Friday 27 March 2015

Bonehill and Honeybags

I've been out walking a lot. Walking is a meditation, a soul soothing, a chance to put thoughts in order, or a chance to put them aside.
For me, the walking, the intimate knowing of the land, and just as importantly, the naming of the land, the poetry of place that enables you to lay a map out in your head, is something I've been obsessed with since childhood.
When I was 10 or 11, and first allowed to ride out on a borrowed pony alone, I spent hours carefully copying out sections of the Ordnance survey map, marking bridlepaths and greenways, learning the names of the crossroads  and the tracks, keeping these tiny maps first in the inner pocket of my tatty old jacket, and then, when they disintegrated from use, I kept them in my head.
This fascination with names and mapping continued on - always reading stories about historical routes around our land. A book called 'The Driftway' by Penelope Lively captured my imagination when I was about 10, and by the time I was 14, I had found myself a copy of 'The Old Straight Track' by Alfred Watkins. I studied local maps, learned place names, walked and rode old drovers paths, step after step after step, each footfall taking me deeper backwards into the past as I imagined all the feet that had trod that path before me.

This last couple of weeks I've been wandering over Bonehill Rocks, where I met a pair of Ravens, and on over Chinkwell Tor and Honeybags. Each hill has it's own character, it's own spirit of place. Though perhaps here, at Bonehill, there are many. Everywhere you turn, there are faces in the rocks.

I was tempted to paint them, to draw the characters out of the rocks

but Brian Froud does it so much better than me:

Instead, I played around a little with some rock studies,

trying to capture  the cold wintery light.


Bovey Belle said...

I love the heather foreground in that last painting. I agree with you about walking, and about landscapes. I've had my copy of Alfred Watkins' book for many years but was fortunate enough to come across it in hardback recently, with map. Landscape means so much more when you have place names, and histories and people from that history. A lovely post.

Els said...

Wonderful pictures (with indeed a lot of faces ;=) ...)
You captured the cold light well : looks like even the sheep are shivering

ChrisJ said...

What a privileged childhood you had -- as did I--the whole headland as my back garden! Our gorgeous golden orioles are back. I thought I heard them yesterday. They are quite large and just a flashing yellow. They'll be visiting the jelly we put out for them.

Bedford Gypsy said...

Such beautiful artwork, your painting really captures the rocks and. Ales them stand out

The Equestrian Vagabond said...

Ravans and Rock Faces - a perfect day! and the paintings are indeed lovely.
- The Equestrian Vagabond

Tammie Lee said...

walking is a lovely thing to do.
i love maps also, for me they hold endless possibilities. That is a wonderful piece by Brian! I am sure yours would be wonderful too, just different.

I so enjoyed seeing your two wintery light pieces.

Lovely walking to you. In fact it is time for me to head out and do just that.

Danielle Barlow said...

It's blowing a hooley out there today, so this morning's walk was a quick scuttle round the block!

Gwen Buchanan said...

...and you do it so well.

Amy Bogard said...

Such a gorgeous post Danielle! Love to get a taste of your local landscape through the lens of your camera and your paintbrush! Thank you!

Joana Su said...

Your "studies" are stunning!


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