walking, observing + drawing

April 21, 2013

sheep 1

On Saturday, The School Creative Centre hosted a drawing workshop run by Anny Evason, based on her installation of A Garden Enclosed – click for more information on this event. The banks of the River Rother, running through Rye, were chosen. Appropriate for an easy journey through natural vegetation alongside the river as it meanders between the coastline at Camber Sands and the junction that feeds into the Military Canal.  I was interested to explore this strip of land again, having only walked it with baby in push chair as well as on a foraging expedition. To the north, small lakes have developed following gravel extraction and to the south, Rye is sometimes hidden and then revealed again behind the bunded river banks.

turbines

rye

There are young pines here – maybe 20 years old only – that stand out amongst all the deciduous material. Their candelabra form makes a great visual contrast  – rather seducing in terms of drawing and sketching. I recall this hedge of chaenomeles from the previous visits. It looks incongruous in these surroundings but actually has great charm.

chaenomeles hedge

reeds

Stands of alder and willow are just changing appearance as the buds swell on the branches but the reeds still have their wintry look. We made initial sketches using pencil or graphite or directly onto ipads. I made the decision to do quick  15 minute sketches using graphite pencils and squinting with the right eye  . . . .

sketch 2

. .

tree clump

Thickets of buckthorn alongside the gorse – both with the similar spiky attribute – form good habitat structure.  The old knarled stems of the gorse were particularly attractive to my eye in this scenario. Full sun threw shadows across the sketchbook. Looked perfect for how I wanted to capture form, shape and habit.

gorse + willow

gorse stems + industrial plant

shadow 1

shadow 2

sketch 1

gorse stems

Pairs of lambs graze these low lying meadows. They’re oblivious to all the cyclists, dog walkers and those on drawing workshops . . .

lambs 1

lambs 2

. . this was drawing that I chose to develop into a larger charcoal study using ‘bold mark making’ when we returned into the art room at the centre ‘to explore new techniques, develop skills and to work on large scale drawings’. Not terribly happy with the final result which I worked up on a A1 sheet but then the last time I used charcoal was many years ago doing life drawing on an art foundation course. It was good to concentrate on single inspirational ideas and blot out the mundane things of life.

sketch 3

charcoal

Farm afternoons, there’s too much blue air.
I go out sometimes, follow the pasture track,
Chewing a blade of sticky grass, chest bare,
In threadbare pyjamas of three summers back.

To the little rivulets in the river-bed
For a drink of water, cold and musical,
And if I spot in the bunch a glow of red,
A raspberry, spit its blood at the corral.

The smell of cow manure is delicious.
The cattle look at me unenviously
And when there comes a sudden stream and hiss

Accompanied by a look not unmalicious,
All of us, animals, unemotionally
Partake together of a pleasant piss.  Vinicius de Moraes  Sonnet of Intimacy

translation Elizabeth Bishop

5 Responses to “walking, observing + drawing”

  1. Sinclair 3168 Says:

    Looks very idyllic and productive, well done. You wouldn’t be happy with any drawing you did, however good it was!

  2. julia fogg Says:

    Oh, I don’t know – i might.

  3. Kathryn Says:

    I love the sketches! The energy of all those branches, growing in different directions….

  4. julia fogg Says:

    Thanks Kathryn – it was a good day.


  5. […] Time to stop intruding and just steal away. A couple of related posts, here + here + here […]


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