Fleet Bay

Calm Reflection – Gull Contemplation

A calm, hazy, hot day and the stone buoys that mark the entrance to a small disused harbour reflect in the water and a gull appears in contemplation of its quiet surroundings.

stone buoy 1

Like the gull, I too sit in contemplation of the scene and objects around me – stopping from time to time on all my walks to look and listen and absorb the sights and sounds, the textures, patterns and colours of the environment and feel the connections I have to all that is there.

Whether the connection is slow and seemingly timeless, as in the wrinkles and folds seen in the surfaces of rocks, or quicker, like the more immediate ripples of the water blown by the breeze, pushed and pulled by the sun and moon along with Earth itself (see Tides), the influence on me of these interconnections is sometimes obvious and noticeable, sometimes utterly imperceptible, but there nonetheless.

Imperceptible or not, I am aware that they exist and enjoy contemplating, or perhaps imagining, the ties that hold me (rather than bind me) to the intricacies of the planet and all that exists and lives upon it.

Contemplating Quiet

Barbara Hepworth - Hieroglyph detail

Sculpture in Leeds

We didn’t have a lot of time to stay in Leeds on my walk this week but I still managed to take in some of the current sculpture exhibition at the Leeds Art Gallery. One of my favourites was this piece by Barbara Hepworth from 1953.

Barbara Hepworth - Hieroglyph

Barbara Hepworth – Hieroglyph

The title of the work, “Hieroglyph”, prompts towards an interpretation of the piece I suppose but not knowing the title at the time of initially viewing it, I didn’t think of it as being a hieroglyph. However, its language spoke to me in terms of surface texture and pattern, form and I guess, humanity and nature. The shapes of the hollowed out areas seem figure-like and looking through them to the other side had an essence of intimacy about it. I wanted to touch and caress its cool warmth! If such a contradiction in terms can be accepted, it is the only term I can find to express my perception of the piece while expecting the stone surface to be cool to the touch.

The Richard Long installation left me cool, if not cold. The impact of the work may come again from the contradiction (or should I say juxtaposition?) of the arrangement of the natural material and the space it is in, but for me it felt somewhat contrived.

The work that had the greatest impact on me, though I cannot say it was a particularly positive one, was the alabaster figure holding a bird to her shoulder by Woman and Bird by John Skeaping. The material had a strange effect on me and looking back at the VR shot I took of the room (see below), I think it may have been the sense that I was able to see inside the body at the same time as seeing its surface – I found it a bit disturbing. Again with this piece there was an element of contradiction – the apparent textures of the stone revealed through its changes in colour, pattern and internal structure was in contrast to its worked smoothness and  again there was the warmth of colour but the knowledge that if touched it the sensation would be of cold or coolness.

As with my previous post, if you click the VR image below on an iPhone or Android phone with the Google Cardboard Camera app installed, you will be able to view the full 360º of the space in virtual reality. On the linked image on your phone select the “Save to app” button and then fit your phone to the Google Cardboard device.

Leeds-sculpture.vr

inner stone

Stone Hunting

You can’t let the weather stop you when it comes to stone hunting or if you prefer, beach combing.

In fact wet weather can be a bonus as the colours will be highlighted by the water. I have been very selective in my choice of images below but perhaps Continue reading

My Walk this Week – Misty Mountains

On this first day of my walk this week the mountain mist does not come down to this level – the sun was even shining at times. I had hoped for reasonable weather for my StillWalks production walk up Mynydd Rugog, a mountain just south of Cadair Idris and overlooking Tal-y-Llyn in the mountains north of Aberystwyth in Wales.

gate

A style of gate

There had been a lot of rain over the previous couple of days and the rivers running through the forest were in spate.

Mountain Woodland Wind and Water

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Under the Mountains

In a place like Corris, situated in the deep valleys amongst or under the mountains in Wales, there is no horizon to be seen. Seeing as how I love trees so much and they cover the mountains on all sides, I shouldn’t have a problem with this, and I don’t!

Recently I was at an artist’s talk – Lee Williams at the Elysium Gallery in Swansea – where he was exploring the notion that we are affected by our surrounding environment. This is a subject I have thought about for many years but it is hard to come to any definitive conclusions about whether or not the topographical element of our living environments influence the way we are or the way we behave as there are always so many other contributing factors. Those mentioned in Lee’s discourse at the link above relate to Port Talbot which has the best and worst of worlds in its beautiful mountains next to the sea and its heavy industry and pollution.

It could be argued that the people of Corris, while enjoying the wonderful moubtain-scape of their surroundings, also have to suffer what most would consider an abnormal amount of rainfall. Ah well, you can’t have it all I guess.

cemetery in the mountains

cemetery in the mountains

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Cathedral in Bronze

Reaching the end (or the entrance) of Church Street on my walk this week around Hereford city centre, I took another of many looks at the cathedral. In front of the building is a paved area with a brick mosaic design set into it. While this is interesting, I was much more intrigued by the unusual bronze model of Hereford set on a plinth near the cathedral gates.

Taking a closer look at some of the architectural details of the cathedral could take a long time (which I didn’t have) as the building is so intricate in its embellishments.I wasn’t just taken with the designs created by the stone masons, but also with the patterns and textures of the stones themselves. Presumably these have been produced when cutting the blocks for building.

I’ll be able to take another look at the interior of the cathedral next week, not for the purpose of posting on this blog but for my younger daughter’s graduation from Hereford College of Art – well done Hannah – you can see her work at hannahduncancreations.com.

Hereford in Bronze

Hereford in Bronze

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Looking Through a Wall and Relocation

Walking around Llansteffan Castle in Carmarthenshire was great fun but first . . .

Please read this!

Later this week I will be relaunching and relocating the StillWalks website and blog and must ask all followers who wish to continue receiving their daily dose of images and sound from the StillWalks blog, to click the link on Thursday’s post and the following days to relocate with me to the new website.

Thank you to all my existing and new followers.

Along with this relaunch we will be at The Waterside with publisher Management Learning Resources (MLRUK) to promote the new StillWalks package for organisations and individuals. That’s on 7th April from 10 – 12. Details and directions can be found here at The Waterside.

Now, back to this week’s walk and the murder holes! There were plenty of opportunities to look through walls at the castle which Julie was particularly interested in. Some of these would have been used in the traditional way (for a castle), i.e. shooting enemies with arrows! The most blood curdling, however, were the “murder holes” through which boiling oil would be poured on attackers entering this part of the castle.

hole in a wall

Patterns and Textures, Control and Freedom

Can you see the eye in the strange mixture of pattern, colour and texture in the underside of this bridge? Even without the structural repairs, I find this common bridge structure has an interesting and attractive mixture of these things. The plant may not be a part of the original design, but it brings an added element of freedom to the control needed in the architecture of such a structure.

wall patterns

bridge and plant

Ovens and Kilns

The structure and purpose is basically the same even if the name and end product is different. The first photo shows an oven inside the walls of Carreg Cennen Castle. The second shows two of a set of three linked lime kilns situated outside the main walls of the castle.

Carreg Cennen oven

Carreg Cennen kiln