Journal

A Shaded Trail in Brechfa Forest

pen drawing of a trail through Brechfa Forest, Carmarthenshire
Pen on sketchbook paper (6" x 8"). 2021

It’s not often I finish a piece of work that I’m truly pleased with, but this drawing is one of those rare occasions.

This latest finished piece of forest art was inspired a by a January walk along the trails of Brechfa Forest in Carmarthenshire — not far from the car park named ‘Keepers’. Brechfa Forest was the first forest I visited since returning to Wales. I’ve wandered it on several occasions, but it is huge so I am aware have only seen a very small part of what it has to offer.

I’ve always loved trees and forests, but never had so much direct experience with them until I returned to Wales and began exploring the Welsh forests. They give me a sense of adventure and mystery, not just wandering the trails, but also going off-track, deeper into the forest. The reward for this adventure is an incredible sense of calm — finding a quiet spot to sit on the moss-covered and enjoying the comfortable solitude.

I originally tried doing this as an acrylic painting back in 2019, I never did finish it. However, with my recent pen work, I thought it would make an impact as a pen drawing. Unlike my early sketches, I’ve moved on to sketching the basic outline of a drawing in pencil first. I outline the various parts of a scene so I get a better idea of their relationship to each other. This is to avoid drawing outlines to define parts of the scene and instead use more shading to represent objects. I find this gives a more pleasing and realistic aesthetic.

Whilst the majestic trunks of the fir trees were fairly bold and straight forward, the majority of the drawing is comprised of intricate detail and shading. Rather than sticking with my trusty Uniball UB-150, I used a mix of Uniball and Pigma Micron pens to get the look I wanted. The Pigma Micron 0.05 can create the most delicate of marks.

Completed over the course of two mornings before work, A Shaded Trail in Brechfa Forest was more time intensive than my recent drawings, but I think it was time well spent. I finished this drawing feeling a real sense of achievement — or as I said to Jess “I feel like I’ve levelled up”.

I look forward to bringing what I’ve learnt with this piece on to my next work.

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Published by Chris

Landscape artist Chris Richards lives on the edge of the Brecon Beacons in the village of Ystradgynlais. Chris works mainly in oils, but also dabbles with acrylics, ink pens, watercolours, and soft pastels.

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