Jo Blogs

Bardsey Exhibition – latest

Posters and publicity about the exhibition taking place on Bardsey Island (Ynys Enlli) next month. Several of my Bardsey paintings will subsequently be on show at the Summer Open Exhibition at Oriel Plas Glyn y Weddw near Abersoch from mid-July to October (


An Exhibition of Drawings, Paintings, and Murals taking place in Carreg Fawr on Bardsey Island from Wednesday 19th June to Wednesday 3rd July 2024.

This exhibition will feature works by Brenda Chamberlain, Amelia Shaw-Hastings, and Jon Hastings.

Brenda Chamberlain lived full-time on Bardsey Island in the 1940s and 1950s and made her home in Carreg Fawr. She was both a painter and a writer and left a tangible legacy on Bardsey in the form of murals painted on the internal walls of Carreg. Though they have inevitably deteriorated in the intervening years they remain impressive, and since the exhibition is to be located in Carreg, they will, unusually, be open to public view. There is another permanent exhibition about Brenda Chamberlain’s life on Bardsey elsewhere on the island.

Amelia Shaw-Hastings visited Bardsey regularly through the summer months with her family, during the 1960s and early 1970s, staying firstly in Ty Bach, her sister Marjory’s house, and then later leasing Ty Nesaf. She had been a precocious talent, attending Junior Art School from the age of 13, and after several years as a Commercial artist during and after the War she was inspired to take up sculpture and portraiture which became the focus of her professional career. She also loved to draw and sketch and found great delight in making quick sketches of the landscape, shoreline, people, and animals of Bardsey during her visits, a selection of which will be on show in the exhibition.

Jon Hastings is Amelia’s third son, and he was first brought to the Island as a 6-year-old in 1960, accompanying his Aunt Marjory. This and subsequent visits throughout his childhood forged a deep emotional bond with the island, and he has continued to visit regularly as an adult, with his own children and, more recently, his grandchildren. Unlike his mother, Jon’s desire to make art arrived somewhat later in his life, but he has been developing his practice now for 25 years, and his interests include painting, drawing, and creating immersive installations using sound and moving image. He has been working on a series of expressive semi-abstract paintings of Bardsey over the past two years, and this exhibition is the result of a wish to share these paintings in the place and landscape that inspired them.

Bardsey Exhibition

Preparations for my upcoming exhibition on Bardsey Island in June/July 2024 are now well underway. The exhibition will be housed in one of the sturdy Victorian farmhouses, Carreg Fawr, and will feature work by 3 generations of artists. Welsh poet and artist Brenda Chamberlain lived and worked in Carreg through the 1950s and left several beautiful murals inside the house. These are not usually accessible to the public but will be available to view for the duration of the exhibition for both day visitors and those staying on the island. I first stayed on Bardsey as a 6-year-old in the Summer of 1960, a very formative experience away from my immediate family, which left a vivid and lasting imprint on my imagination. My family subsequently visited the island, and it became our regular holiday destination for the duration of my childhood, cementing in me a deep emotional connection to the place. There were no shops, roads, or vehicles; none of the familiar modern comforts of electric lights, TV, or indoor plumbing! Water had to be fetched from the well, and firewood collected from the flotsam and jetsam thrown up by the sea. Instead, we had simplicity and wildness and freedom, but also the security and containment of an island world. The island has changed a little over the subsequent years, with a few more facilities and comforts, but it is essentially the same, and I have been returning year-on-year with my children, and, more recently my grandchildren, all of whom seem to delight in the experience.

My mother, Amelia Shaw Hastings, was a talented professional artist and was inspired by the landscape and sculptural forms of the rocky shoreline. Whilst her focus was primarily on figurative sculpture and portraiture she left a collection of wonderful quick sketches and drawings of the Bardsey landscape and its people, most of which have never been shown. The exhibition will feature a selection of these artworks, created mainly in the 1960s, when the island was still owned and under the stewardship of the Newborough Estate and sustained several local families through farming and fishing.

This will also be an exhibition of my own latest work – a series of semi-abstract oil paintings, nearly two years in the making, that is a personal response to particular experiences, locations, and memories of Bardsey, and that express my enduring emotional connection with and affection for this singular place.

I will post more details of times, dates and how to visit the exhibition in due course. (There are regular day trips to the island throughout the summer – weather permitting!)

More information about Bardsey Island can be found at Ymddiriedolaeth Ynys Enlli / Bardsey Island Trust

Daily Sketch

Following my retirement from my psychotherapy practice, I find I am finally able to commit to the discipline of doing a Daily Sketch and am really enjoying it. No expectations, no ‘bigger picture’, not directly related to any other ongoing art projects, no deadline (other than the midnight hour!); time to play and experiment, to try out new or re-visit old materials, or whatever is to hand. Any subject will do. Here are my attempts from the past week:

This is all part of a re-setting and re-calibration of my art practice, so that it now moves to the centre of my creative life. Creating a proper structure for my week, which includes time and space for all aspects of my practice, including getting this blog up and running, is proving to be quite a task, but I’m slowly getting there a bit at a time. Now I just have to work out how to get this stuff onto Instagram and my Facebook page! Help!