A new drawing on my blackboard. This one's based on some photos I took of a snowy Hebden Bridge last year. Snow... beautiful but it makes everything so slippery in our damp little valley.

GOODBYE chalkboard drawing its time for a change

Surprised at how painless it was to wipe away my chalk drawing even though I felt it was quite a  successful rendering of moorland and clouds.

MY STUDIO SPACE (unusually tidy)

In my tiny little studio space I do drawing, printmaking, painting and paper engineering with all the associated tools and materials. Sometimes I can hardly turn round there's so much stuff to be stored. So it takes a huge effort to make it suitably tidy and safe to allow people in for open studios. For a couple of days the space is lovely and calm and then it all unravels again...


Its time for the seasonal celebrations at my base in Brooklyn Studios in Hebden Bridge and we are once again holding our annual Festive Open Weekend this coming Saturday and Sunday, 6 & 7 December, 11 am to 5 pm.


It will be lovely to see old friends and new. As usual I'll be making my famous Brooklyn Mulled Cider to keep  the cold at bay but this year there will also be alcohol-free hot apple punch as an alternative for drivers and those being sensible!

I will be showing a wide variety of my work including new large charcoal drawings as well as some old favourites and a range of highly affordable small prints.


A set of slate writing tablets with chalk drawings of clouds. Thinking about contrasts; clouds so nebulous and soft seeming; slate so tangible and fixed.

The initial idea was about simply making pale clouds on a dark ground but the ones I like best are the dark clouds.

These were on show in the Sunday Schoolroom at Wainsgate Chapel during September.


Excited because tonight is the preview of my solo show at the Bingley Gallery - Wednesday 8th October 7 - 9 pm.

The exhibition is titled All The World Is Smoke And Shadow and is open from 9th October to 2nd November.  The text on the invite reads:

"A new series of drawings, painting and prints by Calderdale artist Angie Rogers, responding to the experience of the transient and the intangible within the South Pennine landscape.
Celebrating the mutability of all aspects of landscape whether man-made or wild, with an acute observation and deep knowledge derived from decades of walking in the South Pennines, Angie finds freedom in the constant dissolving and remixing of light, atmosphere and matter, allowing each day to spring new surprises in a familiar yet never fully knowable environment."

The main feature is the series of fairly large charcoal drawings I've been working on up at Wainsgate Chapel all year.  I'm looking forward to seeing how they look in a gallery setting with their custom-mixed, grey painted wood frames.

The gallery is at 29 Park Road, Bingley BD16 4BQ and is owned and run by lovely Jane Fielder, well known for her beautiful watercolour paintings.


It all started in the summer when I went out to buy just a carton of milk but returned home with a lovely vintage easel, having taken a 'short cut' through the market. O the perils of a sunny day and a persuasive woman.

The easel still had 2 of the original pegs and attaching chains and seemed to be crying out for a blackboard so I made this one out of a new frame and a piece of plywood painted with home made chalkboard paint in a faux slate colour.  Obviously the new, blond wood frame had to be stained and treated harshly to sit comfortably with the aged easel.

Blackboard equals thoughts of school and the memory of a feeling of imprisonment, looking out the window at the clouds and freedom.  The schools I went to were strict with an over abundance of nuns and I don't remember ever getting the chance to draw on any of the innumerable boards there. So initially a slight sense of transgression and then something joyful in the freeing process of making a drawing that will disappear at the slightest touch.

Here's the easel in the stairwell leading into Wainsgate Chapel Sunday Schoolroom where I've had a temporary painting studio for the past 18 months until tomorrow when I move out.


I've put together an exhibition of work concentrating on reservoirs, including a series of new oil paintings of Widdop reservoir and domestic scale, framed reproduction prints of my huge reservoir tower drawings.  The Visitor Centre is open most days including August Bank Holiday but is shut on Thursdays.


I've shared these photos from Bruce's post on the reserve's blog as I didn't have my camera on the day. The print which is propped up by the big river pebble is my latest woodcut featuring a Sandpiper flying over Widdop Reservoir. This was its first public showing, unlike the Pennine Twite that gets everywhere. Glad to be able to show some of Alan's beautiful butterflies.


Annoyingly, I forgot to take my camera to the open day at Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve today so am making do with this photo of the cards I had made recently from my reed pen drawings of the reed beds and river during the late winter.

Lovely weather and lots of interesting people to chat to. Highlights were being able to look at Alan's large display of (ethically collected) UK native butterflies and moths - so beautiful and intricate, plus handling some very exotic creatures from Madagascar - Hissing cockroach and Bearded Dragon Lizard! not at all scary or slimy, very friendly and clean looking. The Dragon Lizard did seem to fancy having a chomp on the cockroach though. Another highlight - the home made ginger cake, far more tasty than cockroach I would imagine.

