Category: Sketching Day


Sketching Tomorrow – directions

For everyone that’s coming to our sketching day tomorrow at the Chainbridge, the best place to park is probably the Horseshoe Falls carpark – marked with the red circle on the map.

Follow the B5103 or the A5 west out of Llangollen, towards Corwen. If you drive along the A5, turn off the road over the sharp bend and fantastic little bridge over the River Dee, then left onto the B road on the other side, and almost immediately again left into the carpark. If you’re coming along the B road, you’ll see signs on the road, and make a left hand turn into the carpark.

In addition to the Victorian chainbridge itself (1), recently restored and reopened, there are the Horseshoe Falls (2), the start of the Llangollen canal (3), the restored Victorian railway station (4), and the church further on up the footpath. And if the weather is bad, we can always retreat to the Chainbridge Hotel for a cup of tea.

See you tomorrow at 11am!

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Great sketching day at the Waterfall!

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IMG_0273Another excellent sketching day in Llanymynech. We spent the morning down around the Llanymynech Limeworks, exploring the Hoffman Kiln, the railway lines and the canal wharfs – in the sunshine, no less! Lunch at Underhill Farm, with tea, coffee and the warmth of the calving shed classroom provided as the sunshine dissolved into hail and sleet. With the return of the blue skies, we headed up the hill for the afternoon, enjoying the last of the day’s sunshine up in the quarry itself.

Good to get out into the landscape once more, and I think everyone found more than enough to hold their attention through the afternoon. I worked on about two dozen sketches, trying to work as quickly as possible. Rob and Chloe also sketched quickly, both working with pencil, shaping out the massed quarry cliffs in pools of graphite. Malcolm concentrated on landscape, getting a view down onto the Hoffman Kiln from the hill above. Diana was doing some great mixed-media sketches, working over potato-prints made earlier in the morning in her sketchbook; Gill even brought in moss and mud into her drawings of the quarry cliffs.

We also had a big idea session over lunch about the Art & Craft fair in May. As promised, I will write up all the ideas we had and post it a bit later on this week – give everyone a chance to see what other people are thinking of doing and maybe spark off more ideas.

Suggestions for next month’s sketching day include Bersham Woods near Wrexham, The Ceiriog Valley, or back to Chester or even Llanymynech again! Any other suggestions?

9657477-the-background-of-textured-of-wicker-basketry-light-yellow-colour-closeupThe Underhill Farm Art & Wild Craft Fair happening the first Bank Holiday in May (4,5,6) is now up as an “event” on Facebook. If you’re on Facebook, head over to the page to say if you’re going, and to keep up to date with news and details.

Anyone interested in taking part in the event should come along to our Inside Out Sketching Day on March 17th – we’ll be visiting the farm at lunchtime and having a look around the inside and outside exhibition spaces. And don’t forget to be thinking about demos and taster courses you might be interested in running during the May weekend.

A Great Library Day

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Thanks to everyone who came and made our day at Oswestry Library a huge success! Everyone had an absolutely fantastic time – loads of nice comments from both visitors and staff. Great to see the library so busy and so full of people having fun making art!

I think we can all agree that we should really try and do this again sometime very soon. There are negotiations underway to create some student residencies at the library in partnership with the Fine Arts department at Glyndwr, and Debbie Marais is hoping that we can do a similar event sometime in the autumn. And yes – we’ll definitely do this again for next year’s National Libraries Day!

In the meantime, we’ll be putting up a new exhibition in the library of work from today – and we’ll be expanding it through the spring and summer with new works which bring together “Art and the Word”.

At the Library!

We’re halfway through our Inside Out day at Oswestry Library as part of National Libraries Day – and it’s fantastic!

Everyone’s set up on tables throughout the library, and me, Diana, Jim, Sandy, Rob, Brenda, Dorothy and Sue are busy making, talking and generally having a great time. There are loads of people coming through, and everyone’s sitting down at our tables and having a go at making stuff themselves. It’s a great atmosphere – really buzzy, everyone enjoying themselves, lots of things happening.

We’ll be there until four – come and join us!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

A brief break in the storm - cold but beautiful!

A brief break in the storm – cold but beautiful!

Everyone’s getting a real taste of winter today, and Llanarmon is no exception. The whole valley is under a blanket of snow – we’ve got 12cm at the moment up here in the village, and it’s still coming down.

