View Full Version : 7 go to Wales

08-01-2016, 04:52 AM

7 of us just had a week in Wales painting and sketching. Such a buzz and so exhausting!

We stayed in Bangor, on the coast opposite the isle of Anglesey. Ynys Mon in Welsh. My daughter was at university there so I knew the area a little but discovered lovely places that were new to me - and so many more that we didn't get to,


So we explored the isle of Anglesey and the mountains and coast on the mainland. Sometimes we split up and sometimes all of us at one place. A lovely week of intensive plein air work and art talk/critique.

This was done on the way. It was very drizzly/rainy up in the mountains on the way. 3 of us managed to meet up and break the journey to sketch in a valley that is one of my favourite places. We got very wet and bedraggled but were determined to get a sketch in on the journey :)

08-01-2016, 11:02 AM
I look forward to seeing more of the sketches Vivien.


08-01-2016, 02:37 PM
Sounds like a wonderful adventure. Great sketch.

08-01-2016, 03:20 PM
Lovely sketch, I really must visit Wales myself soon!

Joan T
08-01-2016, 09:02 PM
Sounds like a wonderful trip. That sketch is lovely!!

08-02-2016, 05:46 AM
Thank you all :)

These 2 were done in the late afternoon. It was cold. We were on Anglesey looking back at the mainland and the mountains of Snowdonia - their tops in the clouds.

about 16 ins across, charcoal

about 9 ins across, watercolour

It didn't always rain honestly! I actually got sunburnt the next day despite sun lotion. Rudolph the red nosed reindeer isn't a good look.

Luckily 'bad' weather is interesting to paint/draw :)

08-02-2016, 06:39 AM
Lovely memories. Did you get to Portmeirion?


08-02-2016, 08:01 AM
Not this time Doug as there was so much to paint nearer. I have been in the past. A fantastic place in a beautiful setting and of course the Prisoner :)

My daughter was at uni in Bangor and we would explore when i visited.

I wanted the wild places, mountains and coast. The men enjoyed the boatyards as well so I sketched a real mix of stuff - rusty old boat shed, yacht, beaches, mountains, lighthouses, so many wonderful places to paint :)

Trying to find time to download the photos.

08-02-2016, 01:40 PM
I'm loving all your sketches, Viv!

08-02-2016, 03:12 PM
Beautiful sketches.

08-03-2016, 04:43 AM
Thank you :)

Next mud and rust :)


So here is the rusty boat shed, slowly disintegrating. At Menai Bridge. The tide was out and the mud reflected the light. A3, watercolour and mixed media.

And an unfinished one on an offcut of Fisher 400 paper in cp, small


08-03-2016, 07:46 AM
I love the rock textures in the first one.


08-03-2016, 02:14 PM
Very cool.

Joan T
08-03-2016, 06:20 PM
Wonderful skies in the charcoal and the watercolor! Love the rusty barn. It would call me to sketch too.

08-04-2016, 05:22 AM
Thank you :)

and there's more (lots more!!)


Not my usual subject but the men in the group fancied painting at this marina. The boat was a challenge!

It's one of those scenes where it really shows up how a photo doesn't catch the interesting bits - those reflections just don't capture well with the camera, you need to be there looking.

A3 plein air, watercolour and mixed media.

08-04-2016, 07:10 AM
Looks fine to me Vivien, plenty of "interesting bits" ;)


08-04-2016, 03:20 PM
Looks like you were up to the challenge. Great sketch.

08-05-2016, 04:53 AM
fiendish difficult bits! a bit like the Chinese curse of 'may you live in interesting times' Doug

And after painting the boat at Conwy before lunch, we drove round to the opposite bank of the estuary, to Deganwy, to paint the view back. (Conwy is just off to the left)

a pastel 20x8 ins, against the light

and then move a bit and a quick pen and wash before we packed up and left


Done with my Pilot Flude pen with its curved nib, which lets you use thin or thick lines according to the angle you work at. (not italic, totally different) in an A2 sketchpad

Munin Raven
08-05-2016, 09:48 AM
These are great. North Wales is one of my favorite shomping grounds - particularly around Snowdonia and along the coast. I'm very taken by the suggestive texture of the foreground rocks in the barn picture.

Did you check out the church on the island just off the Menai Bridge? It's a gorgeous little place to visit.

08-05-2016, 09:49 AM
On the subject of North Wales, has anyone been to the Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfall which is off the beaten track? Is it worth the trek?


08-05-2016, 01:09 PM
Not on this visit but I have been there Munin - gorgeous and lovely views

08-05-2016, 01:15 PM
I don't think I've ever been there Doug http://www.pistyllrhaeadr.co.uk/visiting.html but it looks lovely. Not in the area we visited though, nearer England and a different mountain range.

08-05-2016, 01:20 PM
Thanks Vivien, I'll put it on my to do list.


08-05-2016, 03:19 PM
Beautiful sketches.

Joan T
08-05-2016, 11:02 PM
Both of these show that rugged coast well. Lovely!

08-06-2016, 03:58 AM
Thank you all :)


a couple of small oils on canvas sheets from early in the week - the only day the oils came out as it was windy and I got covered in paint!


The second one needs a little of the sky purple bringing into the sea

These were looking back to the mainland and Conwy/Llandudno from Penmon

08-06-2016, 03:07 PM
Lovely ocean-scapes.

Munin Raven
08-08-2016, 04:39 PM
Oh, the oils. Oh, yes. You seem to have a confident hand with any medium. I'm totally loving the two coastal pieces. I agree with what you say about the second one needing a little colour reference of the purple sky. But, I will say that wasn't my initial thought. I was just loving the mood and that little tint of orange in the water. A buoy? Whatever it is, it really works.

