I often find myself setting rules for the way in which I work. I don’t necessarily mean to do this, but every now and again I find a new routine has crept into my practice.
Black seed pods on Alexanders
Recently I have been taking my sketchbook with me when I go out for a walk rather than taking my camera. The decision to take a sketchbook is a conscious one as the act of drawing makes me stop and take notice. I believe that to document what I see and hear with drawing increases my perception of the environment and enables me to pay more attention to what is going on around me. Drawing makes me select what I want to record from my surroundings and gives me the choice about how to put it down on paper. I can select to record what is above, below or around me and I can make notes about the sounds I hear or what I can feel.
Purple sea-lavender covers the salt marsh
On the other hand, it is very easy to snap a picture with a camera without really looking. Often there is no memory of the experience: the wind on my face or a skylark singing, and there remains only a cropped image of a sensory environment that would have extended 360 degrees around me. Drawing and writing in my sketchbook is my preferred method of documentation.
Winding channels in the mud
Having said all that, I made a conscious decision the other day to take my camera with me and to try and think about the photos I was taking in order to document my favourite walk at Burnham Overy Staithe. I hope these photos give you an idea of how I see and experience this place.
Withies mark the channels. They stick up above the water at high tide so you don’t get stuck in the mud.
Narrow waterways run into the marsh.
A turnstone feeding on the mud.
Looking inland across the marsh.
I used to think this was a submerged boat, but now more of the structure has emerged and I wonder if it is actually part of an old jetty.
Next time I’ll show you drawings done on another walk to Burnham Overy Staithe and the new work that came from them.