After surveying my images from last week I decided it would be a good idea to display them on a temporary gallery space in the Estate Office. By copying sketchbook images and notes, changing the scale of some and displaying them altogether helps me to firstly see what I have; share my findings and images with others; and begin to see patterns, groups of images and interesting details that I might have missed.
This week was particularly challenging as I had shut my hand (my drawing hand) in a car boot over the weekend. I thought that my work would be compromised but in fact it turned out to be an interesting experiment!
The original plan for the first day had been to fill a sketchbook with drawings and paintings and walk as much of the land as I could. I was inspired by a profile piece on Jason Hicklin from ‘Printmaking Today’ where he had been talking about sketching on location. Drawing is ‘fundamental’ to his etching process and he claims ‘if you haven’t walked you can’t understand how the land is shaped or formed….feeling the land is understanding it’. Having an injured hand made me think that filling an entire sketchbook in one day might be a little ambitious (and painful) but I was keen to at least give it a try. I still had my legs after all and if walking the landscape could help me to understand it a little better, then I’d start with that.
I walked straight over to the Door without taking any pictures or making any drawings. (I actually found this incredibly difficult to do which was surprising). I wanted to begin from a different perspective – to start my drawing journey on that day from ‘the other end’.
I then made my way back to the Cove, stopping to paint and draw from varying points on the beach; taking time to sit and look, making images on the beach, on the steps up to Man of War, on the beach looking up to the cliff face, looking out over to Portland and then at points on the long winding trail back to the Cove.
In the afternoon I spend some time at the Cove, noting down in text what I could see and recording some of the objects and patterns that interested me. I would like to spend a day drawing and painting these in detail and maybe recording some of the shapes of these objects and the natural patterns of the environment.
At 3pm I met Ranger Jim, a wonderfully enthusiastic and lovely man who took me on a beautiful walk up to Dungy Head. Having my own personal guide added a new depth to my experience out on the landscape and it took all I could to try and capture all the amazing things he was describing, explaining and pointing out to me.
The depth of knowledge that the Lulworth Rangers have with regards to the landscape, the biology, flora, fauna, history and wildlife is incredible. As we walked and talked I was able to capture a simple essence of the wildlife (mostly birds!) that and the names of some of the vegetation and rock formations that make up the coastal path. But I think I am going to have to take my notes back into the studio and research these characters in more depth as I don’t think my sketches did the Tor Grass, the Firecrest or the Stinky Iris justice! If the weather stays fair I will take this walk again to Dungy Head and see if I can catch a glimpse of the Oystercatcher or just sit and admire Church Rock.....
but.......it's been horrendous and so for the rest of the week I decided to hide in the studio and work on some drawings taken from my sketchbook. It's bit of a cop out I know but hey, I’m sure there will be another rainy day for me to spend out on the rocks!