ERTF Conference 15th October 2022: Debbie Lyddon

Title of workshop: Sensing the Landscape

Workshop leader - Debbie Lyddon

‘… keep looking. That’s what the keen-eyed naturalists say.  Keep looking. Keep looking even when there’s nothing much to see.  That way your eye learns what’s common, so when the uncommon appears your eye will tell you.’

Kathleen Jamie, poet and nature writer, Sightlines

Workshop write-up by ERTF member Clare Harris

Debbie produces beautiful work inspired by the north Norfolk coast where she now lives.  She began her talk by outlining her process of inspiration. She described it by saying: ‘The landscape speaks and I listen, remember and respond.’  Debbie walks into the natural environment and observes with all her senses looking for rhythm, repetition and sounds. She then draws, makes notes and perhaps collects objects. We were able to see some of her work on display.

We then made small notebooks from cartridge paper and went outside to a local field on a gloriously sunny morning, armed with only a pencil and graphite stick each, to try her technique of observation and recording. She urged us not to be literal but to capture form, shape, movement etc.

When we came back in, we discussed what had particularly stood out for each of us.  It was interesting that everyone picked out varying experiences. For some it was the birds calling overhead, for others falling leaves or the complexity of local hedgerows. Debbie explained that she herself increasingly relied on her memories of her daily walk rather than any sketches. That way she could focus on highlights and exceptions, and draw out the essential essence of her landscapes.  She showed us how to develop our ideas in paint to translate, in simple terms, what we had seen and remembered.  We then cut up our books to create new images to further develop and focus our ideas. At each stage the reality of our walk was made more individually creative. 

,From these paintings we outlined our designs directly onto fabric. We spent the rest of the afternoon stitching.

 It was a very inspirational and creative experience. Thank you Debbie!

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