Winter Sketching

A quick stop to sketch my view on my way home

To look, to see, to understand, to capture – however imperfectly – is to be part of the land in a way like no other.

Jan Blencowe – Art-quotes.com

I always carry my art materials with me, just in case I get an opportunity to sketch. Sometimes I have a strong urge to sketch and I know on that day I have to stop and do so at some point.

On a freezing cold day in January, I had a need to sketch on my way home, and I found a spot in an Ancient Valley. Inspired by this landscape, I felt this was the right place to capture the essence of the area. The view in front of me looked towards Smatcher hill, New Radnor. The colour of the larch trees were standing out as an orangey-red, as they are pine trees that lose their needles over winter, like deciduous trees lose their leaves.

I sketched the rough outline of Smatcher Hill, deciding as I go along what to include on my page. The icy, biting wind was whipping around my bobble hat and across my fingers, which were peeking out of my fingerless gloves, still absorbed in the moment, even though I couldn’t feel my fingers. I quickly painted the watercolours and hoped they would dry quickly, as I moved behind a hedge to retreat out of the wind. [Top Tip: Hedges make amazing shelters to get out of the wind]. It was so amazing to feel the elements against me as I sketch my view. I get so much from this experience.

The Neolithic Four Stones, a few paces away from where I had sketched, I felt was the perfect place to capture my brief sketch from today.


The stones are fascinating as their shapes match the outline of particular hills in the distance, which I always find incredibly intriguing. If only these stones could talk, imagine what they have seen. My mind was time-travelling, imagining whether other artists had visited and sketched them. I have before. As I was trying to photograph my sketch today, my pencils kept getting blown off the board by the wind and my sketchbook pages kept flipping over to reveal the page below. Maybe the stones were trying to tell me something…

Have you sketched in Ancient locations and do you have any stories to share? I would love to hear…

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Andy says:

    I always enjoy reading your blog with the descriptions of the landscape and how it affects you, and what you draw or paint. Admiration for you going out in all weathers!
    Ancient standing stones do have an incredible gravitas when you are amongst them. They do seem as if they want to come up and talk to you about their long history, and all that they have seen and soaked up. I had a similar experience drawing the Coldrum Long Barrow in Kent on one of our walks, which appeared on one of my very first blog posts: https://mytattysketchbook.com/2017/08/21/depicting-coldrum-long-barrow/ – Keep up the interesting blogs. I must get underway and resurrect my blog… Andy

    1. Thank you Andy for stopping by my Winter Sketching blog. I’m so pleased you enjoy reading them, it’s so lovely to have feedback. I popped by the blog- link you sent to me about your Coldrum Long Barrow Adventure. It has inspired me too, so I will be now trying pastels in the future sometime. Can’t wait to read your next blog and where you take your sketchbook next…🍃

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