Adventure, art, beach, Coast, Cornwall, creative, Dream, Editorial, Eye Candy!, Harbour, I HEART, Inspiration, Nature, photograph, Polperro, Seaside

Changing Tides

The evolution of ones own art is a strange thing.

This past week I visited the beautiful seaside town of Polperro on the enchanting south coast of Cornwall. Having had no prior idea as to where I wanted to take the family for an ad hoc 6 night break, I trawled the web for images of pretty Cornish harbours, towns and villages before I finally stumbled across Polperro. Immediately I was captivated by it’s narrow cobbled streets, the whitewashed cottages that bowed over the crystal clear waters of the harbour and the phthalo blue skies overhead. ‘That’s it! It’s perfect! Let’s book it!’ I shouted ..and we did.  A week away in what turned out to be a tiny cottage sat so close to the waters edge that I could have helped moor a boat from the window. We packed and a few days later we set off on the 4 hour journey from our home on the edge of Gower.

When we arrived and finally squeezed the car through the narrow winding streets we had a little time to take it all in. The week brought traditional Cornish wind and rain (though being a hardy Welsh lass it’s not something I shy away from). We spent evenings in front of the wood fire, sat in the window overlooking the water and listening to the gentle chit chat of the moored trawlers as they rose and dipped in unison on an undulating tide. When the light returned I wandered, sketchbook in hand through the snaking streets looking for anything worthy of a 10 minute bit of inking.. there where few corners of this great fishing village escaped ‘the pen’.

It was during this time that I realised something quite poignant about Polperro and subsequently, my own art. I had travelled to this famous harbour expecting to see unparalleled beauty. Clean white houses, boats lining the old stone walls, galleries and little back street cafes oozing with the smell of Cornish baked goods and coffee. What I had was a clutter of rusted boats dressed in chipped paint and weighed heavy with battered buoys, rope and chains, weather worn cottages and the smell of a closed fishing market on the breeze. Now don’t be mistaken in thinking that this is a negative description of Polperro – on the contrary – this is EXACTLY what it is I loved about the place. The working harbour that so many tourists frequent during the warm summer months is stripped bare come winter; a time when it’s true character breaks through. The result was a staggeringly beautiful place steeped in history, the cogs of which are turned by the hard working fishing folk who live there.

As I sat and sketched the broken boats, the empty holiday lets and listened to the seagulls overhead, something struck me..

The preconceived idea I had about ‘beauty’ (in a harbour sense) couldn’t have been further from the truth. I loved the gritty atmosphere I was presented with, the stained walls and the muted winter colours that saturated everything. It was only at that point that I realised the direction my work needed to move forward in. For years I’ve produced large vibrant pieces that oozed colour and are outlined by bold black acrylic. Don’t get me wrong, I love painting in this style and it reflects my personality..  but, seeing the gnarly beauty of a winter in Polperro made me realise that what I’d been searching for in my work was something a little less ‘pretty pretty’. Something less perfect in it’s colour and a little less picturesque. The sketches I inked during my stay are ready for this new phase of painting. This is by no means a new concept or idea, rather something I’ve been searching for, for sometime and what it took was a week submerged in that grainy atmosphere to realise it. Over the next few weeks the plan is to get this style out into the world. It will still be recognisable as my work, but with a stripped back feel, a lot more texture and a richer quality to each piece.

From the beginning of 2017 I really felt like there was going to be a change, something in the air told me that I’d be taken down new paths and the thought of that is an exciting one. Alongside a sketchbook primed with rough images and a camera filled with photographs of this remarkable place, I really am raring to go. All that’s left to do now is paint.

