A collection of mixed media drawings made during the winter of December 2019 – February 2020, exploring this season’s changing moods and dramas in relation to the River Wylye chalk stream, close to my studio.
The drawings are all made using mixed media (pen, oil pastel, watercolour, ink and stick, oil base pencils) on Full Imperial (76 x 56cm) HP watercolour paper.
Below each drawing are my observations, written at the time of drawing.
The drawings were exhibited at Shaftesbury Arts Centre in March 2020.
Tuesday 3 December 2019. Upstream River Wylye from below the far end of Bull Mill Cottage garden, marshy, leaf- littered ground under the twisty twigged spreadiing horse chestnut where a straggly dog rose tangle sends out its sleeve catching stems and offers rose hips for the blackbirds. late morning hide-and-seek sunshine + at times is a piercing dazzle. The river flow slips past bright and quiet and silky shear but the weir rush is a constant sssh behind me. And an intermittent boo- oom reverberates from the Salisbury Plain army artillery ranges. Chill breeze fresh in my face brings scolds of wren, chitchats of sparrow + the melodic song of thrush (I think) and sets the dry reed blades scratching + riffling together. A plip below and the darting shadow of a young trout dips into a dark willow reflection. little clouds of gnats rise and fall over the ripples. Away above the watermeadows a pair of egrets are white flickers soaring slow against the misty silhouette of the woods.
Monday 9 December. I’ve set up my easel on the leaf littered bank of the wetland pool which is fed from the river as it washes below Bull Mill. A roughly round withy fringed bowl of duck- churned water with wilderness island in the middle. But as the afternoon fades the murkiness transforms to a deep + deeper blue drifting with blush tinted cloud reflections. A few solitary shrivelled willow leaves, survivors of last night’s gale, shiver in today’s chill. A tiny ‘peep- pip- peep’ from the branches to my left + a series of flits bring a black capped marsh tit (I think) to the willow tops above me. it peers down at me, head swivelling, before flitting on. For a while the air is cut by the snore of a chainsaw from across the fields. The sleepy drone of a light aircraft follows. I watch its slow reflection traversing the lazy ripples, which are sliced + scattered by dipping osier twigs. The sky deepens by the minute. crows caw- cawing to the dropping sun, its light shattered into a peppering of stars, piercing through dense willow tangles.