Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Week 2: Westward Ho! to Padstow 'On the Path' Day 14

Word of the day - Sand
Port Isaac to Padstow
- 11 miles
- 2,800ft of ascent

Away by 0915 and stopped just before Kellan Point to sketch. Both feeling very fit today, no aches and pains. It makes thinking about the art much easier when your body is not complaining.

Started to take colour notes and think in terms of shapes, patterns and mark which will lead to more abstracted images in the studio. Amazing slate rock strata with purple and turquoise stripes on the beach at Polzeath. I haven't got the right blues and greens with me, actually it would be easier if I could bring the whole studio along!

Stopped for Mr Surfy's pancakes in New Polzeath. Then had a pleasant walk along the beach from Daymer Bay to Rock, before travelling home by ferry, bus, train and foot. 

Week 2: Westward Ho! to Padstow 'On the Path' Day 13

Word of the day - Valleys
Tintagel to Port Isaac
- 8 miles
- 2,700ft of ascent

Our first 'severe' day - 10 valleys but not a huge distance. Either we are getting fitter or the gradings are quite subjective - it appears that the gradings might be based on steepness and number of hills but not necessarily on distance. For us the gradings depend a lot on where the day comes in the week - the later, the easier.

It occurred to me today that I have been so seduced by the scale of the cliffs that most of my sketches could so easily end up as 'land on the left, sea on the right'. I have started to look at the minutiae of the landscape, take colour notes and make connections between the smaller and larger picture.
Stopped quite a few times for photos and sketching. Also photographed the herringbone ('curzyway') walls. These sketches are of old slate workings just south of Crookmoyle Rock, just how those men built those walls there is beyond me!
The day was rounded off by a rapid exit from a field being pursued by some very frisky bullocks; chief offender was the black one in the middle - clearly got some Spanish blood!

Stayed at Hathaway B&B (thanks Marion), just up from Doc Martin's cottage. Had supper at the Smiling Sardine. 

Week 2: Westward Ho! to Padstow 'On the Path' Day 12

Word of the day - Islands
Boscastle to Tintagel
- 6 miles
- 1,600ft of ascent

Morning walk to Boscastle with its incredibly narrow harbour; had tea in the National Trust cafe whilst waiting for rain to stop.

Great variety of scenery onto Tintagel - sketched Long Island.

Both feeling much better today and managed to rehydrate and eat! Stayed at a great B&B in Treknow (the Willows - thanks Edna).

Week 2: Westward Ho! to Padstow 'On the Path' Day 11

Word of the day - Slate
Crackington Haven to Boscastle
- 6 miles
- 2,500ft of ascent

Spent the morning on the beach at Crackington Haven, as amazing as last time I came.

Very hot and sunny so walked slowly to Boscastle including an ascent of High Cliff, the tallest cliffs in Cornwall at 732ft (223m).

Spent the night in a cheap farm campsite (and it showed!); Tim's mattress developed a leak and he had a very uncomfortable night on the cold hard ground.

Week 2: Westward Ho! to Padstow 'On the Path' Day 10

Word of the day - Weak
Bude to Crackington Haven
- 11 miles
- 2,700ft of ascent

Tim was very tired today after being ill in the early hours.

Very windy all day, stopped for a cup of tea in Widemouth Bay - a very lacklustre venue. However, the rock formations on the beach were fabulous.

Interesting to see sessile oak trees at Dizzard - said to be a remnant from the prehistoric woodland that once covered the whole country. Passed a bench indicating only 500 miles to go to Poole - Hurrah!

A long and tiring day with a few steep ascents. Not a great day for art!

Treated ourselves to a night at the Coombe Barton Hotel in Crackington Haven - fabulous room overlooking the beach and it had a bath! (Thanks to the staff who took pity on us and looked after us really well)

Week 2: Westward Ho! to Padstow 'On the Path' Day 9

Word of the day - Disaster!
Hartland Quay to Bude
- not walked due to illness

Woke up in the night feeling very ill; spent the night in the campsite toilet block. Wrapped in a space blanket looking like an oven ready chicken wearing a bobble hat! It was a long night ...

