Thursday, May 11, 2017

Arthur and Morgana

Well here we are almost the middle of May, the hedgerows are blooming and the foliage will never be as green as it is now, and in five weeks time heaven help us  we will have a general election. On one hand the Tories and on the other??? The Libdems and Green party, policies from cloud cuckoo land! (yea I know they say we have to adopt them to save the planet but the planet is doomed whatever, its a runaway train goin downhill and there just aint any brakes).
Ukip who appear an irrelevancy now Farage has left, then we have Labour, what can be said of Labour? A once great party now reduced to leadership by pillocks, backed by shadowy anarchist forces? Intensely disliked by most of their own party, sad very very sad!  Will we all be in deep mugumbo if they do somehow manage to grab power? It could happen despite the polls to the contrary. Still 'what will be will be' (whatever that dam phrase means) and frankly I,m just an old fart and too cynical to give much of a toss .

Completed a few paintings recently, also repainted a couple that were completed and put to one side some years ago, I don't think an artist should ever shirk repainting something that he's put a lot of work into but is not entirely satisfied with, the problem though is getting the enthusiasm up and running, nevertheless This is one that I did many years ago, It got lots of criticism, mostly bad.

 Left is the first painting its Oil on Board 24x18 inch.

 The subject is the legend of the seduction of Arthur by the witch Morgana, people commented that the way she stared out of the painting was either funny  or creepy and that she showed too much bare flesh! Just can't please some folks they should have seen some of the others that I painted at that time, would have singed their eyebrows off 😉

And this is the repainted version
Morgana now has a few more clothes on and a sly sideways look, maybe that,s better maybe not, how the hell would I know!

Apologies for the quality of this picture, in reality it should look not much different from the one above (except of course for the changes to Morgana)

Also have completed one of the Castle reconstructions (Oh god not more castles!) that I mentioned in one of the previous blogs. This one is of Dryslwyn castle in Carmarthenshire, there is not a lot left of it as can be seen from the photo below. It was a Welsh castle originally held by Lord Rhys in fealty for Edward the first of England, Lord Rhys however became dissatisfied with English behavior rebelled and sacked the castles of Carreg Cennan and Dinefwr killing their constables. Of course this got Edward a tad peeved, so as he was at the time out of the country he ordered Earl Edmond to take very big steps, and in 1287 on the 11th August 11000 men began the siege of Dryslwyn castle. In eleven days it was all over, Lord Rhys managed to escape but was later captured, the castle was now firmly in English hands, that is until 1403 when Owen Glyndwr forcibly took it back and held it for a short time before the English retook it, a while later the English burnt the castle to the ground, then dismantled the stonework, presumably to stop it falling into hostile hands yet again.
Below is my take on how it could have looked some years after falling to Edwards armies.

Drslwyn as it looks today

First rough in
Ideas changed and a bit further
Completed oil painting 50x40 cm

Dryslwyn castle how it looked
The scene is set sometime in the fourteenth century when the castle was in English hands

Did a bit of electronicals as well, still building up test equipment as shown below, a low power multi function power supply made entirely out of the scrap box (except for a couple of pots that I had to buy). The 3 digit voltmeter was constructed on veroboard as shown using a 40 pin chip ICL7107 that had been lying in the scrap box for years, amazingly it worked!

As you can probably appreciate from the paintings of Arthur and Morgana I have always been fascinated by the Arthurian story, below is my take on it.


Camelot, that fabled home of Arthur and his knights
Many towered fairy castle of the romances
did they really exist? Merlin and Guinevere
Mordred and Morgan Le Fay?
Were his knights chivalrous paragons
riding out to rescue maidens in distress ?
Perhaps not, but the legends are strong
rooted in our primal memories
Rome's might conquered Britain
Ruthlessly destroyed all opposition
Later evenhandedly giving civilisation
For centuries peace and prosperity
Now the unthinkable! Rome has fallen
The Legions withdrawn!
Invading barbarians with fire and sword
torch and slaughter on their onward march
Britain fragmented into small kingdoms
Ruled once more by petty tyrants
Against ferocious enemies
more battles lost that won
Into this maelstrom strode one man, Arthur!
Last of the Roman British
Dux Britoriam, A general with no equal
He alone with his captains and heavy cavalry
Broke the barbarians and ran them back to the coast
Heroic actions covering him in glory
His name whispered fearfully in the firelight of his foe
People shout his victories to the heavens
forcing tyrants to bow the knee
lift him high as overlord of all the Britons
Next the great decisive battle of Baden Hill
where Arthur alone led the Britain's to great victory
Peace and prosperity now for many years
But as always
The people grow fat and complacent
forgetful of what had been
British treachery broke the land once more
civil war wreaked havoc
Arthur and his knights perished
the barbarians onslaughts resumed
Misery and darkness covered the land
In despair the legends were born.

Rob Ward

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