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Chalk on Rock Rock climbers dust their hands with chalk as a means of staying in contact with the rock; and traces of chalk on the rock record their passage. For this reason the choice of pastel (which in its tactile qualities resembles chalk) as the medium through which to explore the nature of rock seems particularly appropriate. Chalk on Rock (the title I gave to my first major project) also suggests some kind of commentary on rock. The majority of my pictures are executed in pastel, although recently I have begun to work also in water colour and acrylic. A recurring aim has been to convey a sense of the tactile quality of the surface of rock, exploring that quality through another sense — vision.
A recurring theme in my work has been Almscliff Crag. Located between Otley and Harrogate, Almscliff Crag is one of Yorkshire's premier rock-climbing venues. Rising above the surrounding farm land, this isolated reminder of the last ice-age is visible for many miles around. Its rough "millstone grit" provides a superb surface for the climber, and the manner of its erosion over millennia offers endless formal interest for the artist. According to the notes in my climbers' handbook for the area my acquaintance with Almscliff goes back to 1979, and since then it has exerted a constant pull on my attention both as a climber and as an artist.
My engagement moves constantly between respect for the grandeur and sense of presence of its overall form, and attention to the intimate detail of its surfaces. I doubt that the attraction exerted by "God's Own Crag" (as it is known to climbers) will ever disappear. The crag us divided into two tiers (High Man and Low Man) which terms will help to make sense of many of my titles. A selection only of my many studies of Almscliff is offered here,
For several years now the nearest pub/restaurant, The Square & Compass, located in the nearby village of North Rigton, has kindly agreed to display a selection of my studies of Almscliff, for which I am very grateful (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Click on the image for additional detail.