25/2/22 (It’s definitely Friday I think)

So last time I posted I declared it was Thursday… and it was really not Thursday. I’m having a coffee and double checking my diary and can confirm that it’s Friday.

This week I went to a community organised meeting in the Borthwick valley, about concerns over a high-powered rifle range that’s being operated without planning permission across a large part of the forest I grew up in and continue to make work in and to call home. I’ll be reading through my notes over the next week or so and trying to put together a longer post that digs into what’s actually happening, what a long-range rifle range is, why some people don’t like the word “Sniper”, and how this could endanger the lives of the many people who visit the forest. I’m not anti-guns, as I’ve mentioned before, except when it comes to peoples’ lives being put in danger. I want to write carefully and clearly and sensibly about how the seven (yes you read that right, seven!) ranges planned around the areas of Eskdalemuir and Craik between the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway are over the top, operating dangerously and putting lives and livelihoods at risk. It might take a bit of time, and I want to get the research right, so do bear with me.

Before I get into all that, I wanted to share some more drawings of fallen trees I’ve been working on. As with the last lot, they may or may not be the right way up. These are numbers 27 and 33.

The first I started when I ran out of black paper to draw snowy trees on – although it uses up less white pencil, I don’t think using the white-ish of the paper (using an old sketchbook re-purposed from a first year textiles project, so it’s got stuff on the other side) really makes snow look… snowy. There’s a crispness that it seems impossible to get by omission.
That one’s done with Derwent’s Intense pencils and pastels (They’re watercolour pencils to the extreme, which I prefer to regular watercolour pencils, which generally get on my nerves), and Coloursoft over the top. I like the golden yellows (assisted by my yellowy ikea lamp), but the greens from Coloursoft just never seem to do it. I think I’ve mentioned this before. The new dark green is too… bluey?

The second I started yesterday, in the midst of a headache that thankfully didn’t develop into a migraine proper. It’s probably hormones, ugh.
It’s actually a little further on now since I took the photo, and I’m enjoying getting into the still-standing trees behind the limbs and trunks in the foreground. It’s taking me back to screen printing and thinking about layers and making shapes fit together.

I’ve been using my new set of Derwent Drawing pencils, supplementing colours with Coloursoft (not as soft as drawing) and Studio pencils (harder than both of these), which are in a set that’s probably older than me – they belonged to someone my mum worked with years ago, and are wonderfully solid, strong colours, and perfect for getting into crannies on the paper. As with drawing with graphite pencils, and needing a variety of shades of graphite – having a variety of hardnesses of colours is starting to feel necessary to getting these where I feel they should be.

The new black paper is a sketchbook from Derwent – it’s smoother than I’d like, as I want to get more of the pale shades picked up in the grain – might do some experimenting with papers, but do get in touch if you can recommend any good dark papers for pencils.

Do remember to join us TONIGHT at Unit 4, The Cornucopia Room, Hawick, at 7PM for the launch of Conversations with a Forest, the first publication from the Moving Image Makers Collective. We’ll have refreshments and I’ve got a teeny tiny bit of new video work in progress to show when we have a regular meeting at 8PM after the launch.