Paperworks: 27th-28th July


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As part of  the Ceredigion Art Trail: 2019, Carole King and Glenn ibbitson will be presenting a range of works on paper at their studios this coming weekend.
Life drawings, collages, artist hand-bound books, landscape drawings, original artist’s limited edition prints, graphic novel artwork layouts.

Everybody welcome; ample off-roadparking. We’ll have the kettle on….

27th and 28th July. Open 10am – 6pm

Nant Pantybwlch   Newcastle Emlyn      Carms.     SA389JF

Prices of original works range from £10 £100. Original hand printed limited edition cards from £2.50


The Death of Richthofen


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Anyone visiting the Great War cemetery of Heilly in the valley of the Ancre is standing on the site of a casualty clearing station which was swamped with wounded troops evacuated from the Somme battlefield on July 1 1916. It is, like so many of these war grave sites, peaceful and melancholy. On the high spur between here and the Somme valley, glowers a prominent chimney rising above low buildings. This is the brickworks of St. Colette and near it, on 21st April 1918, Baron Manfred von Richthofen was shot down into a nearby field and killed. His  dying word, heard by troops who ran across the field to the site of his crashed aircraft was “Kaput”…

3In  the last photograph taken of Richthoven, he lies dead; his glazed eyes still open. Shortly before this death portrait was taken, he had been subjected to a crude field hospital autopsy, where the bullet entry wound was connected through his torso to its exit with a length of crude fencing wire… The photograph is irregularly criss-crossed by crease lines formed by folding it into a pocket, betraying a certain disregard of its importance by the allied authorities.

Richthofen has been used as an exemplar of an archetype which probably never existed; the gallant knight of the air. Certainly he himself would not have recognised this idealisation. He always sought out prey operating less manoeuvrable, slower and inferior-armed craft. He carefully calculated the odds and only struck when they were heavily stacked in his favour. Which is presumably why he enjoyed a relatively extended career as an ace.

His end was uncharacteristic of this self preserving and cautious predator. Hungry for another kill, he trailed novice Canadian pilot, Lt Wilfred May. Blind to impending danger, he was lured into trouble. The Sopwith Camel was not alone. He was being protected by Captain A. Roy Brown, a Canadian pilot. Brown latched onto the red tail and fired off his machine guns at the three-winged craft. The plane dropped into a field by the brickworks and Brown became a national hero and convenient poster boy for the RAF; newly formed on April 1st. The man who shot down the Baron.

2Except he didn’t. Richthofen’s low-level pursuit path down the Northern edge of the Somme valley had taken him over allied lines where Australians on the ground were manning Lewis machine guns mounted on posts to permit anti-aircraft activity. Employing post-mortem documentation and plotting the route of the plane over the several gun positions of the candidates offered up, Sergt. Cedric Basset Popkin, [24th Australian Machine Gun Company] is now generally credited with killing Richthofen.[1]

Histories generally hold a particular brief and realign inconvenient facts to relate a more palatable narrative. Knowing this now, I no longer feel so bad about the inaccuracy of my childhood war games, where I would ambush my Father’s Fokker DR1 with SE5a’s and part-completed models from the Second World War period.

4 Like many kids, assembling aircraft kits was my entreé into the field of military history. I would watch my father carefully glue sections together after painting the elements in accordance with the colour scheme instruction sheet. He would resist any exhortations to rush the process. Only when the decals were immersed in a dish of water to help them slide easily from their backing papers onto the model’s surfaces could I see the end in sight and the plane roll out of its hangar..

Most of the planes themselves have now been lost across the intervening fifty-odd years. All that remains are some of the assembly sheets which came with the kits. What interested me as as a youngster was the variety of paint jobs each plane displayed.  Depending on which manufacturer’s product one bought, even a plane as characteristic as Richthofen’s DR1 dreidekker displayed variations in colour scheme -because he had several different machines at his disposal within the JG1’Flying Circus’.  it is generally accepted  now that the machine he flew on the 21st April [FOK Dr1 425/17] was indeed the all red livery -though the finish was apparently uneven as shortages forced the paint-shop to dilute the pigment down, giving an uneven, streaky coverage across both the fabric and metal cowling. [2]

1       Squeezed by  regular work shifts and overtime, my father gave up his precious spare time to entertain his only kid and his friends. He would probably have preferred to have been playing local league cricket with his brother, or watching his football or rugby league team, but I was the lucky recipient of his indulgence. He always stoically accepted the inevitable endgame whatever activity we engaged in; predestined as it was by the series of rules rigged against him. My friends  and I played him in table football fixtures where his every goal was ruled offside. We raced cars around a Scalextric track over which he was condemned to drive the slower car. He would play football in the park with us; either being urged to run around the park evading clumsy tackles or consigned to goalkeeping duties where he would be forced to re-enact every goal scored against him in choreographed ‘slow motion’. 

