A misty day in May.
The crenelated towers were challenging, angles and details impossible to capture correctly with my left hand.
I thought maybe the colours were too intense so I washed the whole painting with cold water and then brushed away at the paint with an old toothbrush. I’ve never thought to do that be for but I like the grainy look it brings, as though your eyes are fighting against mist and fading eyesight to focus clearly on what is in front of you.
Whilst I was painting this watercolour, the light changed, the rocks became darker, almost purple black. For around ten minutes a bright yellow rescue helicopter hovered over Bristly Ridge, the peak at the left, then flew towards me, turned and set off towards Bangor, to the hospital I suppose.
The summit of Tryfan is famous for the twin monoliths of Adam and Eve, a pair of rocks some three metres high and separated by 1.2 metres. The rocks are visible from the Ogwen valley, from where they resemble two human figures. It’s traditional for climbers to jump or ‘step’ between the two rocks and thus gain the ‘freedom of Tryfan’
A poorly cared-for building in Clynnog Fawr in North Wales, so many textures and colours, faded red paint, purple slate, green algae, green moss, green plastic hose, rusting iron railings, I could go on! The painted out window, I waited hoping that someone would come and look out through the broken pane but no-one came. The white paint is peeling on the board door, the rough stonework is mossy but the roof tiles are perfectly cut and aligned.
For the first time I braved the challenge of walking down Snowdon, I had taken the train up but walked down via the Pyg track. It was a scorching day in late July, I was with four friends, all probably fitter than I. It started off well enough, the views were spectacular, I had plenty of water and the route was well known to our leader, I was enjoying it immensely. But after a long tiring struggle – downwards walking is so hard on the knees – I was enjoying it a lot less. Using the last of my energy I pushed on a bit faster, to end the seemingly interminable descent a little quicker. I lost sight of the others but sensibly stopped and waited. The sun was behind Snowdon and the light was falling across the ridge, I hoped I might just be able to take a good photograph as one or other of them appeared over the intermediate horizon.
I was pleased when the first one to appear was wearing a wide-brimmed hat, silhouetted against the light. Just seconds later the composition might have been spoiled by the appearance of two other walkers following behind, in fact the tops of their heads are just visible, catching the sunlight to the right.
The rest of the descent took another hour, nearly five in all but well worth it for the exhilaration, the views and that one photograph.
Diane and Geoff of Pen’rallt Gallery Bookshop are mounting the third year of their annual open submission photography exhibition, opening on Saturday 19th October in Machynlleth, Powys until 27th November 2013.
There are 47 exhibitors altogether, Diane and Geoff chose to include “Blue Room” from the group of six photographs I submitted.
These are the others. It is a small gallery, so only one image per exhibitor is displayed on the walls but all the rest can be seen in a browser in the gallery.
The theme they proposed “Where Light Falls” could apply to any photograph in some way, it was an interesting opportunity to explore the effects of light in its own right rather than the objects or people being photographed, although the two can’t really be separated. Some of these photos were taken deliberately with the theme in mind, others simply seemed to fit, serendipity stepping in as in “That Look”.
There are so many corners of this perfectly marvellous house, here are just a few more that particularly caught my eye. A large white feather, from whose tail I know not, looks very fine resting on this old treasure box, decorated with nail-heads.
What dainty feet – the owner of these these faux? snakeskin shoes has left them here to make sure the ancient oak treads are not harmed by their metal heel studs, they sit here waiting patiently for her to return so that they may resume some marvellous adventure whilst protecting her feet.
The current inhabitants of this great house are slowly discovering the depths of its history, painted designs on the window reveal, buried beneath more modern plasters and a unique example of painted oak panelling recorded as having been painted in the late 16th century. Standing in the great hall feels like a walk back in time, can I hear sounds from the early days or is it all in my head?
Lastly a glimpse into a more recent past, a cousin of the Thermos vacuum flask of my youth, which my mother filled with homemade ice-cream in summer or french onion soup in winter to take on picnics at the beach.