Early autumn sketching at Thornham reedbeds…

Another recent walking and sketching day at Thornham on the Norfolk coast. This time I concentrated on the entrancing light, colour and movement in the reedbeds as they subtly change with the approaching autumn.

Looking over the reedbeds towards Holme church from the raised banks around Ragged Marsh is one of my favourite views. The wind rustling through the silvered stems and purple-grey feathery heads is very calming. I used mainly watercolours with just one abstract using the brush pens that I mentioned in the last post.

I also did a watercolour sketch of the otherworldly ‘stumps’ looking out over the creek and marsh.

I remembered my camera this time and even caught a starling murmuration as well as the odd rusted artefact!

Creative colour… sketching with brush pens


On Monday I enjoyed a few hours sketching and walking at Thornham, north Norfolk. It had been a few months since I'd last sketched here and this time I'd decided to try out a batch of newly acquired Pentel brush pens, which are convenient to pack and use. With a small clip on metal dipper filled with water, I was able to achieve some of the wet-in-wet effects I like to play with. I love their versatility so I'll definitely be packing the brush pens on my next sketching holiday.

Because the colours I'd bought were limited (vibrant pink, bright yellow!) it forced imaginative use of what I had with me, but the resulting quick brightly coloured sketches of the beach, for me, more effectively captures the heat, the warm wind and the liveliness of the waves.

No photos this time, I took my camera but halfway along the walk discovered I'd forgotten the batteries!

Below are studies I made of light-filled creeks in the marsh from the sea defences, before the tide went out, with water soluble graphite pencil and with the brush pens again. Some sea lavender still bloomed.

sea of purple …

Sea lavender saltmarsh, sketchbook spread.

Sea lavender saltmarsh, sketchbook spread. © Mari French 2016

This week, I tried a new coastal sketching route (for me), along Green Lane at Thornham and out onto the Saltmarsh via a rough bridle way. I was stunned by the swathes of purple sea lavender stretching out to the dunes on the horizon. I’d seen this on Norfolk saltmarshes in other years, but never such an expanse.

These plants are completely covered by high tides, there was one the night before – evidence in the form of small dead crabs among the sea lavender – yet they thrive in this hostile environment.

Thornham marsh © Mari French 2016

Thornham marsh © Mari French 2016

I spent several hours over two days walking, sketching and taking photographs. Again, I was keen to interpret this in an abstract way with various media, concentrating on evoking the wind, bird calls, light aircraft overhead, the rustling of reeds etc.

Thornham marsh © Mari French 2016

Thornham marsh © Mari French 2016


Sea lavender, Thornham. Sketchbook © Mari French 2016

Sea lavender, Thornham. Sketchbook © Mari French 2016

 

Thornham Saltmarsh, sketchbook.

Thornham Saltmarsh, sketchbook. © Mari French 2016

 

Sea lavender, Thornham.

Sea lavender, Thornham. © Mari French 2016


Marsh pools, Thornham Saltmarsh.

Marsh pools, Thornham Saltmarsh. © Mari French 2016


Thornham Saltmarsh, sketchbook.

Thornham Saltmarsh, sketchbook. © Mari French 2016