I think people enjoyed viewing the reed pens I made from reeds growing in the reserve and the resulting drawings. The reeds have to be controlled and its very hard, cold work clearing them in the winter; so pleasing to see them being put to a positive use.  They just need an army of reed pen loving artists down there.

If you are local to Calderdale and haven't been to the reserve I can heartily recommend it as a good place to visit for a day out. Easy to get to and free parking.

Many thanks to the volunteers who work so hard to make things happen there.


I haven't forsaken art for photography and have been working oh so long and hard on a whole range of different projects. Lots of events happening close together and feeling a bit overwhelmed by the workload and remembering all the detail.  No matter, its what I signed up for when I chose to be a visual artist.

In less than a week, on June 21st I'll be going to the Open Day at Cromwell Bottom Nature Reserve with some of my work for sale and of course the reed pens I used to make drawings. In the meantime I've revamped my naive style cards from original woodcuts -  The Sweet Little Birds. I'm hoping Print Bureau in Hebden Bridge will get them printed for me in time...


Here's a Red Grouse nest for comparison with the other moorland nurseries I've photographed. I don't know why there's only one egg in it when there should be many but in the spring you see lots of Crows and even Gulls going over the moor searching for nests to predate. In May we watched Curlews and Lapwings flying around madly trying to fend them off.


In complete contrast to the exposed high moor of the previous post, the following day we went to see the bluebells in the lush green woodland of the Hardcastle Crags valley before it was too late. Wonderful, uplifting sights, sounds and scents. I feel so lucky to be able to experience such varied landscapes and habitats so close to home.


On Saturday we were walking up on High Brown Knoll in the sunshine, listening to Curlews, Golden Plovers, Lapwings and Skylarks.

We spotted a Curlew's nest, with four pale greenish, lightly speckled, pointed eggs and also a Golden Plover's with three paler, more rounded eggs and heavy dark speckling.

In both cases the nests are very simple shallow grass bowls.  We were walking on a very rarely used path that disappears into the moor and we know what to look out for.  The parent birds returned to the nests soon after we moved on and were not disturbed for long.

The moor here is a flat plateau and the many temporary pools that form over the winter are brim full and still, reflecting and magnifying the deep blue of the sky.

Where the water has retreated you can see the delicate footprints of numerous birds in the dark peat.

Between the pale rushes and moor grass are blankets of moss and bilberry making a subtly colourful patchwork in sharp green and russet.

A wider viewpoint on the return journey looks over the semi-cultivated fields of Crimsworth Dean, below the benign little clouds running up the valley, towards Widdop and Gorple reservoirs.


If there was ever a time to not sleep at all, it would be spring when as I've mentioned before, you feel that suddenly everything is going too fast and if you even blink something wonderful will be missed. Every spring brings new marvels, not noticed before and this year its some pink pine cones I saw last week at Marfield Wetlands near Masham.

Such a beautiful deep pink/purple and an elegant shape. Presumably this is the immature stage and they will ripen to a more expected shade of brown.

HOLLOW STEMS (and my 200th Post)

A selection of hollow stems collected at Cromwell Bottom for making new reed pens. Not sure what the really fat stem is from, possibly Hogweed? it may be too weak to be much use but worth a try. The same goes for the skinniest stems. Sometimes imperfect tools make exciting marks and appropriate ones are just humdrum.  All will be revealed in time.

This is my 200th post here on Tumbling Hills.


An affinity between the texture and colour of the reeds and the water, as we experience all those photons bouncing off surfaces.


The final mini triptych from my wintery visit to Cromwell Bottom at the end of February. These ones done with reed pen and paintbrushes.

The gingery dead canes in the background are the dreaded Japanese Knotweed I believe. As an artist I like the colour they add to the scene but as a nature lover I know how invasive this species is and wonder how they will be controlled in the reserve.


Friday was almost unbelievably warm and sunny here in the Calder valley and I had the opportunity to revisit Cromwell Bottom.

The green flush of spring has really come on, with a strong sense of dynamic transformations. I enjoyed observing the changing detail compared to the wintery scene of my previous visit. The huge clumps of Marsh Marigolds in Tag Cut are amazingly vibrant and exactly the same yellow as some industrial sheds at the entrance.


Another trio of ink sketches on manila paper using reed pens made at Cromwell Bottom. Originally I started reusing manila envelopes from a huge recycling heap at a college I worked in, along with my artist friend Viv Owen, but now I deliberately buy manila paper.  I love the colour, it makes an exciting change from the more standard white sheet and suddenly the white becomes an active player in the image rather than just the default background. Actually I think Viv bought me this particular little sketchbook - thanks Viv.

