furnace falls - amlder y dyfroedd

'the wealth of waters'

oil on canvas, 1830mm x 1190mm


Dyfroedd means 'waters'. Amlder is 'abundance', 'fullness and variety', and so 'the abundance of the waters'. Amlder has a sense of richness about it, of being manifold, pleated. The waters seem to come from all directions and with different levels of force - falling, rushing, spouting. 'Amlder Dyfroedd' means 'manifold waters' - and yet not quite. There is an expression 'Amlder Cymraeg', 'a wealth of Welsh': someone who has this quality has a mastery of vocabulary and expression. 

Title and gloss, Gerald Morgan     Pronunciation, Anwyn

private collection, London

oil studies


Made on bright, grey days. Light cloud cover means little glare and a large range of greys - ideal for seeing colour in white water.

If conditions recur, so do appearances. This study compounds time by recording colours in similar conditions on several visits over two years.

It is made up of observed colours, selected, mixed and organised with an image in mind. Everything is a matter of procedure and imagination is at work in procedure. What is seen and what is imagined tends to become one thing.



This small oil 14cms wide shows large tonal groups, and does not look 'into' the scene for colours shown in the big study. From where I sat, the visual angle across the fall was about 20 degrees, making it easy to notice these large scale contrasts, which were so pronounced that green moss near the water appeared almost black. An effect which even early prints of waterfalls try to reproduce. 

The final painting is 2 meters high. It's size gave space to combine the complex local colours of the big study with the global contrasts in the small one. So the painting works tonally from a distance, like a thing seen against the mountain, but close to the interior colours unfold.


A set of spot-metered photos were taken, some for light areas, some for dark.

Different exposure times were also used to give options for painting the range of sharp or blurred passages of water that we experience.


published in Standpoint Magazine, March 2009, Drawing Board feature

ready for final layers

finished with title in gold leaf


brown underpainting and build up of green glazes for optical depth

reflections finished, with dragonfly far right
Identification by Russel Jones, Warden of Ynys-hir RSPB reserve

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