Uplands landscape

Punctuated By Ice at The Waterside

My walk this week has been around the lake at The Waterside – Felindre and seems to have been punctuated by ice. Indeed, the whole language and grammar of the posts has been dictated by the freezing icy conditions.

Icy Punctuation

Influenced as I am by the things I see and hear around me, I look at the light and shade, the patterns and textures, and I wonder what it would feel like to touch, to run my fingers along some of the surfaces of frozen water, hard ground lightly dusted with snow or old reeds and rushes from last year as they poke through the semi opaque sometimes mushy lookingContinue reading

floor decoration

My Walk this Week – Architecture at The Glynn Vivian

My walk this week is not in a natural environment but instead it is around the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Museum – unless you consider our need for creativity a part of nature, which I do! It is an essential part of our existence that we observe the things around us and it is a part of my own particular nature to enjoy observing what we call art, and also on this occasion, architecture and design.

Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Museum

The architecture of the original building is formal, balanced, symmetrical. The newer wing is made in concrete and the even newer entrance is largely glass. This is perhaps fitting as the building opposite also has a new glass extension as entrance to Swansea College of Art and the original design of this building reflects that of the Glynn Vivian.Continue reading

Fighting ducks 5

Fighting Fit Like a Duck

In this, the middle stage of my walk this week around Brynmill Park in Swansea, I was entertained (not sure if that is the right word) by a pair of fighting fit ducks going at each other tooth and nail . . . or should that be bill and feather?

Fighting ducks 1

This was a very serious argument which carried on a lot longer than 8 still images can describe. I wonder what it was about? Continue reading

Simple Peace

At the foot of the hill on my walk this week, I parted ways with the other walkers on our geology walk up Cefn Drum. They had arrived for the walk by car whereas I had walked. The route by car is beautiful but the walking route is better still if only for the simple peace on a quiet day.

I only had the sheep and the river, the Afon Dulais, for company and looking at these images and listening to the sound clip takes me back to that peace.

I sometimes use my StillWalks videos as a means of relaxation at the end of the day but if I find myself unable to sleep through the night the most effective means of calming my mind is to relive one of my walks in my imagination. Photos such as those below describe a simple everyday aspect of the landscape but they still work as an effective trigger for my memory and when accompanied by the field recording, the sense of being there (at least in mind) is greatly strengthened.

Walking Home

sheep in the way

sheep in the way

Afon Dulais

Afon Dulais

Buttercups

Buttercups

Classically Standing Alone

The new Great Hall at Swansea University Bay Campus stands alone in the arrangement of buildings housing the College of Engineering, the School of Management and student accommodation. The whole complex has quite a conservative feel about it, but the Great Hall is very deliberately classical in style.

Swansea Uni new campus-18

Is this building and the rest of the campus architecture intended to present such a serious and sober outlook? I suspect it is.Continue reading

Anatomy of the Beast – Fantasy and Reality

It was easy for me to think of and describe the images of yesterdays post in living terms. Is this the belly of the beast below, and its throat? My assumption that the industry was steel was correct but without more specific knowledge of the plant, I could not name the various parts of its anatomy.

I took a look at the site of these photos on Google Maps – it is very different as you would expect. I was able to put a name to the company as well – all this weeks photos are from the steel processing plant of Celsa Steel UK in Cardiff.
giant duct work

giant duct work

Looking Seeing Drawing

I am currently working on two drawing based projects. The first is the Josef Herman Art Foundation Cymru Schools Award Project 2014. The focus of my part in this project, apart from Josef Herman, is drawing – more specifically, drawing and digital media (iPads). See below for examples on video from this project.

The second is a research project run by Cathy Treadaway with CARIAD at Cardiff Metroplitan University – Centre for Applied Research in Inclusive Arts and Design.

Both projects fit well with my approach to drawing. Drawing is about looking and understanding. By observing the things around us (or within ourselves) and transferring that observation to the drawing medium, we can understand and appreciate more of what we observe. For this to happen we must look, look and see. The more we look, the more we see, the better we understand. The deeper our understanding of the world around us, in my view, the closer we come to balance within that world.

Our understanding of drawing has widened in recent decades. The traditional techniques of pencil or charcoal on paper (amongst others) have been augmented. My own drawing used often to be charcoal on paper (a medium I love). These days I think of some of the work I do with wire and weave, as drawing – it is a way of working out ideas in my head that need a means of expression. The full expression, however, does not appear until a finished piece is produced. The “sketchbook” I took with me recently to Crickhowell, to show my tapestry workshop participants, was a table full of bits of weaving and wire, three dimensional trials and experiments – there was no paper.

When producing my StillWalks videos, the first step (most of the time) is to carry out a recce walk. I don’t take my cameras and only take photos on my iPhone. I think of this as drawing. It is my first sketch of the environment where, on production day, I will gather the content for the finished StillWalks video.

The digital medium element of the Josef Herman project is the iPad. All of the schools I am working with use iPads in their classrooms and so were familiar with them. They were less familiar with using them for drawing. However, David Hockney, through the use of his iPad, has shown the world a good example of the widening array of methods to record our observations and express our imagination and understanding.

Below are some examples of drawing by 9 and 10 year old children based on Josef Herman’s work. The children modelled as figures from Herman’s works and drew each other on both paper and iPads.

Sounding Out Colour and Texture – imagination and a tapestry weaving workshop

A few weeks ago I took a tapestry weaving workshop over the weekend for the Crickhowell Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers. They had asked me if I could do a version of my workshop “Sounding out Colour and Texture”.

tapestry weaving workshop

The workshop focus was sound and the intention was to help everyone to develop ideas for tapestry weaving by using a medium that may not have occurred to them previously. It wasn’t going to be possible in the time allowed to produce finished tapestries but we were able to experiment with different techniques and materials as a means of interpreting different aspects of sound.

The language used in describing sound relates very well to the language used in the visual arts and crafts. I am not talking of the technical terms connected to audio and tapestry weaving, but rather the interpretive, emotional terms used. Colour and texture, rhythm and melody.

We often hear the term “the tapestry of life” – the wide range of techniques and materials it is possible to use within tapestry weaving make it possible to represent any number of aspects of our emotional and physical lives and sound can be an excellent starting point for exploring those possibilities.

In these workshops I would also ask people to close their eyes and imagine what colour a sound might be or what it would feel like in their hands if they could grab a hold of it.  The sound editing program I use, Adobe Audition, can show us the wave form of the sound and it can show us the “shape” of the sound in the spectral display, but it cannot tell us its texture and the colour it shows is only that selected by the user in the program’s preferences.

This is where the imagination comes in and helps us to develop the designs we may use to present an interpretation of a subject that could be said to have an extra dimension to it.

 

apart from looking at how different sounds appear visually on the spectral display of an editing program like Adobe Audition,