lambs looking back

Looking Back Down the Hill

Looking down isn’t always the best thing to do – certainly not if you want to see where you are going – but it is also necessary if you want to be able to see the details underfoot of where you are. In the case of the lambs in today’s featured image, looking back down the hill at me is a matter of curiosity, the curiosity of the young.

dewey web detail

Their mothers had led them up the hill away from me as I approached on the descending lane, but they halted half way up to check me out. I too halted many times on my walk, first to look andContinue reading

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

Steel Perspective

But Is It Art?

On my walk this week I found myself in one of the upper floor rooms of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and enjoyed looking at works by well known artists of the past such as Ceri Richards, Paul Nash, Henry Moore and others. In this room I was also struck by the effect of the translucent screen hanging in front of the floor to ceiling window. It changed my perception of the building opposite and for a few moments I thought I was looking at another work of art – so I took some photos!

Looking Out

Directly below, on the ground floor, is the room used for talks, presentations, etc.,  In here I spotted a stack of seats in the corner and I was again persuaded to take some photos. The clean, bright patterns of stainless steel really appealed to me ….. but is it art?Continue reading

NBGW Country Seat

Looking and Listening Seats for the Landscape

The attractively designed benches situated along my walk this week at the National Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW) are ideal facilities for looking at and listening to the surrounding landscape.

NBGW Landscape 2

At the moment I am focusing on the looking rather than the listening. It wasn’t actually raining on the walk but the ground was very wet from recent weather . . . as were the seats. Everything in fact, looked Continue reading

Choosing the View

They say about TV or radio, if you don’t like it, you can always switch it off or change the channel. Similarly, wherever we may be, we can choose what to take notice of, we can choose our view. That can be a challenge sometimes, especially if what is in front of you is a blank wall, but when out and about we tend to miss so much of what is around us and I am as guilty of this as the next person.

That’s OK! It means that when I do take notice of my surroundings, a simple walk down the street can become an adventure of discovery. I don’t mean that there are suddenly different or new things happening around me to what’s normal, I simply find I have more interest in the normal things. The shapes and patterns, the textures and colours . . . of the sounds as well as the sights.

monochrome railings

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Sensory Perception at the Lakeside

Nearing the end or turning point of my walk this week, I emerged from the riverside woodland footpath at the Enterprise Park near Llansamlet in Swansea. This zone has grown over the years and one of its main characteristics is that you are almost forced to take the car from place within the zone.

However, despite the sound of passing traffic (below), once I had crossed the road I was able to enjoy the lake that forms a central feature in the area. As in any urban area, there is always the background sound of city activity and traffic, but the lake here forms an essential and effective oasis from all that.

Lakeside

We need these oases in modern urban living, but it is not just a matter of them existing. We need to make sure we use them as they were intended and enjoy the natural benefits they can bring on a regular basis.

Walking around a lake or park, down a tree-lined street, along a river, we are offered the opportunity to not just exercise of our limbs, but also to exercise our sensory perception. Looking and/or listening is possible for almost everyone and in my experience is well worth it.

Passing Traffic

Lakeside Ambience

If viewing this in an email, please click the post title to see other photos in this post, thank you.

Exercising the Body and Mind

Which do you prefer – cycling, walking, jogging, running? Walking would be my preference  if I want to focus on my surroundings and observe the sights and sounds around me. However, for this very reason, I may not get as much exercise as I tend to start and stop a lot in order to look and listen, photograph or record. Then again, I am sure the benefit I gain from enjoying the observation makes up for it, mentally at least!

Cycle Path

Cycle Path

Josef Herman Schools Award Project 2014

Art education is wide ranging and there are many different approaches to it, but at its core is learning to see. The primary and most effective way to learn to see is to draw. This, surely, must be at the beginning of every artist’s career – i.e. the moment, as children, we pick up a pencil, crayon, brush and make a mark with it.

Last week I was working with the Josef Herman Art Foundation Cymru on their 2014 Schools Award project. Following a tour of Ystradgynlais with Josef (1911 – 2000) played by actor Adrian Metcalfe and the “Clerk to the District Council” played by Sonia Beck, both from Lighthouse Theatre in Swansea, we ran workshops in drawing. We viewed the Foundation’s collection of Herman’s works in “The Welfare” and referenced a set of images provided by the Tate Museum for our drawing. We used both traditional drawing materials (pencil and charcoal on paper) and iPads. Sketchbook Pro has the facility to record the drawing you do on the iPad and you can see a couple of examples from the children at the bottom of this post.

Sonia invited us all back to the year 1954 when Josef Herman lived and worked in Ystradgynlais (for 11 years). She and Adrian did an excellent job of drawing us into believing that they were the real people which confused some of the children as they knew that he had died in 2000!

Adrian Metcalf as Josef Herman

Adrian Metcalf and Sonja Beck

Ystradgynlais

Looking Josef Herman artworks

Drawing workshop

Architecture – In the Abstract

The Senedd by Richard Rogers – The National Welsh Assembly building in Cardiff was opened in 2006 but until recently I had only viewed it from the outside. There have been many photographs taken of it, most of them showing the exterior or the mushroom like ceiling of the interior. The photos below are mine.

Different Events – The architecture I have featured this week has all been different as have the events that have taken me to the various venues. The event at the Senedd was the launch of a community solar PV co-operative by friends – www.egni.coop – and are looking for people to invest. We already enjoy reduced bills as a result of solar PV panels on our roof.

Eyes and ears open – I said at the beginning of the week that I always try to have my eyes and ears open for potential StillWalks locations. In fact a StillWalks video could be produced for any location, but because I am looking and listening to the things around me with this potential in mind, I feel I am able to see and hear better than I would otherwise. Using the camera (DSLR, compact or iPhone) helps me to focus in on different aspects of my surroundings and in time you begin to do this anyway. It is the same with sound – listening through headphone helps you focus your hearing and in time I believe you become more perceptive. Now I just need to prove it lol!

Senedd Cardiff

Senedd Cardiff

Senedd Cardiff

Featured SillWalks Videos – I’m afraid this is going to be another week without a featured StillWalks video. I have a number of productions to complete and I look forward to adding these to the StillWalks collection. For now there is, as always, access to sample length videos is available through the Walks menus and you can always buy them at anytime for as little as £1.50.