I felt overwhelmed when planning my Welsh Industry painting. How do you represent the heart of a nation in a few pithy images? A picture tells a thousand words, so the saying goes. Is that enough to reflect the beauty and grandeur of the land, or the resilience and spirit of its people? The voices raised in song, caught in emotions struggling or succeeding in life?
Can you really sum up the industry, the creativity, the language and the flavour of the ancient peoples of Celtic heritage, invasions by armies or, more recently, tourists?
Considering my memories of Wales, I find certain things come to mind. The Welsh language has a rich, lyrical warmth to it. I understand a few words and, when you’re in Wales, it’s natural to try to understand it. Language is historical, it emerges like plants growing from the ground, which is why I included the language at Ground level. The words are Welsh translations for words I brainstormed when thinking of what I associate with Wales.
Coal mining; Slate mining; tourism; mountains and mountain climbing; Fishing; castles; land of industry and song; harbours; fishing ports and industry; Ancient language: railway lines, bridges, rivers and waterfalls; farming, beaches and boating; and finally Wales itself – Cymru written at the heart of the mountains.
The range is a view from Mount Snowdon on the Llanberis path, the sign that marks the beginning is in the bottom left. Towering above the supports for the Prince of Wales Bridge (Welsh: Pont Tywysog Cymru), the first sign you are entering Wales from the south, not quite in Wales but a significant one in the mind of the traveller and far prettier than the Toll booths. I can’t think of a northern equivalent, the landmarks and distinctions are far less pronounced further north.
The colliery wheel is the Big Pit with an old steam train in the foreground. The pit is still active but mining continues alongside the tourist trade. The new and prolific industry for much of Wales. The steam train, a reference to the history of the region and a significant contributor to its wealth. The chain link in the foreground, reminded me of fishing nets and the tracks a reminder of paths forged through the terrain, sometimes precarious, especially in the mountainous regions. I borke it down so the details of the train could dominate.
Wales has a rich industrial history with a gritty appearance, but there’s a pride and a warmth in the people always found in close communities. There are new industries taking place of the old . Tourism being one, and there are so many more that are beyond the scope of a single painting. Suffice it to say that in an age of globalisation, Wales can still stand her own.
This painting will be available for sale. Check it, and the others available here.