Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Paintings cleared for takeoff

Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Fabrice Bregier are greeted by David Cameron
AirAsia, the largest low cost airline in Asia, has placed a new order with AirbusThe order was announced during a visit last week by British Prime Minister David Cameron to the Airbus wing manufacturing facility at Broughton in Flintshire, North Wales, where Mr Cameron witnessed the signing of documents by Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer, AirAsia and Fabrice Brégier, President & CEO, Airbus. 

During the event, two of my paintings Snowdon from Moel Siabod and The beach at Aberdesach were presented on behalf of Airbus.

Snowdon from Moel Siabod
The beach at Aberdesach

Monday, 3 December 2012

Helfa Gelf Christmas Show, Clwyd Theatr Cymru

Ruin, Llanelltyd (Pastel and Ink on board)

Helfa Gelf Christmas Exhibition
Four of my paintings on view over the next few weeks.

Clwyd Theatr Cymru
1st December - 12 January

Friday, 30 November 2012

The Final Weekend

Phew! What a weekend, only one more to go before I hang up my pastels. Wrapping paintings, pouring wine, running backwards and forwards with mince pies and talking is exhausting. Painting is so much easier.

Give me a few days in a darkened room and we'll be off again, the mince pies will be dusted to the sound of mulled wine bubbling in the kitchen was we prepare for the final weekend.

Friday, 16 November 2012

My Winter Exhibition


* Due to popular demand and countless requests here is our recipe for the mulled wine!

Mulled Wine Recipe

To make the hot mulled wine recipe you first need to make the extract, ideally this is made at least 48 hours in advance of drinking the mulled wine. 
Ingredients to make hot mulled wine extract
• 1 litre of water
• 2 lemons
• 3 oranges
• 12 cinnamon sticks
• 5 cloves
• 40g of ginger
• 5g of cardamom
• 2 star anise
• 300g dark sugar
• 300g syrup
How to make hot mulled wine extract
• Cut the fruit into wedges and the put all of the ingredients into a big saucepan.
• Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat immediately, then put somewhere cool for 48 hours
• Drain the mulled wine extract and bottle (keep in fridge)
Ingredients to make hot mulled wine
• ¼ litre of hot mulled wine extract (shown above and made at least 48 hours in advance)
• 1 litre of red wine
• 100ml of port
• sugar to taste
Instead of port you could add 100ml of either schnapps or cherry wine.  This helps make a mulled wine drink which is closer to traditional hot German gluhwein (German Gluvine).

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Art Exhibition at St. Paul's Church, Gorsedd, Holywell

Snowdon from Siabod (Pastel on board)

Art Exhibition at St. Paul's Church, Gorsedd near Holywell
November 7th - 11th, 10am - 8.00pm

Annual exhibition of both framed and unframed paintings by local professional and amateur artists. Work for sale with commission on sales towards church funds.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Gwernaffield Church Hall art exhibition

Maen y Gaseg (Pastel on board)

Gwernaffield Church Hall Association annual art exhibition.
Always a lively open exhibition with many local artists participating and raising funds for the upkeep of the hall in support of the many local groups and organisations that use the building and the facilities.

Exhibition open Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th November.
01352 740330

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Giclee flock shock

Thanks to the advancement of science, animal husbandry, print technology and image manipulation software my welsh lamb painting has been reproduced and the flock is growing by the minute!

Thanks once again to Paul at P G Framers for rounding them up and containing them in frames.

Tros Gynnal Plant

Charity Art Exhibition and Auction

Artists working in Wales and the borders were invited to donate a piece of work to be shown as part of the fifth annual art exhibition and auction in aid of Welsh children’s rights charity, Tros Gynnal Plant. They work to provide advocacy and support for vulnerable children and young adults at projects across Wales. This eclectic exhibition was shown at three venues: Swansea Museum in September, Aardvark Books and the Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay in October. Each show opened with a private view then opened to the public. At each exhibition, visitors placed a commission bid or via Tros Gynnal's online catalogue. An exciting live auction was then held at the Norwegian Church on 24 October.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

