An inspiring trip to South Wales, and Sketching.

The year is marching on apace…..and now winter is certainly upon us. I am writing warmly curled up in my studio, watching the tree outside dance to the wind’s musical howl. But to backtrack a bit – last month we went to Wales for an inspiring break away. Our cottage was down a mile of track and up the side of a deep ravine. Whilst I was anticipating wonderful sketching daytrips, I did not expect our little cottage to be quite so inspirational….. every morning and evening we were treated to a view of gently goldening and bronzing leaves and a plethora of small birds who came to the feeders on the window, which were deftly filled by the cottages owners each and every morning. I was so entranced by them that I totally forgot to sketch them. Oh dear, we may have to return one day…….

The view from our dining table, and late afternoon sketching at Whitesands
The view from our dining table, and late afternoon sketching at Whitesands wrapped up in two cardigans, a scarf, a poncho and a pair of fingerless gloves to keep out the cold.

Whitesands often pops into my mind as I follow the life of the delightfully wonderful Jackie Morris in her blog where she frequently writes about Whitesands and the view from her favourite writing spot. Her work is full of the magic of Wales, and also many others otherworldly places and people. It was a bit of a pilgrimage  for me to explore the landscape of this inspiring artist and maybe glimpse a sight of her writing away, perched up on the mountanous outcrop that overlooks the beach. But she was was away on a book tour and I must admit there was a bit of a sigh of relief as I’m sure I would be rather tongue tied to meet this heroine of mine. Instead of awkward gushing, I opted to visit Solva Woolen Mill to see a selection of her original artworks and delve into the many books that were for sale (aswell as explore their beautiful products that they make at the mill). I was so excited and longed to stay forever but strangely enough setting up up camp  in their cafe wasn’t allowed, so I satisfied myself with a signed copy of her latest book and a calendar. Not quite an original Morris, but it was so lovely to spend time in the company of such stunning artworks at the mill.

Jackie Morris - Wild Swans
Jackie Morris – Wild Swans

On other days we explored the countryside and coastlines of the, and visited Laugharne, the home of Dylan Thomas for many years. And thanks to a good push up the hill from my husband, we got to see his writing shed (apparently smartened up now, as the walls were too yellow from his smoking). Even with newly whitened walls, it was still full of atmosphere, and I could imagine Thomas walking straight in, sitting at his desk and pondering on beginning another triumphant play for voices.

(Top) Dylan Thomas' Boat House, the view. (Middle and Bottom) Sketching materials and more sketches
(Top) Dylan Thomas’ Writing Shed, the view from his shed.
(Middle and Bottom) Sketching materials and more sketches

It was such an inspiring trip and I drew constantly each day. I was even so inspired by the new boots I found in St Davids, that I simply had to sketch one of them…….

A Watermill, New Boot(s), an imagined piece and a man looking for crabs in the river.

All in all it was a truly inspiring trip, and rested and revitalised I’m ready to tackle the last few months of my Ma – hard to believe that it’ll all be over soon. Thankyou Wales for all the inspiration.


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2 thoughts on “An inspiring trip to South Wales, and Sketching.

  1. Fascinating journey with you. Thank you for sharing tidbits like Jackie Morris’s Wild Swans and that barrel-ceilinged room of Dylan Thomas. And intimate glimpses of the countryside around you through your sketchbooks. Cool boots, by the way!!

    1. Thankyou Annie….. and I hope you enjoyed the titbits….Wild Swans is everything I hoped it would be and more…now half way through – its a longer journey due to long pauses on the beautiful illustrations. And yes, the boots…..I still love them, and will be wearing them for the show in London!

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