Rhiannon x

 

p.s – If you’re interested in seeing more images from my time in Polperro you can check out my Instagram account: @moogledoo and follow me on Twitter (@moogledoo) for updates. Enjoy!

img_9822 img_0035 img_0056 img_0057 img_0060 img_0062 img_0066 img_9842 img_9879 img_9882 img_9895 img_9941 img_9942 img_9966 img_9980 img_9987

 

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beach, creative, Halloween, Inspiration, Nature, Samhain, Wales

Autumn Tricks and Treats

This is the time of year that really, REALLY gets me excited! Autumn – the changing colours, the stormy seas (great for surf) and even the darker nights. Yes folks, contrary to most peoples opinions about the early evenings, I think they’re fab! For one, the fire goes on, the duvet comes downstairs and I have an excuse (okay not a real excuse) to carb load with all those fabulously tasty casseroles, stews and hot pots! There really is nothing else like it. Add to that a generous helping of hot chocolate and your away!

But Autumn also heralds one of my favourite times of year – Halloween. Steeped in history, this ‘holiday’ really is one of the most misunderstood times of the year! We all love the pumpkin carving, the trick or treating children and the opportunity to throw a scary party with friends but how many of you know the real history behind this goulish night?

Originating from the old Celtic festival of Samhain (meaning Summers End) Halloween was a time of collecting in the harvest and coming together to remember the loved ones that have passed. So where has the ghostly imagery come from? It’s thought that Halloween is the time of the year when the veil between the world of the living and dead is at it’s thinnest. Believing that all manner of souls walked the earth on this night, people would dress their children up in goulish costumes to deter the mischievous spirits from inhabiting them. Cakes were baked and offered to the ancestors and turnips were carved (before the Americans introduced Pumpkins) to recreate the legend of Stingy Jack – a later Christian Irish tale of a miserable old man who tricked the devil and became banned from both heaven and hell. Being forced to wander the earth for eternity, the devil took pity on Jack and tossed him a burning ember. Jack hollowed out a turnip and placed the ember inside, carrying his primitively carved light across the lands. It’s from this that we have the name Jack O’Lantern.

There’s so much to do to celebrate Halloween. Between apple bobbing, drinking winter warm punch and handing out dollops of sweets to children, why not look to some of the more creative practices.. In the kitchen you could rustle up some traditional Samhain recipes like Colcannon or  toffee apples? Have a feast that really embodies the spirit of the night! Perhaps visit a place that’s full of history or take an Autumn walk and collect leaves to paint and make prints with the kids. If it’s spooktastic inspiration you seek, there’s lots out there too – check out the local haunted tourist spots, decorate the home with your freshly carved Jack O’Lanterns and get the imagination flowing by telling scary stories. When it comes down to it, you can’t avoid it so you may as well embrace it!

Whatever your beliefs about this time of year, you have to admit that it’s a time of change; the colours of the trees, the new seasonal vegetables and the fabulous energy of the winter storms.
Not everyone gets on well with the cold – especially after a long and warm summer, but it’s important to remember that variety truly is the spice of life and without it, those blissful sunshine months would become uninspiring and mundane. So this Autumn, why not embrace the changes that Autumn brings!

Have a fab Halloween!

Rhiannon x

Goulish fun!
Goulish fun!

 

 

art, beach, Coast, creative, Eye Candy!, Harbour, I HEART, Inspiration, Local, Nature, Penarth, Penarth Pier, photograph, Pier, Seaside, Wales

‘Snowy Pier’

My latest piece – ‘Snowy Pier’ was inspired by the fabulously and recently renovated Penarth Pier. The brand new silvery roof and domed arches remind me of those crisp and cool winter nights, while the snow capped spires take me back to times walking along the promenade with the stars glittering overhead and the black waves lapping against the harbour wall. In stark contrast to its cold metallic feel are the colourful fairy lights that dance along the pier, adding a delicate pop of warmth to the often dramatic ocean backdrop.
The length and winding walk to the Pier’s end are all aspects that I loved recreating and exaggerating! For me, there’s nothing better than painting a snow capped coastal scene against a rich blue winter sky! There’s so much to capture with a subject like Penarth Pier and it’s little wonder it remains so popular with tourists and locals alike. Having lived there for 7 years, I never tired of watching the seasons reflect on the pier and this winter will be no different. I may have moved away, but I’ll be quick stepping it back along those salty, sea-worn boards armed with woolly hat, scarf and camera before too much longer!

