Monday, 4 April 2011

Pieran Falls reworked

A place that I love to visit and sketch is the Hafod estate in west Wales.Its a place of wild walks,waterfalls and vistas and is steeped in history.It is now managed by the forestry commission but was once a private family estate made famous by Thomas Johnes in the 18th century.He set out to create a lush paradise in the Ystwyth valley of gardens and walks and a grand mansion was built.He also planted hundreds of trees.

Over the years the estate ran into disrepair and the mansion had to be demolished in 1958.It now lies as a pile of rubble but the Hafod trust are restoring some of the walks and historic features.

A waterfall there;Pieran Falls is a subject I painted years ago in pastels.I never liked the composition as it looked unbalanced but I decided to rework it today;and the new picture is shown above left.

I brushed off some of the pastel outdoors with a stiff brush and then worked over the top.The trouble with pastel I've found is the lack of contrast; sometimes its hard to get the darks dark enough.One answer is to work on dark tinted paper but here I just put in deep paynes grey to darken the edges,and blue in the sky.I also wiped out some of the foliage detail and took out the left hand rock at the bottom,which made it unbalanced.

I love sketching trees too and need to practise this more.This little sketch of a conifer plantation at the Hafod,was done in pen and inktense pencils .


  1. Great sketch. I bought a tin of Inktense recently but not used them yet.

  2. Thanks Paul,The pencils are OK-I've just bought some inktense blocks but I'm still waiting for them to arrive

  3. What beautiful work you do. I haven't visited the Hafod estate so that's now on my to-do list.

    Your newer piece certainly has more depth to it - and I agree about pastels being hard to achieve full tonal values with -(sorry if that is ungrammatical- LOL)

  4. I am so glad you have decided to create a natural history blog - hope my thoughts had some influence in the decision!. Its a great start to creating a book and the studies here are simply beautiful. I love the crocus particularly. Happy blogging Claire!

  5. Thanks Joan,yes,your idea about writing a nature book made me think of doing a blog-Thank you so much -I'm really enjoying it xx