I'm looking forward to getting back to Cromwell Bottom soon as I want to see it with the wonderful yellow greens of Spring foliage.


There's a place near where I live called Dog Bottom and another called Slack Bottom; not very poetic names but certainly memorable.  A few weeks ago I visited another place called Cromwell Bottom,  a nature reserve that I'd never been to before. We only decided to go because it was dreary weather, too chilly for the tops and I fancied somewhere new but it turned out to be a really interesting site that I wish I'd known about earlier.

Its located on the River Calder, between Elland and Brighouse, near a canal, with remnants of industrial workings and is described on the Natural England website as being "one of the richest areas in Calderdale in terms of biodiversity, acting as a stepping stone this site boasts over 130 species of plant, 200 species of recorded birds, large numbers of mammals, amphibians and a plethora of invertebrate life".  

What appeals to me are the two lagoons which have large reed beds. Apparently the reeds are a nuisance and have to be cut back, but I love the way they look and of course appreciate them for pen making! I harvested a few reeds and made a series of quick drawings in my small manila sketchbook:


For the sake of completism I feel the need to include here the Profile/Press release about Rosie that made its way onto the Intu Elephant Parade website recently, based on some emails and a phone conversation I had with their feature writer.

Creating a national tour elephant with local flavor

Press Release • Mar 13, 2014 14:00 GMT

Angie Rogers is the Yorkshire-based artist, who created Stone Rosie, the elegant and intricate Elephant Parade design inspired by York Minster.

Angie says: "I was surprised and delighted to be asked to submit a design for the Elephant Parade national tour and of course accepted the challenge as I have always loved elephants.” She said the inspiration for the design came from pondering “the sheer size and grandeur of these wonderful beasts.” She said this helped her make the connection to another favourite of hers - the great gothic cathedral at York.

“An elephant is like the cathedral of the animal world, large and stately to look at, a repository of history and memory, a precious source of wonder to be cherished and saved.”

Angie said that as a painter and printmaker, she finds the features of York Minster she is most drawn to are those great expanses of jewel-like stained glass. “When seen from inside the building they seem to float in an ocean of dark space. This is the aspect I wanted to celebrate on Stone Rosie, my creation for Elephant Parade.”

Reflecting on the selection of design entries for the national tour, intu’s Trevor Pereira commented: “From the moment we conceived the idea of giving Elephant Parade a countrywide platform to raise awareness of elephant conservation, intu was committed to creating a national tour with local flavor – an exposition that would surprise and delight the millions of people that experienced the elephants, yet draw on artistic references from all corners of the UK. Angie’s Stone Rosie design had the ‘wow factor’ even from the initial A4 design sketch and it has arrested public attention at every UK tour stop so far. It’s an incredible design statement and we’re proud to be showcasing it for the intu national tour.”

When asked to talk through her design, Angie mentioned the elements of the 'Heart of Yorkshire' in York Minster’s West Window that decorate the elephant’s forehead, while the famous Rose Window - featuring the white and red Tudor roses - adorn both her sides. “I gave Rosie blue eyes to signify her heavenly nature and to acknowledge the role of blue pigment in the history of Western painting,” she adds.

By a strange twist of fate, the arrival of Rosie quickly followed Angie's recent transfer to a new painting studio located at a remote chapel in the South Pennine hills above Hebden Bridge, where she lives.

So Rosie came to life in a spiritual building filled with glowing stained glass, the very medium that inspired her creation.

Rosie's delivery did cause a bit of a stir however as she was too big to fit through the internal studio doorway and had to be painted in a corridor. This wasn’t ideal Angie says, not least because the light is not as good as in her studio. But the upside of this was a raised awareness about Asian elephant conservation amongst the visitors and concert goers coming to Wainsgate Chapel, as they squeezed past roly poly Rosie on the way in!

Angie said that it was a challenge to paint something so large, particularly when painting on a 3D rather than a flat surface. “I did wonder at times why I had picked such an intricate pattern. It was particularly tricky getting the design to work over the curve of the elephant’s belly. But I am a perfectionist so I wanted to get it right.”

Angie has previously been involved with a number of conservation projects. In 2011/12 she was Resident Artist for the Watershed Landscape Project. A woodcut she made of a Twite - an endangered small ground-nesting Finch of the South Pennines - was used on the label of Light Twite, a local, organic, bottle-conditioned pale ale commissioned to lift the profile of the RSPB's Twite Recovery Project.

