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    Meet local Artist Elizabeth Haines

    "I have lived and worked in Pembrokeshire for some 50 years. I trained as a graphic designer, and illustrated a number of books before gradually moving entirely to painting. My work is exhibited in France, Cardiff, Pembrokeshire and London, as well as at my studio in the Preselis.

    My paintings evoke the landscape of France as well as of Wales and, although grounded in observation, are frequently described as surreal and dreamlike.

    I have been Artist in Residence at the National Eisteddfod and other venues. I am particularly interested in working with young people in the sphere of the Arts, and have a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Wales.

    My work is in the collections of the Contemporary Art Society for Wales, The National Library and the University of Wales, as well as numerous private collections worldwide"

    Where do you work from and what is your studio like?

    I work from my studio, a renovated cowbyre on my farm in the Preseli Hills. It has a wonderful atmosphere, and is usually fairly untidy. The barn behind, full of interesting things, is used for painting too, both by me, my friends and my grandchildren. A newish wooden building which joins them is for relaxing and showing work.

    What is your preferred medium and why? 

    Different media for different ideas. At the moment it is oil pastels, I started to use them in France partly because they are easy to carry around. Glorious colours and tactile qualities.

    What is your earliest memory of painting or creating art?

    Drawing on the wall of my bedroom aged about three, and also digging out the plaster. My mother said, well you might as well cover the whole wall and then we can paint over it when you want to do new ones.

    What is the best compliment you have received as an artist?

    When a 10 year old bid successfully for one of my pictures at the Oriel Q Auction.

    Do you have a favourite piece from your own collections?

    Of mine – the one I will do tomorrow. Of other people ‘s work on my walls – at the moment it is a Roger Cecil, but tomorrow It could be a Jacob Buckland, a Maurice Cockrill, an Ozi Osmond, a Dick Evans….or the mural which the grandchildren did on the barn wall.

    Which artists or designers do you admire, locally and natively?

    I enjoy many of my contemporaries’ work. I have been influenced and inspired by the ancient artists of Lascaux, Van Gogh, John Piper, David Jones, Paul Klee and others too numerous to mention in the course of some 60 years of looking at art.

    What brought you to Pembrokeshire? And what is your favourite place locally?

     I came to Pembrokeshire with my parents, who had a cottage on a farm in the Preselis. I met and married the shepherd. My favourite place is here at home.

    Have you ever had a painting disaster?

    Hundreds of them.

    Do you have any advice for an aspiring artist?

    Work. And look at great art.

    Many thanks to Elizabeth Haines for a beautiful insight into your work and life. 

    Neil Stokes -Meet the Artist

    Neil Stokes -Meet the Artist

    We have recently had the pleasure of meeting an exciting local artist, Neil Stokes, and have been able to ask him a few questions about himself and his work. He is a practicing artist based locally in rural South Wales, predominantly painting local landscapes in Oil.

    If you could please tell us a little about yourself?

    I gained my BA (Hons) Fine Art from Wolverhampton University. After working in Media I returned to Wolverhampton University where I then studied for my Master of Art. I achieved my MA in 2005.

    Where do you work from and what is your studio like?

    I work from my Studio at home which is rural and quiet. My studio is full of canvases, paints and painting materials.

    What is your preferred medium and why?

    I now work mainly in oil paint. The slower drying time allows for changes as the painting develops.

    What is your earliest memory of painting or creating art?

    My earliest memory of creating art was when I was ten. I would spend time studying and drawing people, buildings and landscapes. I won a prize for my drawings of the inside of St.Johns Church.

    What is the best compliment you have received as an artist?

    The best compliment I have received was when I was offered a place at the Royal Academy of Art in London

    Do you have a favourite piece from your own collections?

    My personal favourite piece of my own work was a mixed media piece entitled 'Boys of Bazau'

    Which artists do you admire?

    The Welsh Artist I admire the most is Augustus John who lived in Tenby.

    What brought you to Pembrokeshire? Do you have a favourite local place?

    I have always enjoyed the beauty and atmosphere of Pembrokeshire and always knew I would settle here one day, and my favourite place will always be Narberth.

    Have you ever had a painting disaster?

    Yes. There always are and always will be painting disasters. This is just a part of the process.

    Do you have any advice for an aspiring artist?

    My advice to any aspiring artist is to remember that every painting is an adventure, embrace it.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions and feed our curiosity! We are very pleased to have your beautiful work in our gallery.  

    Meet Thomas Haskett - A Plein Air Pembrokeshire Painter

    It's rare that an artist walks in off the street and shows you work that takes your breath away. Especially when that artist is painting places which are known to nearly all of us, but so it was with Thomas Haskett who we recently started exhibiting.

    We so enjoyed getting to know him a little better and hope you do too!


    Can you introduce yourself and describe your work?

    Hello, I'm Thomas Haskett, a young painter of impressionistic, and representational works in oils. I mostly like to paint plein air landscapes and seascapes, and my primary focus is capturing and conveying light, place and atmosphere. 
     Where do you work from? What is your studio like?
    I like to paint outside as much as possible, so I only really use the studio for preparatory and finishing purposes. It's pretty small, but I like to think that my real studio is outside, which is rather exciting!