I guiltily admit too, (especially in October) that I do love the festive feel that this piece has!

This particular original painting is 20 x 29cm or 33 x 43cm framed and is available as an introductory offer for only £100! It won’t be available at this price for long though, soon it’ll return to it’s on-line price of £185 so if you’re interested, do get in touch asap by email; hello@moogledoo.com

Rhiannon x

'Snowy Pier'
‘Snowy Pier’
art, Cardiff, Cardiff Bay, Coast, Commission, creative, Harbour, Illustration, Inspiration, Local, Nature, Penarth, photograph

From Cardiff to Penarth & back again!

Its a lovely thing to be able to produce a painting for a customer. It’s a fabulous thing to have that painting given to their loved ones as a surprise present.

The following work which is known as ‘Jess’s piece’ (since it was a private commission by a lovely lady called Jess – original right?!) was an anniversary present to her fiancé. She came to me with a list of places in and around Cardiff Bay that she felt meant a lot to her and her partner. The list was as long as my arm but beautifully thought through and proved to be a real pleasure to construct. Take a look at the list;

To Include:

~ Jess and her finance Ella
~ Their dog Cooper
~ Their beloved cars and vans
~The Welsh, Danish and Irish Flags
~The time and date of the proposal
~Their fab fold away bicycles
~Cardiff Bay and it’s main attractions (The Corn Exchange)
~The Norwegian Church
~Penarth Pier
~The Millennium Stadium

The list was hefty but gave me so much to work with. The end result proved to be a vibrant and bold rendition of Cardiff and Penarth’s finest buildings with a chance to add in some of my own ‘best loved’ details about the spots – the twisting Taff river, the fairy lights of the bay and Penarth’s winding pier walk. It really does go to show that you can get anything you want from a commission as long as the artist has an open mind and a willingness to see the importance of your requirements.

Thankfully, Ella was over the moon with the end result which (once framed) has taken pride of place in their living room. Super pleased!

So here you have it, the finished article, something I really am happy with!

*Don’t forget, if you have a commission in mind, just get in touch. Almost every budget is achievable – you simply have to ask! Why not get hold of me now at hello@moogledoo.com*

Rhiannon x

Jess's Piece
Jess’s Piece
Adventure, art, beach, Coast, Commission, creative, Eye Candy!, Harbour, I HEART, Inspiration, Local, Nature, photograph, Seaside, Tenby

Building Tenby South Beach

There are lots of stages that go into creating a finished piece and sometimes it’s great to see how things came to be. Though I do always try to photograph every motion of a painting, sometimes (okay okay, most of the time) I forget about the initial sketches and only remember half way through applying the paint! Nevertheless, here’s one of my latest commissions of Tenby South Beach; a beautiful stretch of coastline set in the heart of one of Britain’s most beautiful and iconic seaside harbour towns. Tenby – or ‘Dinbych Y Pysgod’ in Welsh (meaning Little fort of the fish) is a fabulous mix of architecture dowsed in the most wonderfully vibrant colours.  From its pink, blue and yellow sea front houses to its bobbing fishing boats, 13th century walls and romantic cobbled streets, Tenby is steeped in history, folk lore and mystery! A magical place to immerse yourself in and somewhere that’s inspired artists for generations!

Here’s a few images of how my own Tenby South Beach commission came to life (minus the original sketches – oops!).

