Chirk Castle, boring?

Well my head has been like a tennis ball, ideas being tossed back and forward.

During my research I discovered that the present castle which was built between 1295 and 1310 by Roger Mortimer, Justice Of North Wales for Edward I. The castle is soaked in history, but nothing that really stood out to me. The Myddleton family, lovely gardens, the magnificent wrought iron gates which date back to 1719, the red hand legends, it’s involvement in the english civil war, the various restoration projects the biggest of which was taken on by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, the architect of the time.

There was lots of history, but I was thinking this is all so boring. During my research  came across an article on a website which gave a whole new twist to the red hand legend and it was one that sounded much more plausible:

‘H Pimborough, Llangollen
The origin of the red hand is much older, it comes form the original Chirk Castle or Castell Crogen (the one now is built on top of its foundation). Prince Crogen was in battle and had lost his standard, to identify himself to his men at arms, he took a bloodied hand and painted the ogham for ‘C’ (four vertical lines) on his shield. The red hand reflects this moment, there are a number of Dark Age battles around this area. I believe Prince Crogen is buried in Llanarmon D.C. Church.
Mon Apr 21 09:17:07 2008′

Found on –

This paragraph changed my way of thinking and started looking more into ‘the castle, before the castle’. There is no actual proof, just theories, stories, but who said that my solution had to be 100% fact! go to page 20 to find out about the 2 castles.

Castell Crogen is said to have been built in 1013 By Prince Crogen and King Henry II came to invade Wales. Henry’s massive army was met by the whole of Wales – Here I have decided to stage my fictitious movie about this war, and  am designing the DVD cover and promotional poster for the film………………..



2011 calendar from

I was pleased when I received an email the other day telling me that my painting had been picked to go in the 2011 calendar. There is an image on each day, and each artist is allowed to submit one piece of work and out of the thousands who put work forward mine was picked to go on 6th December. This does give me a small feeling of satisfaction, to know that they feel that my work is good enough to go in their calendar.


painted July 2010

The calendar is sold all over the world and will enable my painting to be seen, along with the other 364 artists work that was chosen. So just think, all over the world, if the persons attend to their calendar daily, on the 6th of December next year a print of my painting will be on thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of  walls or desks all over the world. A quite satisfying thought even if I say so myself.

Go on click on it! You know you want to!!!

Brief overview

Good evening pobl. I have recently been a bit harassed with problems at home, but seeing the end of the tunnel I am able to, again focus on my work.

I am struggling a bit with my essay, I have chosen the quote by prof. Alan Male which is as follows “illustration is the dominant discipline for visual communication and is intrinsic in furthering the understanding of any given field of enquiry”. I will let you know of any further progress on this brief….Has anyone got any opinions on this quote?

The next brief I have is the single print for a print making brief. We were all to research print making and the word ‘flying’, after much written research and sketches with nothing really meaning anything to me or standing out I thought about the ‘fight or flight’ survival response which is in all of us, and all other living creatures. So seeing that I could reflect some on my own experiences with this line of thought I set about sketching ideas and have come up with a design for a linocut print with the images that fall outside the shape I have chosen being embossed. I am liking the sound of this, just hope the finished result is the same as I picture it in my head.

Finally, I have a self briefing brief on Chirk Castle, near Wrexham in North Wales. After a slow start in this brief too, I am starting to really enjoy this brief. I have researched back to before the present castle existed and found the present one was built on top of a previous castle .Castell Crogen’, Although there is not a lot of evidence to prove the first castle existed, I decided to work with this.

There is a story about how the Red Hand came into being, mainly to do with the Myddleton family who have occupied the castle for over 500 years. Their stories go along the lines of a race between twin brothers and their father on his death bed did not know which twin was the elder, so they had a race and the first to touch their father’s bed was to inherit the land and estate. One of the brothers was losing and so took his axe or sword out and severing his hand from his arm he threw it onto his fathers bed, thus winning the race. This sounds a bit far fetched to me. Then I came across a story that sounded much more credible – Prince Crogen who fought against the English back in the Dark Ages was involved in a battle and on losing his statement he picked up a bloodied hand and drew the ogham for ‘C’ on his shield with it (four vertical lines) thus identifying himself. So there is one of my ideas, to make the shield and make it realistic, then photograph it and add a few more bits, which will turn it into the illustration that is in my minds eye.

The other idea is quite simply to illustrate one of the battle scenes that took place at Castell Crogen.

The third idea is to illustrate the heavy burden of high taxes that existed in medieval Chirk.

