Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Down here in the dark is the perfectly formed nest of a skylark with 5 brown eggs, each a tiny universe full of potential.

And down here amongst the grasses is a tiny pool of water reflecting the boundless blue sky where the future larks will blaze with feverish energy.

The interconnections between all things are revealed and reiterated within the enfolding landscape.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Cotton Grass

The fabulous walks along the tops I took in early June coincided with the cotton grass in full swing.  I love cotton grass and this year its been especially luxuriant.  All along the conduits the little nodding white heads bow down to admire their own reflection in the water below - wonderful.

Friday, 10 June 2011

The Enfolding Landscape

I've been busy experimenting with a new piece of work - a kind of sculptural book form.  Its difficult to photograph well as its quite dark in the studio and the piece extends to over 8 feet when its open. It folds down to about an inch thick when its closed.

For quite a while I've been having this idea about what I call the 'Enfolding Landscape' -  that when we journey up to the moors and reservoirs we are enfolded within the landscape as it surrounds us and we become part of it. This artwork takes that idea and relates it to the way the land and the water are enmeshed together.  The starting point is two woodcut prints, one of cotton grass and the other Widdop water.  I'm not totally happy with the outcome as the cotton grass feels too heavy and black, but its a good starting point for further experimentation with printmaking into 3D.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


In my mind the colours most commonly associated with the high moor and the reservoirs are blue, grey, black and gold but every now and then there's a jolt of bright green.

 Grass regenerating after fire on Ovenden Moor - I love the way it looks like spreading green flames.

Part of an unbelievably extensive patch of moss on the way to Green Withens appropriately enough. The wildly undulating contours mirror the rippling surface of that reservoir.

A seemingly delicate fern growing through the bare, stony bank of Light Hazzles Reservoir.

Horsetail growing in profusion at the far end of Leeming Reservoir, looking like prehistoric palm trees and indeed a 'living fossil'.

The sawn stump of a fallen tree at Gorpley Clough refuses to die and sends out masses of new growth.

A clump of Cotton Grass growing in a tiny pool on Oxenhope moor shivers in the wind and looks like some kind of furry sloth.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

The sound of light

A late afternoon of transcendent beauty yesterday in Calderdale inspired me to catch the 500 Keighley bus up onto the moor above Crimsworth Dean. If you get off at the turning circle, the Limers Gate path takes you even higher up into the domain of the elusive Curlews and Skylarks.  I brought my sketchbook and paints for a very rapid impression of the view with three distant Reservoirs, Widdop on the right and the two Gorples to the left.  The Gorples in particular were pouring out light in a way that was difficult to photograph, the sketch gives a truer impression of the contrasting gleam against dark hills.

Having borrowed Pennine Prospect's digital recorder, I had the chance to try to record some moorland birds. Once you tuned in, there was so much going on, the Lark song was as intense and sustained as the Gorple beams.  If you could record the sound of light rays, I think that's what it would be like - a Lark singing.

The Curlews and Golden Plovers were more distant and mournful, and overlaying all that was the chattering of the Pipits. However, even though it was such a calm afternoon, the restless wind was always swirling through, so I'm not sure how well my recording will turn out.  I did have a quick listen last night and there was a kind of magic in hearing larks in the kitchen.