Here are brief pen portraits of the artists. You can read more about them on their gallery pages via the home page link in the left-hand column. The artists' email addresses are in the right-hand column.
Our Life President
Alistair Crawford lived in West Wales from 1974 to 2010, when he moved to Suffolk. Painter, printmaker, curator, art historian, writer, performer, he became the first Professor of Art in the history of Wales. Distinctions include invited academician of the Royal Cambrian Academy and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers. He exhibits internationally and is represented world wide.
Lindsay Davies was born in Altrincham, Cheshire. She has lived in Mid Wales since 1996, working at painting on a regular basis since 2015. Walking daily with dogs and a sketchbook keeps my "artist eyes" open to light, weather and landscape. The landscape of the Wye valley and Mid Wales are a constant source of inspiration.
'The process of 'translation' from sketch to painting is one that interests me. It is often very elusive and the images change as I move to further abstraction. The final picture, in a larger format and different medium is the result of progressive attempts to capture a sense of the weather, light and mood of a place.'
Rosemary Fahimi left school at 16 to work with horses and emigrated to Canada at 19. She returned to the UK in 1988 to run a hill farm and later to study at Aberystwyth University; initially a BA and subsequently an MA in fine art. She now finds that working both as a farmer and as an artist gives her a uniquely holistic view of the countryside, its animals and its people. She uses the subjects that are all around her and that she is part of, allowing her to give them life on canvas, wood engravings, or in sculpture.
‘Art has always been with me; sketching the animals and learning the ways of wild things wherever I have been.’
Philip Huckin draws and paints the Welsh landscape. He was awarded a scholarship by his old university, Aberystwyth and completed an MA in 2012. He has had shows in galleries in England and Wales and has work in private and Welsh national collections, including MOMA Machynlleth and The National Library of Wales.
‘I have a desire to capture the Welsh landscape and the names and deep cultural history that pervades the valleys, hills, villages, and man-made structures in Ceredigion.'
Kim James-Williams draws anything that catches her eye: boats, waves, dog-walkers, pram-pushers, sea frets and fishermen’s nets. Her drawings are about seeing the sublime in the everyday. When she draws, she tries to see with ‘new eyes’ things which may have been drawn and looked at many times before. She likes the ink or watercolour to be defeated by gravity and remind us that it is ink scratched into wood pulp at the same time as being a drawing of something. Kim studied art at Carmarthen College of Technology and Art (Foundation), BA Fine Art (hons) at Winchester School of Art and MA Fine Art at University of Wales, Aberystwyth School of Art.
' I try to draw the essence of the subject, the bare bones, the exact thing that made me excited enough to choose that particular thing.'
Mike Laxton was born in Kent. He followed a career teaching Design in Secondary, Further and Higher Education. Though by training he has worked mainly with construction materials and related technology, he has always envied the freedom of expression that painting seem to have. He moved to Wales in 2007 and, following a course at the Art Centre in Aberystwyth, he has begun the journey to find a personal use of medium and image. Mike has exhibited at Aberystwyth Art Centre, MOMA in Machynlleth and as a gallery artist at Plas Glyn-y-Weddw Llanbedrog.
'I am enthralled and intrigued by the environment in Mid Wales and hope that my paintings both explore the drama and excitement that I feel; but also leave room for the spectator to add their own interpretation and meaning.'
Greteli Morton Having first trained as an ecologist, then worked as a teacher and run a smallholding for many years, Greteli continues to be fascinated by the details of the natural world. For her, water-worn or weathered wood can be as exciting as sculpture while the patterns made by moving water are the worthy subject of a photographic study or a painting. From a young age Greteli has picked up or photographed beautiful things wherever she has gone and continues to surround herself with natural art; both 'as it is' and in her photographs, drawings, paintings, sculptures or encased in resin.
‘I see abstract paintings just waiting to be realised on things like the pebbles and bits of rock I pick up and collect compulsively.’
Patrick Owen Patrick has been captivated by painting from an early age. His early recollections are of a Victorian pastoral scene with long horned cattle in his grandparents' home and later, hanging in school corridors, reproductions of paintings by the great masters.
He attended adult evening classes in life painting for many years and became a weekend painter of London Parks and views along the Regents Canal. He now lives in Wales and paints its landscape, the occasional portrait and still life. He paints almost exclusively in oils directly from the subject.
‘I derive great pleasure from looking at and learning from the paintings of other artists, both past and present. I cannot imagine a world without paintings’
Catherine Smedley was born in Northampton and, later, did a Foundation Course there in Fine Art. It provided a comprehensive canter through most of the art disciplines available at the time. This was followed by a B.A. in Fine Art Painting at Leicester. She recently moved back to Wales, to Llandrindod Wells, after spending 26 years in S.W.France, with her late partner, where they renovated an old farmhouse, created a walled garden and converted a barn into living, studio and gallery space.
‘The most natural way of creating for me is not to specialise in a particular medium but to let that be dictated by whatever idea or subject that I want to explore.’
Karl Sylvester studied art in Edinburgh, and has been based in Mid Wales since 2003. He works mainly in oil and charcoal, and his favoured subjects are landscape, figurative and still life. He demonstrates a painterly use of oils. He has exhibited widely throughout Wales and runs courses and workshops locally.
‘I believe that working directly from Nature develops a good eye and compassion for the world around us.’
