On a freezing Sunday morning in mid-November, I set out with Steph to walk Nant Tawe Fechan, from Tafarn y Garreg to the Tawe’s source high on the Brecon Beacons, making art as we went along. Technically not mountains, hills, but that’s a matter of elevation.
We wanted to try out a few different art forms along the river to see what would work, starting by rearranging what we found around us to create a visual intervention to be recorded before returning the components as they were.
The river bank was strewn with beautiful fallen leaves in many Autumn colours. I decided to make a path of oak leaves, joining a number of mole hills and recorded it with digital photos that I intend to combine into a short video.
Then we started drawing with Inktense watercolour blocks onto heavyweight Bockingford paper. The idea was to dip our drawings face down into the fast flowing river to let nature blend the watercolours, introducing a random aspect to creating the artworks.
Here’s Steph dipping her drawing into the river.
And here’s mine, before and after.
I really love the way that Inktense colours come to life when they’re wet. The river added some tiny bubbles on the surface of the drawing.
We left our drawings to dry and started to walk up the hills.
We switched to another art form, writing single words onto small pieces of paper, words that were inspired in the moment, reflecting our surroundings.
We used my home-made walnut ink, ripped pieces of vintage paper and brushes rather than pens; it was so cold that brushes were easier to handle. We wrote in both Welsh and English and fixed the fragments so that they didn’t blow away. It’s a wild environment and we didn’t want to leave anything there so we placed the pieces and photographed them and left them there temporarily to collect on the way back, or for other walkers to pick up.
We were high up in elevation,a eventually the cold and exertion proved too much for me and I had to bail out with a few kilometres to go, so we both headed down the mountain again, collecting our art as we went.
Some of our text pieces had been picked up by others out on the Beacons and we photographed our collection before heading off for some hot soup.
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