08-09-2016, 04:38 AM
thank you both :) I felt very very rusty with my oils as I seem to have been using other media for quite a while. I need to get out more with them and maybe do some oils and pastels from the watercolour sketches at home.

08-12-2016, 10:55 AM

So midway through the week I felt the need to work bigger and looser and used pastel. So glad I took some :) It was great to work freely and fast. The image is 20x8 inches (24 ins tall when framed). It's tacked to the outside of the frame at the moment, while I decide if I need to tweak anything.

Done sitting on the cliffs watching the tide come in.

08-12-2016, 06:49 PM
Lovely, absolutely lovely.

08-13-2016, 04:54 AM
thanks Debby :)


and a really really quick scribble at the end of a long day in an A5 S&B sketchbook.

I wish S&B would make an A3 sketchbook I would have taken one - I was determined to work larger on this trip - A3 and bigger and sadly their largest is half that size at A4. Michael please do an A3 sketchbook! It can be spiral bound for ease of making .....

Joan T
08-13-2016, 08:49 AM
Love the lighthouse and the quick scribble. You did some really nice work. I am agonizing about what to bring with me on my trip to Venice next week. I want paper and sketchbooks for various things, but want to be able to carry everything on the plane. lol

08-13-2016, 10:15 AM
:) because it was specifically a painting trip for us all I didn't skimp ... I had the luxury of taking what I wanted and took a huge tool chest on wheels (it can also double as a seat or a table next to my chair) - I mean huge! it completely fills a back seat in the car - with oil paints, watercolours, some pastels, charcoal, tinted charcoal, coloured pencils, bottles of ink, fixative, zest it, baby oil (for cleaning up), baby wipes, rags, tissues, bulldog clips, knife, sharpener, sun screen and a lot more! Next to it leant a lot of different large pads of paper and sheets of paper so I could choose my surface. Then comfy chair and easel.

Nearly all got used at some point. I could then select when I got anywhere what would be right for that venue and just carry that.

Tough having to narrow down because of flight and walking. I envy you Venice. I'd love to go.

08-13-2016, 02:42 PM
Really nice scribble. :)

08-17-2016, 10:13 AM
Thanks Debby :)


revisiting the valley later in the week. A3 mixed media.

08-17-2016, 10:18 AM

and I decided to crop the shed - it focuses on the shed better I think - do you agree?

as sketched

08-18-2016, 02:16 PM
The mixed media of the valley is wonderful. It made me want to go visit that place. I agree, the cropped version is better.

09-02-2016, 10:19 AM
Hi Viv! Long time no see! :wave: Really nice to see your work again, gives a nice feel for the place :)

09-02-2016, 01:31 PM
Thanks Julianne and Debby :)

Munin Raven
09-05-2016, 01:44 PM
:)...I had the luxury of taking what I wanted and took a huge tool chest on wheels (it can also double as a seat or a table next to my chair) - I mean huge!

Boy, I picture your art chest like one of those Yaki Imo carts they have in Japan during the Autumn season, for selling hot sweet potatoes... lots of modifications done and added for every conceivable need. Everything has it's place, fits just so, and this thing folds out here as a substitute for that, and if I turn this round, I can rest that there, but if I turn it this way, I can also use it to hold that; and, and... Heheeee... I love how creativity just infests everything, if used and exercised often. :clap: :thumbsup:

09-05-2016, 04:44 PM
not that huge! but one of those does sound very useful ......


09-06-2016, 03:10 PM

I wanted to get the colour of the heather without making it too pretty pretty.

Didn't have my Unision pastels with me so it was done plein air with Rembrandt and some Inscribe on Sennelier paper.

Mmmm do NOT like Sennelier sanded paper, it doesn't allow me to move the pastel about or combine colours enough. Luckily I only had the one sheet. Never to be bought again! Fisher or Colourfix are so much better for the way I work.

I'm also not a fan of Rembrandt pastels - they are too hard and the crumble.

A3 size now it's cropped.

09-06-2016, 04:52 PM

Munin Raven
09-08-2016, 01:40 PM
I really like the way you've handled the long grass in the foreground. I've never tried pastel, but I would assume keeping a strong separation of colour on thin lines would be somewhat tricky without a good grasp of the medium? Also, how do you store/transport larger pictures, like A3, when out and about? Don't tell me you lug big storage folders around too. :eek: :)

09-09-2016, 05:38 AM
thank you both :>)

I used sanded paper - in this case Sennelier, which I didn't actually like - which holds colour beautifully and it's easy to put strokes of light down over a very dark colour and it shows clean and clear. I prefer Fisher 400 or Colourfix. I don't like using pastel on other papers as I can't build enough layers and my work, whatever the medium, always has layers of colour interacting. As with any medium, the right paper for the way you work is crucial.

It's quite a lot like oil paint I feel, with the ability to work light over dark, dark over light and then light again but no wet paint to deal with.

I used the strong plastic sleeve that the paper came in for transporting (it was bigger than A3) with some paper over it to protect it. No problems with smudging at all. All the paintings from the week were stored in that until I got home - watercolours, oils, pastels, charcoal, ink etc etc etc.

Working outside there is no problem with dust either, it just blows away :) I hadn't used pastels plein air for years but really enjoyed using them on this trip. Planning to use them more.

09-11-2016, 11:07 AM
Hi Vivien,

I just went through this whole thread for the first time and it's very impressive work! I love how your sketches convey the atmosphere and weather of the place - I got chilly looking at your pieces done on a cool day. Great group of pieces here!

09-11-2016, 04:48 PM
Thanks John :) that's so what I try to do