Shelley Upton . The one time chef and restaurateur moved to Wales and worked as a seamstress until 1993 when she undertook the BSc (Hons) in Computer Science and subsequently worked for many years in Information Services at Aberystwyth University. The stimulation first derived from Life Long Learning art courses that she undertook as creative ‘release’ from her highly competitive working life re-kindled her passion for painting and allowed her to fully explore her creative side. She currently takes her inspiration from the coasts and hills of Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.
‘I am inspired as much by the natural world as by an interesting face or the play of light as the weather constantly changes.’
Moira Vincentelli began to study fine art after retiring from forty years teaching art history at Aberystwyth University. She works in figurative drawing, painting and collage often with photographic elements. Inspired by figures in movement and gender politics, recent subjects include images of the refugee crisis, hijabis and dancers.
'I want to make work that conveys my emotional response to contemporary issues often as mediated in photography. Images of people – figures, faces and dress codes fascinate me and frame how we interpret the world.'
Ann Williams has exhibited with a number of groups and has work in private collections in Britain, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden. Her work shows the artistic process of recording images as seen and then pushing that process forward, often arriving at semi-abstract conclusions. She creates her pictures to convey her sense of place and hopes the paintings will make the viewer see their environment in a new way. She had a solo exhibition at MOMA Wales, Machynlleth last winter.
‘My paintings are an extension of earlier textile compositions that explored the landscape of Wales; they still have the same strong sense of pattern, colour & texture and the brushstrokes often mirror stitches.’
Resting and Retired Members
Iwan Dafis is a former banker. He attended some Life Long Learning art classes, then went on to gain a first in BA(Hons) Fine Art, then an MA, and is now studying for a PhD at Aberystwyth. Iwan has a strong attachment and commitment to both the people and the land of West Wales, a land tilled and farmed by generations of his family, and now transformed into his paintings that distil moments in time.
Heulwen Davies is a full time farmer who, after attending some local art classes, gained a BA (Hons) Fine Art degree at Aberystwyth in 2005, then later returned to Life Long Learning classes. She works in still life, but mainly from the landscape that surrounds her farm, near Tregaron, Ceredigion.
June Forster studied science to postgraduate level but decided to follow a life-long ambition to paint. Following a BA (First Class) and MA (Distinction) in Fine Art, she has now achieved an art practice PhD exploring aspects of landscape painting.
Maggie Goff was born in Lincolnshire and moved from Kent to live in North Pembrokeshire in 1986. She began to paint and draw again in 2007 and the passion has grown. Her love of colour and shape is reflected in her semi-abstract work.
Julia Harris is an artist who is notable for her varied and inspirational work, in a range of media – charcoal, watercolour, acrylics, and oils – according to subject and mood. Her paintings explore the light and drama of changing light, with the enduring patterns and rhythms of country life. She is particularly interested in contemporary landscape exploring and interpreting the Welsh countryside and studies of animals, to which she gives expression, life and character.
Barbara Mathews Barbara Matthews, sadly, passed away on 15th November after a year battling with cancer. After completing a BA in Fine Art at The School of Art, Aberystwyth, Barbara continued to develop her art practice, through painting, printmaking, photography, installation and shallow space sculpture using a variety of materials. Living and working in the mountainous area of North Ceredigion with its almost forgotten industrial past leaving its mark on the landscape in a myriad of subtle and not so subtle ways led her to explore the effects of past and future industry on the landscape of this area and how this relates to attitudes which shape current thought and action in the wider industrial and environmental picture. She exhibited widely throughout Wales and the rest of Britain and her work is held in a number of private collections. More of her work can be seen here: http://www.barbaralmatthews.co.uk
Stephanie Mansell moved to Wales 27 years ago because of her love of the countryside which she still finds, every day, to contain its air of purity and mystery. A retired accountant, Stephanie still runs a small holding near Aberystwyth and developed her interest in making pictures initially by attending Life Long Learning classes. She is also a skilled potter.
Gordon Mileswas born in Maidstone, Kent, and studied photolithography at the London School of Printing and Drawing, and then illustration at Harrow Art School. He has lived and worked as a professional artist in Wales since 1980, holding numerous solo and group exhibitions at prestigious venues throughout the UK. As well as printmaking he paints in oils.
Karen Pearce the Welsh landscape artist has actually been an active member twice. She is currently a resting member, but is extremely active as a practising artist and tutor - you can see her beautiful work here: https://www.facebook.com/karenpearceart/
Dilwyn Roberts was born and bred in Montgomeryshire. He is a retired architect and art student, who started painting in earnest after attending a short course, Abstracting the Landscape, held at Gregynog. His preference for now is to express his art in semi-abstract form; the aim being to generate positive feeling but also allowing and encouraging the observer to speculate or imagine.
Anne Solomon trained as an artist in York. She works in many mediums; however, it is pen and wash that allows her to lose all track of time. She generally favours drawing natural subjects; trees, cones, seed heads and ferns as well as, in particular, winter landscapes. Drawing has always been (and always will be) a passion for her.
Dot Thomas started attending art classes following retirement as a social historian. From childhood she has always loved walking in the hills and mountains. Now she also enjoys the challenge of communicating through painting that feeling of well-being experienced in the hills. Her latest series is based on pathways which can be taken as straightforward landscapes or as a metaphor for life’s journey. Dot is now a retired member.
Harry Thomas trained as a botanist and spent 30 years as a crop physiologist. He has always painted, off and on, but since taking early retirement and attending some Life Long Learning courses, has become increasingly involved in depicting the landscape around his home near the Dyfi Estuary, Ceredigion. Harry is now a retired member.
To contact individual artists, please use the links on the right.