A small gallery of photos of the final version of one of my books of letters, made from photographs of Mynydd Llangyndeyrn and letters I had written to myself. They are hand printed, using cyanotype print processes and toned with green tea, and I am very pleased with the work.
I’ve been printing short randomised parts from my notebook onto small mixed-media photos and watercolour paintings, to make pieces of work in response to walking through the winter months at the mountain at dusk.
In order to do it, I’ve been working on improving my screen printing skills, and finding a good way to set up so that I can print accuately, and very clearly, but with slight faintness, and disappearing out in places. Through a lot of trial and error, I’ve managed to make it work using small screens on a board on the kitchen table, although I still can’t exactly say how to make the images disappear at the edges. I am starting to suspect that it partly has to do with putting packing underneath, and partly has to do with using old pots of ink, and letting the screen dry out a little, not something that is normally advised.
Working on the cyanotypes today, trying things out and making tests, enjoying a bit of sun on the face.
working on these gilded photos again…
I went out again to the mountain this evening. I realised that the pure consistency of showing up there, day after day, is in itself valuable, and worth at least as much as anything else that I do.
Although the grasses, reeds and thorn trees are still sparse and dry after the cold, there has been a gradual change, a lifting of the winter. There is a smell of spring and of soil. Today I lay down on a mossy hummock and listened to the birds in the thickets.
I am fascinated by the photos that I take as the light is falling away and things are disappearing, and I sent off today for many of my mountain photos of the last few months to be printed, to try to use them with the small drawings and paintings that I am making.
These ones seem like too much sweetness, but this is pretty close to what I saw – apart from some strange effects of the camera, and apart from the way that the sky goes right over and all the way around…
I’ve brought my mountain notebook in from the pocket of the car door, trying to make sense of the evening visits I’ve been making, maybe trying to find a pattern. I’m going to sort through, put the entries next to the photos and videos that I’ve made, see if anything starts to emerge.
On Wednesday evening I videoed a grimy sunset. It lasted longer than I expected. I balanced my phone on top of a stone at the centre of the bronze age burial circle close to the trig point, and which seemed to face into the sunset. All around me was sky and air and Westerly wind, too much of it that evening. I cowered behind the stone and forced myself to watch the sun slip right down to nothing, and meanwhile the wind numbed my exposed fingers to the bones.
I wrote quite a bit in my notebook back in the car, including that I saw
“clouds pillowing and piled up high, salmon and gold, south leaning. Distances disappearing out to smeary grey. Dirty sun set over the sea, slipping into fog.”
This evening it was warmer, soft rain came after the sunset. I wrote in my notebook
“The sea a shell bright line, pink and soft. Light filling the hollows of the land… Afterwards a soft rain, not cold. Two ravens on the wires.”
I went to the same stone circle, this time with a compass app installed on my phone (it didn’t seem very convincing). I found that the central stone, and also a large single standing stone further down are both aligned roughly the same, one ‘facing’ and one ‘pointing’ towards Caldey Island, just South of West.
(Or the first stone could be facing North of East, but the second stone is far below the brow of the hill, and in a shallow West-facing valley; so if its facing anywhere, it can only be to the South West).
I’d like to guess that the two stones are aligned the same, and for a reason, possibly to point to Caldey, or maybe to align with the direction of the sunset at the winter solstice, which I think might be that way. But I’ll have to get a better compass and consult with an astronomer, or otherwise wait at least eleven months to check, since I did not do it this year. I can at least say that there was no sunset this year at the solstice, only grey misty cloud and according to my mountain notebook:
“grey-white noise, indistinctness. All quiet and softened in, retreating.”
Mynydd Llangyndeyrn, 4 to 4.30pm
last of the sun, bone cold, a few flakes of snow falling
making a few small experiments in framing