Word books

About five years ago, around the time I walked the Cleveland Way, I made a number of books consisting of index cards sewn together. Each card had written on it a word or phrase of something that I’d seen on one one of my walks, or which came into my mind by free association. It was an attempt to paint a picture of the experience of those walks in words, synthesised with feelings and ideas I was working with in my paintings at that time. I recently looked them out and realised that they were more successful than the paintings I was doing at that time. They read like poems. Here is one book in its entirety:

Red cliffs

The sea

Deep water



a jay

Things growing in hollows

Water courses

Crushed tarmac road

Very dark clouds and very light clouds

Houses as a natural part of the landscape

Landscape created by man – to draw the landscape is to draw man


Brick pits


Clouds created by eddies


Growing cumulus

new shoots through burnt earth

Long paths

Horizontal lines

Red rain


A holly hedge



Roman soldiers

The gap between heaven and earth

Distant smoke



a man carrying a burden

Hang gliders

Walking up a steep hill

Pale trees

Skulls in pale sand

New bracken growing through heather


A dusty pale lemon path through black heather

lemon coloured earth and stones

A red chimney

Spring green, black and red

The shadows of clouds moving across the landscape

A patch of red sheep sorrel growing among black heather

Ploughed field

Red soil



Burnt shale

black heather

Gullies and scars


Grey and honey coloured porous limestone

Pea green against dark purple, almost grey

Sheep sorrel (died back)



Different shades of heather. White, silver grey, lilac, orangey-lilac, purple, brown. Dead thistles

Green in the gully, with reds

Brown bracken

Bracken copper and green

Brownish purple

Bilberry with coppery tinge

Bees buzzing

Hole of Horcum

The Rufforth tip

A pile of red earth

A pile of vermillion

A pile of ash

A pile of bricks

A pile of stones

A pile of skulls


Thistles in stony ground

Compacted earth

Compacted rubble

Piles of stones

Piles of turnips

Piles of manure

Piles of suitcases

Piles of cinders


Posted in Art

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