Does anyone have any preferences as to what they would like me to do?

Anyway ‘That’s all for now, folks!’

My visit to the Liverpool Biennial

On Thursday 21st October I went to The Liverpool Biennial for the day with Glyndwr University. We left the Plas Coch site at 9.30, and headed off for Liverpool. I was looking forward to the displays of all varieties of modern and traditional artists from all over the world.

We arrived in the Albert docks after about an hour of travelling, and had until 5.30pm to explore the exhibitions situated all over the city centre.

I walked around Liverpool with Christopher Saunders and we decided to hit the Liverpool Tate. The works that caught my attention and made notes of were:

(No photography was allowed, sadly.)

*Arman – 1928-2005 ‘Condition of a woman’ 1960

*Salvador Dali – 1904-1989 ‘Autumnal Cannibalism’ 1936 (oil on canvas)

*Andy warhol – 1928-1987 ‘Black bean’ 1968 (screen print on paper)

*Picasso – 1887-1923 ‘Seated Woman in a Chemise’ 1923

*Eva Rothchild – 1971 ‘Knock Knock’ 2005 (leather and steel)

*Hans Bellmer – 1902-1975 ‘Peg Top’ (oil on canvas)

*Bridget Riley – 1934 ‘Hesitate’  1964 (oil on canvas)

*Eduardo Paolozzi 1924-2005 ‘Michelangelo’s David’ 1987 (plaster, wood & string)

*Jake Chapman 1966 & Dinos Chapman 1962 ‘Little death Machine (castrated)’ 1993 (mixed media)

*Tracey Emin 1963 ‘Is Anal Sex Legal’ 1998

*Tracey Emin 1963 ‘Is Legal Sex Anal’ 1998

*Edward Collier 1662-1708 ‘Letters and Writing Implements on a Wooden Board’ circa 1699 (oil on canvas)

*Ron Mueck 1958 ‘Ghost’ 1998

*Keith Edmier 1967 ‘Beverly Edmier 1967-1998’

*John Davies 1946 ‘The Redeemers’ 1971

*Allen Jones 1977 ‘Chair’ 1969

*Reg Butler 1913-1981 ‘Girl on a round base’ 1968-72

*John Henry Foley ‘Sir Joshua Reynolds P.R.A.’

*Aristide Maillol ‘3 Nymphs’

*Aristide Maillol ‘Venus with a Necklace’

*Hamo Thornycroft ‘Teucer’

*Hamo Thornycroft ‘The Kiss’


*Isabel & Alfredo Aquillzan

*Diango Hernandez  ‘Homesick’ & ‘En Mi Isla’

As you can see there was an enormous amount of artwork to be viewed (I only noted down the artwork and sculptures that caught MY attention). I thoroughly enjoyed walking around the Tate Liverpool, and it was the 2nd time this year I have visited it, the previous time I took my three youngest children to see the Picasso exhibition that was on in the summer break.

Then it was time to move onto ‘A Foundation’ where we viewed works by:

*Amir Chasson

*Rowena Hughes

*Claas Gutsche

*Kiwoun Shin

*Joe Clark

*Nathan Barlex

*Kristian De La Riva ‘Cut’

After we had gone through the whole of the exhibition and thoroughly enjoyed the new contemporary artists that are about at the moment we headed off to CUC (Contemporary Urban Centre).

Here we saw work from Taro Izumi, Shin Kiwoun, Sakakibara Sumito,Taguchi Yukihiro’s moment series and many more,

Then we were off to Liverpool Cathedral, but not before passing some local youth group’s art on a wall:

At the Cathedral we saw some most impressive pieces of work:

And then we popped next door to ‘The Temple Of A thousand Bells’ by Laura Bells:

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After the traditional artwork and sculptures we walked on down the hill until we came to ‘FACT’ and viewed Tehching Hsieh’s extraordinary ‘One Year Performance’

(Click below to see the film.)

We also visited Black-E and we were not too impressed, except for the huge sword which hung above your head as you entered.

After that we went on to The Bluecoat Exhibition, for some unknown reason I did not note any names down whilst in here, could have been the fact that I was getting very hungry by this time.


Then finally, we visited the Open Eye Gallery, which wasn’t much of a gallery, but did have an exceptionally decorative cement (?) suspended flying bird type oblects.

Well that was our day at the Liverpool Biennial, we saw some exceptional work from all over the world and will use what I have seen to broaden my expectations of myself!

I will leave you with this beautiful sunset at the Albert Docks