A Walk around the Valley

Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

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riverbankJust three weeks ago today, when I was sitting by lake at Newmillerdam country park near Wakefield, drawing Canada geese and mallards, the temperature in the sun got up to 18°C. We've had some raw wintry days since then and I've decided to change the way I work during the winter months.

I've started compiling a book of local walks and instead of drawing everything on location - as I did with High Peak Drifter - I've been striding around the valley with a digital camera around my neck and a talkbook (dictation machine) in my hand.

Like the scenery painting at the weekend, I think the change is probably a good thing.

passsageI typed up my notes then popped the photographs on a page layout. Because the drawings need to be small, I printed them out in black and white, about nine on a sheet of A4, and worked from these little images, tracing the drawing roughly by putting a small spotlight behind my perspex drawing board.

I found working this way restrictive, so for these two drawings, which I made today, I simply sat at the computer with my sketchbook and drew from the full screen colour image.

This is much nearer to regular drawing from the subject - I'm not hemmed in by the lines I've traced. I'm able to work at whatever scale feels natural, though I have to remember that these will be reduced in the book, so I'm using my Parker Reflex fountain pen, which produces a fairly broad line.

These drawing are the of the banks of the River Calder (above) and the 'Dark Passage' (left) where a footpath crosses the river beneath a railway bridge. next

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