This map was an outcome of my research into the evolution of the Pendine Dune Barrier in Carmarthenshire water colour, ink and pencil on paper 244cm/150cm
It was made as a contribution to the CoastWEB project within the Valuing Nature Programme funded by NERC/UKRI.
The intention of the drawing was to take the range of scientific data produced for CoastWEB and integrate it into a study of the evolution of the Pendine Dune Barrier with particular reference to the traces of the medieval saltmarsh channel system remaining in the reclaimed farmland.
Exhibited at “Marsh Mud and Wonder” Royal Geographical Society, London 27th January-3rd February 2020: a showcase exhibition that I curated with Chris Fremantle of two projects of CoastWEB” and another research project “Wetland Life”, also within the NERC Valuing Nature Programme. This map was also shown at “Understanding Wales’ Saltmarshes: an exhibition from the CoastWEB project” at The Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, 10th-12th February 2020.
Whilst I was making this map a coastal scientist came to visit me in my studio. Utterly baffled by the labour-intensive process of gridding up the paper and transferring the basic configuration of the estuary to it prompted her to suggest that a photocopy might be better. My answer was that whilst a photocopy is fine as information, the process of making a drawing is an act of contemplation, where the speed of making is equivalent to the relationship between the conception of ideas and their realisation.
For me the learning process for any project is incremental and by its nature, disparate. Drawing is a means to combine what I have learned with what I surmise and to see it makes sense when transferred to paper. The act of understanding an idea is the act of living with it and this is where the reflexive and reflective process of art comes into play. Making is understanding and there can be no short cuts.
Here is where the understanding between science and art comes into play, for what use is art in this context if it isn’t grounded and what purchase can science offer the imagination if it doesn’t strike a poetic chord?