Over Hill and Dale
These mixed-media paintings were made during a five day "Walking and Drawing" course in North Yorkshire with Debbie Loane of Lund Studios. We travelled to some marvellous locations and enjoyed working out of doors - no easels, just on the ground on long pieces of paper folded into a concertina. The shape really suited the wide panorama views of the moors and valleys we were seeing.
The fields were a lovely fresh green, with the distinctive dark lines of dry stone walls running across them. The heather on the moors had patches of "Ling" - bright pink shoots against black earth where the gamekeepers had burnt the old heather. I used the contrasting pinks and lime green in these sketches.
Debbie prepared lovely art packs for us that included pots for collecting small amounts of earth to be mixed with acrylic medium to make a gritty paint. Once dry it could be worked over with inks and pastels. The idea was not to make a realistic portrayal of the scene but to capture the feeling of being there using all of our senses.
Heather moorland in Rosedale. The red shoots are called Ling. The gamekeepers burn areas of heather so that fresh young shoots appear for the grouse to feed on. The bright red colour is startling against the lime green of the low bushes (blueberries?)
The lime green bracken shoots were pushing up strongly through the earth and their unfurling fronds had a wonderful freshness to them in amongst the heather and last year's terrecotta bracken stems.
We all worried about the weather as the forecast was not good over the 5 days of the course. But, merifully, rain fell heavily only in the night and in the daytime we had wonderful conditions - some sun but lots of great cloud formations, too.
Northdale Head House with installation by Andy Goldsworthy. Three different views. From across the valley it looked like a giant insect hotel!
One day we made a very special expedition to Rosedale where the well known land artist Andy Goldsworthy has been re-building old stone barns with the most extraordinary installations. You can see a few photos above and below but I don't want to say too much in case you might go there yourself - it's best to be surprised. You can read all about the Hanging Stones project here.
View of the Rosedale Valley from one of the barns under construction
Attending this course meant so much to me - I've been wanting to get out into the countryside more and have felt unsure about how to tackle working in the outdoors having spent many years as a studio artist with printmaking equipment. I knew I didn't want to make conventional, realistic pencil sketches! It was wonderful to be encouraged to work more expressively and have time to think about ways of portraying the landscape in new ways. I'm a great admirer of Debbie's expressive mixed-media style but I needed to find my own way to expand my creative horizons.
Left and right, barn interiors designed by Andy Goldsworthy. Centre, one of the many way-markers that lead to the barns.
It's important for an artist to always be moving forward, experimenting with new subject matter, media and ways of working. We're people with curiosity about the world who want to explore new places, new methods and new materials. At this point in time, I don't know where it will lead but I'm setting aside pockets of time to work with paints alongside my printmaking so you can expect to see more of both in the future.
Finally, the pretty little cottage (The Salthouse, Pilmoor) I stayed in locally. I didn't have any time to sit on the swing seat or have a drink sitting at that little table! Too busy with the course!
Over Hill and Dale giclee print available framed, mounted and unmounted. Click the image for more details
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