A treat was to take the planes we made together to the park where, withstanding the ignominy of always being cast as an enemy flyer, he would be relentlessly pursued by a swarm of children aiming their not always historically accurate allied aircraft at him in a menacing fashion. 

This is just one way in which I remember my father, but it is perhaps the most evocative. He died just a few weeks after I had moved to Wales in 2004 and almost immediately, I had the idea for a painting on this theme.

Over a period of several years, I made many sketches, playing with composition and viewpoint when I had spare time between other, more pressing painting projects. As time passed, it gradually became almost too important for me to tackle. I developed  something of a block. I employed strategies to avoid commencing such a personal venture. I could see some firm image, yet I wouldn’t commit it to canvas.  Only this spring, after I had cleared the studio deck of two projects  inspired by the works of George Orwell and found no other imagery competing for my attention [and almost exactly one hundred and one years after the baron’s death], did I finally decide to cash in this long-standing cheque. 

Of course this is not exactly how Richthofen died on the plains East of Amiens.

zThere is, in this first version anyway, no Australian infantry element and I deeply resent the erasure of their contribution here by early histories [as I do the gross mismanagement of their talents at Gallipoli].  However, it does record how the Baron met his fate several times across Manston Park and on our back garden lawn in East Leeds. When I read something new about Richthofen, I try everything in my power to take myself  back to the Great War period -and to this period alone, buttressed only by our rich archive of stills photos and cinematography, but I do also still see our model aircraft and Dad’s plane in the cross-hairs of my mind. Still, don’t we all read history as a synthesis of known fact leavened with our own experiences, imaginings and interpretations?

I miss my Dad; barely a day goes by without my thinking of him. Even now.




Selected Works 2000-2019 @Stiwdio3 Cardigan June 10 – July 13


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Stiwdio3 poster

Press Release:

Resident in Newcastle Emlyn for fifteen years, Glenn left a career as a Scenic Artist for film and television [several years with BBC]. This work had provided opportunities for him to practice trompe-l’oeil techniques and visual trickeries on an industrial scale. The methods he employed and the visuals he was responsible for creating there have continued to nurture his own subsequent artwork.

“For more than thirty years, the focus of my art has been the human figure, painted in a representational idiom built upon an accumulation of particular details.This approach extends to commissioned portraiture; but any prospective client seeking flattery is recommended to look elsewhere.”

 The title of this exhibition reflects his role as something of a storyteller, though as narrator, his voice may be rather unreliable. Details of fact may be subjected to manipulation, but always in the attempt to reveal a deeper truth.

“Although I hope that my work can be appreciated on a purely aesthetic level, much of my work is propelled by socio-political subtext. ‘Consignment’, a project developed over a period of six years was a response to human trafficking and extraordinary rendition. “Smoke and Mirrors” addressed the deceits of political spin. ‘Targets and Barcodes’ was inspired by the writings of Orwell and those aspects of our technologically driven contemporary world which take us closer to his dystopia in spite of his warnings.”

Death of Lieutenant-General Picton


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I think it illustrates an admirable trait of the British character that its people are more likely to be able to name the sculptor of the lions guarding the foot of Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square [Landseer of ‘Monarch of the Glen’ fame], than the artist responsible for the seventeen foot high figure of the admiral standing 172 feet above them.

His name is E.W. Baily, RA [1788- 1867] and an excellent piece of his carving resides in the delightful Carmarthenshire County Museum in Abergwili on the edge of the county capital. This example of his artwork also commemorates the struggle against Napoleon.

Lieutenant-General Picton was, according to his commander The Duke of Wellington, “a rough foul-mouthed devil as ever lived”, but proved himself a military success during the Peninsular War of 1807–1814. He met his death at Waterloo in 1816. Within the year, subscriptions were invited from the populace of Carmarthen to meet the cost of a monument to their local hero. With a statue topping a 75 foot high column and defended by four cannons bristling at its base, the structure would have been far more elaborate and impressive than the bleak obelisk we now see in Johnstown. Its plinth was to be decorated with a frieze depicting Picton in battle action.

