The Restless Prophet and his Raven

A detail from my painting The Prophet Fed by a Raven is on the cover of the novel Cai by  Eurig Salisbury, awarded the Gold Medal for Prose at last week’s National Eisteddfod. The book is published by Gomer.



Eurig Salisbury, winner of the the Gold Medal for Prose, National Eisteddfod 2016.

Of all the paintings I’ve made, this one has probably been on the most interesting journey. Since it was shown at MoMA Machynlleth in my Saints and Their Beasts exhibition in 2007 it has lived in the home of its owners in the USA, though thanks to their generosity it returned to Wales for my Retrospective in the Gregynog Gallery of the National Library of Wales in the Summer of 2011.


In 2010 the painting had a surprising outing onto the cover of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. (This was at the suggestion of a friend who would be embarrassed to be credited for her kindness here, but it must be acknowledged nevertheless, albeit without revealing her identity.) Some time later the painting appeared in a calendar issued by the journal

When in 2013 Oxford University Press published a collection of essays and covers from the EID, The Prophet Fed by a Raven was selected as the cover image.


Back at home in North Carolina it came out of it’s frame to be photographed –


– to generate an image large enough for a display in the exhibition of EID journal covers at the David J. Sencer CDC Museum in Association with the Smithsonian Institution. (More thanks here, this time to the owner of the painting who went to untold troubles to get it to the photographer and back.)


In 2010 it appeared between the covers of a a weighty tome, Biblical Art from Wales, edited by Martin O’Kane and John Morgan-Guy.


Anita Mills, who wrote so thoughtfully about my drawing practice in Clive Hicks-Jenkins: a Monograph (Lund Humphries 2011) presented a swift, entertaining and insightful deconstruction of the painting that completely took me by surprise. Click on THIS link to read  it.

Marly Youmans wrote a beautiful poem in response to The Prophet Fed by a Raven that can be read HERE.

hicks-jenkins 018.jpg

I like the idea of a painting of mine travelling and having adventures. I’m gratified that people see it who have no idea who I am. For them there is just the prophet, the flaming raven and the scattering of sheep on the Welsh hillside beyond. I don’t think an artist could ask any more of a painting than to be out there and speaking for itself.


For Z.B., M.Y. and A.M., my friends across the ocean.

and while we’re on the subject of the mari lwyd…

… my very good friend Anita Mills in N Carolina has been busy busy busy. Anita is a big Lego fan, and to my delight this evening these images arrived from her. As she explains below, Lego have not yet produced a set of Mari Lwyd mumming figures, and that lack in their catalogue has clearly fuelled her creativity. She’s cannibalised Lego components to assemble this group that I absolutely adore. Brava Anita! This ROCKS!

Anita writes:

‘On the heels of your post about the Mari Lwyd puppet today, and as I was sorting through a bit of our LEGO, I came across one of our skeletal horses… and I was seized with the notion to make a LEGO Mari Lwyd, with mini figure mummers, for you.  All the pieces in this diorama are LEGO, except for the white cloth. The LEGO company has not yet produced a Mari Lwyd bed sheet for sale. Enjoy!’

A sinister fellow with red eyes leads the Mari!

Thank you Anita. I am going to my bed tonight with a very big smile on my face. 


Damian Walford Davies, writer on the Mare’s Tale project, has e-mailed me:

‘I want one.

I want two.’


I refer all enquiries to Ms Mills, who may be contacted HERE.

Alphabet Soup: Ballet, birds and alliteration, edible and other – Anita Mills, Eve Jones, Florence, and Lucy Kempton

This will be something of a bumper post, but if I’m to keep to the schedule and finish with a grand finale on Christmas Eve, needs must!


Anita Mills has created this very elegant, crisp ‘Balletphabet’, using, of course, ballet positions combined with the letters.







And she kept very tightly and effectively to the colour brief!


You may remember Eve Jones’ lovely, lively portraits of Jack at the Artlog back in August.  Eve jumped into the Alphabet Soup with enthusiasm, and came up with these six splendid avian drawings, making the letters part of the birds or their surroundings in a very inventive and original fashion.  We think the girl will go far in her art!

Eve's Pictures September 2012 - December 2012 169 avocet edited

Eve's Pictures September 2012 - December 2012 165 egret edited

flamingo edited

Eve's Pictures September 2012 - December 2012 170 goldcrest edited

Eve's Pictures September 2012 - December 2012 167 puffin edited

Eve's Pictures September 2012 - December 2012 166 swan edited


Another very promising young artist, clearly with a love of words to boot, is Florence, a friend of Shellie’s.  She heard about the exhibition and saw Shellie’s pieces for it, said ‘Ah, alliteration!’ , and though it was rather late in the day to submit, turned out these three pictures:


B – A Beautiful ballerina balanced beautifuly at the ballet show


F – Fluttering fairies frollicking across a flowery field


G – Giant giraffe gobbling and guzzling at bright green leaves

Though executed quickly, there is some delightful and witty detail in these pictures, which show a fine understanding of the spirit of the exhibition.  Thanks Florence!


With more alliteration, these are Lucy’s (my) contribution to the feast: an edible alphabet, line-drawings cut out and pasted onto coloured papers, which got around the problem, as I found it, of the colour element.  I managed six, and here I confess I was in fact finishing the last one today (curator’s perks, I reckon, to overshoot the deadline, though perhaps not by that much…).

edible alphabet 001

edible alphabet 004

 edible alphabet 002

edible alphabet 001

edible alphabet 003

edible alphabet 003

(I did in fact come up with ideas and word phrases for the whole alphabet, which I’ll try to post at my blog later…)


Thanks again for visiting this exhibition, many more good things still to come…

(Lucy Kempton, standing in for Clive.)