No sheep were harmed during the making of this picture

My wife calls me a townie, OK I might not have been born with straw behind my ears but sheep don't run off when they see me, in fact quite the reverse. They seem to think that I am a farmer (now that is hard to imagine) and in winter they hang around expecting me to feed them. So I've got them just where I want them, while they're standing around waiting for the food that doesn't come out comes my sketchpad and a painting is born or rather conceived. It's pretty painless for the sheep although they are as hungry at the end of the creative process as they were at the beginning. But they have been immortalised in pastel.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Framed again

For many, many years my paintings have been framed by Mike Thomas from Pantymwyn. Mike's work was of a very high standard and always dependable. Mike moved away a couple of years ago and I believe is in semi-retirement in Beaumaris, such a busy chap, hard to imagine Mike being even semi-retired!
During my recent Helfa Gelf Open Studio event a number of visitors asked if I framed my own work. I was flattered, but I do not possess the time, space or skill. All my most recent paintings have been framed by P G Framers in Wrexham Street here in Mold. Paul the owner is a highly trained craftsman with years of experience. I recently asked for a batch of 14 mounts in 7 different sizes for a series of limited edition prints. I called at the shop at about 10am to place my order then returned home, as I was having lunch I received a call from Paul to tell me that the job was finished and that he had also fitted the prints in their mounts! How fast was that! The prints are now on display in the gallery area of his shop.

23-35 Wrexhan Street, Mold, Flintshire CH7 1ET
01352 750011

Friday, 12 October 2012

Lichen liked

The prizewinning painting Slate wall (pastel and ink on board) has returned after a couple of months on display at The Oswestry Heritage Centre as an entry in the Oswestry and Shropshire Art Competition. A much travelled painting which will be displayed once more during my Christmas exhibition later this year.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Helfa Gelf OPEN STUDIOS 2012

North Wales' biggest OPEN STUDIO EVENT

Now in its seventh 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. 
After miles of walking, sitting on particularly hard rocks, getting angry with blunt and broken pastels, chased by bullocks in muddy fields and greyhounds stealing my lunch the exhibition is now ready. The door will open on Friday morning at 11am and I can finally have a bit of a rest. There will be over 60 original paintings on display, limited edition prints and postcards, plenty to chat about.
4 Weekends in September
7-9, 14-16, 21-23 and 28-30 at 11am - 5pm (or any other time by appointment)

For more information, maps and other details visit

Saturday, 1 September 2012

A greyhound stole my banana

Castell y Gwynt (Pastel and Watercolour on board) 54cm x 64cm.
This painting will be on display in my studio during the Helfa Gelf
Open Studio Event every weekend and Friday in September. 
Castell y Gwynt (Castle of the Winds) is the name given to the distinctive rock formation between Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr seen to the right of the painting with the Snowdon group on the left in the distance. The route I normally take starts at a well-used ladder stile at Pen-y-gwryd. After a welcome footbridge the soggy path meanders through heather and slippery rock with fine views of Llyn Cwmffynnon with Crib Goch, Snowdon and Lliwedd as a backdrop. On the right the slopes of Siabod dominate. After an hour or so the going gets a little easier as Y Carneddau make an appearance with Carnedd Dafydd, Carnedd Llywelyn and Pen-y-Ole Wen in full view. On a still, windless day Tryfan mirrored in Llyn y Gaseg Fraeth is a magical sight. The route up through the boulders is well marked by cairns and eventually Glyder Fach is encountered thrusting through the shards of rock.
Winter walks in the mountains start in the mornings so that I have time to complete the route in safety and also allowing me time to sketch and gather information for paintings. This timetable usually means that lunchtime coincides with the furthest point of the walk before I turn back. It is at this time that thoughts of food and a drink fill my mind. Finding a spot out of the wind is important for lunch on winter days. The menu on this day was bread with honey, followed by banana. This is a wonderful restaurant, with excellent service and a view to die for, although the seats are a little hard. 
As I sat at my 'table' I could see in the distance a moving speck which turned out to be a lone runner and his dog. The mountains mid week in winter are deserted and encounters with other people are rare. When I am out for the day I pack everything, just in case, my rucksack weights a ton and I am amazed how fell runners manage to go up and down twice as many mountains as me with the minimum of stuff. Tucked away out of the wind, wedged between rocks, drinking in the views I was suddenly startled by a panting wild-eyed greyhound who grabbed my banana and sped off before I fully realised what was happening. He looked like he needed a descent meal.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The beach at Aberdesach

The beach at Aberdesach (Pastel)

A day when the sun is too shy to make an appearance although peeps reluctantly from behind a cloud for a few brief moments without any warning. Yr Eifl in the distance would normally dominate this quiet beach but the sun's watery light bathes the still wet pebbles as the tide retreats creating rock pools and rivulets. Because of the benign conditions (very little wind, just a few seagulls and only one dog), most of the work for this painting was created on site using pastel on a lightly textured board.

