This morning dawned another grey and misty day on Dartmoor. Dartmoor mist is beautiful, but preferably not when it’s supposed to be August.

Listening to the radio I heard A.L. Kennedy describe this August’s skies as “grey as a shark’s armpit” which did at least make me laugh out loud… so I pulled my slightly morose self out of bed and determined to make something of it.

No one else was on the road as I drove to collect the shopping, so I could stop the car and take a few photographs.

I often find when I’m out drawing that I have a tendency to try and include too much detail. This happens when I’m painting too – I’m often muttering “less, less” to myself! Sometimes taking bad photos really helps because it acts just as a reminder for what interested me in the first place.

Once I’m back home I can take the elements I want: it’s the first round of filtering…

This is a tiny pocket sized sketchbook and I was just aiming to simplify a sense of the colours and scale with a few strokes.

Green in landscapes can look a bit predictable and usually there are so many colours that you can build in for a richer palette, but today I was going green and grey all the way.

While this was drying I turned to another larger book and reworked a previous page in a looser way… just experimenting, line, space, contrast… 
And lastly I experimented one step more and recorded a video for Periscope. If you’re reading this on Sunday 23rd August, the video will still be there… but after 24hrs it disappears, just like Cinderella’s Magic coach! Will this be a new platform that is here to stay? Who knows, but so far it’s fun – a great way to share work in progress without having it all recorded and staying in cyberspace for ever. Perfect! You have to find the app and then search for Alice Sheridan and follow to know when I do future videos. Tapping the screen sends hearts… Which is the Periscope way of showing you care!

Alice Sheridan watercolour sketchbook location drawing on Dartmoor art
So far it’s been a crazy summer – the sudden opportunity of a trip to Japan… the day after the open studios finished, swiftly followed by a family holiday to Turkey and then taking the children to Italy. Those of you who follow me on Facebook or Instagram may have seen the occasional updates.

So much has happened that I feel behind….

Behind in noting how my thoughts have changed, how different environments have wormed their way into my visual bank of ideas.

I know that during summer holidays with children it can be hard to find time. I’ve long given up on doing ‘proper painting’ during this time so this year I have been trying to use the time to catch up so that when school is back, I too can get back to work!

I’ve been catching up on reading, on home jobs (redecorating parts of the house), teaching my son to cut a hedge without cutting his fingers off so that he can save for (another) new guitar, catching up with friends.

But still the itch…twitchy fingers and a mind that doesn’t rest.

Thinking is not the same as doing.

And today, while there was a rare quiet few minutes I just made something. Small. A tiny record of the colours of the rain clouds and the moment the sun breaks through.

God, it felt good!
I still need to play catch-up with the other ideas, but at least the first few drops have now fallen to break the drought.