Welsh Ayr Painting
About the Image:
Caernarfon Castle dominates with the tower on the right hand side and the wall around the town skirting the shoreline with a few more contemporary buildings poking out in front and above. The white buildings is a pub/hotel, an essential feature of a Welsh town or any British town for that matter.
Caernarfon castle has stood for centuries, a symbol of stability, power and oppression. It feels permanent. Castles are synonymous with Wales, we have romanticised them. And chose not to dwell on their bloody past but that is history now and are more a symbol of tourism these days.
The bulk of the painting is sky and, across that sky, the music and words for the song “We’ll keep a welcome” (in the Hillside).
The pairing of the solid castle and transient nature of song was deliberate.
The painting is a personal one. Our last family holiday with both our parents was to nearby Porthmadog and we visited Caernarfon as part of it. The whole area holds special memories of happy times. North Wales was our default holiday destination, and still is.
The song was a favourite of my mother’s who loved Welsh Male Voice choirs and anything sung by Harry Secombe.
It reminds me of childhood days and an old valve radio that my parents used up until the ’80s. That sound quality is very different to that heard on digital players. I won’t say better, just different, warmer perhaps.
I chose the music because Wales and music go hand in hand. The tales of miners singing to keep their spirits up in the darkness impressed me greatly, so song had to appear, but how to depict song? Sheet music was the logical choice, It could be any Welsh melody, I chose this one because it speaks of a love for a land and that ethereal concept of home. Formed in childhood, shaped as we grow and move on.
Home becomes synonymous with our childhood homes and, even when we make our own homes later on, we look back fondly on the things we cherished in childhood.
We leave our parental homes and they change even though we return for visits. They will never be the same. The changes are subtle at first, but become more pronounced as we age. Someday we may fail to recognise what was once our home. It may just be the house or the entire neighbourhood.
The memory though will linger, reignited by photographs, a smell, a random phrase or tune. Then it all comes flooding back to us and we’re a child playing, with a mother singing. “We;ll keep a welcome…” somewhere in the house.
I miss the singing!
was created in England in 2019 in response to an Open call for the Welsh Contemporary. It’s one of two paintings, the other created to reflect Welsh Industry.
Creation: Masking fluid is painted onto watercolour paper to create an image. This is covered with a watercolour wash and covered with clingfilm. The picture is further developed using acrylic inks once the film is removed. The masking is removed after several layers are added and allowed to dry. Revealing the final picture.
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