Living in the Cloud

Hafod Art Residency, Snowdonia

Woodlands. Slate. Steep camber. Trees falling inwards, on top of me. Closed in, no horizon, panic. At the highest point, I see the other peaks, and a sense of relief to feel space and see distance. Faced with an abundance of nature to draw from, I clung onto the more solid shapes: edges of footpaths, narrow roads, twists and turns of the dog leg bends down the hills, up the hills, around the lakes, through the woods.

These twists and turns in the footpaths became my point of reference. Plunged into an environment that was away from my usual Penwith stomping ground, I looked harder, noticed more, I felt fresh to everything around me, willing to visually explore and record my surroundings: the ever changing skylines of the Rhinog’s disappearing into or appearing from thick cloud and mist, the contrast of colour between slate and the daily ‘greening up’ of the mountainside.

Early morning runs around the nature reserve, feeling the chill of the morning air on my arms, the smell of mud, sodden leaves, water, geese. The trees reflected perfectly on the lake’s surface. All day walks with my sketchbook, pencils and charcoal. Discovering a lake slightly further away, higher up within the nature reserve. Barred from the path where the nesting birds were protected; finding alternative routes.

Waking up to the sound of the three huge bulls also sharing the land: their gentle smell, tails swishing, slow walking, soft munching sounds, mesmerised by their food and constantly eating. I am grateful for other living creatures in my immediate surroundings. I question my need for daily human interaction, and decide that for now, the bulls are good company.

Painting in the studio, returning daily to my places of reference, working from observation became more important again. Truth to looking, to observing the shapes of the paths and skylines. Truth to weather, colour, and light, focussing on the external.

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