100 days of slow walking

My slow walking involves slowing down to observe and record the views of the River Severn on my daily dog walk and in particular to raise questions relating to landscape and energy.

I am keeping a paper diary.
In it I am putting words, photos and drawings.

I choose to make a paper diary for a number of reasons, one of which is that I spend so much time at a computer that I want to make myself work away from it. Consequently I don’t intend to use this blog daily and am using it to reflect on my work and way of working.

It is unusual for me to have such a regular routine, let alone one that is set to continue for three months or so. I am interested to learn how the process will shape the work…

In the first few days the process is making me more aware of a number of aspects in my daily walk and it seems like a good way to “make time” for thinking in a fairly focused way and of course a discipline for recording.

The process does feel like a homage to the River.

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a few days into the project now and a few thoughts about the process.

Have started to do some multiple image line drawings, overlaying my views of the Severn as I walk towards it – every ten paces.  Especially interesting when walking towards it down hill. Each drawing is small and I’m finding it a bit constricting. I love making the drawings and don’t want to stop.

Have decided to store the photos and then print off a week at a time. This is to save paper as I can print a number on one sheet. It does raise questions about the relationship between my daily photograph and the corresponding drawing. I’m taking more than one (digital) photo a day and choosing which to print on screen. This is about eye sight as much as anything.

The words are thoughts about energy and landscape. The photos tend to reflect these and are of that landscape. The drawings are about moving towards the river, about line, about lines and rivers flowing in front of me. About line and the space and volume they contain.

double page for web

Its got me thinking about knitting again – the specific link with the Severn being about saving energy by putting on more clothes and the possibility of sheep in the landscape – the general link being how knitted garments are made of lines of wool.

An initial idea for this project was “big knitting” – just finding string, wool and washed up debris and “knitting drawings” in the hedgerows and fencelines. I’ve just remembered the power cables that cross the River at Arlingham too ….

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I’ve been making a new diary page this morning and its been interesting to reflect on the process of making the diary – i feel quite “tight” when it comes to measuring and drawing the lines and writing the days that make up the diary pages – much more so than when out drawing in the landscape.

I did consider making and printing the pages but decided that the act of writing the name of each day is in itself a good discipline in terms of remembering the moment and celebrating the now.

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quite a lot of coverage in the media about Coppenhagen, with actor Harrison Ford saying people should get together and take direct action to influence governments … why not get together and do something about energy consumption in their own lives? Anyway, its got me thinking a bit about the similarities and differences between direct action and art. I had been thinking that this project would include some direct action/awareness raising event; if so, i  feel that the outcomes should be “real” as well as symbolic/thought provoking-  the process itself should be contain elements that are about change rather than just referring to it or calling for change. “Slow walking” seems to achieve this.

diary for web

diary for web

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I’ve been really tempted by the amazing weather we’ve had since starting this diary – one wet day – and in particular the stunningly beautiful sunsets – but I’ve resisted the temptation on the whole.

Back to wool – I’ve been doing a bit of research about old drovers routes between Wales and England. One idea had been to string wool or woollen garments across the river – a knitted barrage. I’m more and more taken with the idea of not crossing the river – the barrier it presents us in terms of transport  is a part of its contribution to shaping this part of Gloucestershire. I’m currently thinking of slowly walking away from the river banks, unravelling knitted garments …

Daily drawing and photography continuing … feeling a need to do something more with the drawn images – develop them in some way even if just to line them up and enlarge them to create a panorama, or transitory drawings in the river or on the sand/mud …

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the drawing prcess has changed – less mechanistic than when I started by measuring out every ten/twenty/fifty paces and walking towards, or away from the river. Some of the later drawing is from the same spot, just overlaying different views.

As mentioned before, I’m wanting to do other things with the daily drawings, or at least use them as a spring board for other drawings. Although I’m keen not to do this solely through the computer, here is a record of part of the process. Lets see where it goes …

8 drawings copy

pair 2a197

moving 4200

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Daily diary progressing,  somedays its hard to fill in the diary, especially the comments to do with energy/landscape; probably repeating myself a bit. It feels easier with the camera not to repeat myself – I suppose because the landscape changes daily anyway as can my view point. I feel this repeating being problematic least of all with the drawings.However, I have started taking the drawing a bit further:

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As well as the development of the drawings as shown above, I’ve started to develop a map based project – more to come.  Of course, its getting harder to track the influences on these more recent developments because of the interaction with other people on the various strands of the project – walk to confluence of the Frome and Severn with Kel and Tom, people’s entries elsewhere on this site, project with Sue and Glen etc … I think that the daily routine helps keep focused though, even though the process itself generate ideas.

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still keeping daily diary – now have two photos and a drawing each day – this is a part of the change in direction to map people’s views which i am still working on.  A by-product of this approach have been photographing some of the dedications attached to the various benches.

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05 dedication

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First Friday Walks

January 2012, PURTON WRECKS