WE’RE A BIT limited as to where we can take my mum for a coffee now that she’s not as mobile but the ice cream parlour at Whitley has a lot going for it. Yes, it might be the same place that we brought her last week and the week before but the panorama, looking up the Calder valley to the tops of the Pennines is different each time we visit. It has greened up a lot since we were last here. But it changes every few minutes as shadows of clouds move across pasture, wood and moor.
It’s so good to have a short burst of the wide open spaces.
I like watercolours where forms are simplified so why do I find it impossible not to make some attempt to blob in every tree when I’m painting this view? The problem is that I’m so fascinated by detail. As I painted this I could see the blades of the wind turbines turning on the horizon, traffic passing on the motorway 6 miles away, crows bursting from the wood beyond the reservoir as a buzzard flew over . . .
It’s so difficult not to get hooked on the detail!
CHARLOTTE’S Ice Cream Parlour at Whitley, with its assortment of farm animals and its panoramic views across the Calder Valley, is a relaxing place to draw. It’s up on a ridge-top but on a windy day you can retreat to the shelter of the cafe . . . and perhaps sample the Real Jersey Ice Cream.
As well as a contented Jersey cow there are a couple of donkeys, some heavily pregnant nanny goats and rare breed sheep.
Peacocks are displaying to the peahens, a black hen is leading her brood of black chicks across the meadow and, adding an exotic touch, a couple of rheas (or are they young ostriches?) are strutting along in the paddock by the car park.
The donkeys wander over to meet visitors and indulge in a bit of mutual grooming.
I’m back to working in the Crawford & Black portrait format sketchbook – that’s the one with the 96 gsm acid free cartridge which I find a bit thin and absorbent for my pen and watercolour sketches but it will do for everyday. When I get the chance for some natural history drawing, I’ll go back to landscape format.
Recent snatched sketches in my ‘everyday’ sketchbook include the backs of some shops and this tubular metal chair.