Sunday, 26 January 2014

Sketching at Wrest Park

Spent the day at Wrest Park, Beds, sketching visitors to a wedding exhibition. It was a very pleasant way to pass a very wet and windy January day. Here are some of my scribbles.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Sketching people

A few quick sketches made in a local Sainsbury's cafe today. Had the day off work for my birthday and so went out on my bike and stopped off for a couple of hours in a local superstore to do some drawing. A great place to go as it was full of people at lunchtime. These are the sketches I did on the iPad but I did others in my sketchbook.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Three trees

A scribble inspired by something I saw on the web today.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Frosty Morning

Went for a walk this morning in the woods near Lilley. It was bright and sunny with a decent frost on the ground. These brambles leaves looked stunning in the sunlight with translucent reds, greens and purples against the backdrop of the sun streaming down though the trees.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Brent Tor

Went on a good bike ride around Tavistock and Mary Tavy on the west side of Dartmoor a week ago. This country lane high high above the surrounding valleys was edged with a typical Devon stone wall and a long row of silver birch trees. In the distance the tall peak of Brent Tor and it's summit church could be seen. This picture was worked on the iPad from a photo as I didn't have the time to sketch in real life. I had been dodging showers all day but the mid afternoon sunshine made for a stunning landscape with wonderful  colours and views. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014


A fox amongst some trees. Inspired by something I'm doing at work.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Light in the woods

An image that came to me this evening during a quiet time.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

In and around Tavistock, Devon

Yet another rain shower passes overhead and my sketchbook is getting damp. I can't write with my fountain pen so have to use a pencil instead. It has been a day of contrasting weather with heavy showers and even a thunderstorm and heavy hail shower just as I was about set out early this morning on my bike. In between there have been clear blue skies and even some warm sunshine in sheltered spots out of the wind. I am now huddling under a large umbrella and this is keeping most of this latest shower off though holding it in the wind is a little tricky. It isn't too cold but my fingers are a little numb and writing is not too easy.

I have found my way to the wooden seats within the woods. I am in a clearing within the conifer plantation and surrounded by beech trees with my bike as companion. I have seen a few other people around but at the moment I am on my own. I have been to this place before though it wasn't really in my mind as a destination today. I had various paths that I could have followed through the woods and seem to have found my way here without really thinking about where I was going. The conifers form a dark boundary around the edges of this place and the ground is covered by wet copper-brown beech leaves. What stands out in this place is the bright, almost fluorescent green of the mosses that cover the tree trunks and fallen branches on the ground.

A flock of birds passes overhead. I don't know what they are, they could be siskins or some other finches. Their call echoes thoughout the woods. They are small, but I'm sure they are not tits or goldcrests. The sound is almost like the ripples that you hear when telephone wires are blown in the wind.

I am getting cold and wonder about leaving. Then I remember that yesterday I travelled many hours to get to this part of the country and so really ought to make the most of my visit here. It hasn't been good drawing weather today but I can do a little writing now. I wrote a few days ago about paths and now reflect on the path that has brought me to this place. It is a place of rest, a place of contemplation, a place of shelter away from the exposed windy hillsides that I have cycled over to get here. It is a place I would like to have of my own. There aren't places quite like this around my home. This is a place of different landscapes, nature and weather. This is a place in which I can just sit and be. To observe the landscape and have a relationship with it. A place to let thoughts dance in the wind.

I have followed a path to get here, but here isn't the end of the path. I am at a place of rest along the main path. My journey could continue onwards but instead I will return for a little way back along the way I came. It doesn't matter ultimately where I go in philosophical way because even if I return back the way I came the path will never be the same as before. You see things from a different angle, light changes, the wind changes and your perspective will always be different. The path has brought me to a place I though I knew but, as nature always changes, so this place is different from the last time I visited here.

I see a glimpse of blue sky between the conifers and the sunshine may be about to return. The light has changed and the colours of my surroundings has changed. The mosses have lost their vibrancy as other colours are now dominant in brighter winter light. The sun is too low now to reach me and a golden late afternoon light just touches the tree tops above me. I have to leave this place and I give thanks for being able to enjoy and appreciate this place. I am sure I will come back again sometime. I love places of trees. Somehow I am drawn to appreciate them and enjoy being in their presence.

I am wondering, as I tidy up my notes and write this, what my path for the next year will be. I always leave places like this with a renewed enthusiasm to do something different. The day after I did this bike ride I spent a couple hours drawing people in the centre of Tavistock. I saw many interesting characters who caught my creative imagination and I do feel as though I might be giving birth to something new-albeit only slowly. It was such a liberating experience and I love scribbling in public places-not only for the experience but because I do occasionally meet people who are genuinely interested in what I do. I need simulation and creative motivation. There is an exciting world out there and I need to go and be inspired by it.

Recovering the Artistic Spirit

Creation Spirituality, Matthew Fox (1991):

The mystic, after all, is the divine child in us all wanting to play in the universe. A cosmology allows us to find our place in the universe again. Bereft of a mystical cosmos the past three hundred years, our civilisation has reduced awe to the next anthropocentric invention, resulting in the estrangement of individuals, of the artist, of the mystic. In isolation we turn to the idolatry of consumerism wherein buying replaces making. The recovery of the creation tradition encourages a great mystical awakening in our time.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014


From Creation Spirituality by Matthew Fox (1991):
'Taking a path is different from driving down a highway to work. A path has something personal about it; it implies choice or even mystery. To choose one path is to reject another. A path is a meandering walkway-you do not rush or even drive down a pathway. A path is not goal orientated. A path is the way itself, and every moment on it is a holy moment; a sacred seeing goes on there.'

I might write a meditation on this shortly.


From Saturday Live, Radio 4, 28-12-13:
Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Doubt is healthy and many problems in the world are caused by certainty. Can be painful to live with, part of human condition. Useful to have a certain amount of humility, doubt and uncertainty - it is healthier condition than rigid certainty and the feeling that you are right. Perhaps we all need to accept doubt and be open to new arguments and ideas.