Monday, 29 March 2010


Several weeks ago I had to replace a post in my garden fence, wondering how best to dispose of the old 3” x 3” timber set me thinking about the work of Rosalie Gascoigne.

I cut the wood into slices about 1/4” thick and set about arranging them on a board, after many false starts I decided to call the work ‘Herdwick’ as the collection of similar but slightly different pieces reminded me of a flock of sheep and after painting the pieces in appropriate colours this is the result.

Herdwick,  acrylic and sawn wood on MDF panel 

Herdwick sheep are the native breed of the central and western Lake District and live on the highest of England’s mountains.  They are extremely hardy and are managed in the traditional way on the Lake District fells that have been their home for generations.

The word “Herdwyck”, meaning sheep pasture, is recorded in documents going back to the 12th century.  Herdwick sheep are the most hardy of all Britain’s breeds of hill sheep, grazing the central and western dales of the Lake District with fells running to over three thousand feet.

Herdwick sheep

Herdwick farms have typically less than 100 acres of lower, more productive land and rely on the common grazings of the high Lake District fells.  The lambs graze with their mothers on the “heaf” belonging to the farm instilling a life long knowledge of where on the fell they should be grazing.  This is crucial as the central Lake District fells are inaccessible and a sheep which strays from Borrowdale to Eskdale will involve a 100 mile round trip by road for the farmer to collect it.


TSL said...

I like it! My husband would as well. Continued good things your way!

Leslie Avon Miller said...

Ian - this is simply fabulous. I love the simple beauty. The minimal color is perfect, the textures and shapes create such a pleasing composition.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Brings up the perfect word for me about this gaze upon...beautiful.

Caterina Giglio said...

leslie took my words, just fabulous, love Gascoigne's work thanks for sharing this with us.

Sondra said...

Dear Ian,
What a great story and an incredible piece of work. Your art always resonates with is absolutely wonderful. I just shared this with my husband and Gregg felt the same. We value the recycling of the wood, the process and your final composition. This would be another great piece to see in person.
So glad that you are online.
Best to you,

Jala Pfaff said...

I love this!! the subtle variations, the also subtle colors.
Interesting about the sheep. Thanks.

Mostly Turquoise said...

Good name for the beautiful woodwork piece Ian, for you caught the colors of the sheep perfectly!

Regina, SXM

Joan Breckwoldt said...

Dear Ian, You are very clever to have created such a beautiful peice of artwork out of something that I wouldn't think to use! It's beautiful. I look forward to seeing more of your work as I visit again soon.

Poetic Artist said...

This is wonderful. So creative.
Also the story and sheep are beautiful animals.
Thank you for sharing.

Four Seasons in a Life said...

Dear Ian,

A few weeks ago I came across an structure that had fallen apart and left to natures elements and from the structure I removed all the strips of thin wood. I was going to use these in a similar manner as you have on a 36x36 inch board.

What I find interesting is that you and I have not discussed this and yet our paths are very similar.

Having said this, I do like what you have created and I do hope that SWABO will let you hang it up in the living room.

Best wishes,

Kelly M. said...

Isn't it wonderful when one makes that connection between the intellectual life and everyday life -- the tactile, the visual -- all sensibilities coming together? Stunning work, Ian.

SIGRID said...

Thank you for sharing.
I love your work.
Greetings from Germany,

ArtPropelled said...

I'm also a great fan of Rosalie Gascoigne's work and I love this piece.

layers said...

Your wood and acrylic work here seems to have taken on the magical colors of the sheep and vice verse..
beautiful subdued and minimal.

r.bohnenkamp said...

a very good work!
many greetings from Germany

lynda howells said...

l love wood and l love today l am very happy!Hax

Stephanie Clayton said...

Wonderful texture in that wood! I like the repetition and subdued palette, and the way you arranged the slices.

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