Rebecca Chesney is our first Artist in Residence for the Black Mountains, as part of a collaboration between PEAK and the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority. Click here for more information about the residency.
Blog Post no 3: March 2016
Compared to the dreary wet weather in January when I spent my time wading through mud in the rain, my final two weeks in the Brecon Beacons were fine and clear, sunny and dry. Splitting the residency up meant I saw the season changing from winter into spring and I began to really enjoy the walk between my cottage and studio down a quiet lane, through fields and along the canal. I allowed myself to dawdle on the way home to watch lambs playing in the sunshine and buzzards and kites drifting overhead.
I was invited to attend the Black Mountains Land Use Partnership meeting: a gathering of landowners, managers and graziers. It was fascinating listening to issues connected to the management of the land and commons and to gain a better understanding of the work involved in maintaining the landscape and relations between different parties. With other meetings, studio visits, a couple of trips to Cardiff, two workshops with art students at Coleg Gwent and Merthyr College, and an ‘in conversation’ event at the National Park Visitor Centre my final two weeks were really busy.
I continued to collect colours from the landscape for my Brecon Beacons paint range, but I was particular with what I wanted to see this time: rare whitebeam trees, lesser horseshoe bats and examples of heather management high on the mountains. I now have over 150 colours and have spent time naming and organising them into categories. The result of my project will be launched in June 2016.
I’ve really enjoyed my time in the Brecon Beacons National Park, gathering information and meeting people who live and work there, trying to better understand the complex relationships between everything connected to the place. The scenery, managed for hundreds of years by humans, is wonderful to explore and encounters with wildlife are frequent. The experiences and friendships I made will remain with me forever.