Saturday, September 02, 2006

Drenched but Ecstatic

Last week I paid a visit to ‘The Stiperstones’ – these are striking outcrops of rocks on a hilltop in Shropshire. The outcrops consist of Precambrian quartzite – old, metamorphosed and hard they have been eroded into fantastic shapes which have given rise to legend hence the largest and most northerly outcrop has been named ‘The Devil’s Chair.’

I wasn’t fearful of the devil on this occasion I was more apprehensive about the shower clouds blowing in from the west. I had my sketching gear in the rucksack and wondered if I would get a chance to make use of it. Apart from the threat of rain it was a wonderful day of changing light which threw shadows across the rocks, the heather was in bloom reflecting bright purple when in sunlight. All these transient effects had to be captured on camera in the uncertain weather conditions.

The first shower arrived as I approached the summit outcrop which provided some shelter but not sufficient to make a drawing. At the next bright interval I moved out to look around for a sketching viewpoint and was made ecstatic by the effect of sunlight on wet rocks – just got to grab that – another job for the digital camera.

There was just time to settle on a viewpoint and get the sketchbook out when the next shower arrived. Caught on an open hillside and drenched in the first minute of driving rain the only option was to retreat back to the car. Not a wasted day though my trusty Canon digital camera had captured several images that could be used as reference material for paintings. Here’s my favourite:-

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