Thought Fox and Willow


This looks okay-ish from a distance and in the dark, but generally it’s a bit of a disaster. I’m not entirely sure how to fix it, so the plan is to put it to one side and hope the future provides a solution.

It got off to a good start and I was pleased with the first rough (that should have been a clue to my impending doom); I also had a very strong idea of the colours to be employed.


The setting is a tumbling stream on the edge of the moor, hidden away in a steep-sided, gorse-guarded valley. Home to a community of young and ancient willow trees, the inaccessibility has preserved its untamed, other-worldly quality. Ted Hughes wrote a poem called Thought Fox and this environment struck me as being sympathetic to the ideas about creativity described therein.

Spurred on by an uncharacteristic confidence, I decided to alter my normal procedure of drawing the image in pen and ink first by making a tighter pencil drawing which I then painted over. This was about half the size of the original rough. The idea was to build up a purply-grey background that the orange would then shine out of like a guiding beacon. On no account was I going to use any green whatsoever.


Things started to go downhill after that. I got into a muddy muddle with the purples, and had to rescue everything with copious amounts of coloured pencil. Finally, I admitted defeat and lobbed in some green. This just about saved it from tottering into the abyss (or the wood-burner) but something’s still not right…

And now for something a little brighter.


This is entitled Up the May! and is a celebration of our community’s little Beltane festival.

As a side effect to this picture I designed a Pop Vinyl Green Man, although he ended up looking more like an owl on the t-shirt.


Here’s a photo to give a flavour of the festivities – after this, things just got weird.


Photo courtesy of Terri Windling



2 Replies to “Thought Fox and Willow”

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