    What is your preferred medium and why?
    Oils are my favourite medium, they took me a while to get into as I was used to making etchings and working in watercolours, and it was quite a shift. I like oils, because I can speed up their drying time, and get an awful lot of information down in a fairly swift and efficient fashion. With watercolours, you only get one chance to get things right, but oils are much easier to alter and adjust.
    Oils are also nice and portable, which really suits my working practice, and the effects you can create seem limitless, which is constantly inspiring.
    What is your earliest memory of painting?
    I've been painting and drawing ever since I was able to hold a pen, or a brush. As a child, I was obsessed with tractors, so that's most probably what I would've been concentrating on in the early stages of my career!
    What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?
    The chance to show my work at the Golden Sheaf, of course! Also, receiving positive feedback from contemporary painters that I really admire. That's one of the nice things about social media; the ability to connect with one’s influences in a way that wasn't really possible before.

    Do you have a favourite piece from your own collections?
    I have one or two pieces that mark a turning point where I've switched medium or method, and they mean quite a lot to me. Aside from that, my favourite paintings have all sold, and whilst I'm pleased that they've gone to new homes, I do miss them.  
    Which artists or designers do you admire locally and nationally?
    There’s so many, I could spend all day listing them and still not manage to mention everyone!
    Locally, I really like Gareth Thomas' acrylics, Claudia Williams' figurative work, Aneurin Jones' Welsh Cobs, Matthew Wood’s interior scenes, David Tress, Donald McIntyre, Kyffin Williams, Augustus and Gwen John, and obviously, everyone’s work at the Golden Sheaf!
    Nationally, there are so many people that I really admire, so in no particular order, here are just a few; Andrew Tozer, Stanhope Forbes, Fred Cuming, Arnesby Brown, Lucy kemp Welch, Ken Howard, Alfred Munnings, Henry Scott Tuke, James MacKeown, Walter Langley, Edward Seago, John Piper, Hockney, Euan Uglow, Henry Scott Tuke, Peter Lanyon, Kurt Jackson, Laura Knight, William Morris etc.
    What do you want people who own your work to feel when they look at a piece of yours?
    I hope that they can feel some of the anticipation, and the excitement that led me to paint the scene initially. I'd also like them to get some of the joy that comes from painting, and making something out of nothing.

    What brought you to Pembrokeshire, and what is your favourite place here?

    A love of people and of place. It's really hard to narrow down just one favourite place, there are just so many amazing spots! May I say the sea? I absolutely adore being in it, on it, or next to it.
    Have you ever had a complete painting disaster?
    More than I care to remember! Painting outside brings with it many risks; the wind, the rain, the light, insects, sand, livestock etc. I'm generally really passive, but I once got so frustrated with a painting which wasn’t working, that I threw it on the ground! It's comes from being such a perfectionist, I think.

    Any advice for an aspiring artist?
    However you work, it's really important not to stop working, even if it's just a little sketch, or some colour notes; always do something creative every day. It's so easy to stop, or become distracted, but it can be so hard to start again. Also, it's perfectly OK to look at other artists, and admire them, but never compare yourself to them.


    Thanks so much for your time Thomas, if you'd like to see more of Tom's work, it's on show in the upstairs gallery.

    -The Golden Sheaf

    Meet David Wilson - The photographer that captures Wales

    David Wilson has been one of most popular artists for years, his black and white images capture the Welsh landscape in it's most intimate moments. His work has inspired poets and writers and recently an entire book, whilst his photographs grace the pages of books, and walls across the country.

    We caught up with the man himself for a chat about how he still feels about Wales after all these years.


    Can you introduce yourself and describe your work?

    My name is David Wilson and I am a fine art photographer specialising in black and white images of the Welsh landscape, in particular my home county of Pembrokeshire.


    How often do you visit a place or subject before you photograph it?

    It’s mostly dependent on the weather conditions. If fortune is smiling down on me the elements will be perfect first visit. Quite often though I can see the composition in my mind’s eye but the sky just doesn’t work.  I try to avoid clear blue skies wherever possible as they’re featureless and pretty boring. So I’ll simply return when the weather is more appropriate.

    Your photography recently inspired a book comprising several short crime stories, how did you find handing over the interpretation of your photographs to others?

    I was very flattered that a group of eminent writers should want to use my images as the catalyst for a book of short stories. Some photographers may have found it unnerving that a group of writers should see such dark and murderous intent in their images that it would inspire a collection of crime stories; I actually saw it as an endorsement of what I do! My images are meant to be dark and brooding, causing the viewer to contemplate a narrative that may be quite bleak! I think darker images with extremes of contrast are more emotive and evocative.

    You’re known for your black and white photography, but more recent pieces have been in colour- which do you prefer?

    I prefer to work in black and white but occasionally I take a photograph that works better in colour; not very often though!

    Where in Pembrokeshire is your favourite place to photograph, or where has the most interesting light?

    I have two areas of Pembrokeshire that provide endless inspiration; the Preseli hills and the coastal strip and hinterland between Fishguard and St Davids. I’m drawn to the rugged nature of the landscape and the stories in the buildings; if only those stones could speak.