Because Waterloo was perceived by contemporaries as a victory of epic proportions, Baily, as a sculptor immersed in classicism and with an established reputation in the London art scene, seemed the natural choice for this commission. he had drunk his fill at the font of that most revered set of classical sculptures, the ‘Elgin Marbles’.[1] These sculptures had been removed from the Parthenon in Athens and shipped to England between 1801 and 1805; eventually purchased by Parliament for the nation in 1816.[2] As a member of the Royal Academy, Baily had advance access to these masterworks and they exerted a profound influence on his art.[3] They also served as the compositional basis for his Carmarthen panels.

10aBy the very nature of its limited physical depth, entablature is a highly stylised medium. Baily established three distinct spatial planes. Shallow bas-relief is employed to indicate distant soldiers. Though background players, these troopers are given specific features. Skirmishing troops in the middle ground foliage are more deeply modelled; their equipment and uniforms are finely detailed.

7The central figures of Picton and his Highlanders are the most fully realised in three dimensions; barely connected to the stone support. The head of the commander’s horse emerges as the most fully formed element of the panel in a style which owes more than a faint aesthetic relationship to the Greek frieze which he had studied closely, and which at the time of writing still resides in the British Museum.

2The whole is a most convincing, if idealised portrayal of the moment when Picton’s Fifth Infantry division, concealed on a low ridge behind a sunken lane, attack French troops struggling to advance through a hedgerow. As his men deliver a devastating volley at a range of less than twenty yards, and following this up with a crucial bayonet charge, Picton is shot in the head and falls from his horse into the arms of a Highlander, becoming the highest ranking victim of the battle on the Coalition side.

Artistic license extends to the Lieutenant-General’s attire. Here he is resplendent in military costume, not the shabby old greatcoat and round [or top] hat which he was reportedly wearing into battle.

The heroic monument was completed in 1828, but the people of Carmarthen did not long enjoy it. The frieze had been carved from inferior, weather-prone material. Baily delivered a second set of tablets but these arrived after the entire edifice had been demolished in 1846. [4] The section on display at the museum is one of these replacement panels having been retrieved from a garden in Johnstown in the 1970’s.

 The Picton frieze would be the centrepiece of most county museum collections, as it is here at Carmarthen. However, there is so much more to engage any visitor to this wonderful collection. Any gallery would be proud to own a portrait by William Dobson or Peter Lely. Carmarthen has one by each artist.

portsThere are some very finely preserved fossilised marine plants and animals and an engaging collection of boldly designed Medieval floor tiles.

tilesThere are glimpses into various aspects of Welsh domestic and industrial life across a wide time span. This is everything a county museum should be; a springboard encouraging a leap into a new pool of knowledge. It rewards with something new which was not noticed during the previous visit. This month, it was the gold funerary mask which has that delightfully timeless quality common to the very best Egyptian sculpture.

EgyptAnd yet, as I made my way to the exit, I find myself taking just one more look at a detail of Baily’s masterwork; perhaps close up, or from a different angle….


Carmarthenshire County Museum
The Old Palace Bishop’s Palace | Abergwili, Carmarthen SA31 2JG, Wales
Tel Number: 01267 228696
Opening times: Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00-16:30  Open every day during school holidays

1] I use quotation marks here because the popular name for these artworks is an insult to both the ancient and the modern Greek people. Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin was a vandalising thief of the worst kind, using his position as ambassador to the Ottoman Empire between 1799 and 1803  to extract isolated elements from their original context and damaging what could not be  successfully moved. Glorifying him by applying his name to the art he looted does rather stick in my craw. He could not even plead duty to country as a defence. The stones had not been obtained on behalf of the nation; Bruce originally intended them as decoration for his own home. They were only surrendered to pay debts. The “Marbles” were bought by Great Britain in 1816 for £35,000 and deposited in the British Museum.

2] These are more properly sculptures from the Parthenon, a marble frieze temple (aka a Doric temple) on the Athenian Acropolis, Greece, built in 447–432 BC and dedicated to the goddess Athena.
They consist of portions of the frieze, metopes, and pedimental sculptures , as well as sculptures from the Propylaea and Erechtheum. The Marbles were transported by sea to Britain. Elgin later claimed to have obtained in 1801 an official decree (a firman) from the Sublime Porte, the central government of the Ottoman Empire which were then the rulers of Greece. This firman has not been found in the Ottoman archives despite its wealth of documents from the same period and its veracity is disputed. Even if this permission could be found, the fact remains that these artworks were obtained from an occupying force, not from the people to whom they belonged as the centrepiece of their cultural heritage.

3] A major argument conducted by the British Museum in defence of their right to retain the Parthenon Frieze sections is that Elgin’s acquisition of the marbles inspired British students and enabled careers of great significance as a result. Baily can be used as an exemplar for this line of argument. However, the counter-argument can also be invoked; how many Greek artist’s careers foundered and failed to blossom because they didn’t themselves have first hand access to these works made by their own forefathers?