The village of Aberdesach itself consists predominantly of 20th century buildings with a large proportion of these being second/holiday homes. A row of beach chalets extends north of the mouth of the River Desach (after which the village is named) in the direction of Maen Dylan, one of a number of sites nearby mentioned in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogion.

Pennarth Farm is in the vicinity - the Pennardd of the Mabinogion; more details about which can be found under the headings 'Cromlechi' and 'Llenyddiaeth Gymraeg Gynharaf' in the Clynnog Fawr History http://www.nantlle.com/history-clynnog-fawr.htm
A number of substantially built farmhouses in the area testify to the dominance of the Glynllifon Estate in the development of the coastal strip during the past two centuries.
On Aberdesach beach, coal was formerly brought by ship and unloaded at Yr Iard.
On the seashore between Aberdesach and Clynnog there were fishermens' cottages called Y Borth, but they have since collapsed and the sea has eroded the shoreline.

This edited extract taken from http://www.nantlle.com/aberdesach-english.htm

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Cae'r Gors, Rhosgadfan

Cae'r Gors, Rhosgadfan (Pastel and Ink on board)

Cae’r Gors, the childhood home of Kate Roberts.

Kate Roberts (13 February 1891 – 4 April 1985) was one of the foremost Welsh-language authors of the twentieth century. Known as Brenhines ein llên ("The queen of our literature"), she is known mainly for her short stories, but she also wrote novels. Roberts was also a prominent Welsh nationalistRoberts was born in the village of Rhosgadfan, Caernarfonshire (Gwynedd today) where her father (Owen Roberts) was a quarryman in the local slate quarries. She graduated in Welsh at the University College of North Wales, Bangor and then trained as a teacher. She then taught in various schools in south Wales.

An early member of Plaid Cymru, the Welsh nationalist party, it was at their meetings that she met Morris T. Williams, whom she married in 1928. Williams was a printer, and eventually they bought the printing and publishing house Gwasg Gee (The Gee Press), Denbigh, and moved to live in the town in 1935. The press published books, pamphlets and the Welsh-language weekly Y Faner (The Banner), for which Roberts wrote regularly. After her husband's death in 1946 she carried on working the press for another ten years.

She remained in Denbigh after her retirement and died in 1985.

It was the death of her brother in the First World War that led Roberts to writing. She used her literary work as a means of coming to terms with her loss.

Her first volume of short stories appeared in 1925 O gors y bryniau ("From the swamp of the hills") but perhaps her most successful book of short stories is Te yn y grug ("Tea in the heather") (1959), a series of stories about children. As well as short stories Roberts also wrote novels, perhaps her most famous being Traed mewn cyffion ("Feet in chains") (1936) which reflected the hard life of a slate quarrying family. In 1960 she published Y lôn wen, a volume of autobiography.
Most of her novels and short stories have as a background about the region where she lived in north Wales. She herself said that she derived the material for her work, "from the society in which I was brought up, a poor society in an age poverty ... it was always a struggle against poverty. But notice that the characters haven't reached the bottom of that poverty, they are struggling against it, afraid of it." Her work deals with the uneventful lives of humble people and how they deal with difficulties and disillusionments.
A selection of Roberts's works in Welsh and in translation
  • Traed mewn cyffion
  •  (Feet in chains) (1936). Novel. Llandysul : Gwasg Gomer, 2001. 
  • Ffair Gaeaf a storïau eraill
  •  (Winter fair and other stories) (1937). Short stories. Denbigh : Gwasg Gee, 2000. 
  • Y byw sy'n cysgu
  •  (The living that sleep) (1956). Novel. Denbigh : Gwasg Gee, 1995. 
  • Te yn y grug
  •  (Tea in the heather) (1959). Short stories. Llandysul : Gwasg Gee, 2004. 
  • Y lôn wen
  •  (The white lane) (1960). Autobiography. Denbigh : Gwasg Gee, 2000. 
  • Ifans, Dafydd (Ed.) (1992), Annwyl Kate, annwyl Saunders : gohebiaeth, 1923–1983 (Dear Kate, dear Saunders : correspondence, 1923–1983). Aberystwyth : National Library of Wales.  The letters of Kate Roberts and Saunders Lewis.
  • Roberts, Kate (2002), Feet in chains. Translated by John Idris Jones. Bridgend : Seren. 
  • Roberts, Kate (2001), Sun and storm and other stories. Denbigh : Gwasg Gee. 
  • Roberts, Kate (2002), Tea in the heather. Translated by Wyn Griffith. Bridgend : Seren. 
  • Roberts, Kate (1991), The world of Kate Roberts : selected stories, 1925–1981. Translated by Joseph P. Clancy. Philadelphia : Temple University Press.  A general introduction to her short stories in English which includes a translation of Te yn y grug (Tea in the heather).
Many of her works have been translated into other languages.

