May 28th, 2018
The beauty of the Welsh Coast and Snowdonian hills has been inspiring artists and painters for centuries. Today we explore the North Wales artists who were all influenced by their coastal surroundings.
Sparkling seas, wild waves, craggy cliffs and sweeping peninsulas; wide sandy beaches, rocky shores, curved bays and secret coves, all looked over by some of the most impressive mountain ranges in Britain. It’s little wonder that, for centuries, the Welsh coastline has been home to many artists and painters who have been inspired by the beauty around them.
Many were born and raised along the wild coastal landscape so that the rugged beauty became as inherently bound in their work as in their own histories.
Art for Wales
Sir Kyffin Williams is one of the most well known and well loved Welsh artists of the twentieth century. His art captured the imaginations, not just of his fellow Welsh people, but also of a global audience. His dark and brooding visions of the landscapes that surrounded him became iconic of Wales, and symbolic of a fast disappearing way of simple, rural life. His work appealed to a wide audience not least perhaps, because they could relate to the mournful Celtic landscapes and the untamed countryside he depicted.
Sir Kyffin was born John Williams in the small town of Llangefni on Anglesey in the summer of 1918. After being sent to school in Shrewsbury he enlisted with the Royal Welch Fusiliers. However, on the grounds of his epilepsy was signed out of the army and told by his doctor to instead practice art for the sake of his health.
Sir Kyffin admitted to being disillusioned and disappointed when he first enrolled at the Slade School of Fine Art in 1941, but despite his misgivings he flourished. After graduating he became the Senior Art Master at a renowned London public school; a position he held for almost 30 years until 1973.
But, the coastal landscapes of Anglesey always beckoned, and so Sir Kyffin returned to his beloved island. He not only made enormous contributions to Welsh art with his own work, but also for other artists and for the wider public.
As the president of the Royal Cambrian Academy, Wales’s Centre for Excellence in Art, Sir Kyffin fought tirelessly for the creation of a national gallery for Wales and in securing the work of other local artists for the nation, such as that of naturalistic painter Charles Tunicliffe.
Sir Kyffin (he began to use his grandmother’s maiden name early on in his career) was elected as a Royal Academician in 1974, was awarded an OBE in 1982 and was made a Knight of the British Empire in 1999.
Sadly, Sir Kyffin Williams passed away in 2006 after a battle with cancer. He died surrounded by the landscape he adored, which, through his numerous paintings and drawings was captured in the unique way he chose to interpret it.
Rob Piercy is a Welsh artist who has been drawing and painting the varied landscapes of Snowdonia for over 30 years. He’s an experienced mountaineer too, and so naturally his favourite subjects are the majestic mountains and foothills of Snowdonia.
Born, and based, in the coastal town of Porthmadog in North West Wales, Rob Piercy is always close to the inspiring landscapes that are so prominent in his work.
Rob Piercy has been awarded many accolades for his beautiful landscape art. In 1995 he was appointed a member of the Royal Cambrian Academy, and in 2002 he became the Welsh Artist of the year.
Rob’s catalogue of local scenes is wide ranging and hugely varied, so it’s difficult for Rob to pinpoint his favourite location to take his brushes and paints.
Visit Rob Piercy’s shop and gallery in Porthmadog. More details and opening hours here