Tuesday, 3 June 2014


We stopped at a lighthouse that has been converted to a hotelIt has a great view of the sea, and a few other surprises…. look at the bottom left corner.


We left Aberystwyth at 8.15am, in a car spacious enough to accommodate five people and a mini fridge. Having partied until 3am the night before, Nastja, Kim and I spent the first hour of the journey saying very little, probably feeling more than a little nauseous, especially given the interminably winding route through mid-Wales. Luckily Carol and Lloyd were in a rather more spirited mood, and before long it was time to experience the delights of a roadside Little Chef.

Facing each other for the first time, we indulged in a hearty breakfast, and impressed each other with tales of how many languages we could speak.
Around 11.30am we hit the outskirts of Cardiff, and it was at this point that our sat nav system suffered something of a mental breakdown. Its formerly confident and exquisitely timed instructions to “turn left in 40 yards” had begun to be replaced by more and more desperate and misplaced orders to “do a U-turn!” We ignored it for as long as we could, since we were clearly heading in the right direction. The sat nav’s frustration seemed to increase, and, perhaps sensing that we weren’t paying any attention any more, began to sulk, now only managing to summon up an occasional forlorn plea to “if possible, do a U-turn”. Just at the point when the sat nav seemed to be coming round to the idea that perhaps it might be better to trust our human instinct, or at least be more reasonable with its requests, we arrived at our destination.
We clambered out of the car, and entered the large warehouse space of g39 gallery. Co-director Chris Brown was sitting at reception and welcomed us all with friendly and informative conversation. The show was impressive, featuring amongst others, Turner Prize-winning Laure Prouvost. After being invited to a talk and film screening later in the evening, we slightly regretted the fact we hadn’t made arrangements to stay in Cardiff overnight.
After this we made our way to the waterfront, stopping for a brief walk past the Welsh Assembly buildings, a lighthouse boat and into the Millennium Centre. The sun was shining and our thoughts were turning to lunch, so we didn’t stay long.
Next we headed for the National Museum of Wales, which contains a rather nice cafe. Unfortunately when we got there, we discovered the cafe had just stopped serving food. Despite the trauma of this unforeseen setback, we soldiered on and spent an hour looking around the museum. It was huge. We were slightly overwhelmed with how much there was to see, and spent a rather chaotic time running from room to room and trying to soak in as much as possible in a short space of time.
Finally, however, we had to leave: time was getting on, and we still hadn’t eaten lunch yet.
We drove out of the city and on to a retail park near the delightful town of Merthyr Tydfil. The options here were somewhat limited, so we opted to dine at Pizza Hut. Lloyd and I had never visited the establishment before, so were excited to find out what was to come. Unlimited salad, followed by Pizza and garlic bread or potato wedges, followed by unlimited ice-cream and sweets – that’s what was to come. All this was gleefully consumed against the backdrop of the delightfully thick valleys accent of the waitress.
A mildly surreal atmosphere seemed to have descended on the group by this point, and the rest of the journey home was filled with outlandish tales of unfortunate incidents on past travels, and a beautifully articulated exposition of the unique advantages of the Kindle.
Overall our trip to Cardiff was a great success. We’d seen some high-class contemporary art, and shared several enjoyable hours of each other’s company. But more than anything else we’d got a taste of the capital city, and all agreed that another visit would somehow be necessary.
Dave Ball

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Aberystwyth- Jill O'Sullivan AIR from 1st December Dec. 2013-28th Feb. 2104

Aberystwyth (1948 Ordinance map).
The Studios at Sunset 

 Our residence in Carodoc Street ( Blue Door side)

 The Journey so far:

