Sunday, 21 August 2016

My Holidays: Sketching Landscape

I am not one of those people who knows how to stop. I am very bad at turning off completely, but I have been doing my best to try a half-way house...

Once I got back from Manchester and all the fun and games, I had two days to sort out all my hundreds of back-emails (honestly, email is simultaneously the best and the worst thing about organising my working life), before heading off for a week away. Nothing major - my head wasn't up to the challenge of anything fancy - we just packed up our new tent and drove two and half hours, up to the coast of North Yorkshire.

It took two days before I stopped constantly thinking about work at any point when I wasn't actually sleeping, but eventually the countryside and long walks worked their magic. I suddenly realised that I was actually relaxed!

I didn't stop sketching of course. Don't be daft. It was really lovely to paint the scenery. I have not yet had the opportunity to do any landscape work this year, so I had a great time. We spent two half-days at Staithes, which is unbelievably picturesque:

It's a really old fishing village (now mostly a earning it's crust from tourism), built on ridiculously steep hills, either side of a gully where the river meets the sea and lots of cute little boats are tied up. I drew the river mouth from up above:

Then next day we climbed to the top of the other side of the gully, where you get a great view of the actual harbour. very tricky to fit into my sketchbook:

I sat down on the beach and sketched it from below too. There was only one a fly in the ointment, literally: every time I sat myself down to sketch, I had about 5 minutes of peace before a plague of little black sand flies found me, then proceeded to crawl all over my face. Extreme sketching!

Half way through the week, we moved inland to the North York Moors for a change of scenery. It was just as beautiful, but wilder. It was not dissimilar to the Peak District, near where we live, but much quieter. We hardly saw anyone once we got out onto the hills.

We discovered a wonderful old ruin, Bylands Abbey, which neither of us had heard of, but which would have been at least as big and spectacular as York Minster in its day, before Henry VIII got to it. I experimented with KK's stick and ink technique, though I can't get his versatility of mark:

I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but after a week it was time to come home to deal with more work things. I had to write a 2000 word report about the results of my artist-in-residence project, for the Leverhulme Trust, who gave me the money.

Plus, I had to sort out the paperwork for getting a Chinese visa, ready for my working fortnight in Beijing. But that's another story!


Inge Leonora-den Ouden said...

Beautiful! If I ever want to go on vacation in England, I want to visit that region you show in your sketches! Even if it's half as good as you show it ...

Lewerentz S said...

Beautiful, as usual ! I particularly like the sketching with watercolour pencils.

Anonymous said...

You certainly need to relax after such hard work and this landscape looks an ideal place to do it in. I'm glad you've got back to blogging as as I have missed your interesting comments.

Anonymous said...

How on earth do you keep still long enough to do your fantastic children's books ? Do you tie yourself to the chair lol

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