    Do you have a favourite piece from your own collections?

    I have a number of images that I am particularly proud of. The photographs tend to have buildings in them. ‘Treleddyd Fawr’ cottage near St Davids, on the cover of my first book ‘Pembrokeshire’, still has the power to move me even after eight years. The same goes for ‘The Abandoned Farm’ in the Preseli Hills. Then love him or loath him there’s ‘The Bull’, a portrait with a difference

    What artists do you admire locally and nationally?

    If there is one artist whose work I admire more than any other it is the late John Knapp-Fisher. I love the harsh abstractions and bare outlines that characterised his work. He understood what the Pembrokeshire landscape is all about; occasional bright sunny days but more often than not, challenging days when the weather is heavy and less than helpful but conditions that add so much to any painting or indeed photograph.

    What do you want people who own your work to feel when they look at a photograph of yours?

    When people look at my work I want them to immerse themselves in the image and ask questions. I photograph a lot of buildings in the landscape as buildings tell stories about people; their lives, families, hopes and aspirations. So I want people to put their own interpretation on the image and create their own unique narrative.

    What was your first camera?

    My first camera was a 35mm Ricoh. Don’t ask me the model; it was over thirty years ago and ended up in a swimming pool while on holiday with my mates!

    A lot of photographers are asked to lend their photographs for free, to magazines or websites, which would be virtually unheard of with a piece of fine art- how do you feel about this?

    If people want to give the rights to their work away for free that’s their choice. I would say value your efforts and demand payment!

    Have you ever had a complete photographic disaster?

    Thankfully I have never had a complete photographic disaster. I appreciate that’s probably not the answer people would like to hear but there we have it. Of course, now the question’s been asked, I will undoubtedly have one very soon…..eeek!


    Thanks David!- Lets hope you can keep that disaster at bay for a little longer!

    Love, The Gallery

    Meet Emma Iles - The Cushion Designer Behind Seaforth Designs

    We just adore Emma's work, ever since we met the lovely characters that find their way on to her designs, they've found a permanent home on our sofa too! You can shop her collection here.
    Can you introduce yourself and describe your work?
     I am Emma Iles, founder of Seaforth Designs, a countryside and coastal-inspired cushion company, which features British favourites such as a fox, hare, pheasant and a range of lovely coastal birds

    How did you begin sewing as a girl? What was your first ‘make’?
    My mother and aunts always sewed and made their own clothes and outfits, so it was natural for me to learn to create as well. I cant remember exactly the first thing I made, but I can remember helping my mum cut out and make a 'ClothKits' dress for my seventh birthday. 

    How many times do you sketch and cut out a design before it’s perfect- or do designs just drop into your head?
    My designs can either be instantaneous sketches which work straight away, or be a 'work in progress' that develop over a period of time. Either way, it gives me great satisfaction to then be able to transfer them into fabric designs which then come to life on a cushion.

    You’ve been featured in Country Living and at The Country Living Fair several times now, do you still get excited? 
    As a young teenager, my friends would be reading 'Just Seventeen' magazine on the bus but I would be studiously flicking through Country Living magazine so it definitely still remains a great thrill to see my designs being featured in their magazine.

    What would you say to those people who are passionate about making but aren’t sure whether to make that step into making it a business?
    Make sure the product is as professionally finished as possible. Your friends may say 'that's great, you should sell them' but ask them to be as genuine and honest as possible to determine if this is a viable product to sell. Then, go for it! What have you got to lose?

    You’ve only been trading as Seaforth Designs for a few years- what was your first moment where you felt like you’d ‘made it’?
    Being invited to showcase my designs at the Country Living Spring Fair in 2014, with 20 other chosen newcomers. Having been a seamstress for over 20 years, this was my first realisation that Seaforth Designs could be successful.

    Being creative, or having a creative outlet is so important to your happiness, did you feel a loss when you stopped sewing for pleasure and made the move to sewing for business?
    I have been lucky that creating and making my cushions has remained a pleasure and not felt like a chore. As I hand make each cushion individually, I hope my customers feel that the item has been specially made for them plus I get to sew for pleasure on my days off! 

    We know the wildlife and history in Pembrokeshire has inspired your designs, but who are the artists and fellow makers you admire?
    Having worked for the William Morris Society doing curtain restoration, I admire the way he taught himself each craft and design skill before asking anyone to make something for him. Of the current designers, I particularly like Angie Lewin and Hannah Nunn.

    Do you have a favourite piece from your own collections?
    I recently created the Twilight collection and the Leaping Hare has become a particular favourite. The Dunlin design is also a favourite, so much so that we chose it to become the Seaforth Designs symbol.

    Do you ever worry you’ll run out of designs?! Or are you always brimming with ideas?
    Yes, I sometimes worry that I may run out of designs, but at the same time, my head is always spinning with ideas and is hard not to be inspired by the nature and scenery around me.

    What would you like people to feel when they own a piece of your work?
    That it has been made especially for them, which it has, from my sewing room in Pembrokeshire to wherever they may be all over the world.
      Thanks Emma! Love, The Gallery