The Yorkshire Moors

Taken over several years on the moorlands and woodlands in Yorkshire, I explore these wild, weathered, often bleak, but always beautifully atmospheric habitats. As well as the outstanding views of the wide open Moors and Dales, the big skies; the remnants of Yorkshire's industrial past are still visible in the landscape.

 “He listened to the sound of the water and the way it sang over the smoothed rocks of flint and grit. The way it danced down through the woods like a child.”  Benjamin Myers, The Gallows Pole

 

With this collection I explore what it feels like trying to grasp hold of fleeting, fragmented memories, and the remnants of dreams. The feeling you get when you wake from a dream trying to hold on to it or to make sense of the story. Sometimes we are left only with the residual feelings; pleasure, fright, guilt, embarrassment, sadness or a sense of bewilderment.

I have included sounds, music & poetry as well as links, to help you lose yourself on the Moors like I did, but hopefully not in 'An American Werewolf' in London kind of way.... which, as it turns out was filmed in Wales pretending to be on the Yorkshire Moors.

Birds appear throughout the collection because their behavior is a good representation of our minds at times - fluttering, scattered, hovering, spooked, flighty, cawing, flapping, flocking, brooding, fleeting, free, pulsing, beating, alight, chattering, chirping, homing, pecking, nesting, roosting, ruffled...

As well as the landscape and the changing weather, I was also inspired by the creatures of the Yorkshire Moors; rabbits, curlews (listen here) and Sky Larks (listen here). Just hearing their calls takes me to the Moors and Dales of Yorkshire.

Reverie was taken whilst discovering the industrial landscape of the Yorkshire Dales National Park using their industrial heritage app. The day I visited the skies were a dark and stormy blue, back-lit by bright sunshine. Very dramatic.

"Moorland is a capricious landscape in which I find space to think, dream and wonder"

A visit to Bronte sites in Haworth will give you an insight into the lives of the Bronte sisters, as well as an introduction to the stunning landscape around Haworth.

You can discover the beauty of the upper Pennine Moors yourself by taking a walking tour and reading some poetry on the Stanza Stones along the way.

She stands outside a book in her hands “Her name is Cathy”, she says “I have carried her so far, so far Along the unmarked road from our graves I cannot reach this window Open it, I pray.” But his window is a door to a lonely world That longs to play. Ah Emily. Come in, come in and stay.

Kate Bush - The Emily Stone

Go further back into history with a walk across Ilkley Moor to discover the Neolithic Cup and Ring marked stones and the Twelve Apostles Stone Circle. Literature lovers will appreciate the brooding atmosphere of the moorland around Calderdale where Ted Hughes grew up and where Sylvia Plath is buried.

 "... the empty horror of the moors" Ted Hughes & Sylvia Plath

Whilst not an opinion I would completely agree with, at a certain time of year and under grim weather conditions, I can see how people may perceive the Moors as devoid of interest and bleak. To me, this only adds to the atmosphere. As well as walking, swimming & photographing, I have spent quite a few hedonistic evenings up there on the moors at free parties and raves - a coming together of like-minded souls in isolated wonderment. I think this experience may have inspired some of my work.

Listen to Orbital - Chime whilst reading on.

My technique includes using textures and hand painted overlays to create an almost inked look to my work, lending an abstract and quite intense element to the finished pieces. I edit using Lightroom and then create my own brushes, blends and overlays in Photoshop. I have used photography as the base for this work. I use an ND filter for my ICM work. I placed particular emphasis on texture to heighten mood and contrast.

"Half Savage... and hardy and free" Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
Whilst creating this collection, I was listening to the soundtrack to 'Requiem' by Dominik Scherrer and Natasha Khan (from Bat for Lashes), which is ethereal and quite eerie, but also evocative and dreamlike (like the Moors of Yorkshire). Listen to Aigra here

 

"... alive with burping frogs, whinnying curlews and rising larks" William Atkins

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