Read this article in full at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_Roberts_(author)

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Another wall

Dry stone wall (Pastel, Ink and watercolour on board) 62cm x 52cm 
This painting will be on display at my studio during the Helfa Gelf Open Studio event every weekend this September.

In recent years I've painted quite a few pictures, usually landscapes. A very high proportion contain rocks. I like painting rocks, lots of them, and very often dry stone walls. In open or upland areas they provide shelter from the wind and rain for livestock and crops. Dry stone walls are also of great benefit to the environment, providing micro-climates for wildlife such as insects, reptiles, birds and small mammals like mice and stoats. They encourage flora, from lichens to mosses, ivy and various ferns. A dry stone wall is a piece of history which still serves the same purpose as on the day it was built. It tells us about the geology of the land beneath it and is an effective boundary that will outlast any modern fence. The Welsh countryside would be a stark, windswept and featureless place without our old stone walls.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

North Wales Open 2012

Above Llanferres (Pastel/Watercolour)

This picture was painted on the Offa's Dyke path along the section 
that links Clwyd Gate to Moel Fenlli. The painting will be on 
display in the Main Gallery at Clwyd Theatr Cymru until the 
end of August.

It's that time of year again, The North Wales Open art exhibition is open from 23 June to 31 August. 

Recent work by artists from the counties of Flintshire, Denbighshire, Wrexham, Conwy, Gwynedd and Anglesey.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Swimming and painting

My wife likes a good swim, peaceful, relaxing and warm and no noise and definitely no divebombing. I can't swim. Many well intentioned people have tried to teach me but I was not a star pupil. We have discovered an inviting, secluded pool in the Conwy area that Mair enjoys. A couple of hours floating on water does the trick and we visit as often as we can. Piped music and The Independent can only sustain me for half an hour and I get restless, restless for the hills. Within a few moments I can be up on the northern part of the Carneddau overlooking both the Great Orme and the Conwy Valley. I am more familiar with the whale-back ridges of Carnedd Llywelyn and Foel Grach and the drama of Cwm Eigiau further south than the softer, greener hills above Penmaenmawr. I have returned to one particular spot a number of times over the last few weeks and have produced the painting below. For the first time in my life a swim has been successful.

The picture has been accepted for
The North Wales Open 2012
Clwyd Theatr Cymru 23 June - 31 August

Above the Conwy Valley (Pastel)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Make the most of

A couple of week ago I was approached by two energetic ladies who were bursting with enthusiasm and invited me to join them on their adventure, read their story below.

