The ‘Climate’ Project, #1

posted in: The Climate Project | 0
35mm, Snowdonia, Wales 2017

The Plan… Heading back to the Peak District!

I recently found out that I have been accepted as one of the 10 finalists for the ‘SCAF Emerging Artist Award’! The exhibition is in October, and I have the next few months to produce an artwork based on the theme of ‘Climate’ and my submitted proposal.

Draft proposal: ‘For my piece I propose to get to know a selected place in one of Yorkshire’s neighboring National Parks, spend time there, hike in the landscape, camp and ultimately become familiar with the weather and the on-going changes. During this I would bring sketchbooks with me and gather marks, studies and notes to catalog all that I can while I’m immersed in the area; which will develop into the final work on canvas.’

I want to start by following on from my recent body of work ‘Tracks’, which was inspired by the rocky outcrops, and geology of the Peak District. When I think about the climate of a place, rocks immediately spring to mind, and how they have been shaped by the changing climate over millions of years. On the Kinder Plateau there are rocky outcrops sprinkled everywhere, it’s like a treasure hunt trying to discover them all. Every single formation is wildly different from the next, some of them don’t even look real; the ‘Wool Packs’ rock formation in particular looks like natures own sculpture park. Then the rocks on top of Kinder Low look like giant stacks of pancakes, they’re amazing. If you’re ever in the area it’s definitely worth the hike up to the plateau. 

I also plan to increase the amount of time I spend out in the landscape and throw some camping into the equation! (Fingers crossed the weather is kind in August.) I adore long summer evenings, and I’d love to take it all in without the worry of making it back down before sunset and in my case, catching the train home. I also hope that being exposed to the elements when camping will help me respond honestly to the theme of ‘Climate’.

Tracks #1, Mixed Media on Paper, 14 x 19 cm, 2019
Tracks #5, Mixed Media on Paper, 14 x 19 cm, 2019
Tracks #4, Mixed Media on Paper, 14 x 19 cm, 2019.

As far as art materials go I want to bring paper, charcoal and pencils, keeping it simple at first and see what that will lead to back in the studio. I also plan to document my trips and progress in the studio here on my website, and instagram. I really want to get stuck into this project, and learn as much as I possibly can during this time! Writing about my work for the ‘climate’ project is also a way to hold myself accountable, and explore thoughts and ideas, and I’ll have something to reflect on in the future.

We’ll see what happens… I want the final artwork to be inspired by the changing climate that has ultimately influenced the geology, and look at the exposed rocks like pieces of a puzzle.  

Kinder Plateau, Peak District, August 2020
Kinder Plateau, Peak District, August 2020


During the lockdown I buried my head in a couple of books, and one of my favourites was: ‘The Living Mountain’ by Nan Shepherd. The book was an absolute joy to read, it was also a treat to escape to the Cairngorms during the lockdown restrictions in the UK. Shepherd writes so beautifully; describing every aspect of the mountains through all the senses, it was a reminder of how much you can gain from really getting to know a place you love, instead of just passing through. 

For this project I wanted to follow Shepherd’s lead, and put in the time to get familiar with and learn the story of the landscape; explore, be curious, sketch, think less and feel more!

South Head, Peak District, August 2020

‘`The air is part of the mountain, which does not come to an end with its rock and its soil. It has its own air; and it is to the quality of its air that is due the endless diversity of its colourings. Brown for the most part in themselves, as soon as we see them clothed in air the hills become blue. Every shade of blue, from opalescent milky-white to indigo, is there. They are most opulently blue when rain is in the air. Then the gullies are violet. Gentian and delphinium hues, with fire in them, lurk in the folds.’ 

pg41, The Living Mountain, Nan Shepherd.

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I hope everyone is keeping well and enjoying the summer post-lockdown!