This series of drawings began in 2019 and is likely to be added to from time to time. Using Chinese brushes, feathers, European brushes and twigs, the Cantos develop intuitively – one mark leading to another and another … my hope is that they are interesting in themselves, and as evocations of weather, movement, flowing forms meeting more static shapes … perhaps there are echoes of Daoist ideas about natural harmony, the interaction of yin and yang, the universe as endless motion
Old beech tree
I encountered this old beech tree on a Dartmoor walk – like many old trees its roots were like fingers holding fast to the boulders on the bank at the side of the track … over the centuries boulder and tree grow more and more alike – often moss-covered they are bound together, holding fast against the erosive forces of wind, frost and rain – the first four images show the drawing in progress
I have a collection of rocks found on walks. I like the look of them and their weight and texture in my hand. Over the years I have made many visual studies of the same rocks – each time noticing something I had previously not seen. John Ruskin once said you could learn much about mountains from one small boulder and, it seems to me, he was right. Sometimes I juxtapose the hard heaviness of a rock against the fragile transparency of an old bottle or jar ….
I return, over and over again, to trees – as individual characters, as markers in the landscape, as beings full of history – often full of movement, bending and swaying in wind and rain – inseparable from the air that surrounds and moves through them. The ‘lone pine’ is a well-known local landmark near Thorverton
I spent a long time on the dandelion drawing – such an interesting, complex form. ‘Weathering & withering’ grew from memories of walking in the Yorkshire Dales. ‘Mountains, valleys…’ has echoes of classical Chinese ink paintings – forms appearing and disappearing in the pictorial space – I had been reading Gary Snyder’s beautiful series of poems: Mountains & rivers without end …
My notebooks are full of studies of plants, rocks and other natural forms, and preparatory drawings for larger works – sometimes they are just ideas for drawings and occasionally they take on a more complete ‘finished’ form