Reflections on The Old Lock Up residency

Old Lock Up Gallery residency interior Tansy Lee MoirI spent the first week in May on a residency at The Old Lock Up Gallery in my native Derbyshire. I moved to Scotland almost 30 years ago but still feel a pull to the trees and rocks of my childhood landscapes. It was good to be back.

drawing of an ancient oak in charcoal

Oak trees in charcoal

Before I travelled to Cromford, I gave myself a particular focus for the work and some practical constraints. I’ve learned that I’m most productive and creative when


Meeting the Chatsworth oaks

A visual story of my spring research trip to the old oaks of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire…

very large oak tree with a charcoal drawing of it on an easelI grew up in nearby Matlock and know the estate quite well, but only recently discovered the former hunting park there with its large collection of ancient trees. This is probably one of the biggest, which I decided to try to tackle on my first day there.


Discovering Derbyshire oaks

drawing of an old oak tree
‘Chatsworth 007’ conté and sanguine on paper

Heading south

Following six months hard graft in the studio preparing for my exhibition, it felt like the best reward to spend a week in my homeland, discovering some new trees.

So, I packed my drawing kit and headed for Derbyshire, excited to be feeding my imagination once again, turning the creative cycle back to the beginning of the process.

oaks in Chatsworth

Meeting the Chatsworth oaks

I grew up in Matlock and as a child used to visit the Chatsworth estate often with my grandparents. I have warm memories of lolling about the grounds with a picnic, paddling in the river and getting towed reluctantly through the big house. I had no inkling at the time that one day I’d be back with a drawing board to study the trees there.