Recent Art Inspired by the Refugee Crisis

4 panels not all complete yet, 3 by Bernard Barnes and panel on left by his son Aly Barnes
4 panels not all complete yet, 3 by Bernard Barnes and panel on left by his son Aly Barnes

Bernard and Reyna will be working in the gallery as their studio space during October and things will be moving around in preparation for further renovations of the building that will be taking place November to May, during which time the gallery will be closed to the public.

Bernard, Reyna and Aly have been emersing themselves in the issues around refugees over the last few months leading to the creation of new art works.

Bernard says “The idea is to create a wall combining the paintings. Ideally, in the appropriate setting, where the wall could be extended. The origins of this terrible conflict can be examined, and the consequences explored. On the other side of the barbed-wire wall will be the scrafeto wall.”

Mock up image of wall with barbed wire
Mock up image of wall with barbed wire

“It was originally designed to be a component in an exhibition concerning refugees. Visitors would be asked to leave an image, a comment, an object that will refer to this extraordinary human phenomena. We are thinking of building this as a winter space in the gallery, before it closes for the winter renovations.”

The left panel in the above image is still being painted by Aly Barnes. It is based on an extraordinary image of people gathering in Aleppo in a ruined street.

Please call in to see progress on this work. And if you have any options of places that these pieces can be displayed over the winter, please let Bernard know.

Three panels by Bernard Barnes on the Refugee theme
Three panels by Bernard Barnes on the Refugee theme

Images from the successful castprinting workshop September 2016

We were fortunate to have the pleasure of Jon George sharing his expertise and castprinting technique in the workshop at the gallery 24-28 September. All the places were taken up and everyone enjoyed themselves and worked hard.

This post has photos from the workshop. I’ve included at the end a list of all of the equipment and materials needed for this process. It isn’t a full explanation of the process, but just intended as a reminder for if we run the course again or any people who attended. And the photos are roughly in the order of the process except for the prints that I have included next to their glass painting or cast block for comparison purposes. Clicking on any image will enlarge it and allow you to scroll through the set as a slideshow.

For this printing process you need:

  • Ingredients for gesso – chalk and a water soluble binder
  • A small water bottle with suitable lid for allowing small drops of water
  • A piece of glass to paint your image on, bigger than the image you want to make
  • A smaller piece of glass or tile to mix the gesso on
  • Another piece of glass to roll out your ink on at the printing stage
  • 4 pieces of wood the same thickness, bigger than the image you wish to make
  • Palette knife (knives) to mix your gesso
  • Paint brushes to paint your image with gesso
  • A handful of clay to seal the wood on to your glass as a frame to then pour plaster into
  • Plaster
  • A bucket to mix the plaster in
  • 2 cups – one to measure the dry plaster the other to measure water – preferrably with handles
  • A wet area for washing off plaster from any buckets and cups and washing the gesso of the plaster cast
  • Ink
  • Paper
  • White spirit or turps (to clean off the oil based ink)
  • Rollers for the ink and for pressing the paper on to the cast block
  • Lots of cloths and newspaper for cleaning up

Future plans

Jon George is working on a book about his work, life and the castprinting process. We hope that he will be able to return to the gallery next year and run some more workshops on this technique and also painting with egg tempera. If you are interested in any of these things, please contact us  (if you are not already on the mailing list for updates) or check back on this website regularly.

Photographs by Karen Cropper and Bernard Young.

Learn Unique Castprinting Technique from Artist Jon George


We have the exciting opportunity to learn from Jon George about his Castprinting technique in a workshop running over four afternoons (24th-28th September not including Sunday) at the gallery. The workshop will be along the lines of the workshops he runs regularly from his London studio.

The Castprinting Technique

Castprinting is a new block printing method, which Jon developed when wanting to ‘reinvent woodcut with brushes.’ In most relief printing methods the image is carved in the block. However, in the Castprint block it is derived from painting – not cutting.

The three basic stages of Castprinting are:

  1. Making artwork on a plate of glass.
  2. From the artwork a plaster block is cast.
  3. Print impressions are then taken from the block.

In our case the timetable is 2-5pm each day, as follows:

  1. Saturday 24th and Monday 26th Sept will be making the artwork on the plate of glass.
  2. Tuesday 27th Sept artwork to plaster block.
  3. Wednesday 28th Sept print impressions from the block.

Character of Castprinting

Castprinting is a successful form of printing. People of all kinds love its simplicity and find working with gesso as a painting medium appealing. While the final results in the print faithfully render the brushwork in surprising and unusual ways. Castprints share those qualities expected of block printing, such as solid deposits of ink and colour that one wants to touch.

It has a tonal quality

Due to a subtlety of relief depth in the Castprint block, a wide variety of ink deposit creates the equivalent of tonal variation in the final print. This is new to relief printing.

