Seals on Holy Island

2014-07-17 Seals at Holy Island (10)

Holy Island is a low rocky outcrop in the coastal mudflats connected twice daily by a causeway revealed by the tides.  Arriving, straight away I could hear a low drone.  I could not tell whether this was natural or the sound of many motors.

2014-07-17 Seals at Holy Island (9 1)

Initially I walked slowly along a long path until I crossed dunes to reach the sea.  Then I hurried back and returned with my most powerful telescope.  The constant gronking noise came from common seals resting on rocks just out to sea.

2014-07-17 Seals at Holy Island (3)

2014-07-17 Seals at Holy Island (4a)

At first I was too distant to make out much more than their shapes.

2014-07-17 Seals at Holy Island (12)

Edging closer by rounding the shoreline, I began to make out the features on their flippers and faces.

2014-07-17 Seals at Holy Island (8 1)

2014-07-17 Seals at Holy Island (1)

I think these were mainly females with their pups.  The moved contently, turning and twisting in the sun and slipping in and out of the sea.

2014-07-17 Seals at Holy Island (2)

Sycamore gap

Today I went to my experimental drawing class.  Interesting – I decided to throw gouache over unfixed charcoal.  I assumed it would mix to form greys but the water skittered over the graphite and the colour spread and pooled in interesting ways.   But I left it to dry and found I had forgotten my camera.  Next week, I’ll photograph it, before tearing it up to reform it into new layers.

So with five minutes before starting work for the evening, I thought I’d post a much less experimental drawing.  I stood last autumn on a moor and drew a gap in the distant ridge forming Hadrian’s wall.

This was the later painting.  I really needed to have faded the ridge to give a better sense of the difference in distances between this and the moor in the foreground.  Now I’ve posted it I might wash out the colour from the background and see how that works.

I noticed another couple of sketches of this region in my book.

These were done on site using just a little paintbox.  i always struggle to get depth of colour in field sketches.

I have already posted the drawing that came from this sketch.

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