"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626


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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Cold Reservoir Sketches

Over the last week I made a few charcoal sketches of the wintery reservoir. Although I can’t get out much yet, I had taken photos of the snowy landscapes last year and Chris had been out in January with his camera. I know this shore line like the back of my hand now and I have a bank of knowledge and familiarity to draw on, so these sketches are as much about memory as they are about fact. 

I love charcoal. I wish it was taken more seriously as a valuable drawing medium. The marks can vary from softest smudge to sharp black and fluid lines. It can be worked into with erasers, fingers and paper stumps..wonderful. In our garish, colour obsessed world, monochrome images sometimes seem like a sigh of relief.

cold shore bg

The reservoir is very low at the moment, deliberately so I think. There are wide beaches, full of pebbles and fossily bits and pieces.

erosion bg

And the bank erosion is more obvious.

 snowy shore bg

Looking east from the reservoir towards the village.

 kite over Grafham bg

Over the back looking towards Spaldwick there is a roll to the land. I have seen the red kite there.


The shoreline plus sketched in coot. I do like these comical birds. I am hoping to make some work about the local birds later in the year.


One of the fallen trees by the water.. it sends new shoots up still and is close to where I saw the stoat last year.


Back on the lane looking south towards the reservoir, tangles of brambles and the ever present flocks of birds

Small charcoals 9 x12 inches, the large one 15 x 22. Materials: willow charcoal, plastic eraser and fingers :)..


Anonymous said...

Dear Valerie
Your charcoal sketches are FABULOUS!
Very sensitive and ethereal. Beautiful!

I just want to say I really enjoy receiving your posts, they are very inspirational, and might just get me sketching again...

Wishing you a speedy recovery. I know how debilitating a foot injury can be. I've been suffering from heel bursitis for months myself.
~Samantha from South Africa

Diana Studer said...

especially the last is wonderful, layers of story and memory built in there. Hope your foot makes progress? Also in South Africa ;~)

sharp green pencil said...

Thank you both so much
I am SO delighted when I get postive comments on the black and white drawings.
Samantha, you are so kind. Ethereal is a very good word for the quality of charcoal. It has great sensitivity and often just rejected as messy..but go girl.. get that sketchbook out! Heel permitting :)

Diana.. are we all foot sufferers. I have had a set back and am back under the knife in two weeks time..but I am sure it will Ok in the long run. I always value your comments and what you see in the drawing is very interesting in light of the forthcoming residency.. Layers, stories and memories will all be there, so will charcoal !