Monday, 11 July 2011

Back to the Hafod

I visited the Hafod estate today with my sketchbook,as the weather was good. But when I entered the woodland past the Hafod church I got a shock, as the forestry commision has been thinning out the conifer trees. It wasn't the cool,mossy woodland that I knew but quite a scene of destruction;logs and dead branches strewn around covering the green mossy hillside. However light now floods in to the forest and it won't be too long before nature takes over again and saplings will grow in the opened up woods.

Down by the river though was peaceful with untouched older woodlands and I sat by the old bridge.
I love the lime green light filtering through the trees and the velvety moss on the banks.
Its a scene I've painted before in spring-time with pastels; I find it hard to capture the light and shade and my style is very detailed - It's difficult for me to loosen up when painting landscapes,I guess its not in my nature to paint that way.

Bridge painting on the easel

Walk the open forest paths through the sweet scent of Valerian and Filipendula,then into the dark wooded interior,with mushroomy smells of earth and moss.

Heres a path I've sketched before in pencil and pastel. One day I'll do a finished picture of it.

It is great to see the old beech trees still standing strong.

Later I sat in Mariamnes garden in the sun thinking of the history of the estate. Mariamne was Thomas Johnes sickly daughter who, in 1811, died at the young age of 27. She suffered from an unknown chronic illness but was a bright student with a keen interest in botany. Here her old garden has been opened up and some seats put in. None of the old plants or trees remain from that era but a Ginkgo biloba tree has been planted. 

Heres my sketch from the Hafod; light through the conifer stands and magenta rosebay willowherb.


  1. You are such a gifted artist Claire - I almost got confused with which was a painting and which was a photo - I hope you put these beautiful paintings on the wall at the inn.
    Very clever and wonderfully done!

  2. The old bridge looks like a magical spot - and your painting has captured the magic. Old beech trees are magnificent.
    Where woodland was thinned along the river near us the whole area is now dominated by Himalayan Balsam standing 6ft high.

  3. Your beech tree photographs are just beautiful Claire - very romantic! I recommend working in charcoal or with a brush and ink as a wonderful way to free up your mark making.

    A lovely post :)

  4. It's been awhile since I visited your blog and I've been missing to good material, love your new work especially the old Hafod bridge painting, hope it finds it's way to a frame on someones wall! The Ginko is magnificant, we have an old one here in town too.

    Do you mind if I use a couple of your photo's for a reference? I'm working on an old forest series of paintings and they would be a great help.

  5. Thanks so much Claire, I'll post the outcome on my blog whenever I get them done.