On arriving in the UK, I spent 3 days in London, wandering around galleries, general sight-seeing , Convent garden Markets and Camden town markets, shops etc. (Harrods of course). The best exhibition I saw was the Chinese ancient painting at the V&A. Superb!
The Paul Klee retrospective at the Tate was very interesting too. Wandered over to the London printmakers Studios  as well but the best print exhibition is at the Royal printmaking society gallery on the Embankment. Christmas decoration/ lights in London were great Went for a ride on the London Eye as well.  Moved on to Shrewsbury for a couple of days there. Wandered through very old churches, the castle etc. and explored all the medieval streets.  Did a little shopping there too for a few last minute items. Caught a local bus out to the surrounding Shropshire countryside which is lovely. Met up with some printmakers in Shrewsbury,
On Sat. caught the 7.27 am train from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth where Carol (the liaison lady for the Artist in residence program) took me shopping and a whirlwind tour around the town, thence to the Studios met a few people then off to the flat.    Alan and Mathew are the other members of our winter residency. Mathew makes a great coffee for us every morning.
 Ordered my main supples (paper/inks/ charcoal/ small copper engraving plates)   from Lawrence’s art supplies,   which arrive within a day or two. Amazing service
 Carol took us down to meet people and take a tour of the Art school just after we arrived.
Very busy school with a big emphasis on life drawing (core subject for first years) and with large numbers, the school has had to take out extra space in another building nearby   for the painters.   The printmaking section was interesting , three small old litho presses and a good number of stones , and a number of etching presses, platen presses , screen printing one man presses and stations. One of the top lithographers in the UK, Paul Croft is here (think he is director of the school too). Hope to meet him soon.  Quite a large number of Post. Grads (masters and PhDs as well, all supplied with small studios. Some very interesting projects seemed to be happening.
Rather excited to see real holly and berries over Christmas and even a couple of robin red breasts.
In early December , Carol and Lloyd took the three of us off to Cardiff to see the Peter Blake exhibition of  his illustrations for Dylan ‘Thomas’s Under Milkwood  and thence a guided tour of the Millennium  Centre arranged for us by the new Director of the Arts Centre, Gareth. Brilliant visit indeed.
Carol also invited us out to Borth where we had a Christmas afternoon tea at her place and long walk on the beach. (see photos).
I'm yet to meet with the Aberystwyth Printmakers, but hope to catch them soon.
The weather is cool, averaging about a top of 8 degrees, but quite bearable and certainly not bone chilling. Given the horrific summer temperatures in Australia, I’m certainly enjoying the weather here. The walk up to the studio takes me about 18 minutes, steep rises and steps certainly warms one up indeed. (And I will be very fit by the time I get home) The studio and house are both snug and warm.

The town is interesting, with quirky side streets, the main shopping centre full of small shops and supermarkets and large stores complex near the station.
 The Arts Centre is great, nice cafe (coffee ok). Has a film theatre (3D screen too) and a Live Theatre stage) Gallery etc.
Ducked off to Paris to spend Christmas and New Year there with a friend. Stayed in an apartment just a stone’s throw from Notre Dame. Walked everywhere, ate very well and sampled just a few local reds (well more than a few). Visited galleries etc. and a couple of the great supply shops, including Charbonnel, where I bought some more engraving tools. A quick side trip to Worcester on the way back, to meet with my mother’s cousins and to have a look at one of my ancestral places.

Arrived back to Aberystwyth in the middle of the great storm, which caused some much damage to the promenade, still we were all safe and sound in the Studio and house.
Have been working on engravings, drawings and now creating investigational collages from old topographical maps, to create chorographic vignettes that document elements of place drawn both from the Aberystwyth experience and from other aspects of my travels. In addition I am finding the time spent here is allowing me a great deal of reflection, research and investigational techniques to go forward on the next stages of my practices.
I must say that I am deeply grateful to the Aberystwyth Arts Centre for giving me this opportunity and I thank Umbrella Studio and Vicki Salisbury for their facilitation in me obtaining this residency. It has been a brilliant undertaking indeed, folks.

 The Studio 


Studio view 1

Work bench
Studio View 2

Studio view 3

Studio view 4

Drying prints

Aberystwyth Images

Early Morning Aberystwyth

Castle Ruins
View over Town from Top od steps near National Library
Castle ruins

Sunset over Arts Centre

  Borth Views 

Devils Bridge
Jacobs Ladder 

The Falls

The Christmas train