Tree & Rock (A4 sketchbook, pencil, Inktense pencils)
You have to play the cards Fate deals you. As I sit here typing in a hot room, the sun streaming down outside, I ponder on events which led us to book last week in the Lake District, rather than this one. Because, of course, last week was your classic Lake District week, all rain, sun and showers.
But it doesn't pay to ponder too long. We booked the week we did, and we played the cards we were dealt. So we ended up having a good week, although the work we produced was limited by the weather.
The drawing above was my first attempt at getting to grips with what seems to be becoming something of an obsession when I go out into the country - trees and rocks. I'm not all that convinced by it, but there are things about it that I like. I still don't find the Inktense pencils particularly good to work with, but no doubt I'll return to them at some time in the future.
The tree growing out of a cleft in the rock was at the side of a lane running up past a farm in Near Sawrey towards a tarn at Moss Eccles. It continued to exert a fascination for a few days and when I found the weather too bad to go out and work, I had a go at working from the first sketch and from memory on something more colourful.
Tree & Rock (12 x 8 ins, watercolour paper, mixed media)
I started out with a pencil and watercolour pencil drawing, then added gouache because it wasn't working right . After that, I guess it just developed a life of its own. I worked over it with coloured Conte and some pastel, rubbing it down now and then with an eraser and frequently spraying with fixative.
I rather like the end product, although it does seem a little strange. But then I've never been averse to the strange.
Tree in Rock Cleft (A4 sketchbook, brush pen)
I ended my engagement with the tree in the rocky cleft by moving round to the opposite side and doing this drawing in Pentel brush-pen. As I usually find with black markers of whatever kind, I ended up rounding off the forms - a remnant of my cartoon days, I think.
At the bottom of the valley from our cottage lay Esthwaite Water, and in a field by the side of the road running down to the lake I came across a massive rock outcrop on top of which were several old and gnarled oaks, their roots bursting through the seams of rock.
Oak & Rocks (Sketchbook, 8 x 9.5 ins, 4B pencil)
I liked these rocks. They had great presence and genuinely interesting fissures running in parallel lines through them. The oaks sat on top, feeding their roots down through the fissures and splitting off great slabs. And one old oak, over the years, is clearly edging his way off his pedestal towards the road. Beware.
The Oak Steps Down (Sketchbook, 8 x 9.5 ins., 2B mechanical pencil)