The natural world is a major source of inspiration for Angie’s work. She says she enjoys observing the minutiae of detail within the flora and fauna of her local environment, as well as a broader viewpoint of the austere uplands, moorland reservoirs and steep wooded valleys that surround her home. Angie believes encouraging people of all ages to discover and enjoy their local wildlife is a vital foundation for fostering a wider concern transcending geographical and national borders. To this end she has organised numerous outdoor art activities and has even taken her portable printing press out into the wilds when working with schools and community groups.

She says: "As a child drawing tiny images of the wild roses growing along the neighbourhood hedgerows, I little imagined that years later I would be painting 98 double Tudor roses on the curving form of an elephant.

“The love of wild things and the desire to be an artist have never waned though, and I'm proud to have had the opportunity to put the two together with the aim of saving wild elephants.”

She says she misses seeing “Rosie’s smiling cheerful face each day” but she has been to see her at intu Trafford Centre, as part of the Elephant Parade national tour, presented by intu. She says: “It was great to see her in the intu shopping centre. The elephants look big - but not as big as one does when you are painting it. It’s great that the tour has taken these elephant to a number of cities this year, I only wish it were more.”

To find out more about Angie's work visit www.angierogers.com

For more information on the Elephant Parade national tour, presented by intu – including latest news on tour venues, gallery images and access to further artist profiles – visit the tour website:www.intuelephantparade.co.uk


Its been a long 6 months since I posted  THE STORY OF STONE ROSIE PART 1  and during all that time the life-size version of Rosie the elephant has been touring the shopping centres of Britain (strictly speaking only the ones owned by a company called Intu). Sadly Intu don't own any in Birmingham so the city of my birth has missed out on my proboscine achievement. (Proboscine is to elephant as lupine is to wolf I just found out. I'd have thought it would be pachydermine but apparently not so.) I prefer pachydermine.

After completing the tiny elephant I was cowed by the thought of doing it all again on a vastly bigger scale. I was hoping though that it would be easier working big, much less fiddly and easier on my eyes. Needless to say it all turned out very different...

Wainsgate Chapel is a slowly decaying listed building on a pot-holed lane up a steep hill heading up into the moors. I'm lucky enough to share a quiet painting studio there with my friend Sarah. There are beautiful views nearby, this one from the road looking across to the hill top settlement of Heptonstall and the moor beyond.

I  imagined Wainsgate would provide an ideal environment for decorating Rosie.  Unfortunately however, although the fibreglass Roly Poly could get through the front door, she was too fat to pass through the door to the studio. This meant she had to be painted in a very dark and chilly corridor, with stone flags, between the toilet and the studio doors. Even when it was hot and sunny outside I needed 3 jumpers on and insulated shoes.

To see anything I had to use an army of plug-in lamps bouncing light off the ceiling - a right performance as nothing much to hang them on and we are not allowed to put in screws or heaven forbid nails. 

I will never forget the freezing feeling of those stone flags which I had to grovel on to paint Rosie's under parts. Its amazing how actively you can grow to hate a corridor. But the sweet expression on Rosie's face always cheered me up. In this photo she looks like one of those Galloway belted cattle, apart from the red toenails.  The intention was always to paint them gold and red makes the best base colour.

I'm not even going to mention the fiddliness of painting round those red hearts of her ankle bracelet, no wonder many other Elephant Parade artists just paint over them.

Fitting the flat design onto Rosie's bulging belly involved a real challenge to ensure the circle stayed perfect. And then there was the other side to do exactly the same - whose idea was this! It turned out that the shape of the big elephant was significantly different to the small one and required a lot of adjusting.

98 double Tudor roses needed to be painted if you include the giant ones on her rosy cheeks. When I first had the idea for my elephant design I didn't realise how intricate the Rose Window at York Minster really is. Maybe I should have modified it for the elephant, but I became fixated on producing an accurate transcription of the original.

And then they all required a fine black outline to help create the illusion of stained glass. So much work and very tiring on the arm muscles.

The artists acrylic paint has a subtle sheen and the mars black pigment I used is a very warm black which seemed appropriate to the subject somehow.

To make the blue at the centre of the rose window more intense I used a range of different blue paint pigments.

Even though we had warm weather I needed a fan neater to help dry the paint so I could keep working in the icy corridor.

It is important to me that Rosie should have appealing eyes and I'm pleased with how they turned out.  Medieval stained glass made use of cobalt and soda-lime to achieve blue but in the Western painting tradition ultramarine blue, being the most expensive and beautiful colour, was reserved for the most important subjects of the painting such as the holy family and Mary in particular. I made Rosie's eyes blue to express her spiritual nature.

At last Rosie gets to peek out of the big entrance doors at Wainsgate chapel and to admire the gentle Yorkshire rain.

Here she is waiting for the truck that came to take her off on her adventures away from innocent, peaceful Wainsgate to the hectic frenzy of the herd at Kings Cross Station concourse and far beyond.