Just been to a fine art Masterclass by leading Welsh artist Jantien Powell, during our CPRW-sponsored ‘Country Views’ art exhibition in Newport. Two hours passed in what seemed like ten minutes, a little beauty of a painting was created in front of our eyes, with each brush stroke, each colour mix, explained. This was craftsmanship (…womanship?) at its best, it was pure magic to see the picture appear, every few minutes it got better and better, almost like when we were kids, painting those magic picture books with water!  I was distracted by a visitor to the the exhibition at one point, and when I looked again a second character had appeared in the painting.

Jantien stood all the time, moving back from the easel to look, then forward to add another part of the picture she could already see in her mind. She explained her technique, colour and application (many methods to apply the acryllic, mostly brushes, but including fingers and hyperdermic needle)

Somehow I don’t think the creation of Tracey Emin’s ‘My Bed’ would have been quite so impressive. Concept art does not require any craftsmanship as far as I can see – perhaps I should try it – ‘My Desk’ comes to mind. I could do that, but Jantien’s skills are far beyond me.

Jantien’s masterpiece created this week is part of an exhibition she is preparing for next year to record the Abergavenny Livestock Market, which is about to close – just another abysmal local authority planning decision, deplored by many local people, but apparently desperately needed by a developer. She has produced a number of  views of the Market in operation, the animals that pass through and some of the country characters who bring them – at least the spirit of the market will be captured for posterity.

What a loss to Abergavenny is closing the Market, but it has generated Jantien’s exhibition, and those of us who were priviliged to see the creation of great little picture will not forget it.