Retreating from the Hurricane

Yesterday we felt the last remaining vestiges of Hurricane Bertha in the form of a brief sandblasting on the Millennium Park footpath on the seafront at Llanelli.

We were not long out of the car before we changed our minds about a place to go for a walk and headed for the woodland walk up to the reservoir in Swiss Valley instead.

The sand being blown off the beach felt like needles on the skin and although it wasn’t raining at the time, the locals clearly knew not to venture on the seafront when the wind is up as the place was empty of people. Swiss Valley on the other hand was relatively busy!

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Walking and Drawing – Thoughts and Observations

Following the production walk for the “Breakers Walk” StillWalks video (see yesterday’s post), I recently spent a day with three of the other artists involved in the research project “Walk and Draw for Health and Wellbeing”. The project, led by Cathy Treadaway from CARIAD, involved us on this occasion, all going for a walk through Cwm Nash woods down to the seashore and the cliffs on the South Wales coast and spending some time drawing.

I took a small sketchbook and an iPad. I have been working with drawing and iPads on the recent Josef Herman Art Foundation Schools Award project for 2014 and wanted to continue with my assessment of the iPad as another instrument for drawing. I have not reached a clear conclusion about this medium yet, other than to say it is quite different to other methods of recording observation.

The one thing the iPad has in common with all visual recording methods is that you still have to look. You can, of course, use the iPad camera to take a photo and then use that image to “trace” aspects of the subject but, to my mind, with that approach you lose the advantages gained in looking . . . or do you? After all,  observation has to be used in order to decide on the photograph to be taken and that is an essential element of StillWalks.

What are the advantages of visually recording observations? What are advantages of the different methods of visually recording observations? And what are the disadvantages of not recording observations?

More thoughts on this to come . . . 

Down on the beach

Rocky shore

breakers

Breakers Walk – A New StillWalks Video

This past week I have been showing a taster of this new StillWalks video. Now, here is the video itself. Please watch and if you can, use the expand button in the corner of the video to watch it full screen.

The video is nine minutes long, which is longer than many other StillWalks videos, but I hope that you will appreciate the reasoning for this and enjoy its full length. Comments are welcome.

The video was produced as part of a research project with Dr Cathy Treadaway for CARIAD at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Layers and Layers – Rocky Strata

The cliffs at Cwm Nash and further along the South Wales coast on the Bristol Channel display some great geological features. It is a popular place to enjoy the breakers as well as the rocks but you have to be cautious about the continually eroding cliffs.

The evidence for this is strewn along the foot of the precipice in various sizes, from small rocks which would still do you some damage, to huge chunks of cliff that must way several tons!

Cwm Nash Cliffs

Cwm Nash Cliffs

Coastal Features

The stony beach at Cwm Nash on the Bristol Channel coast of South Wales is made up of some pretty large stones – it is not shingle! This makes it difficult to walk, but perhaps there is some compensation for this in the amazing flat rock strata at the foot of the cliffs.

To see these you will have to watch the new StillWalks video, “Breakers Walk”, which will be available to view on Saturday. The sights and sounds of the woodland and waves ar, as ever, unique to the time ad place they were recorded.

Cliff top fence

breaker

Tree Tunnels

During our walk through Cwm Nash woodland, I spotted what looked like the entrance to a tunnel. It clearly wasn’t, but the growth pattern and arrangement of the trees growing at the side of the footpath appeared shortly before an actual tree tunnel that would take us out of the woods and towards the sea.

Cwm Nash Woodland

Cwm Nash Woodland

Ruins in the Woods

The ruined stone wall hidden in amongst the trees of Cwm Nash Woods was a surprise find –  for me at least. The wall belongs to an old mill beside the Ffynnon Marl river. The StillWalks production walk I did with Dr Cathy Treadaway as part of the “Walk and Draw for Health and Wellbeing” research project, was done without a recce walk beforehand.

I had been asked to go along with a completely fresh eye (and ear). I don’t normally do this because there are distinct production advantages to checking out the lie of the land beforehand. However, whether the walk is done as a recce or as a production, new surroundings are always exciting to explore and Cwm Nash absolutely “came up to the mark” for me as a new discovery.

Old Mill in Cwm Nash

Cwm Nash Woodland

Ffynnon Marl river

 

 

 

Cwm Nash Woodland

These photos are from a woodland on Bristol Channel coast of South Wales. I know the area in the Vale of Glamorgan from working there on a  project a few years ago, but I had not been to this particular spot before.

The images form part of a new StillWalks video I was asked to produce as part of a research project being run by Dr Cathy Treadaway for CARIAD at Cardiff Metropolitan University. The project – “Walk and Draw for Health and Wellbeing” – is very much in keeping with my StillWalks philosophy and the video will be available to view at the end of this week.

Cwm Nash

Cwm Nash

Cow Parsley