Rhiannon x

Blocking in the colour (Copyright Rhiannon Thomas)
Blocking in the colour (Copyright Rhiannon Thomas)

 

Adding in the detail (Copyright Rhiannon Thomas)
Adding in the detail (Copyright Rhiannon Thomas)
The finished article! (Copyright Rhiannon Thomas)
The finished article! (Copyright Rhiannon Thomas)
Adventure, art, beach, Coast, creative, Harbour, Inspiration, Local, Nature, photograph

Pretty Porthgain

After a recent and fabulous 4 day break to the beautifully sunny Pembrokeshire, I was inspired to recreate one of the most prominent sites of the trip. Nestled along the Pembrokeshire coast between St Davids and Goodwick is the fabulous little village of Porthgain. The small, once commercial harbour exported slate from nearby quarries – an industrial heritage not easily forgotten with the presence of the now ruined lime kilns, crog lofts and pilot house. Yet for all of its historical significance, Porthgain is so much more than echoes of its past; with its breathtaking coastal walks and wealth of wildlife, this pretty little harbour is a welcomed sight for anyone wishing to escape from the chaos of daily life. I was only there for a few minutes – a quick drive in to get some photographs – but then, I’ve spent more time than I care to remember exploring the fishing villages of Pembrokeshire and Porthgain is an old friend of mine. While I pulled up in the usual spot to dash out of the car and take a quick snap of the sea, something caught my eye. It was nothing particularly unusual, but a single, colourfully painted fishing boat tilted on the sand. It looked almost lonely, as if it were sitting patiently waiting for the tide to return. The sun was glorious and the sea was a beautiful  powder blue. Against the harsh browns and the greens the little white house and blue boat looked so inviting. I just had to take a photo.

When I returned home, I set about painting it – though not in its sunshine glory but rather as I had imagined the little boat in my mind. Sitting or sleeping peacefully under a large crescent moon, waiting patiently for the morning.

Pieces painted like this are always the most fun. There’s something very natural and unique about the end result and it’s something that I absolutely love.

Rhiannon x

Porthgain Harbour, Pembrokeshire
Porthgain Harbour, Pembrokeshire
'Porthgain Night' ~ 17x21" Framed. Available to buy. £265
‘Porthgain Night’ ~ 17×21″ Framed. Available to buy.
£265
Adventure, art, beach, Coast, Cornwall, creative, Dream, Eye Candy!, Harbour, I HEART, Inspiration, Nature, photograph

Feel, Smell and Taste Polperro

I thought you might like to see Polperro. What a gorgeous Cornish town it is too! That glassy blue water and bright blue sky is enough to make anyone jealous. Certainly me anyway!It’s lovely to paint such breathtaking scenery and it really helps to inspire me for future pieces. When you immerse yourself in art like this, it really has an impact on how you think, feel and act for the rest of the day. With me for example, I spend the following hours noticing the sound of seagulls overhead, craving the sea and wandering around in a sort of ‘holiday like daze’ – it’s just fantastic. That’s the power of art. The ability to transform the viewer (or creator) to a different place, somewhere special and unique to you. You start to smell the seaweed and remember the taste of your favourite ice cream, you can literally feel the surroundings and you can get lost for a while in your head.. memory is a wonderful thing and art simply turns it on.
Polperro is my latest work, measuring 20×30″ (before framing) and available to buy.
http://www.moogledoo.com

Rhiannon

Pretty 'Polperro' 20x30"
Pretty ‘Polperro’ 20×30″
Adventure, art, beach, Coast, Commission, creative, Dream, Eye Candy!, Harbour, I HEART, Illustration, Inspiration, Local, Nature

Find it, Grab it, Feel it!

We all need to have some form of inspiration in our lives. For me it HAS to be a daily occurrence – not just for my work, but for my general well-being. Like so many other creative’s I thrive off emotion and that ‘good feeling’ you get at the height of an inspirational bout. A sunny day, a familiar smell, a new commission, a dog walk, good breakfast or even a good storm can cause the soul to swell with excitement and ideas.. But what happens if its raining, the bills are in, you’re full of cold and you’ve run out of coffee?!

