Sunset Over Freshwater West

The sand dunes of Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire are so extensive they’ve built a road through them. This was a little mind-blowing.

This is a short video of the road and the setting sun as we drove back out from the coast. The backing track is an early version of ‘Something’s Changing’:

#visitwales #pembrokeshire #ponyfolk

Disposable Drawings

Early in my Journey, when I started learning to draw, I reached a place where I had created a ritual around drawing. Each sketch was unique and supposed to be an improvement on the last, like the beginner runner who expects to get faster and becomes despondent when a plateau is reached or gets slower. I had reached a place in drawing where the ‘should’ had become so great that it precluded me from picking up the pencils, and when I did pick them up and draw the self-pressure was intense. I stopped drawing around that time.

Recently I had an urge to draw trees, but not from life as all my previous work had been. I wanted to draw from imagination. So I looked up some tips on drawing trees and started drawing trees.

There’s a line in the Patrick Costello banjo tutorial book, The How and The Tao of Old Time Banjo, that sticks with me as it changed the way that I look at the arts now. I’ve always been an apologist for my lack of art and musical ability. It’s been real easy for me to just pass it off as not having received the gift of drawing and the gift of music. I wasted a lot of years in that belief until I discovered that both art and music can be taught. I should have realised sooner when I took up running and found that I had to learn how to do it. At school I bunked off cross-country but in my early 30’s, following the Couch To 5k program of its time, I went from fat and unfit to running a marathon in a short few years. The education system hadn’t taught me how to run, is it any surprise that it didn’t teach children to draw and to play and understand music?

Patrick’s advice was there right after the first few songs:

“Play this one a couple of hundred times and when you’re ready…” – Patrick Costello

‘Play this one a couple of hundred times’, man that floored me the first time I read it. I was so used to skipping on to the next thing without really grasping or practicing the previous thing. Play a song once, move on. Draw a sketch of something once and then move on. Here was the key to improvisation, practice!

So I decided to apply this advice to drawing and drew some more trees and then moved on to hares and rabbits.

All of the time using pencils I’d appropriated from hotels and drawing in my ‘music’ book, which I use for writing songs and writing out folk tunes in my own notation for banjo.

Next I treated myself to a sketch book and a set of pencils and that’s where things started to go downhill again. I had created a new ritual, the special book and the special pencils. Now each drawing had to be special and they just weren’t. They seemed to be getting worse.

So, to the moral of the story, i decided to make my art disposable. It’s not special, so don’t treat it like it’s special. And once I’ve sketched a couple of hundred rabbits and hares and trees, well, I might just be getting warmed up.

This one’s on a piece of paper out of the printer, I was going to wrap a book in it to post it, just to prove how disposable art is.

Maybe tomorrow.

For now it’s back to the banjo…

 

 


Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

There’s an eclectic mix of posts on here, from writing and poetry to banjos and guitars, art, photography and computing, so feel free to dive in and have a look around,

New to this site? Click here to visit my About Me section.

Follow me @ponyfolk on Instagram for my multi-medium art and @shadowthepoet on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself, your art, your blog or you world and discover all that is new in the world? Click here for my ‘Join the Revolution’ page.

Go well!

James

 

Chamberlain Road – Stoke-on-Trent

An updated version of my music video ‘Chamberlain Road’, with some video scenes from around Stoke-on-Trent:

 

Chamberlain Road

D                                             A
The incinerator’s burning late tonight
Hanging a cloud over all that I’ve known
The voices are calling out united
As they’re singing they’re victory home
D     C      Em
And I’m running down Chamberlain Road
D   C                Em
I’m running down Chamberlain Road

Walk with the old man to the Commercial
Sunday afternoon and a drink with the boys
They all wonder now if it was worth it
All those years of blood, sweat and toil
And I’m running down Chamberlain Road
I’m running down Chamberlain Road

We stood and watched in mourning
As they tore the old stadium down
No more Saturdays in the Victoria
When you’re queuing for the bus out of town
And I’m running down Chamberlain Road
I’m running down Chamberlain Road

The doors of the the Spode are all boarded
The factory’s a museum of what it used to be
They took all our coal and they burnt it
What did they leave for you and me?
And I’m running down Chamberlain Road
I’m running, I’m running down Chamberlain Road

 

Ghosts Of The Night

I was looking through some folk tunes the other day for some ideas for a chord progression that I might use for a new song. I was feeling a little stale with my usual combinations and thought this might be a great way to springboard an upbeat song rather than my usual doom-laden minor chord accomplishments. I came across ‘The Hesleyside’, a tune I hadn’t heard before, which had an interesting chord progression in it’s A part:

GG GG CG AmD
GG GG CG DG

The Am to D change in the 4th bar and the D to G change in the 8th bar had me hooked and I played around with the chords for a week or so without thinking too much about words or melody. I sat down a couple of days ago and words started to bubble up for me for these changes and a melody and a nice little structure too:

Ghosts Of The Night

G G G G
C G Am D
G G G G
C G D G

As I was out walking the
Moors late one night
I spied a black stallion in
The bright moon light

And there beside him stood a
Grey dapp-led mare
And then I decided to ride them
To Ban-bury fair

But I’m no fine lady with
Rings on my toes
For that wild stallion fair
Blood-ied my nose

So just the mare for
My ride ho-me
But she kicked up her heels and
Left me all a-lone

Instrumental Break

I wandered those moors until
Ear-ly day light
Saw no more of those two
Ghosts of the night

C G Am D
Ghosts of the night

C G D G
Ghosts of the night

PDF copy of the chords & lyrics here: Ghosts Of The Night