.....and Sunlight Dappled the Woodland Floor

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....and Sunlight Dappled the Woodland Floor: Corylus avellana, 2020. Graphite on paper  (148 x 210mm)

This ongoing series of drawings relates to the experience of a patch of North Atlantic woodland on the Isle of Skye, a site I have occupied as wanderer, listener and sometime participant in the management of the wood for the Woodland Trust. The wood supports a diverse habitat of ancient native oak, birch, ash, pine and hazel as well as many liverworts, mosses, lichens, fungi and ferns, many of which are rare. There are as few as 30,235 hectares of these woodlands scattered along the North Western coast of Scotland and what exists is fragmented.

Some philosophical approaches contend that we use our bodily senses to define what is ‘out there’ as separate from us, rather than as the means through which to experience our own continuity with the world in what might be a distortion of perception. Perhaps it is the case however, that ‘practice’ can bring about a flux between inner states of experience and external environments, exploring the possibility that such practices can open out a continuity between self and world that is potentially transformative. Such transformation could be to do with the encounter of a sense of mystery or the ineffable or might relate to the de-centering of self.

I have been using the practice of drawing as a way of investigating the boundaries and continuity of experience. The basis of this process of ‘contemplative drawing’, which takes place between the site and in the studio is less to do with technique and representation, so much as it is with observation, in the sense of physical tracing with the eye, waiting, breathing, and the testing of varying sensitivities of touch. The experience of changing levels of light or heat, attention, ritual, physical endurance or exertion and change also form part of the practice and each of these qualities are consonant also with the practice of growing and maintaining living things.

....and Sunlight Dappled the Woodland Floor: A Cuff of Greyish White 2021 & 2019. Graphite on paper  (148 x 210mm and 297 x 420mm)

....and Sunlight Dappled the Woodland Floor: Corylus avellana and Buddleia, 2020  Watercolour on repaired and re-used tissue packing paper  (420 x 594 and 594 x 594mm)