"Art produced in the last twelve months of lockdown and other artworks produced in response to collaborative challenges set by individual members to support each other throughout this year.”
The Picturemakers / Y Llunwyr is a self-funded group of artists, based in mid-Wales. The Group is drawn from in and around Aberystwyth, Felinfach near Lampeter, Llandrindod Wells, Pant-y-Dwr, Pennant near Llanon and Rhayader. Since our foundation in 2006 we have held over forty exhibitions.
We come from very different backgrounds and environments, and our styles range from representational to abstract, but much of our work is rooted in the natural world. Our first ever exhibition was entitled Cynefin, which means "affection for familiar places and experiences, both individual and collective".
Our ethos is one of continuous improvement and mutual encouragement to develop and become ever more professional in our practice. We meet for group discussions every two to three months to share our work; both work-in-progress and finished work, so as to benefit from each other's experience, expertise, constructive criticism and ideas.
During lockdown, The Picturemakers supported each other through the period of isolation by giving each other 'Art challenges'; and meeting via Zoom. All of the work in this exhibition comes from that period of time.
My camera is like a sketchbook; capturing what inspires me, allowing thoughtful cropping, scaling and refining of composition. I am fascinated by patterns, the effects of light or juxtapositions of colour at every scale; on pebbles, shattered rocks, plants of all shapes and sizes, in skies, and in water. I regard my photos, like my pebbles, as ‘found paintings’. It is our challenge as artists to translate these items or photos of things we love into paintings…but also to know when a photo says it all.
The Picturemakers Challenges this year forced me to revisit media I haven’t used for years. I expect some of these will become part of my ‘New Normal’.
Caravaggio's 'Entombment' seemed a fitting subject to paint, in this time. It is a powerful image of human suffering. As a boy in Milan, Caravaggio witnessed the devastating impact of the bubonic plague on the city. He probably saw the corpses as they were carted through the streets and many other dreadful scenes besides. It took his father, uncle and paternal grandparents. Caravaggio's art is informed by the agony of profound loss. The covid pandemic has wrought suffering on a huge scale in our own time. But a new day will dawn. Hope springs eternal, as symbolised by Christ's resurrection.
“I became a committed painter after studying art at school and later at evening classes and usually paint landscapes, still life and portraits in oils on board, linen or canvas, directly from the subject. More recently, I have made paintings from images of master paintings and photographs.
My intention is to make work that has something to say about the subject.
I derive great pleasure from looking at and learning from the paintings of other artists, both past and present. I cannot imagine a world without paintings.”
I left school longing to work in the arts, but as a restaurateur and chef, my creativity was to the fore. Later, years of working with fabulous textiles fed my hunger for colour and texture.
An abrupt change of career in 1993 brought me to Aberystwyth University, where I successfully tackled a Computer Science degree, after which a rollercoaster of coincidences led me to me spending over twenty years in the Information Services Department.
Now I have a new career as a freelance translator. Through the lockdowns, looking out at the ever-changing sky from my office window has kept me sane, but the beach, as seen here, has been a distant memory.
Living and working on a hill farm in Mid Wales has enabled me to observe the natural world in every season. My studies are of hedging that has been neglected and left to grow into exciting shapes, full of energy, colour and movement.
April proved to be a challenging month for farming with bitter north winds and freezing nights, preventing grass growth for the ewes and their new lambs, but it proved to be a bonus for me and my subject as the Spring sun shone.
Studied Design at Canterbury College of Art and at Goldsmiths College London. Throughout a career in Higher Education and County Advisory work, was always interested in the relationship between Art and Design ; particularly in the opportunity for new ways of expression and creativity.
Began painting in 2007, having moved to Cwmrheidol in Mid Wales. The rich local environment and a long held fascination with the sea, provides the basis for much of his work.
Always ready to try new ideas rather than develop a particular technique or viewpoint, his work both pictorial and semi abstract intentionally leaves room for the viewer to find their own position and engagement.
