In this remote and wild area of mid-Wales, nothing in the landscape is quite as it seems. Where dense conifer plantations hug the valleys, once was temperate rainforest. Rocky outcrops and cliffs, the product of slate mining rather than glaciers. Quiet villages, full of the ghosts of the many thousands who once worked the land so assiduously. It is a remarkable place, happily now characterised by the kind and generous Welsh and their magical language.
Occasionally you will see a black Mouth yawning in the side of the Valley, slate spewed lethargically down its wooded chin, and from its cold interior the hidden fact that as a local so enigmatically put it to me – that the mountains are hollow.
In this painting of Mynydd Braich-goch taken from the Abercorris woods in the Dyfi forest I wanted to cement this concept and nail the blackness of the mouth to the canvas. The colours are hyper-real but do exist, as you will see from close observation in the field, in the ochres and sienna of the ground and the blues of the Welsh slate.
The mountain was hollow. If you were to strike it, it would ring like a bell, the sound would echo through the valleys to the roar of the jets.
This painting was completed in the winter of 2017 as artist-in-residence at Stwdio Maelor, Corris.
Exhibited at the Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize 2018 exhibition www.lynnpainterstainersprize.org.uk
Acrylic on canvas, 30x30cm