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Pavement Art

Saturday, 2nd November 2002, West Yorkshire

limestone pavementIt's a lovely morning, followed by a wet afternoon but that makes little difference to me as I'm still plugging away to finish my booklet on Malham. In this weather it wouldn't be very productive to draw on location anyway so, as with most of the drawings for the booklet, I'm working from photographs taken on my all too brief visits to Malhamdale.

The limestone pavement slabs are known as clints, the deep crevices in between, which contain miniature rock gardens of ferns, mosses and wild flowers, are grykes and the fluted channels on the upper surface are karren.limestone pavement

Those features are all I need to describe in this little illustration which is why I've gone for a prosaic, but, I hope, descriptive, pen and ink style. As you can see from the colour photograph which I used as 'reference' (an illustrator's euphemism for the image I 'copied' from) if I was tackling this in a painting I'd end up with a very different image; even in the photograph there's a sense of expressionist brushstrokes.

Cracks in the Pavement

hartstongue fern This is the second time I've tackled this subject. The first time (detail, left), when I had a poster in mind rather than a booklet, I used a brush pen to try and suggest the bold chunkiness of the blocks. However I don't consider that this style is as successful in conveying the shape of the blocks.Malham Cove

My next sketch will be of a hartstongue fern growing in the gryke and then I'll be working from the lower right section from the photograph of the pavement at the top of Malham Cove (right) to show the wider pattern of fissures, including those master joints that run right across the pavement.

Lyricism plus Neurosis

Listening to the radio as I draw, I jot down a comment from theatre director Peter Hall. He's recalling his collaborations with Sir Michael Tippet (1905-98), whose Fantasia Concertante he used in his film adaption of Ronald Blythe's Akenfield, a personal view of the history of a fictionalised Suffolk village seen through the memories of the people who lived and worked there.

Hall remarks;

'Tippet I love for his totally English lyricism, plus the neurosis.'

Anyone who loves the English countryside will know the page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; ''