop fronts, sand dunes, roses and reflections in teapots.

What would your artistic super power be?
A longer day.

What is your greatest artistic fear?
To lose the ability to walk.

If you could bring any artist back to life, who would you choose?

Which living artist do you most admire, and why?
There are so many. David Hockney for his enthusiasm and sheer output.

If money were no object what art works would you buy?
‘Work’ by Ford Madox Brown would look good in our lounge. But could we afford to insure it?

Which group of artists (can be living or dead) would constitute your ideal dinner party?
Andy Warhol could come along with his Campbell’s tomato soup for starters. Salvador Dali’s lobster would be the main course and I am sure that Cezanne would let us borrow some apples, peaches or pears. Caravaggio (or any other artist for that matter) would be responsible for the wine. He would no doubt turn up late and drunk and start a fight!

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Sitting down.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Still here, I hope.

Tell me about your studio!
No one would be inspired by my studio space as it consists of an area 8 foot square wedged between the drier and freezer at the back of our garage, with standing room only! During the month of Helfa Gelf we transform our conservatory into a bright, clean studio/gallery with over forty original paintings and limited edition prints, sketchbooks and art materials on display. Visitors can stay as long as they like, ask any questions, sit on the comfortable sofas and listen to soft music and the sound of the kettle boiling in the background.

What do you like most about your studio?
When I am painting I love the solitude and isolation. I work with coloured dust and my only critics are the spiders!

What other artist live/work near you?
Mold is an excellent location for this year’s art trail. We have an easily accessible cluster of artists opening their studios very close to each other with a lot of new and exciting work on display. A few minutes away from my studio (either on foot or by car) we have Llinos Lanini – photography; Sharon Wagstaff – drawing/painting; Carol Udale – drawing/illustration/painting/printmaking; Laura Capper – textiles/furniture/upholstery. A good day out!

Any pubs/café/restaurants near by?
We are spoiled for choice with so many nice eating places in Mold. 56 in High Street, Hot Wok in King Street if you are hungry or Clays in Wrexham Street and Alexanders in High Street for something lighter.

Any nice walks or countryside?
Many. There are a number of town trails, on the banks of the River Alyn, the countryside around the Gwysaney Estate, the winding roads and tracks leading to Nercwys and Gwernymynydd are particular favourites.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Open Studio

Helfa Gelf /Art Trail, North Wales’ biggest Open Studio Event, invites you to visit artists at work in their studios this September.
Now in its sixth year, this free annual event is now spread right across North Wales with studios taking part in Gwynedd, Conwy, Flintshire, Denbighshire and Wrexham. It is a unique chance for visitors to peek behind the scenes, experience this normally hidden world and get to chat to the artists and crafts people about their creative process.
Take this great opportunity to hunt down those undiscovered art treasures and see how they’re made – whether you are just curious about what artists and craftspeople do in their studios, or want to start your own collection of interesting artworks bought direct from the makers.

Studio Open
Every weekend in September
2-4, 9-11, 16-18, 23-25 
from 11am to 5pm

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Above Betws y Coed

I had been aware of this old farmhouse for some time and after walking in circles for a couple of hours stumbled across it almost by accident. Map reading in forests has never been one of my strongest points! Both of these paintings will now feature in the Helfa Gelf / Art Trail Open Studio event during the four weekends in September.