In the absence of being able to make further site visits at present, due to government Coronavirus lockdown measures, I have been progressing mostly large monochrome artworks from the reference sketches and photos taken at my last visit. These are also evoking the memories of experiencing these unique environments first hand. These pieces – with working titles – may be developed and worked up, or form the basis of new artworks. The large charcoal pieces are around 60cm X 40cm. The small square mixed media ones, 12cm X 12cm.
CHARCOAL: GORGE SPLASH FERNS The cascading water falling into the gorge, and splashing up off rocks through the ferns, with the water curtain dropping down behind. Strong, quick marks made with the side of the charcoal stick.
CHARCOAL: DEEP DOWN IN THE GORGE Aiming to capture the shafts of light within the depths of the gorge, and the shadows cast by rotting fallen trees and the vegetation hanging like a tropical rain forest. Trying to convey the experience I felt of being in these largely inaccessible places.
CHARCOAL: PHOENIX TREE Highlighting the snapped roots at the base of the tree but focussing on the vigorous uplift of the branches toward the sky, through the dramatic shaft of light.
CHARCOAL: ROOTS AND BLOCKS The contorted forms of these roots clinging to the walls of the gorge appeared animated, poised to writhe out witch-like from between the stones. The background is left largely unmarked to highlight these outreaching tendril fingers.
MIXED MEDIA: PHOENIX TREE BRANCHES AND BLOCKS Observing the forms of boulders brought up from below ground by the fallen tree having pulled up the boulders, grasping them within its roots. Abstract collage with partial charcoal drawing of its horizontal branches.
MIXED MEDIA: TREE DEPTH Immersed in the denser parts of the woodland of oak and old, contorted birch showing the depth of forms, each forging their growth upwards to compete for available light. Ink, graphite and acrylic.
MIXED MEDIA: TREE DEPTH DIPTYCH Shafts of light contrast with the darkness, deep down in the undergrowth. Ink, graphite and acrylic.
CHARCOAL: TREE LIGHT SHAFT Light reflecting off the the rippled surface of Loch Arienas backlighting a lone ash tree at its shore, near the ruined settlement.
CHARCOAL: UPSIDE-DOWN 1 Due to the arrangement of vegetation in some of the higher parts of the reserve, it is sometimes referred to as an ‘upside-down’ landscape. Here, I have extended the theme to include simplified representations of inverted birch trees, the widened bases of which are set at the top.
CHARCOAL: UPSIDE-DOWN 2 Second variation of the above theme.
CHARCOAL: UPSIDE-DOWN 3 Third variation of the above theme.
CHARCOAL: WATERWAYS 1 Exploring the graphic potential of the hard edges where the rocks meet the water surfaces, diverting and splitting the flow in several directions simultaneously. These observations may lead to future mixed media work.
CHARCOAL: WATERWAYS 2 Second variation of the above theme.