I made this sketch this time last week. I didn’t have a lot of time for my own work, but when that happens I always think a little sketch made ‘plein air’ can always become something more ambitious back in the studio. I’ve been noticing crows recently and my last feather and ink piece shared on this blog involved one. The crows love this field opposite the river and march around looking for food. I think the farmer disturbs the ground by cutting the grass and they like that. They could be rooks as there is a rookery in the tall trees that you can see in the distance. I often don’t know the difference, but rooks are social. All part of the crow family. As spirit guides I’ve been reading that crows give a sense of perspective, a well as the malevolence that we associate with them. I’ve been reading Ted Hughes powerful masterpiece, the collection ‘From The Life and Songs of the Crow’ It’s giving me a lot of food for thought. He certainly wasn’t scared of going towards the dark side of human nature. It comes through in these poems. I’m staying open as ever and seeing where this takes me. Watch this space. I’ll also be finishing my oil painting of York Minster. I went to that fair city again last week to a talk by Rosie Wyles, classicist of King’s College London, about Medea’s Chaos and Order as part of the Festival Of Ideas currently on there. That has also given me food for thought!
This little sketch was made in pen and ink after a walk to the river Ribble here in Clitheroe. A crow had been disturbed and flew upwards away from the tree. It seemed massive and imprinted itself on my memory. This sketch was made as soon as I got home, not on the spot this time.
I decided to make a large study on some wonderful hand-made watercolour paper that I have been given. I also had some feathers that I’d collected of varying sizes. I decided to draw with these dipped in the ink, and use a brush and water for halftones. I cut an 45 degree angle off the feather so that they were more like pens and made the large A1 study that follows in one sitting, working really quite quickly. I have a thing about crows at the moment from reading Ted Hughes poems of the same name. Dark symbolic creatures. I’m watching them all the time. Drew a ‘Crow Field’ today which I’ll share next. Not sure where this is all going, staying open and seeing what happens as ever.
I have been making this painting over the Spring Bank holiday from my sketch of York Minster made a few weeks ago. This is a commission from my son, who wants to give it to his friend as a wedding present. They went to York University, so this would serve as a reminder of this important and historic place. I’ve talked about the feel on the day of making the sketch previously on this blog. I’m able to be there again through the act of painting. I refer to the sketch and study that I made and have also recently shared. I’m not finished yet , but am getting there.