In November last year my partner and I decided to mark 11 years together by taking a weekend trip to the Forest of Dean. Over two days we did three walks and took hundreds of photographs, the photographs and memories made in that short time have inspired a series of drawings that I am still in the process of making.
This wasn't my first trip to the forest however, it is a place that is so special to me that it is hard to describe. My mum and dad would take me to the Forest of Dean which sits close by the English/Welsh border when I was just a tot. On a visit when I was two we brought home a puppy springer spaniel named Valentine, my parents even looked at moving there permanently. When my parents separated when I was seven my dad continued to take me and my brother to the forest, alongside my step-family. We camped and took bike rides along the trails, my memories from visiting with my whole family became muddled with new memories with my step-family. Despite the emotional upheaval and the hurt I felt during a difficult time the forest remained the same. I could still remember the trees, solid and steadfast, magical and sometimes unnerving. The river still twisted through the land the same way, the rapids by Symonds Yat unchanged. The air smelled like coal smoke and leaf litter in decay, as it always did.
In later years I visited the forest on my own. I'm not sure what it is about the place but whenever I return I feel like I'm home. It's quiet and inspirational, not just to me. J.K. Rowling grew up in a village just outside the Forest of Dean, it is said to have inspired the Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts, not only that but Harry and Hermione camp in the Forest of Dean in the seventh book; The Deathly Hallows. J.R.R. Tolkien is also said to have based Middle-earth on the area in The Lord of the Rings. The enchanting quality that the forest possesses has seduced me and I can only imagine that as long as the trees are still standing that I'll continue to draw them.
Is there a particular place in the world that you find very inspiring? Perhaps you've used somewhere that you have visited several times in your work, or maybe the place that inspires you most is right on your doorstep? Let me know in the comments below and tell me of any places that you think I'd be inspired by too.
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