Saturday, 31 October 2015

Lipstick and tattoos

A quick sketch made today in a cafe somewhere.


Thursday, 15 October 2015

Monday, 12 October 2015

Croft Castle



I have just spent two wonderful days at the National Trust property of Croft Castle in north Herefordshire. I have set myself an illustration, design and creative writing project based around what I could find there during that time. I did a few iPad illustrations, made copious notes and took loads of photographs based around all sorts of thinsgs: apples, fungi, people, trees, insects, autumn colours and much more. Over the next couple of months I aim to produce a collection of work and present it in an unusual way. In the meantime, the above skectch is of some of the many apple trees in the garden at Croft. The trees were heavily laden with small bright yellow apples and there are poppies in the foreground. I'll let you know when it is completed.


Monday, 5 October 2015

Nature is so quiet

Nature is so quiet, humankind often has to fill its space with noise.

I had a few hours to kill the other day and found myself exploring a huge industrial area on the west side of Reading. My original aim had been to explore somewhere a little more rural but due to a change of plan I decided to see what I could find in this rather modern industrial area. My walk took me from the Holiday Inn near Junction 11 of the M4 past endless industrial units, alongside the A33, past the sewage works, along the Kennet and Avon canal and back down the B3031 leading out from the town centre. A stunningly beautiful 3 mile or so walk….! Well, it was actually quite interesting and one place in particular caught my attention.

I found a place between the industrial estate and the busy A33 where a flyover meets a footbridge and various paths over and alongside a small ‘river’. Here was a sudden abundance of greenness just touched with the bright colours and fragrance of early autumn. Willow trees grew on the banks with brambles cascading down over metal fences and concrete like waterfalls. Floating patches of water pennywort (apparently a very invasive alien plant) and pond weed added areas of bright green to the slowly moving water. Comfrey, bindweed, willow herb and other plants were abundant at the water’s edge. Birds: crows, 1 male and 2 female mallards, robin singing, blackbird, grey wagtail and a pigeon. No fish seen. Some rubbish was present but not as much as I might have expected: cans, bottles, a life belt and a metal pole.

A small pale brown moth has landed on the surface of the smooth water and its fluttering struggles send a mass of fine perfectly round ripples outwards. They remind me of the growth rings found on sawn tree trunks. A few bubbles of gas rise from the depths and cause a few ripples too.

Traffic constantly thunders by behind about 20 meters away behind a hedge. Ambulance sirens, a car alarm, an aeroplane… There is noise all around and yet this patch of nature generates none of it. Aren’t we a noisy lot?



Chutney

Took this photo of some tomatoes and courgettes from the garden just over a week or so ago. A couple of hours later I had three jars of chutney and a vinegary smelling house. Many of the tomatoes come from two tumbling types that I grew in a large wooden planter. I may have fed them a little too much as the plants the largest and most bushy tomato plants I had ever seen. At one stage I was even trimming them back!



Friday, 2 October 2015

Thursday, 1 October 2015