"The artist...is also a born adventurer. His explorations, unlike those of a tourist, are rewarded by the discovery of beauty spots unmentioned in the guide books, and with tireless curiosity and an exceptional proneness to wonderment, he will come upon objects of remarkable interest overlooked or even shunned by more disciplined observers."

Augustus John, R.A.

Sunday, 29 June 2008


Although not intended as a working trip, a day out in Wharfedale near Bolton Abbey produced some quick sketches. I don't normally work on such a small scale but I keep an A6 size sketchbook in the car with a few pens. It is ideal for doing quick sketches as the opportunity arises, (or as something to alleviate boredom whilst waiting in supermarket carparks or other such places). This skyline Ash tree attracted my attention, it is unusual to see such a large tree so dramatically sculpted by the wind. Carrying so much weight to one side must place enormous stresses on the trunk and root system. When sketched the tree was just a dark shape against an overcast sky. Shortly after I finished a brief shaft of sunlight illuminated the tree from the left.

If going out for the day I usually have my sketching bag in the car so having a little more time I did this in my normal 8'' x 10'' sized book. I was interested in the contrast between the different greens of the cut fields, the uncut areas and the grazed pasture in the foreground. Which emphasised the angular geometric shapes in the landscape. The overcast sky and dull light only served to 'flatten' the landscape even more, so I used simple flat washes of colour to lay in the shapes.

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