The weekend has been one of taking stock and making plans……more of which I will tell you when they come to fruition….(note I said ‘when’ not ‘if’… how’s that for positivity?)
I have also been reflecting on my art practice – having to write an artist’s statement does concentrate the mind – and where and how I draw my inspiration from…
I have always been an avid reader and at present I am enthralled by the writings of Robert MacFarlane. I love the countryside and wild places and having devoured The Old Ways I am now reading Landmarks.
I like these because, not only does MacFarlane have a wonderfully descriptive prose style, he has a love of language, for the forgotten words, the archaic turn of phrase, for local dialect. I too love words and learning the etymology of words….
How can you not be inspired by such descriptive terms as:
summer geese – steam that rises from the moor when the rain is followed by hot sunshine (North Yorkshire) or
ammil – ‘The icy casings of leaves and grasses and blades and sprigs were glowing and hid in a mist of sun-fire. Moor folk call this morning glory the ammil (Henry Williamson, Tarka the Otter 1927 Exmoor…)
(both of the above were taken from MacFarlane’s ‘Landmarks’)
Last night I read this excerpt from Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain quoted in ‘Landmarks’..
(Apologies for the wonky camera angle…)
These writings are making me stop and think about how I look at the world around me but sometimes don’t really see….
With these thoughts ringing in my head I took myself out for a walk…now I don’t live in a wild place, I live in middle England, Leicestershire where the drone of the A6 is a constant….
….but at the end of my road is the River Soar
..so I walked, I sat, I listened, I made notes….
Now I don’t profess to have the same turn of phrase as Robert MacFarlane but these are some of the words that sprung to mind as I sat, watched, listened, searched for the details…
reflection, glinting, ripples, sunlight, flow…
…although you can’t really see in the above, there was a wonderful ribbon of silver between the river and the far bank..
Reeds, shadows, pale, leaning, swept against the bank, seed heads..
Celandines (I think…correct me if I am wrong) and lichen..
and wonderful furry stars…
A country girl born and bred, my ability to identify birdsong is shameful…but I did hear the caw of the raucous crows, a magpie and the odd, ubiquitous gull amongst the ‘whee, whee’, chirrups and calls, some more strident…
..even spotted a lone crow atop a tree…perhaps on the look out for a nest site. Most of the trees are still skeletons..
..but their density provides a solid delineation between land and sky..
There was one however, a willow, clinging to the river bank, which was beginning to show signs of it’s green, sweeping curtain…
Con trails criss-crossed the sky, the church bell called the hour, the distant neigh of a horse, the honking of nearby ducks…
The difference between looking and seeing….detail, and with that I think the essence of the place comes alive…
..will be fascinating to see how the above develops in my work…watch this space..