25 April 2014


If there was ever a time to not sleep at all, it would be spring when as I've mentioned before, you feel that suddenly everything is going too fast and if you even blink something wonderful will be missed. Every spring brings new marvels, not noticed before and this year its some pink pine cones I saw last week at Marfield Wetlands near Masham.

Such a beautiful deep pink/purple and an elegant shape. Presumably this is the immature stage and they will ripen to a more expected shade of brown.

24 April 2014

HOLLOW STEMS (and my 200th Post)

A selection of hollow stems collected at Cromwell Bottom for making new reed pens. Not sure what the really fat stem is from, possibly Hogweed? it may be too weak to be much use but worth a try. The same goes for the skinniest stems. Sometimes imperfect tools make exciting marks and appropriate ones are just humdrum.  All will be revealed in time.

This is my 200th post here on Tumbling Hills.

23 April 2014


An affinity between the texture and colour of the reeds and the water, as we experience all those photons bouncing off surfaces.


The final mini triptych from my wintery visit to Cromwell Bottom at the end of February. These ones done with reed pen and paintbrushes.

The gingery dead canes in the background are the dreaded Japanese Knotweed I believe. As an artist I like the colour they add to the scene but as a nature lover I know how invasive this species is and wonder how they will be controlled in the reserve.

22 April 2014


Friday was almost unbelievably warm and sunny here in the Calder valley and I had the opportunity to revisit Cromwell Bottom.

The green flush of spring has really come on, with a strong sense of dynamic transformations. I enjoyed observing the changing detail compared to the wintery scene of my previous visit. The huge clumps of Marsh Marigolds in Tag Cut are amazingly vibrant and exactly the same yellow as some industrial sheds at the entrance.

3 April 2014


Another trio of ink sketches on manila paper using reed pens made at Cromwell Bottom. Originally I started reusing manila envelopes from a huge recycling heap at a college I worked in, along with my artist friend Viv Owen, but now I deliberately buy manila paper.  I love the colour, it makes an exciting change from the more standard white sheet and suddenly the white becomes an active player in the image rather than just the default background. Actually I think Viv bought me this particular little sketchbook - thanks Viv.

I'm looking forward to getting back to Cromwell Bottom soon as I want to see it with the wonderful yellow greens of Spring foliage.