I have been in Britanny, walking the coast path. A satchel of art materials went with me; coloured pencils, a small tin of Inktense blocks to use as pan colours, a few pencils and brushes, A4 and A5 pads, all designed to be compact for packing and walking around with. As usual, I hoped to draw every day, but I underestimated how tired I would be after a day’s walking, averaging about 12 miles, and how uninspiring a campsite can be for sketching in the evening.
However, occasionally we were within walking or cycling distance of a neolithic site, or on a campsite with a view. The megaliths, stone alignments and dolmens particularly appeal to me as subjects and they relate to my parallel project as traces left in the environment of past peoples, their beliefs and, in the case of their burial structures, their search for a connection between their own world and something beyond.
I had cycled back, up hill, about 4 km to this, after a days walking, so my hands were really shaky!
Struggling to depict bright, setting sun and intense, interior shadows.
I had some painted newspaper in my bag for collage and tried it here. I hoped it would give presence and solidity to the mound but this is pretty hopeless.
I haven’t done pen and wash for ages and I really enjoyed it.
The contrast between internal darkness and external play of light fascinated me. It has been established that some of these structures were revisited many times for multiple burials or ceremonies. I image that the builders had a similar feeling of moving from one environment to the another, from their everyday world to a frontier or portal to something beyond. This mound has a huge block towards the end. I think the burial chamber would have been beyond this, and the space in front may have been visited. In the ‘allee couverte’ at Mougau Bihan, above, someone had placed a jar of flowers in the inner space and scattered rose petals to surround the structure. These places still have a hold on us.
Soft graphite has best captured the play of light and shadow within the structure and the presence of the enclosed monolith.