Taratories Blog

Cadair Idris: Wales Residency

I feel slightly exhausted from painting so much these last 3 weeks.  It has been like a marathon and I feel like I need a break from my paintbrush for a little bit which feels really weird coming from my mouth!  I feel like 3 weeks was the perfect amount of time to be on a residency.  I could have pushed myself to do more art if I was staying longer, but I feel like I am ready to go home and see my family.  Yesterday I took a break from painting and did a little sight seeing.  First stop was Machynlleth again to go to the shoe shop where they design and hand craft their shoes.  They actually custom make the shoes for you to fit your feet!  The shoes were so amazing and I wanted many of them, but the ones I wanted the most were, of course, the most expensive ones in the store.  They were made with rabbit fur and cost a whopping $600, so obviously I didn't order any.  The designer and owner said that these shoes are meant to last a lifetime which I love.  Maybe some day!

I stopped at the train station to buy my ticket for my journey to Birmingham and after I bought my ticket I walked back into the center of town.  On my way down the hill I realized that the last time I did this walk was the first day I got here and stepped off the train.  I remembered how I felt while I was walking.  Exhausted, sore, excited, in awe that I was actually in Wales!  I remember taking in everything for the first time and now it seemed almost normal! I walked past this pub which was my first stop after I arrived when I had the fish and chips.  Then my eyes started welling up.  I got a lump in my throat as I realized that my time was drawing to an end here and thinking about my adventure that I have had here.  A tear trickled down my face and I had to take the moment to reflect and say goodbye.  I am so grateful that God gave me this amazing experience and I am so sad that I have to leave this part of the world that I love so much!  

I pulled myself together and Yuki and I drove to a nearby local mountain that is smaller than Snowdon but still pretty big called Cadair Idris.  This palatial tree was at the entrance to greet me.

The journey to the base of the mountain was a beautiful experience in itself!  There was beautiful streams and loads of mossy everything.

The views on the way up were incredible and we walked up hundreds of rock steps and pathways weaving all the way up.

I loved this awesome slate bridge over the stream.  We sat and took a break and caught our breath here and watched the water flow down in front of us.

As we got closer to our destination there were more expanses of land in sight.  Every direction I looked in was absolutely breathtaking.

Then we finally arrived and it was so calm and quiet.  The mountain was so beautiful from all angles and the lake in the center of it was so placid.

And we found more red mushrooms!  There is no short supply of fungus here.

And of course there were more sheep...

It was an amazing three hour hike and I am so glad I got to experience more of God's creation and the Welsh landscape. I have really gained a new appreciation for nature since I've been here and I can't wait to do more exploring when I get home!

Fears and Fairies: Wales Residency

This week I thought I would try again to conquer my fears and take a walk through the scary forest.  Along the way I said hello to this sweet kitty on the stone wall.

The wind wasn't blowing which meant the trees weren't swaying and creaking this time which made it seem less scary. Even though I was nervous I took a deep breath and started to walk down the dark tunnel of trees.

As I walked through I realized that I was being silly and that I had nothing to worry about.  I enjoyed the perfect rows of trees and mossy stones along the path once again. This time I discovered an amazing mossy waterfall with a mossy tree going out of the side of it.

I sat down at the overlook and noticed some bugs flying around me.  I don't know if is the welsh folklore I have been reading, or the magical toadstools I've seen, or the storybook forests that have been getting to my head, but I felt like these bugs were fairies.  I was looking at them and thinking that they really could be fairies...

I am incorporating some fairies in one of my paintings and I saw this photo on the left on the internet captured by someone in England in his garden.  I don't know if it is legit, but I took a photo of the bugs that were hanging out with me and I felt like there was a kind of similarity.  I know you probably think I am crazy, but there are moments where I feel like I do believe in fairies.  If you were in Wales you would too :)  

My last stop was hanging out with the sheep who I love so much. This sheep was all about getting a selfie with me!  I really want Santa to bring me a lamb for Christmas haha!  I am so glad I conquered my fears because it ended up to be a beautiful adventure full of mossy waterfalls, ruins, an overlook with fairies, and selfies with sheep.  

Here are some detail shots of another painting I am working on.  Lots of greens in this one like the green landscape here in Wales.  There are mossy greens for days here...

These are photos from another walk I went on this week. I just loved the soft texture of the grasses and moss all along this path through the trees.

And I love this interesting character I encountered.  Every walk here is a different kind of adventure with its own kind of personality.  I love it and I am going to miss all of it when I leave this place.