Volcanic landscapes

This basaltic landscape in Lanzarote resulted from very recent volcanic activity, geologically speaking.  The rock is twisted into harsh, sharp features and is barely colonised by lichen.  I drew in ink using one such piece of rock on one of these sketches.  Yet the fields of ash bear crops in circular depressions dug to trap condensing moisture.  In the background sit the calderas and the rocks are stained in unexpected colours.

Quick sketches of grebes

Drawing birds is a challenge and a discipline.  I view through a telescope and paint simultaneously, splitting my vision.  I’ve tried working pretty much directly in ink, with a minimum pencil sketch to capture movement.  However slowly a grebe drifts across the water, it feels fast when drawing. The mental discipline comes in training myself to see what is necessary, to select and get the sense of the animal not the detail.  It is very different to working from photographs.

Milecastle 42

October 2011

Charcoal chalk and pastel

Walking a short section of Haridan’s wall in mid September, I came down into a gap in the ridge, turned through the wall and looked back up at the cliffs surmounted by the remains of the Roman fort, the forty second built at mile intervals along this defensive structure.  Crows roosted in the trees and wheeled overhead.

Walking the wall

September 2011

Birds of prey