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Digital drawing

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It is now acceptable to talk about Christmas. November departed with snow – just a dusting, but it doesn’t take much for me to get overexcited!

What with that and the mounting urgency to get some Christmas cards sorted, I found my way to this. There isn’t much more in the way of rationale, but who needs one at this time of year? The main attraction for me was the sky, and in fact I didn’t really intend for the landscape to even be there, or at least not one so populated – it rather pushed its way in. I find churches difficult and often frustrating from reference, so dreaming one up was perhaps both ludicrous and inspired (aha spire). The snowy conifers more than make up for any torment the tower caused.

After Thursday’s tease, I’m hoping that, just one day this winter, I’ll have an excuse to get the scarf and gloves out.

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It’s quite a departure from the usual Norfolk landscape, with two hundred foot chimneys and silos on the bank of the River Yare. This is Cantley Sugar Factory, which opened in 1912 and has slowly but surely grown into the monster you see today – one of only four sugar beet factories left in the UK.

It has a reputation as something of an eyesore, and that’s understandable. It seems to threaten the puny windpumps across the river, who try their best to defy by facing the other way. It’ll loom over many a photograph. But, having grown up fascinated by the immediate juxtaposition of old and new industry – like gasometers and inexplicably tall chimneys of the old power station – I don’t really mind it. For me, it’s just another piece of the landscape.

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That being said, after taking the perceptions into consideration and having looked at some shots of the machinery, I did get a thirst for the excessively industrial; something harsh and overbearing. With that, I found my way to 3D and started randomly throwing steel and piping together:

Less regimented and just a bit of a mess at the moment – perhaps that works in its favour? – but it’s thrown up some exciting ideas. Maybe there’s something in a typeface using these elements? It would be fun to try and construct some monstrous three-dimensional letters, but it seems as though it could look rather sharp in 2D.

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I feel like the title of this post promised so much but delivered so little – sorry about that. Perhaps one day I’ll draw a sugar daddy to make amends. It’d be rude not to.

After a simple decision in presentation of some cormorants led to a happy diptych, I began thinking more about composition and relationships. From that came a thirst for something not complacently square or 8×10. It’s something I haven’t really considered for a while.

With being out to sea at the moment – circles portholes, naturally!

Going for something crisper and even less literal, I took to Illustrator and warped some stripes, trying, for now, to stay away from colour.

They turned out rather more marble than crashing waves, didn’t they? It’s been refreshing experimentation nonetheless; certainly it seems potential is there, once the tide turns and I can pinpoint a clearer approach. Hard to starboard, as we of the sea probably don’t say all that much. At least I didn’t mention the Jolly Roger.

 

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Back to the beach, this time with a specific sight in mind: Covehithe. This remote hamlet on the Suffolk coast was one of several fruitful locations pointed out to me by my photographer friend Mark. It’s quite possible I visited as a child, but I have no memory of it, so certainly if I did it wasn’t a regular haunt.

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Taking the pathway from the impressive ruins of the church – which I should hope to get to another day – to destination at the crumbling cliffs, a lone, rather post-apocalyptic atmosphere pervades the shore, particularly at this time of the year.¬†Strewn along the beach are fractured skeletons of fallen copses, now at the mercy of the tides as they slowly bed into the sand. Like so many of my more familiar Norfolk beaches, the coastline is transformed on a regular basis, and edging further and further backwards; a sobering reminder indeed of the sea’s unrelenting force, though in this instance it has, unquestionably, carved out a dramatic and gripping place.

Having thought for a while about focusing on trees and with my current endearment to the ocean’s shore, the cocktail of Covehithe was an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up. It really is a very well-kept secret, and I’m so grateful for the tip-off!

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Well, what a beautiful day it was yesterday. Rudely awoken by hailstones banging on the window, it was seemingly nothing but rain and gales for the duration. And it was cold. You know things are out of hand when I’m in a jumper.

It did, however, lead me back to my beloved stormy scenes, and this time I headed to the coast, as I imagine things were pretty dramatic out in the North Sea. There surely isn’t a more treacherous bracing place to be in such conditions. I don’t think I’ve ever focused on the sea before; certainly it’s been a long time if I have. Time to fix that.

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Back to a more local setting, and facing the other way; a most welcome sight on the coast would be the lighthouse:

broads-16-winterton-01Making waves was more of a challenge than anticipated, but a lot of fun with it – now I’m wanting to hear them crash, whatever the weather! Got your sea legs?

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darrenhayes-3The term ‘earworm’ emerged in the late seventies and refers to music so memorable that it becomes something of a fixture. I’m sure we’ve all encountered them: the tunes and lyrics dancing in your mind and refusing to stop.

It’s good to talk, and so here’s a little about my latest episode. I was in the car recently when To The Moon & Back by Savage Garden played on the radio. I’m sure I haven’t heard this song since the late nineties, where I remember it being ubiquitous, and quite enjoying it; well, it seems determined to make up for lost time. I’ve given up trying to shake it!

Perhaps an indication of how serious an affliction this is, we have a portrait of lead singer Darren Hayes. A pretty quick one, I hasten to add. He looks a little sterner than I set out – sorry, Darren – perhaps he’s irked I haven’t been listening to him for twenty years – sorry, Darren. Of course, I opted for sunglasses to hide the features and emphasise the aural impact of our subject’s song… and if you’ll buy that, you’ll buy anything! It was a combination of wanting to include shades and not being in the mood for eyes.

This isn’t really a bad thing, of course. I’m so glad that such magnetic melodies exist. Darren has a great voice, one I’m finding both refreshing and headily nostalgic, and I’ll quite happily take this as defence against an impending deluge of Slade, John Lennon and the usual ‘festive’ suspects ad finitum. They’re the ones you need be wary of. No, I’ll stick with Savage Garden, thanks Noddy.

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With a swift spot of twitching this evening, I found my way to the cormorant. Expert waterfowl with a preference for coastal areas, you’ll find plenty perched about the Broads, using high branches as a lookout or settled atop the sails of windmills to dry their wings before the sun. Brograve Mill¬†in particular almost looks wrong without its watchful residents.

My second drawing was referenced from a daylight shot, but I dialled it up somewhat and went for almost silhouette with saturated colour; trouble was, this led to further dallying and switching hues around. I couldn’t decide which to show, so here’s both of them – at least they are apparently enamoured with one another…

I’m sure there will always be room for more birdwatching, broadland or otherwise. Watch this space.