abandoned colour …

a selection of sketches from a week in Cornwall in September, spent exploring the moors, coast, ancient Bronze Age remains and the other-worldliness of the abandoned tin and copper mines in the Penwith area.

Towards Rosewall Hill, Cornwall

Towards Rosewall Hill, Cornwall.

These sketches were made on the spot, (in varied weather) in my current favourite sketchbook – a Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. The paper weight is robust enough to stand up to the deluge of water I usually flood each page with and I prefer the landscape format over the A5/A6 sizes sketchpads and books tend to come in.

Apart from my usual use of wet-in-wet watercolours and pencil, I was trying out the Derwent Inktense blocks which I’ve recently discovered; I love their immediacy of colour, their smudgy intensity, especially in the darker colours, like the plummy colour shown in the sketch above.

Mine stack at Levant, Cornwall.

Mine stack at Levant, Cornwall.


Verdigris leaching from cliff, Levant Mine.

Verdigris leaching from cliff, Levant Mine.   

The colours of the earth around these mines where the ores carpet the surface, and the copper verdigris leaches from the sea cliffs below the mines, have to be seen to be believed! It looks just like a giant has flung pots of paint around with abandon.

Mine stack, Levant Mine.

Mine stack, Levant Mine.

 

Rubble & ore, Levant Mine.

Rubble & ore, Levant Mine.

There is enough visual inspiration in this industrial landscape to warrant returning and spending much longer gathering material for a whole series of work. I’d love to do just that.

Rock formation, Levant.

Rock formation, Levant.

 

Men an Tol, near Morvah

Men an Tol, near Morvah

  

Rainclouds over Porthmeor bay, St Ives, Cornwall.

Rainclouds over Porthmeor bay, St Ives, Cornwall.

 

moorland textures…

Lower Bridestones, Sleights Moor © Mari French 2012

Lower Bridestones, Sleights Moor © Mari French 2012

I recently spend time happily chasing ink around the pages of my new Moleskine watercolour sketch book up on the windswept moorlands of the North York Moors…

Bridestone, North York Moors © Mari French 2012

Bridestone, North York Moors © Mari French 2012

…perched in cold wind, bright sun, or under lowering black rainclouds – among some of the many local standing stones (called ‘Bridestones’).

sketchbook © Mari French 2012

sketchbook © Mari French 2012

I was using the tissue and acrylic ink technique I’ve been experimenting with over the last year, and in my outdoors sketching it works surprisingly well…

… it is so much more intense than watercolour (which I still use – sometimes in conjunction with the ink), with the advantage of being waterproof when dry. I only tend to use two or three colours, depending on the subject in front of me…

Bridestone, Sleights Moor © Mari French 2012

Bridestone, Sleights Moor © Mari French 2012

… I just love the way the colours bleed and flow, running into the tissue creases (where used). For me it’s the perfect technique for rapidly capturing the texture, colour and moodiness of light on the North York Moors.

Rain, Sleights Moor © Mari French 2012

Rain, Sleights Moor © Mari French 2012

Rain, Rosedale Moor © Mari French 2012

Rain, Rosedale Moor © Mari French 2012

Peat cuttings, Rosedale Moor © Mari French 2012

Peat cuttings, Rosedale Moor © Mari French 2012

Above Rosedale Moor, North York Moors © Mari French 2012

Above Rosedale Moor, North York Moors © Mari French 2012