Looks fantastic – and if anyone’s thinking of heading to the valley to grab some sketches or photographs for the “Ceiriog” exhibition at The Hand, this weekend would be a great time to come. I’ve been out today with a camera, and as long as things don’t get too arctic tomorrow, I’ll try and head out up onto the moors to do the same.

Intrepid souls are welcome to join me! Weather permitting, if I go out, I’ll be leaving The Hand at about 11am, heading either up Heartbreak Hill towards Penybryn and the Rhyd Caledwynt, or up the Llanrhaeadr Road to the footpath up the side of Pen y Glog.

Sketching in Bersham Woods?

Nant Bridge, Bersham Woods - a lovely place for a spring sketching day?

Nant Bridge, Bersham Woods – a lovely place for a spring sketching day?

Does anyone else know Bersham Ironworks and the woodland along the Clywedog River just outside Wrexham? Martin and Gaynor (from The Hand) and myself went up there today for a short walk with the dogs. It’s a charming stretch of woodland maintained by the Woodland Trust and punctuated with reminders of its important industrial past. In addition to the Ironworks in Bersham village, there are two weirs and a rather splendid bridge between Plas Power and Nant Mill woods.

Does anyone know anything about the art in the woods? There were wood carvings done by – I think – Simon O’Rourke. And some unusual brick sculptures near the weir at Caeau Bridge that weren’t signposted or anything, and I’ve been unable to find out anything about them on the internet (and it was too gloomy to photograph them; I’m guessing they were lumps of brick and mortar, shaped with a saw and then possibly allowed to weather in water – or maybe sandblasted?).

Anyway, even on a rainy, misty day there was plenty to see and I can imagine that in the spring and summer the woods are lovely. I couldn’t help thinking as we were walking along that the place would be perfect for a sketching day!

Sketching in Llanarmon D.C.!

And finally, the rain stopped...

And finally, the rain stopped…

I know this is a bit last-minute, but with all the sun we’re having I’m tempted to go out and do some sketching tomorrow: I’ve got drawings to do for the new Hand Walk Book Martin and I are working on.

If anyone’s interested, I’m going to be sketching around Llanarmon D.C. tomorrow morning and early afternoon – the Church, Ysgubor Draw and around the Village Hall – probably going out around 11am and finishing about 3pm with tea in The Hand.

Maybe see some of you tomorrow!

Sketching day at Llanymynech - panel from Limescapes comic (2012)

Sketching day at Llanymynech – panel from Limescapes comic (2012)

Had a great sketching day at Llanymynech Rocks on Sunday.  About ten of us met up at the quarry carpark and braved the chill for a morning and afternoon of exploring, photographing, painting and drawing. We were met there by Steve Evison from Underhill Farm, where we stopped for lunch and a welcome cup of tea. Actually, it wasn’t nearly as cold as I expected it to be, and as the day wore on, it was actually quite warm in the sunshine. After lunch, Steve took a group of us on a tour of the older limekilns underneath the brow of the quarries, and then up to the toposcope for a view out over the canal, the railway line and the long oval of the Hoffman Kiln across the other side of the B-road.

This was not our first visit either to Underhill Farm or to the “limescapes” in Llanymynech, but it confirmed it as a place rich in creative possibilities. A number of us are now starting works that focus on the quarry, the limekilns and the wider natural and heritage landscapes that surround the quarry. Dorothy was muttering enthusiastically about centring at least part of her MA work on the quarry, Al was interested in also directing some of his course work towards the area, and I know Gill has also been working on a series of paintings set up in the quarries. I’ve also now started work on two graphic novel projects – one which Steve and I have talked about previously, about the heritage and environment of the quarries and the limekilns, bringing a number of different aspects – industrial history, archaeology, geology, social and community history and leisure – together; the second a more explorative graphic work which uses the quarry as its geographical focus.

With all this interest in the quarries and the kilns, I’m glad we’ve got a good working relationship with Underhill Farm. Both Steve and Irene are keen to have us Inside Out artists make the most of the place, and would welcome individuals or small groups back to use the farm as a base for working and sketching days. I know a number of us will be returning individually through the winter, making headway with our individual projects – but if anyone is interested in another sketching day out at the quarry, just say so!

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