I found one of my signed prints at the Good Will store for $4.99. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Maybe it means I made the big time. Ha! I did buy it. I know a good deal when I see one.
While checking out an estate sale the other day I bumped into an old friend. I mentioned to him that I sometimes find prints of my work at these things. Having already looked through the art they did have for sale I told him, “Not today.” But as I was leaving I wandered into the garage where they had some books for sale. I quickly recognized my image on a book cover for St. Mary’s from 2000. I wasn’t aware this had happened. I did the drawing for post cards they had ordered from me a long time ago. I bought the book for a dollar. Perhaps I will sign it to increase its value. Maybe double it!
I have not been doing a lot of painting these days. But I have been creative. Working on my beloved farmhouse or my cobblestone is not unlike creating a functional, living sculpture to me. Paintbrushes, hammers and saws are all creative tools I am comfortable with. Planting trees, bushes and flowers is quite satisfying to my creative bent.
I had a plate made up of a drawing I did of a Welsh scene. I used black oil base ink and use my letterpress to make to make prints up on watercolor paper.
For the third year in a row I’ve had the honor of sharing art with my cousin Felicity’s class in Wales. It was very enjoyable. Kids are easy as all you have to do it provide them with materials and a little direction and they just take off. I gave them each a black and white card of one of my drawings. I did a little demonstration with watercolors to get them started and that’s all it took. Truly, they are a lovely group of children that gives me hope for our future.
I left Gresford, Wales by bus and took it to Chester, England where I boarded a train to Conway. I didn’t plan ahead. I just decided that morning to do it. Doing a sketch of Conway Castle was one of my goals as was visiting my family on Angelsey Island just north of Conway. I had been to Conway several times before but I wanted to spend some time there exploring the town. I knew I would not be able to settle down to draw with so much to see. To draw I would have to stop moving. But there was too much to see. I got off the train and walked the ancient streets taking pictures and checking out shops. I stopped in a quaint cafe called Illy Caffe for a cup of tea and to hook up to some Wifi. I had been trying to contact my cousin Andy who lived across the harbor in Deganwy with the hopes of spending the night there. If I was unsuccessful I was going to just take the train back to Gresford. The owner of the cafe was quite friendly and we had a pleasant conversation. I was browsing through a couple of history books on Conway that were interesting. That cafe became my base. I left the cafe and continued my walkabout looking for a good view to sketch the castle. It was problematic. Logistically, I was too close to it. I took many pics looking for a good composition. The other option was to cross the bay and get more of the castle in view. It was getting late in the day. I walked across the bay to get a different view and to see visit Andy. It was overcast and I hoped the next day would be better and that I would still be around. I made it to Andy’s. He wasn’t home but his boarder was. So I did get to spend the night and stay another day. The morning found me walking around the bay back to Conway. It was windy and chilly. I headed back to Illy Caffe where the owner Hazm was happy to see me. He let me hang there as long as I liked and I started the layout of a drawing in pencil from one of my pics. When I had a decent composition I left the cafe and stood in the cold and sketched it in ink from life. I went back to the cafe to warm up and drink tea that Hazm wouldn’t charge me for. When I left the cafe I walked around exploring. At one point I realized I had lost my hat. I went back to the cafe to see if I left it there. It did. Hazm pointed to an older man sitting at a table and told me he was the man who wrote the books and introduced me to John B. Davies. We had a lively conversation and he gave me one of his books which he signed for me. I gave him a print of my Angelsey boat scene. I also gave one to Hazm who promised to hang it in the cafe. I checked the wifi and I heard from Andy who was back home. He agreed to pick me up and take me up north to see our family. The journey continued. Winging it worked out fine.
I returned to Carew Castle, where 23 years ago I stood and did a painting of it in watercolor. Today I spent a couple of hours in the glorious Welsh sun and sketched it in ink on watercolor paper. My cousin Simon dropped me off there in late morning and his dad Paul picked me up at 2:00pm so I had limited time. But I got enough down to finish it up later.
Carew Castle has a long and fascinating history. When the Normans conquered England Carew Castle changed from the seat of a Celtic prince, with defensive ditches, to an earth and timber Norman fortification at the end of the 11th century. Over the following five centuries various colorful characters added their touches to the castle, developing it from a Norman fortification, to a stone castle to an elaborate Elizabethan mansion. It is believed that the last jousting tournament in Great Britain was held here.