For me, the bills don’t stop flooding in just because I’m unwell, feeling a bit pants or stressing about work. Far from it in fact. So how (when there seems to be no happy spark available) do you create that spontaneous inspirational moment that’s sure to drive us on?  I know, I know, you can’t ‘create’ spontaneity – but you can generate that vibrant ‘on top of the world’ feeling if you think carefully about what it is that makes your tick. It’s important to realise that although we all have ‘those days’ where we just can’t be bothered to do anything, we should never accept defeat or chalk it up as lost.

Inspiration is a fundamental part of my life. I need to know how to get it, so it can work its magic on me and help me to achieve efficiency in my day and quality in my art. There’s no room for giving up. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid.

It’s different with everybody, but perhaps my ‘triggers’ might help you work out how to recognise your own. Here’s a list of some of the things that I do to push that inspiration out when it seems adamant to remain firmly hidden.

First things first – know you’re loves. They’re all sensory so pick them apart and try to achieve them individually.

Sight: For me it’s bright colours and calming blues, the sea and little British harbours.
– So get out for a walk, photograph wildflowers on your journey. It doesn’t matter if you wont use the pictures again, but the act of taking a photograph makes you sit up and take notice of your surroundings in detail. It helps you focus.
– If you can’t get out and about, jump onto Pinterest – its full of beautiful images that are a feast for the eyes. Trawl through fashion, architecture, wildlife or anything that tickles your fancy. It’ll spark memories, generate ideas and get the creative juices flowing.
– Paint your nails! Sounds daft but that splash of colour always cheers me up!
– Nip out with the intention to buy yourself the brightest flowers you can find.

Smell:
– I love the smell of the coast! Seaweed, wet sand and fish and chips! Yet, though I live by the sea, I often don’t get the chance to just pack up and go out. Instead I’ll grab some fresh air by pottering in the garden, smelling the herbs or opening up the garage and getting a whiff of the wetsuits that are hanging up – they remind me of days in the surf. They might be small things, but they stimulate the senses.

Touch:
– 
This ones easy! – Bare feet. Take off your shoes and walk around the house. Walk into the garden over the patio, onto the grass and explore with your feet. Poke the soil with your toes and let the air get to them. Just the act of kicking off your shoes and peeling off your socks will give you a sense of freedom and let you relax. Perhaps you can spare 20 minutes to read a magazine or your favourite book, but do it with those toes out!

Taste:
– 
Icecream, fruit, chocolate, chips – oh dear! If its that summer/sunshine vibe you’re after, make a smoothie, a herbal tea (and drink it outside with your bare feet), treat yourself to a little bit of what you like. It’ll give you a sense of indulgence and you’ll feel better for it. I like to make a coffee and enjoy an Amaretti biscuit (or three).

Sound:
– Herring gulls! (Seagulls) – I can’t get enough of the sound. It’s like the sound of the sea, the coast and all those places I love in one shrill shriek! But if they’re not there, I jump onto youtube and look for a documentary on Harbours or the Welsh coast. Pop on your favourite music or just open the window and listen to the world going by :)

There’s a million things you can do and ways you can stimulate inspiration. It’s simply about knowing yourself. Why not try some of these ideas, or your own. What makes you tick? If you have a list, I’d love to hear it and it’ll be great to have a list of others ideas for us all to try!

barefeet
Free you feet and the rest will follow!

Why not pop across and check out my latest work at http://www.moogledoo.com or follow me on Facebook and Twitter?

Facebook – http://on.fb.me/1jYbHOt
Twitter – @moogledoo

Rhiannon x

 

 

 

art, beach, Coast, Commission, Cornwall, creative, Dream, Eye Candy!, Harbour, I HEART, Inspiration, Nature, photograph

Escape through the Window

This is ‘Bolthole’. Look at it and through it and tell me what you see..

When I decided to paint ‘Bolthole’ I had little real understanding of what I actually wanted to create. I had an idea yes, I knew the colours I wanted to use, the items I wanted to include and the feeling I wanted to produce but there were no preliminary sketches, no rough drafts, no photos and no clue as to where to start.. (no change there then.) After dolloping on some background colour and patching in the window, I decided to let the piece develop organically. For me personally, it’s when I create my best work because there are no boundaries, no expectations and the possibilities are limitless.