4] Picton’s legacy is commemorated by a second notable public monument; erected to his memory in St Paul’s Cathedral, by order of Parliament. This was sculpted by Sebastian Gahagan (c.1778 – 2 March 1838)

RWSW @ Aberglasney Gardens


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This show is a joint exhibition between The Royal Watercolour Society of Wales and Associazione Italiana Acquerellisti based in Milan, Italy. The second leg of the show will be in Milan, Italy, in the spring of 2020.

The Royal Watercolour Society of Wales (RWSW) was formed by six like-minded artists, living in and around Cardiff, to exhibit and promote this medium by holding regular exhibitions of their work throughout Wales. The first exhibition was held in 1959 at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff. Today the Society has around 40 members all professional artists living and working in Wales and entry to the Society is by election, and in this way the Society maintains high standards of work as well as attracting new talent to its ranks.

The Royal Watercolour Society of Wales exists to promote and showcase the art of watercolour, through the paintings of its members. RWSW aims to provide a forum for the continuing appreciation and development of the medium, along with some water based mixed media.

The Associazione Italiana Acquerellisti (AIA) was founded in 1974 in Milan on the initiative of a small group of Italian famous painters who wanted to revive the watercolour technique in Italy. AIA promotes “pure watercolour” that is just water and colours without the use of other components.

Currently AIA counts about 150 members from all over Italy. To achieve its statute purposes AIA organizes and takes part in exhibitions at national and international level, organizes workshops and festivals and publishes a half-year magazine “L’Acquerello”.

In 1998 AIA launched, along with the Belgian Association AIB, the European Confederation of Watercolour Societies (ECWS) which today includes 14 watercolour European associations from Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden.

There will be an open evening for the exhibition on Saturday 18th May from 6.30pm. The evening is open to all. Normal admission to the Gardens does not apply on the evening, but does at all other times.

Aberglasney Gardens
SA32 8QH

tel: 01558 668998

MOTHS: hiding in plain sight


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Early Grey: watercolour 61x46cm

 The natural world has offered up so much material to inspire me through my life. And though elements from nature have been been co-opted for incidental effect, I have spurned almost all of it as central source material for my own art. The spotlight over my stage has been shone instead on the human figure and its psychological condition. I have seen the work of too many artists who have invested their entire lives and artistic skill sets into almost perfect captures of flora and fauna that I would be unable to satisfactorily compete. Does the world need yet another merely competent picture of a Barn Owl? 

My partner Carole bought me a very special birthday present in 2017. It was an actinic light trap for attracting moths. She had picked up on my casual comments about wanting to know which of these creatures was sharing our local environment with us after dark. We had seen some wonderful day flyers; Humminbird Hawkmoths, Garden Tigers, Sallows and had disturbed beautiful heralds [looking like little battle shields] in our workshop outbuildings. This trap allowed us to view the night flyers at close quarters.  The light attracts then; they trip and doze.. I photograph  and record their numbers. [an July example] The captives are unharmed  by the following dusk. They take to the wing again, leaving the box with its egg cartoons [a traditional material used to accommodate them in their post-luminary state]  completely empty by the following morning…

 Lepidopterology presented an alluring aspect of nature to which, until recently, I had only paid casual attention. It offered a striking opportunity to visualise two different preoccupations simultaneously. 

1 The nature of obsession


Obsession: watercolour 61x43cm

obsession    /əbˈsɛʃ(ə)n/   noun: obsession fixation, ruling/consuming passion, passion, mania, idée fixe, compulsion. 


Spectacle: watercolour 61x43cm

 ’Spectacle’ is one of an ongoing series of watercolours which reflect the development of and total immersion in one’s personal preoccupations.  A visual encapsulation on the nature of obsession to the exclusion of all other interests and responsibilities; pushed to the point where the subject and the self merge. The degree of assimilation varies from composition to composition, from almost full portrait,

Small Welsh Quaker1

the Small Welsh Quaker: watercolour, 61x43cm

– to just a partially occluded eye within the object of desire.. pulled deeper into the fabric of the idée fixe.

faded flyer2

Faded Flyer: 30x43cm

2 Hiding within Plain View

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Beneath the Arches: 43x30cm

crypsis   /ˈkrip-səs   noun: the ability of an organism to conceal itself especially from a predator by having a colour, pattern, and shape that allows it to blend into the surrounding environment