Mirror imaging is solved

A typical relief print produces a mirror image, as it has but two phases A-B. But the three phases of Castprint: painting, casting and printing make it an A-B-A process and so the print emerges right-handed.

It is a viable printing method

The hard plaster of the printing blocks, make them capable of producing any number of prints.

The workshop will be fun and can be experimental

Castprinting courses are always interesting and challenging and different groups have brought new approaches leading to innovations. An example of this was with some art students in Morocco who insisted on using toothbrushes to flick the gesso to get a textural half tone effect. Jon said it probably would not work – but it did and their work was lovely.

Workshop fees, materials and equipment.

The cost of the full course is £60 plus £5 for materials which will be provided. It would be best to try to come to all 4 sessions to have the chance to see and try out all steps in the process and produce your own art work with the technique. But if you are only able to come to one the cost is £15 for each plus materials used. Please wear appropriate clothing for getting messy.

Here is a video about the technique, of a workshop at Jon’s London studio. This workshop will be taking place at St John’s Hall Gallery Barmouth, which is a different set up.

About Jon George

Jon’s exhibition of paintings and prints can be seen at the gallery 4th-30th September.

More information about Jon George:

Vine print
‘Vine’, photo-castprint 57x68cm (23″x27″) copyright Jon George

Reyna Rushton Exhibition at the Treehouse Aberystwyth in August

The six paintings below by Reyna Rushton will be on exhibition at the Treehouse in Aberystwyth in August (on the top floor). Please click on the images to see larger.

Original oil painting copyright Reyna Rushton

Original oil painting copyright Reyna Rushton

Celebrating the Meirionnydd Landscape


An exhibition of paintings by Clyde Homes and Bernard Barnes inspired by the Meirionnydd landscape, and screenings of ‘Meirionnydd, a very special place’ by Greengage Films, will be open every day from 4th to 31st August, 11am to 4:30pm (except Mondays when the gallery is closed). The private view is on Saturday 6th August starting at 2pm.

Read more…

Fragments of Barmouth prints are available on Redbubble

A selection of the paintings by Bernard Barnes that are in the Fragments of Barmouth exhibition have been photographed at high resolution and are available as prints from a third party service, The prints are produced by this services and shipped to you direct with a percentage commission to the artist. Prints are available as posters, art prints (on high quality paper), framed art prints (with various frame options), canvases – all of which have various size options. The images are also available as greetings cards and postcards. The gallery is not responsible for any issues about the production or delivery.

Guide Prices

Check the Redbubble site for definitive prices. All prices need to add delivery. There are also offers from time to time. At time of writing 20% off with code CREEPY20. An indication of the range of prices is given below:

Art Prints

Small (300mm x 400mm) £12.47 to Extra Large (600mm x 800mm) £37.92

Framed Art Prints

Small (square 203mm x 203mm; rectangle 203mm x 256mm) £64.07 to Large (square 407mm x 407mm; rectangle 407mm x 511mm) £108.89
Framed prints have a choice of 2 frame styles, 4 frame colours and 3 mount colours, which may affect prices.

Canvas Prints (unframed)

Small (square 203mm x 203mm rectangle 203mm x 256mm) £48.00 to Extra Large (square 508mm x508mm; rectangle 508mm x 639mm) £108.00


Small option only (rectangle 418mm x 525mm) £10.31 to (square 418mm x 418mm) £11.79

Open Day and Carnival

carnival-poster a4

Giant Puppet Dance – Calling for Puppeteers


Fancy being a Puppet Master? We are experimenting with creating a Giant Puppet Dance Group, to perform, initially, at the Puppet Carnival on July 23rd. The aim is to create simple round dances that can be performed by these giants. Hard and hot work, but could be a lot of fun.

First meeting will be on Friday 15th July at 7.30pm in St John’s Hall Gallery, Barmouth

Just turn up if you’re interested.

Andy Wickett’s World Service playing at the gallery on 23 July


On Saturday 23rd July, former Duran Duran frontman Andy Wickett and his band World Service will be performing at the gallery from This should be a memorable one-off musical event not to be missed and will conclude the Carnival and Open Day. Read more…

Philosophy in July from Jasper Elgood

Jasper Elgood

For those interested in philosophy, Jasper Elgood is giving a series of 4 talks in July on Thursday evenings, each starting at 7:30pm. The titles and dates of his talks are:

  • Thurs 7th July: Malice – Invasion of the Narcissists from Hell
  • Thurs 14th July: Barrack Obama and Donald Trump – The Noble and the Base a Lost Theme in Political Discourse
  • Thurs 21st July: Walking Meditation – How to Get from A to B Without Leaving A
  • Thurs 28th July: What is ‘Why’? – Questioning Questioning

For a flavour of previous years’ talks, recordings are available here:

jaspers talks-for web