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.