Though 2019 marks the 70th anniversary year of the publication of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four, it’s central concept remains, ominously, as relevant as ever. How is the artist/ dissident to express unpalatable truths and criticisms of contemporary society and the state apparatus  whilst still being able to function as one of its citizens; free from official persecution?  When I first read this masterwork, it did seem as if western society at least, had insured itself against the risks headlined through its pages. Now it seems that perverse humanity has collectively snatched defeat from the jaws of what was perhaps in retrospect a mirage of victory. My own body of work since the turn of the Century  has alluded to different facets of the struggle for the individual voice to be heard within an unsympathetic kultur.


stills from the film ‘Tatsuko’ 44minutes, B&W

Tatsuko [film details] investigated the strategies required to make a life while living in secret in a foreign environment with potentially hostile forces at close quarters.


the ‘Smethwick Twins’: oil on canvas from the series, ‘Smoke and Mirrors’

‘Smoke and Mirrors’ depicted visual deceits employed to create and protect ‘second lives’.

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Landscapes of Betrayal; Do it to Julia: graphite on paper  61x86cm

“Do it to Julia’ echoed the activities of George Orwell’s everyman and reluctant hero Winston Smith in attempting to evade detection by making the narrator into an anamorphic cast thrown across the paper’s surface; his words converted into a cryptograph consisting of negative spaces. Both speech and image hidden in plain sight.

This series of moth paintings is an attempt to find an imagery which might encapsulate these related concepts. To marry ideas of surreptitious discourse with techniques of crypsis

Frosted Man and [right] Underneath the Arches: both watercolour, 43x30cm

In this way, the freethinker may give voice to his or her ideas publicly, rather than in secret, by appearing to be saying one thing, but smuggling through a subtext under a surface covering to convey a quite different meaning. The visual deceptions observed in the structure, patterning and coloration present in moth families  provided me with a visual equivalent for operating under the radar; fully functioning in plain view, but hidden from all but the closest scrutiny. An inversion on the idea of sleight of hand; this time, not by leading the eye away from the real subject, but rather fooling it into misreading evidence presented directly to the eye.

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Self in Purple: watercolour 61x43cm

‘Quotes’: Orwell and the ‘Target’ project


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Front coverGlenn Ibbitson Quotes

“Quotes: Inspirational quotations; creative responses.” Compiled and edited by Andy Wild and Mike Healey, contains the work of 68 contemporary artists, each of whom were asked to select a quote by someone famous, explain why that quote resonates with them and then select an example of their own work that best exemplifies their text.
210 x 210 mm in size. 140 pp, full colour throughout.
ISBN: 978-1-9164788-1-7
Now available. contact ANDY WILD at :

Quotes retails at £15 + £2.55 (UK) postage and packing
If you live abroad it will cost more but Andy will tell you exactly how much and where to send your payment when you place your order

“Preludes”: works on paper at Stwdio3


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 ‘PRELUDES’ A selection of works on paper 1979 – 2017

“Preludes” consists of a selection of drawings spanning four decades, most of which have been worked directly from the model and have been used as preparatory studies for subsequent paintings -some of which Stwdio 3 will be showing at a later date. They are all works on paper utilising the versatility of charcoal, graphite and gouache; often in combination. Several are being shown publicly here for the first time.

Glenn’s work is resolutely representational in a classical style owing much to a lifelong study of the figurative Masters. “Abstraction has never held that much interest for me; it lacks that vital element of deception…’

 Self Portrait: charcoal pencil

 Softlit Nude: charcoal pencil and white gouache

Foreshortened Nude: charcoal pencil

 Flat Top: graphite pencil

The exhibition is on show for two weeks commencing February 5th.

Stwdio 3 is open Monday to Saturday: 9 am to 5 pm

Make it in Wales   Stiwdio 3
3 High Street    Cardigan
SA43 1HJ

Tel: 01239 758088

Learn more about ‘Make it in Wales and Stwdio 3 by following the links below

Moths, Masks and the nature of consuming passions


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aBeneath the Arches       watercolour      60x42cm

bThe Obsessed       watercolour      60x42cm

cThe Moth Widow       watercolour      60x42cm

dBleached Blossom I      watercolour      60x42cm

eBleached Blossom II      watercolour      55x37cm

A Modern Sisyphus


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‘Sisyphus’ acrylic and oil on canvas 123x91cm

Condemned to push a large rock up on a steep hill, only to find it rolling back on nearing the summit…in perpetuity.

A rock comprising an aggregate of personal neuroses; personal health, financial, career, state sanctions and curtailed liberties, ethical living. We all carry our own boulder up our own mountain…