Good concentration is still eluding me at the moment. How do you manage to focus when the creative things you usually do take time and thought? Do you have a strategy?
Mine is to do something physical, raise the heart rate (considerably) with a speed walk, a run or a bike ride (although I haven’t been motivated to get my bike out of the shed for the last couple of weeks…) and that seems to help for a short while afterwards. I’m also focussing on purposely small creative projects like these landscape sketches and the ones below. If I can produce a drawing that I can finish in an hour or so I feel like I’ve achieved something; working on bigger pieces, or ideas that take a lot of clear thinking leave me feeling frustrated and down, so my policy has been to put them on the back burner for a while.
I’ve been thinking a lot about walking lately (thinking as well as doing!) and most of the few sketches I’ve done have been made in a book when I’ve been out locally. This lonely hill, St Agnes Beacon, seems to be constantly in my line of sight! It’s not a large hill, but it’s distinctive and one that I’ve run, walked and biked over. From the top there’s a 360 degree view of the coast and countryside: dramatic cliffs and distant headlands, wind farms, villages, small networks of fields edged with stone hedges and stubby windswept trees. It feels raw, exposed. A tiny bit of wildness. I feel constantly drawn to it (no pun intended!).
Another piece of inspiring wildness near home is on a section of the South West Coast Path towards Perranporth. Cligga Head is a spectacular granite outcrop. Vast sheets of rock look like they’ve been snapped, leaving shards rising from the sea 90m below. The area is rich in rare minerals and the cliffs are riddled with mining tunnels; tungsten was mined as recently as the second world war. A quarry on the cliff edge breaks open the rock to reveal intricate folds and layering: you can literally see what ‘molten‘ means. But what draws me most to both these places lately are the colours.
The Beacon is swathed in heather and gorse, a deep vibrant purple and acid yellow when it’s in bloom, fantastic earthy burnt siennas once the flowers have died back. The colour on Cligga Head is jaw dropping. Iron has stained the cliffs a pinkish blood red; the colour seems to drip, ooze from the rock as though someone had been over it with an over-laden paint brush, full of watery alizarin paint. Next to it are rich, deep yellow ochres that I haven’t seen anywhere else except Peru. There are cliffs that are soft white, pale grey, pitted and knobbly. Some rocks are scarred with green copper and the layers of bright lush green moss, lichen and pink thrift are settled on them all. It’s a dynamic palette laid out before me and I can’t get enough of it – and frustratingly the palette of soft chalky pastels I have can’t be made to capture what I can see! Neither does the sketch for that matter – I plan to go back and do some more soon. (When I did this one my hands got too cold, despite wearing gloves, and guess what… I lost concentration!)
Maybe I’ll go back tomorrow; I want to go for a longish walk of 12 miles or so, but haven’t planned where yet. How about you, what will you be doing this Easter Sunday? Apart from eating chocolate! Hope you have a lovely day.
Happy Easter 🙂