A Creative Adventure with The Walking Sketchbook
So far this year I have done quite a lot of very neat, considered work. Yesterday I went on a creative adventure with my friend Katherine Owen (aka The Walking Sketchbook) and it was the perfect way to mix up my
Photo by Katherine Owen, @TheWalkingSketchbook
We had the date in the diary for weeks and I was really looking forward to getting outside and sketching somewhere on location. The evening before Kath sent me the suggestion of heading to Gilfach nature reserve, outside Rhayader. This was somewhere I’d never sketched or explored before, despite regularly pausing at the pull in off the main road almost every time I go to the seaside.
The forecast was cold and drizzly, turning wet and windy in the afternoon. So we layered up. I wore three pairs of trousers. Yes, three. Jeans that are lovely and comfy, padded over trousers that I used to wear when I did Forest School sessions, and then waterproof trousers over those. My legs were lovely and toasty - perfect. I had many other layers on including a snood, ear warmer and woolly hat - this meant that I stayed warm despite quite long periods of sitting still out in the elements.
We started with this view - apparently a brilliant place to watch Salmon leap in the autumn - an amazing stretch of river and rock, with lovely greens and thunderous sound of the rushing water.
Kath gave me a concertina sketchbook when we arrived - a complete surprise and a real treat. Although I’ve known of these sketchbooks for a long time, I’d never actually owned one or used one. I decided to go for it and begin it there and then- they are ideal for a creative adventure as you can just carry on working along it as your day evolves!
Above is a peek at my concertina sketchbook with 2/3 of the day’s drawings in. The first four bits / sections made up my first drawing from the photograph above, and then the drawing on the bottom part of the photograph was from our next location, near the river a bit further upstream.
We spotted two Dippers on this stretch of the river (next to the Dipper hide) and then spotted a tree creeper when we were drawing.
We paused here for lunch, sat on the ground, sheltered by huge stones and watched by two sheep. Just as we finished our sandwiches and hot drink it started to rain quite heavily and so we decided to relocate to the Elan Valley.
As it was raining quite hard here, it was the perfect time for Kath to create one of her rain paintings (you can just spot her doing this in the above photograph) and I sheltered by an old oak and sketched the view up the hill towards the trees. This is in the next section of the concertina sketchbook. It was too wet by this point to open it all up and capture all of the sketchbook so far.
Windswept, damp and happy we decided to head back after that.
We paused half way back to have another cup of tea from our flasks and as we did we noticed little flocks of birds all flying in and gathering in the field to our left. Before too long the ground was thick with them - and then all of a sudden they were up in the air! A murmuration to end the day with! It was so wild, wet and windy by that point that they kept quite low and were near to the hedges but amazing to see - but hard to capture against the grey skies.