Ironstone Concretion

Lens of white sandstone in Coxley Quarryironstone noduleLike a ripple on a pond or a blot on a page ironstone concretions spread out across the layers of sandstone in Coxley Quarry so I guess that they must have formed after the sandbanks were laid down, perhaps during the process of solidification.

There’s a sausage-shaped patch of pure white sand a couple of feet across which is encased in a rusty crust. It looks as if the iron has been leached out by a mineral-rich solution and I guess that this then bubbled upwards through the sand because above the lens of white there’s a knobbly network of weathered-out rusty chambers.

rolled ironstone noduleThere are also rolled pebbles of ironstone. What seems to have happened here is that a rubbery crust of iron-rich gunge has formed on the bed of the prehistoric river then a strong current has dislodged it and trundled it into an ironstone Swiss roll. Iron is deposited when river water, rich in iron salts, meets brackish water.

deltacoal forestYorkshire was on the equator at the time this rock was laid down 300 million years ago, in a low lying area of lagoons, river deltas and the tropical forests which would form coal.

The surface of the Earth would be lacking in colour if it wasn’t for iron-rich minerals which range through ochre yellows, rusty reds and mineral greens to the fool’s gold of iron pyrites.

The Waiting Game

handsTwo hours is a long time to spend in a waiting room but on the other hand . . . this is the most time that I’ve had for a sketching session for months. That is, sketching as opposed to sitting at my desk working on a comic strip. I have done plenty of that.

handsMy habit of drawing my hand when there’s nothing more inspiring to draw (or when it seems socially unacceptable to gawp at people, as in this waiting room) paid off when I was drawing my comic strip. It wasn’t easy to draw all those hands but at least alarm bells would ring if I drew something that didn’t look quite right, for instance the time when I was so wrapped up in my drawing that I drew a hand with one thumb and five fingers!

Capital at the Casbah

casbah pillarI did manage to get out for a brunch break and headed for the Cafe Casbah where I had time, after demolishing the eggs Benedict, to draw the cast iron capital of one of the pillars in the Redbrick Mill.

Link: Cafe Casbah, Redbrick Mill, Batley

Whit Walk

poster artworkI’ve redrawn the scene for my poster and added watercolour. By keeping the background figures rather muted I’ve been able to make Sabine Baring Gould stand out from the crowd.

Horbury Bridge’s hard-drinking tough guy, ‘Old Nut’, is leaning nonchalantly against the wall of the Horse and Jockey viewing the proceedings with mocking disdain. It’s difficult to get someone to look as if they’re leaning nonchalantly! He looks rather awkward but he’ll do as an onlooker for the purposes of the poster.

This illustration is a one-off but I’m looking forward to exploring the possibilities of comic strips a bit more, perhaps returning to the exercises in Drawing Words and Writing Pictures, the ‘definitive course from concept to comic in 15 lessons’ by Jessica Abel and Matt Madden.

Sabine’s Christian Soldiers

Sabine Baring GouldcrowdWe’ve got a recital coming up of hymns written by Sabine Baring Gould, including Onward Christian Soldiers, which he wrote during his time as a curate at Horbury Bridge. For the poster I’m showing him handing out copies of the hymn at the start of the Whit Walk from the mission at Horbury Bridge to the mother church, St Peter’s, in Horbury.

dogI drew the figures separately, scanned them into Photoshop then rearranged them on separate layers to get a coherent crowd scene. To break up the rhythm of figures, I added a dog, tail wagging, one ear cocked, listening to the band striking up.

Sabine in a hurryI considered putting the focus on Baring Gould by having him running towards camera, doffing his hat to greet us and clutching a wad of sheets of his newly printed hymn beneath his arm but I think that it’s more appropriate to emphasise the community involvement which was the whole point of him writing his ‘hymn for children marching with banners’ in the first place.

Boletus in Stoneycliffe

Oaks, Stoneycliffe WoodStoneycliffe Wood YWT nature reserve, 3.50 p.m., 52°F, 12ºC

boletusWe’re getting misty mornings and still sunny afternoons as we’re under high pressure. With no breeze and no birdsong the woods are surprisingly quiet as I walk up Coxley Valley for a short sketching session.

There’s a clatter of wood pigeon’s wings in the oaks above me. Mallards are quacking on the upper dam. Brief calls from jackdaws and a thin desultory song which I take to be a robin.

There are plenty of fungi about following the recent rain and this settled spell of fine weather including this boletus.