This was an interesting and unusual commission to undertake as most of my work is based on seascapes. However, having been born in Pontyberem in the heart of the Gwendraeth Valley, I can recall the strong influence the mining community had in the village from the early ’50s and ’70s.
I based the painting on a collection of images I had gathered from archive material. Also, I do remember when I was 18 yrs of age having the opportunity to go underground at the Cynheidre Colliery (Shaft 2) and the images of that visit have remained with me ever since. This combination of archive and memorable images provided the foundation for this painting and in meeting the client’s brief. It was a challenge and also a great honour to produce a large-format oil painting that both the client and myself strongly connected with.
“Both our families have very strong connections to coal mining and the South Wales Coalfield, it drew them to the area many generations ago from Somerset and Shropshire in the hope of employment and a better livelihood. We, therefore, wanted something to represent our heritage but also to reflect the harshness and the Beauty of Coal. In discussions with Vyvyan, we were able to find common themes, an “appreciation” of what we wanted to enable him to capture and portray this in our painting. Today the painting sits proudly in our Home a daily reminder to us of the toil and endeavour of previous generations.”
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