‘Make The Most Of’ grew out of our love of beautiful things and our belief in, and commitment to, community. Our story starts in 2011 when, inspired by some extraordinary local artisans and a genuine desire to showcase their talents, we started to develop our ideas for a web site and shop that would provide a fitting outlet for their wonderful creations.
We couldn’t have predicted how quickly things would move forward, nor the amazing support that we have enjoyed, not only from our local community, but also from the many artisans that quickly wanted to be part of our venture. We discovered an amazing breadth of creative talent producing exquisite and unique pieces of work for which they had no real commercial outlet. Many told us that sales were falling and that they were finding it hard to find buyers who appreciated the skill, flair, craftsmanship and love that they put into each piece.
With such incredible interest and a lot of hard work from a host volunteers, we were able to open our delightful “Make The Most Of’ shop in November 2011. ‘Small but beautifully formed’ it is located in Caerwys, in the heart of beautiful rural North Wales and stocks a wide choice of one-off, sophisticated items that are all pieces of art in their own right. Many items are made from recycled materials, but shoppers will find an extensive choice, from practical home wares to alpaca shawls and exquisitely carved love spoons to original artwork – and everything in between.
Customers have already commented how wonderful it is to find something ‘special’ and encouraged by the positive feedback we have developed this web site to take the hand-crafted items to a wider audience. Learning as we’ve gone along, we’ve tried to make the site as wonderful as the shop and hope that visitors will enjoy the same positive experience - shopping for beautiful pieces that you simply can’t buy anywhere else. By including our artisans’ stories, we hope that visitors will feel part of this resurgence in creative crafts and come to appreciate the wealth of talent that has been ‘hiding its light under a bushel’.
In addition to providing an outlet for artisans to show their pieces, ‘Make The Most Of’ is fully committed to nurturing and developing creative crafts and skills and also developing and strengthening our local community. We have set up a private local community trust to help local need and are also supporting our artisans to recruit and train people who want to learn a skill that can support them financially in the future - whatever their age. We all have skills to share and there is always room to learn!
To complement the artisans’ work we occasionally buy in other products, usually from small British companies and communities. We are also looking to formulate working partnerships with small existing cottage industry. When we do venture overseas – ecologically aware, fair trade and community led organisations are our first and only port of call.
We have tried to design the web site to reflect our ethos and our commitment to the fantastic skills of the artisans that we are working with and hope that you will enjoy browsing and buying from our hand picked selection.
Our small shop in Caerwys is located at Liverpool House on the High Street, which is just off the square. It is open on Saturdays and Sundays between the hours of 11am and 4pm. Our community of Artisans will from time to time demonstrate their skills and craft and all relevant dates will be displayed on our Facebook page. We look forward to meeting you.
You can contact us at the shop on Saturdays and Sundays in person or by telephone on 01352 721888. At other times during the hours of 9am - 5pm - Monday to Friday - you can reach Lynne on 07734082690 or Louise on 07917876819.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Moel Famau, the monument series

Moel Famau (monument series 1)
Moel Famau (monument series 2)
Moel Famau

With snow in short supply this past winter I have had to make the most of every dusting before it disappeared. Drawing the monument and note-taking in a sketchbook was the easiest and quickest way of getting all the information I needed. A roll of masking tape came in handy to anchor the pages and stop them flapping in the gale force wind!

Back in the comfort of a slightly less draughty studio the drawings were enlarged with watercolour and pastel applied for the sky effects and shadows.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Venue Cymru, Llandudno

Alwyn Dempster Jones
Slate Wall  Pastel/Ink

Exhibition of work by selected Helfa Gelf artists throughout the months of May and June.

Friday, 20 April 2012

St. Mary's Church, Mold

I am stirring after my hibernation. The grass is growing and the birds are making a noise.  It's cold and it's wet, Spring is here!

I have not shown any work for months and now, like buses, exhibitions are popping up all over the place.

Two of my most recent paintings will be on display at the annual art exhibition at St. Mary's Church in Mold, North Wales from 7th -12th May.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Pensychnant Exhibition

Pensychnant's Wildlife Art Exhibition 2012
Wednesdays - Sundays, 1st April - 30th September, 11 - 5pm
(plus Bank Holiday Mondays)
Exhibition of 150+ originals and prints in various styles 
and media by several local artists and photographers; 
Birds, flowers, and other wildlife and landscapes.  
Entry £2.00                                                    
Alwyn Dempster-Jones,  Snowdonia in Pastels.
Philip Snow, Birds in their Landscapes.
Emma & Steve Stansfield, Bardsey Birds.  
Ian Wright, British Birds.
Carole-Ann Kedney, Local Mountain Landscapes.
Mike Potts, Wildbird Photography.
Paula Salmons, Seascapes.
Betty Mills, Wildflowers and the Art of Design.
Christine Brown,  Botanical Garden in Watercolour.
Chris Slinn Woodcraft.
Pierino Algieri., Local Landscape Photography..... 

Pensychnant works with many local naturalists and local and national wildlife and conservation organisations to foster the public’s appreciation and understanding of nature and to record and safeguard the wildlife and natural beauty of  North Wales.