Sketching away means I look in a forensic manner. Judging distances and depths, watching to see how colours agree and disagree, how they change so much whilst staying completely the same. I notice light - the way it blinds, the way it disguises in plain sight and the way it challenges what we think of the obvious.
Recently I have found the intensity of looking beginning to mess with what I can and can’t see. My last sketch was of trees in the winter: lines that curl and zig-zag through the landscape, shades that spread and fade, with patterns that hark back to celtic runes; in short though no snow lay fallen I found myself becoming snow blind. Browns lightened - becoming opaque with almost frost, and darkened subdued by the cloud; flashes of green interupted - diverting and distracting, whilst the light dappled across the hill, a searchlight examining each bark in turn, only to return them to the amnesia of the forrest as the moment passed.
Looking down I found my eyes could not take in all the information, instead I had to look for an element each time - searching for the line of the trees, dissecting where one branch began, and where it multiplied into twigs and twiglets, entering a labyrinth that nature quite frankly gloats about. Then having traced lines over the page I looked back, with eyes almost out of focus - now I wanted the light and shade - an impression at best, but an impression without which the lines could never hope to record, to inhabit the view. All to be done in shades of black and white as I cursed not using my watercolours.
And though this sounds precise, a work of premeditation and almost technical drawing, those who know me (and my work) will know that my drawing is based on perpetual motion - a line that never seems to stop, a hand that fidgets, adjusts and redefines until cold, time, or expediency stops the process. Thus the sketch worked back and forth - shifting focus (literally) between the wood and the trees, delving into shade, striving up to strengthen a trunk line, then plunging back into the sea of a thousand branches, a sea so intricate I felt myself drowning in the detail.
Finally raising my head to gasp for breath I brought my eyes down to the page. There was the energy, the confusion, and the still secrets of the forrest I had been immersed in. Whether the sketch was enough or too much, it was over. I could not go back, and would not go on.