Skip to content

Spring sketching and strolling

Read about our BFER Sketchbook Stroll at West Stow Country Park

Spring sketching and strolling

The dappled light of the spring sunshine glistened on the River Lark as the water rippled lazily on its journey. A Sunday morning, and the only sounds to fill the air were the trickle of the water, and the chorus of avian greetings from the nearby Suffolk Wildlife Trust nature reserve, Lackford Lakes. If listening closely, one may also have heard the buzz of an insect passing by, the rustle of leaves, and perhaps, the sound of pencils working away busily on paper.

The sun was shining at West Stow Country Park to welcome the participants of the BFER Sketchbook Stroll event. Hosted by Art Branches, participants joined artist Stephanie Hartick for an artistic amble through the landscapes of the Country Park. The early April wind cast a chill as the group gathered at the entrance to the Country Park and Anglo-Saxon Village (who had kindly given BFER permission to host this event in their fantastic country park). With 125 acres of unspoiled countryside, trails, heath and woodland walks, the Country Park is a brilliant Brecks landscape.

Beginning to walk through the Country Park, the group paused at a carved wooden replica of a Saxon ship stern jutting out of the ground. Here, we stopped to gaze across the landscape, and sketch the scene. Stephanie advised to break the sketchbook page into three sections, putting a focal point in one of the sections to help create a sense of balance on the page.

Sketchbooks laid out on a grass surface

At the riverside

From here, we headed to the riverside. As the trees sheltered us from the breeze, the heat of the sun suddenly broke through. It was a pleasing reminder that warmer weather will soon arrive. Sitting along the riverbank, the group experimented with continuous line drawings. Placing their pen on their paper, they draw images without taking their pen off the page. Restricting the action of drawing gave a new challenge and a focus on the shapes we each wanted to capture.

A group of people sit sketching along a riverbank

A line drawing of a tree trunkA line drawing of leavesA line drawing

Spending time slowing down, sitting, and taking notice of the details in the landscape was both peaceful, and inspiring. As the group walked along the riverside to our final sketching spot, more and more they began to spot beautiful natural details. A participant excitedly pointed out the glow of the sun through a comfrey plant. The light highlighted the delicate network of veins on each leaf.

The Pump House

The final sketch focused on architecture. The group settled at the edge of the park to draw the lines and curves of an old brick Pump House.  This Grade II listed brick building was once part of a sewage works which operated on the site during the first half of the 20th Century.

Have a go!

Why not have a go at being creative this spring, and enjoy your own sketchbook stroll? It doesn’t matter if you are an artist or total beginner, the act of being playful, creative, slowing down, and taking notice of the details in nature is a relaxing activity for all.

Find information on walking routes to explore in the Brecks HERE

Find out more information about West Stow Country Park and Anglo-Saxon Village HERE

Looking to join a creative event like this one? Visit our Events Page to see upcoming creative events including our Botanical Illustration Walk on May 11th.