Art in Wales
The last Bank Holiday of the year and we are going out – crazy considering that we can do it any time we like. That is the theory anyway. However we had been given an invitation to the opening of a new exhibition in a gallery in Haverfordwest. A new one for us with a memorable name ‘The Late November Gallery’ – a place to add to our data-base of ‘art in Wales’.
So armed with a beautiful glossy invitation featuring some very interesting work, we went in search of the gallery. When the mind is tuned to a topic, whether a building project, the written word, art, plants, wildlife – somehow the brain files the request and sorts out potential themes and obliterates all else. Well that is today’s theory. The gallery was a treat and well worth visiting, but during the day we also experienced art in many other guises than the conventional paint on canvas.
First impressions of Haverfordwest were not good. One road roundabout had a very interesting planting scheme. Crushed slate – great showing a bit of Welsh industrial history – golden pebbles defining some other feature perhaps. Interspersed with the slate and pebbles there are blocks of trendy black grass and some other unidentifiable plants. An interesting and clever artistic bit of landscaping totally spoiled by all the weeds that were growing through. AND on another note – not much in the way of bee friendly planting that is being taken up by many counties like Devon, Monmouthshire, Powys etc. the roadsides, roundabouts all planted with wildflowers. This town should be on display as a stunning holiday destination. Just take the small town of Crickhowell in Powys and note how delightful and inviting it looks. Even the town’s county council building in Haverfordwest, a modern edifice, is planted up with dead and dying bands on every floor. It would have been better if the plants had been eliminated and glorious summer colourful exuberance replace those colourless, tired and bedraggled hebes and ivies that droop from the building in dried and deathly rows. Great scars of budget cuts blatantly displayed, if there are budget restrictions surely there must be a band of guerrilla or even gorilla gardeners in the town who would love to do something to improve the care of these places? Do the local county councillors have no pride in their town? Even on a busy road junction a derelict cottage with a huge rose painted on it is shouting out to be noticed.
So to say I was disappointed is putting it mildly – this is a town with great history and should be celebrated as such – where are all the interesting shops – the Welsh historian John Davies is quoted as saying that Haverfordwest was becoming “a medieval town surrounded by tin sheds”.
The Late November Gallery – Haverfordwest – Art in Wales.
Well this little gallery made up for the disappointment in the town itself. http://www.thelatenovembergallery.co.uk/ This was a treat and really worth the effort of driving there on a Bank Holiday. A warm welcome by Anne the artist/proprietor of the gallery. A very clever mix of artists’ work – decorative, collectible and potential investment shopping – as can be seen on the website. I have taken a few quick ‘snaps’ to give a taste of what is in the gallery, but these do not do justice to the passionate and vigorously executed art. Stimulating and inspiring for other artists to look at and some wonderful pictures that would look well in any home or corporate office setting. This gallery shows that there are hugely talented artists in Wales creating potential for Art Tours in this glorious country.
The pictures above are by Chris Prout and perhaps waiting for the next exhibition and not yet hung – some inspired work by Jennie Slater – something to look forward to later in the year.
Art in Wales that is transient and captured in photographs
The beauty of the camera is that it can capture pictures of everyday things and by ‘stilling’ these images create a memory of a time and place.
On the way to the gallery we watched the river with fascination. Moving water is calming and hypnotic and when it carries debris, foam and flower petals you are suddenly caught up in the creation of a piece of transient art. If you don’t take a photograph it is just a fleeting memory and then in just a few moments it is gone forever.
Now imagine putting these images into frames as a series – as good as any contemporary artist created by the force of the river alone. Conceptual art in nature – the swirling of detritus, foam, petals self creating interesting marbling of forms that mesmerise the watcher. What was interesting was the way that the same cluster of swirling froth and stained bubbles was still in the same place when we had finished looking at the art in the gallery. This little corner of the river seemed to be trapped while the powerful flow of the river carted everything else down towards the sea.
Observations of more solid ‘found’ art in Wales.
Replete with inspiration from the gallery we then took time to capture images of more substantial observations. Peeling paint is always intriguing, stones and brickwork, reflections – all play a part in feeding the imagination.
A powerful and strange combinations of colours that reflect the darkness of the river that ran alongside with neither one having a view of the other!
The bridge – a dull day produces sombre yet clear reflections that highlight the details which bright sunshine might otherwise bleach out.
Twisted ropes of water constant in the flow over the weir.
An old wall keeping the secret of the arch and leaving it to the imagination to try to work out its original purpose.
A strange twisted reflection of the council buildings with scribbled details around the window formed by the moving water – nothing edited – just stilled.
A portrait of a man in a window. My man in fact – so it is not exactly, in modern parlance, a selfie!
Oh well – it is painting in another way but I could not resist it!
Art journey in Wales
Our next stop was supposed to be St. Davids. What a contrast – a delightful little city – prettily painted homes, flowers and thousands of tourists. Haverfordwest could be like this – come on wake up you have such huge potential. Don’t pull the deprived area theme – this is a stunning location – this is glorious Wales – somewhere where tourists hungry for beauty, history and recreation outside their normal lives can come to over and over again.
So we drove through the crowds in St. Davids and made our way to our favourite eating place in West Wales – The Shed in Porthgain.
Art in West Wales
We are never disappointed when visiting Porthgain. The gallery was closed but it did not spoil our day. The very best fish and chips for him and a crab sandwich for me in The Shed. http://www.theshedporthgain.co.uk/
I will not post lots of pictures because there are plenty on this website. The fish and chips are legendary, certainly not the traditional greasy mess that we try to avoid in most fish and chip places. This fish is battered in fine, delicate and crisp batter – the chips are real potato crisp on the outside, soft on the inside – and the crab sandwich just perfection.
And then there was pudding with marbled cream and sauce echoing the colours in the river at Haverfordwest!
There are always pictures to capture and I have taken hundreds over the years. This extraordinary place with its rich industrial past still very evident is fascinating and many stories must be written in the bricks and the harbour walls.
Porthgain – an amazing bit of interesting industrial history – now a place for creatives to be inspired to create art in Wales. there is no beach and yet it is always really busy – a tribute to those who have turned this tiny ‘out-of-the-way’ industrial port into an interesting place to visit.
Lobster pots in regimental rows – a lesson in perspective! Found art in Wales.
Another bit of perspective much nearer home – a neighbour’s fantastic blue fence and richly coloured hydrangeas – I have so many pictures of this fence! Art outside a farm in Wales!
Back home just before sunset – our westerly view looking towards Tenby and Sir John Hill in Laugharne.