As usual, this is a best-bits version of the trip, where “best-bits” = anything that stayed still long enough to be sketched. You should be able to see a larger version of the pictures by clicking on them, which in most cases will take you through to their Flickr page.
I was on a round-the-world ticket so I guess that is why I had to sleep in Helsinki airport between NYC and Heathrow.
Once landed, I picked up my hire car and drove directly to Dartmoor – unexpectedly passing Stonehenge in the evening sunlight. I spent the whole week in one town and it was of course wonderful, because it’s the sort of town where even the local scandals feel like the start of a Midsomer Murders episode, and it is full of many friends who are busy writing and painting and making things.
I was there a few days earlier than originally planned, but Terri soon found me hanging over this gate, drawing sheep.
I spent my first few nights at Greenbank B&B, a 10 minute walk out of town, and I highly recommend it. They had poultry and a bad-tempered parrot and dogs and a great big Aga stove and lent me Cold Comfort Farm.
Some notes on Cold Comfort Farm.
I went back to visit several times after moving on.
And this was the road along the back fence.
When drawing English plants, Liberty prints suddenly make a lot more sense.
Sheep-shearing at Greenbank.
And one night, on sunset, I walked up the top of Maldon Hill barefoot in the cold golden light, which was chilly but felt important, especially as I was thinking about Picnic at Hanging Rock for academic reasons at the time.
Here is Terri’s beloved Tilly, being mystical in the woods.
For Ruth’s birthday, we went to a ’70s space disco in a Devon field.
After Greenbank, I moved in with the lovely Elizabeth-Jane, harpist and dealer in sugar-mice.
Her house was full of music and books, and one evening we went down to the woods where Alex was living and owls hooted overhead.
Also, I finally visited Chagfarm!
At the farm I drew goats and pigs (for reference), and one evening I drove out over the moors and drew the Dartmoor sheep and ponies.
Showing my sitters their portraits.
You have to drive carefully over the moor – the sheep and ponies are unruffled by traffic.
I did leave Chagford once to go to Moretonhampstead and see the Widdershins exhibition with Virginia (whose hand and art are shown here).
One of the many things I love is that you can just go… walking out over the fields and the moor: up behind the studios with Terri and Tilly, over the common with Alan and Virginia after tea, wandering over to Todd’s for maps, traipsing out by moonlight with Elizabeth-Jane in search of standing stones which look deceptively like sheep.
One last sketch of goats and parking inspectors, then off to Heathrow again. The last song to play on the radio as I reached the airport was, suitably, “Jerusalem.”
Then, off to Reykjavik.