I’ll be on the road south to Cromford soon for a short artist residency at The Old Lock Up Gallery.
My earliest plein air drawing experiences were of waterfalls and tree roots intertwined with Matlock gritstone outcrops. Rocks, tree and water featured in my art from very early on. Having lived in Scotland for more than half my life now, I’ve got used to a different kind of landscape but, as Jay Griffiths discusses in her book ‘Kith’, I still feel bonded on some deeper level to the Derbyshire hills of my childhood.
So when I heard that The Old Lock Up Gallery was offering artist residencies, I jumped at the opportunity to work in this lovely building (formally the village jail in the 1780s). Gallerist Rachael Pinks has created a haven of makers and making there, curating a deeply interesting selection of art and crafts. I am curious to find out how the history in its old stone walls and the managed waterways of the mill town might affect my drawings.
I hope also to connect in person with folk I’ve got to know online over the last couple of years. I’ve found a great community of tree experts and tree people on Twitter and so many wonderful artists through Instagram, so I’d like my week in Derbyshire to be filled with creative conversations too.
A residency is best approached with an open mind but I do need to choose what to pack, so have decided to focus on charcoal drawings inspired by my recent drawing trip to Chatsworth. I see parallels between these ancient oak forms and the movement of water, so this will be my starting point when I arrive, though there’s no knowing where it will take me from there.
See more of the confluence of wood and water in my work here.