When I get lost in my head I visit this place. I know what the house looks like, what flowers are in the little walled garden, how the breeze smells like a mixture of the sea and wood burning stoves in the evening and that the wooden gate needs oiling. I can hear the seagulls and the clinking of the masts in the wind.

The details are endless.

When we look at a piece of art that draws us in and inspires us, it creates something of a ‘safe place’. Somewhere the mind can wander and switch off. It generates a range of feelings and allows us to drift away in a daydream. ‘Bolthole’ lets me do this and I’ve had a similar reaction from many of my customers, (some claim they’ve become tearful looking at it! Hopefully in a good way!)

Since I rarely post these pictures on my Facebook page, I thought Id give you the chance to see how ‘Bolthole’ came to be.

Initial sketch on canvas
Initial sketch on canvas
Colour added
Colour added
More colour!
More colour!
Nearly finished!
Nearly finished!
The finished piece 'Bolthole'
The finished piece ‘Bolthole’

Why not say hi on Facebook – I’d love to hear from you :)
http://on.fb.me/1jYbHOt

Twitter: @moogledoo

http://www.moogledoo.com

Rhiannon x

art, beach, Coast, Commission, creative, Dream, Eye Candy!, Harbour, I HEART, Illustration, Inspiration, Local, Nature, photograph

Little Cards and Bigger Dreams

Waging war against the printer is (for the most part) a pointless, futile business. One is a basic, worn out and simple minded machine, beaten down by the endless production of colourful images and the other is, well.. the printer; an efficient, complex and temperamental creature intent on destroying the last shreds of sanity I may still have..

You can see how my day started.

After The onslaught of battle and a spectacularly empty victory on my part, I set to printing out the latest order of Moogledoo cards. Many, MANY colourful, wrapped and enveloped, well, envelopes later and I had a rather impressive pile of fine art and illustrative miniatures ready to wing their way to a fabulous little shop in Penarth. There’s something totally satisfying about seeing the crisp cello wraps neatly stacked and string bound in the window, with a quick thank you note slid in between. Success! One job down.

Since it is spring, I have started writing more ‘to-do’ notes in an attempt to be vaguely efficient and focussed with my work. Its not going too badly, though on todays list was not 1. Look for new house 2. Look for new curtains for new house or 3. Look at oven baked clay products.. Nevertheless, I have achieved some of what I started out to complete.. plus, the day is still relatively young.

I’m in an odd predicament when it comes to my work – I love nothing more than producing painting after paintings or illustrations for people, I love seeing the end result and the looks on the clients faces when they receive them BUT I so desperately want to get to the point where I can spend my days endlessly searching for inspiration for my latest work and have people fall in love with those instead. I dream of spending my days in a paint splattered studio and welcoming visitors into my stone built wonky walled gallery. Somewhere people can mooch around and let the kids touch and interact with my work. I can see it in my head – now I just need to work towards it. It is a privilege that I have yet to earn..
I’m 3 months into being a self employed full time artist. Its hard. Really hard. But it’s going to be I suppose. You’re going to have to scrimp and save and work huge hours for minimal money because you’re actual reward, is working for yourself and doing what you love.

I’m also thinking of getting involved with local schools and looking into running extra curricula art activities – creative hours spent helping kids explore and make a mess. Art doesn’t seem to hold much weight in primary school education these days and id love to know why. Not entirely sure how to start that one up.. if you happen to know, do let me in on the secret :)

For now then I’ll leave you with a few of my latest card creations… and the obvious link to where you can buy them ;)

Nice chatting again.

Rhiannon x

card

photo (4)

There are lots more.. you should go see :)

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/183909305/dinbych-y-pysgod-tenby-card?ref=listing-shop-header-0