Monday, 7 May 2007

Back from Little Langdale

Slaters Bridge (4B pencil, sketchbook)

This is the first drawing I made, in the first flush of enthusiasm for Little Langdale. My enthusiasm for the place never waned (indeed we've already made a provisional booking for next year), but as is often the case, I found it increasingly difficult to find things in the countryside I wanted to deal with.

Nevertheless, Slaters Bridge did get me back to draw one end of it.

Slaters Bridge (end) (Pentel Brushpen & watercolour, sketchbook)

And as always, there were collapsed and rotting trees everywhere.

Tree Form (Pilot disposable fountain pen, sketchbook)

Given that the weather was outstandingly good, with temperatures up to 21C each day and clear blue skies, I found myself wanting to walk more than in previous years. My planta fasciitis seems to have improved, leaving only a little numbness in my big toes, and it was a joy to get out on the fells; unencumbered by heavy weather-proof clothing, the walks reminded me of past holidays walking in Crete and France.

The food was especially good this year. The Three Shires Inn was only 100 yards away and served us well with steak & ale pie, game pie, Cumberland sausage studded with black pudding, and pints of Hawkshead Red and Coniston Old Man. In between, the Mad Doctor made his chilli and his flapjacks, Tall Tony his five spice chicken and I my chicken curry. Plastic Man just ate it all and entertained us with his illiberal remarks. And Raymondo? Well, he's from Sunderland.
Every year these trips seem to involve one or more detours to art suppliers to see what might tempt us to part with money. This year I bought a bottle of Indian ink, because I remembered I had a dip pen with me, but never got round to using it. Last year, I bought a tin of Derwent Inktense Pencils and didn't use them, but as I'd brought them along this time, I thought I'd give them a go.

Finding myself on one of many wrong paths, I stopped for a while to draw these rocks and decided to add some colour with the Inktense Pencils. I think the drawing was probably better before I added the colour, but you have to make mistakes to learn.

Rocks by The Dubs (6B pencil, Inktense Pencils, sketchbook)
The pencils are interesting, despite their limited success this time, because once you've added water to them they become insoluble. You could then work over them with other media, like pastel or oil pastel, which could be worth investigating in the future.
I put this on the Things To Do mental pile.


The Crafty Cruiser said...

That Tree Form is spookily excellent. Was it summat they put in the chilli?
You should spend some time where I live. Fells, potholes, woods, becks,clapperbridges,old farms, strange happenstances,cairns, cracking walks and solitude. You'd need a taxi\car to the nearest pub unfortunately.

harry bell said...

Unfortunately, I'm utterly dependent on other people's cars. I'll put it to the others, but then I'm not entirely sure where you are.

Nothing in the chilli; it's just the way I tend to see the world.

jafabrit said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog entry today and the drawings. The tree one is fantastic.

harry bell said...

Thanks Jafabrit. I find there's something akin to a trance state to be derived from sitting making a careful line drawing of complicated tree forms like this one.

ian gordon said...

Very nice drawings. Love the bridge. What a great subject.


Also here picking your brain a bit: Now I see myself becoming a devoted acrylic painter (which has surprised me), do you have any experience of acrylic varnishes?

I've never varnished my oils. But the surface of an acrylic painting, with the more (seemingly) delicate layers involved, is maybe a bit more vulnerable? Maybe not?

I'm loathe to put varnish on if it changes the tonal values, making certain colours much darker.

Anyone else passing through here with any experience on the matter?

The Crafty Cruiser said...

When I was look at the tree sketch, I saw a nice pair of legs with high heels and a severed arm, amongst other things. Perhaps I need help.

harry bell said...

Ian - I gave up on acrylics in the early 90s, but I know they've improved a lot and I've been thinking of returning to them, if only to try out some mixed media ideas I have. All my sources recommend a gloss varnish on acrylic pictures, but point out that they're removable with - unsurprisingly - an acrylic varnish remover.

Birdman - I'd noticed the severed arm, but have yet to spot the sexy legs. When I started the drawing, I was looking at something like a dragon's head, but that shows up less in the finished work.

ian gordon said...

Thanks for that.

I suspected they do need something.

I'll carry out some tests on small pieces.

Anonymous said...

Hi! sounds like a great trip and I feel quite envious! Even the food sounds fantastic (dishes hardly ever seen in this 'ere part of the world unless made by us Brits!)

Like your drawings very much ... and I think your colouring adds rather than subtracts from them. Those Derwent Ink-whatsit pencils sound intriguing ... I look forward to seeing more of those!

harry bell said...

Hi Lesly. I promise to do more experimentation than heretofore, which ought to see the Inktense pencils get a further airing.

The Crafty Cruiser said...

Sexy legs are bottom left, hanging down. A nicely-turned thigh and stilettoes.
Nurse!Fetch a cold compress.

harry bell said...

Ah yes, I see them. But if you're not careful, nurse will come and stick pins in you.