Walked up to Hartland and bussed it to Bude, stayed at the Links Side B&B (thanks Mr & Mrs Kelly) - very friendly. 

Week 2: Westward Ho! to Padstow 'On the Path' Day 8

Word of the day - Flowers
Clovelly to Hartland Quay
- 10 miles
- 2,300ft of ascent

Passed a summer house called the Angel's Wings which was built in 1826 incorporating carvings by a butler at Clovelly Court. Ran out of water with the first cup of tea of the day and had to walk to Mill Mouth for water refills on the beach. Black Church Rock with its double through arch was very impressive.

All the spring flowers are in full bloom, this field of young gorse bushes looked amazing in the early morning light.

"It's hot, I'm hungry and thinking of bacon!" Found, to our great joy, that the tea shack at Hartland Point car park was open (food at last). We gorged ourselves on pasties and passion fruit cake. 
Great view of Lundy from Hartland Point; very dramatic rock formations beyond. Stayed at Stoke Barton campsite and had a meal at the Hartland Quay Hotel.

Week 2: Westward Ho! to Padstow 'On the Path' Day 7

Word of the day - Mud
Westward Ho! to Clovelly
- 12 miles
- 2,600 ft of ascent

Up at 5am - urrgghh!
Walked to station and very nearly missed 6am train. Beautiful sunny morning, saw deer from the train.  Bussed to Wetward Ho! where we had a brew and a toasted tea cake in the Rockpool Cafe. Walking in sunshine with a lovely cooling northerly breeze. 

Stopped to sketch a couple of times during the morning; this valley at Babbacombe caught my eye. 
Later we stopped just after Buck's Mills to sketch some beech trees above the path. Final 3 miles into Clovelly was along the Hobby Drive - hard walking but great to imagine the Victorian carriages racing along here and frightening the ladies. 

Today was very strenuous but weather was fantastic. Managed to eat all our food and only just made it to Clovelly in time for a meal in the pub. Decided to wild-camp as the campsite was too far inland and in the wrong direction. However, this meant no food except for porridge, two 9 bars (supposed to be emergency rations) and half a packet of seeds. I am having a lot of trouble with my knees on the descents - this does not bode well for the next couple of days. I may have to walk down all the hills backwards!

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Week 2: Westward Ho! to Padstow - Itinerary

Sat 12th Westward Ho! to Clovelly
Sun 13th Clovelly to Hartland Quay
Mon 14th Hartland Quay to Morwenstow
Tue 15th Morwenstow to Bude
Wed 16th Bude to Crackington Haven
Thu 17th Crackington Haven to Tintagel
Fri 18th Tintagel to Port Isaac
Sat 19th Port Isaac to Padstow

Camping this week so hoping for better weather!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Week 1: Minehead to Barnstaple 'In the Studio'

Back in the warmth and comfort of the studio I have started working on the sketches I made on the path. 

I found that the first week was dominated by the physical aspects of the walk. I had underestimated the impact of this on the artwork. I felt I needed more time to look, take notes and absorb the atmosphere. My time was spent fighting with the weather, tired legs and the practicalities of recording all aspects of the project.

The first sketches were tight, boring and not at all what I had envisaged. These will be discarded and a new freer approach with more risk-taking will replace them. The regimented mindset required to plan and organise this project had crept into the artwork.

I want the prints to convey the feeling of place rather than be exact copies of my sketches; I find producing rapid ink sketches from memory helps me to achieve this. I then use these images to make the drypoints.

After relaxing into studio mode I have produced four out of the six daily prints. Two days are missing as there are no sketches due to the bad weather.  I will need to return to Baggy Point and the Taw/Torridge Estuary later in the year. I have to accept that some days will be lost, either due to bad weather, lack of inspiration, or most likely - lack of energy!

Here is one of the daily drypoints in the making:
Ink sketches of Heddon's Mouth 

This is the perspex plate inked up (like all printing plates it is in reverse so that when printed out it will be the right way round).

The first proof onto paper. I will make further adjustments to this including darkening parts of the sea and adding more linear marks.

As we become fitter, as the weather gets better and as our daily routine gets slicker, I am sure that the whole process will become easier!