In 2010 Philip moved from Lincolnshire to Wales to study for an MA at Aberystwyth where he was awarded a university scholarship. He has exhibited extensively in public and private galleries in England and Wales and has work in international and UK private collections, as well as Welsh national collections, including the National Library of Wales and MOMA Machynlleth. His work has been published in three books, ‘Hud Afon Arth’(‘The Magic of the Arth’) Gwasg Gwynfil 2015, ‘Ysbryd Ystrad Fflur’(‘The Spirit of Strata Florida’) Gwasg Gwynfil 2019 and ‘Cwm y Wrach’(‘The Witches Valley’)Atebol 2020.
During Lockdown in Aberystwyth I frequently took exercise on the promenade. The changing aspect of the sea and sky and the sense of the wider, but socially distanced, community brought solace in difficult times. By March even ice cream was for sale again and it felt like a liberating moment. I normally make figurative work involving collage and ink drawing but here I choose to do a series of small paintings on canvas to record some of the memories I have of that very particular time and the hope of better times ahead.
25. Moira Vincentelli Icecream on the Prom 1. (2 ladies) mixed media with collage on canvas w.30x h25 cms £125
My work often explores the same theme trying to express different aspects through the exploration of colour, shape and form. The themes are usually related to the environment and the series for this exhibition is based on Aberystwyth harbour (my home town). The pictures have evolved from a recognisable image into semi abstract ones, shapes and forms have been subtracted from the original view by looking at it in more detail.
Lockdown provided me with the opportunity to consider where I wanted to take my art practice. I spent several months copying work by Winifred Nicholson, Alice Mumford, Mary Fedden; Joan Eardley, Gauguin, Matisse. I enjoyed the discipline of copying composition and mixing colour accurately. I realised it was time to start taking risks, be bold, and take time to achieve the results I want!
Early this year I started painting in oil after years of using acrylic. It is challenging and exciting.
Rhayader Hill and Dolifor Fields are views that can be seen walking up the cycle track out of Rhayader towards the Elan Valley.
Kim James-Williams’ paintings are from a series, ‘Into the Blue,’ (begun during the second lockdown) of self-portraits made following a swim in the sea: a painted diary of changing colours and sea states which echo the swimmer’s fluctuating state of mind.
“It is very restful, or mindful, you can only think about anything except breathing through the cold, and the mass of water around you like an embrace, a celebration of life: in the elements immerse”.
Kim James-Williams studied art at Carmarthen SoA, Winchester SoA and Aberystwyth SoA. Kim specialises in drawing which she uses to explore mindfulness and connectivity.
Catherine Smedley recently moved back to Wales after spending 26 years in South West France.
"The most natural way of creating for me is not to specialise in a particular medium but to let that be dictated by whatever idea or subject that I want to explore. This might result in a painting arrived at through observation, or a piece of work created by listening to my subconscious and letting something take shape. Both methods of working are essentially about relationship. I’m particularly focused on trying to capture those elusive ingredients of a place, ‘mood and atmosphere’.”
My primary interest is in portrait and figure painting. I aim to express honestly the thoughts and feelings of the sitter, concentrating on composition, draughtsmanship, close observation and subtle use of colour. This year it has been difficult to have live models posing for me, so I have been working from online portrait and life drawing sessions.
I undertake portrait commissions. I also enjoy painting the everyday things that surround us, exploring in particular the effect of colour, light, shadow and space, and the relationship of the objects on each other: this excites and absorbs me.
Lockdown was an intensely introspective period in which my mother died. Inheriting some of her belongings enabled me to look closely at their abstract, at times slightly asymmetric patterns and decorative elements and absorb them into my art making detailed images using a small stiff brush. There is an instinctive need to have a lot happening in my image making and it provided a change of inspiration from landscapes produced just before lockdown started of which the Elan Valley is an example.