The Long Walk

The Long Walk is a 2.5 mile path that leads from the Copper Horse (in Windsor Great Park) to Windsor Castle. I wanted to draw the scene from the Copper Horse from memory.

The first thing I drew was the Long Walk. I don't have a strong visual memory so it didn't feel justifiable to use arbitrary positions for any of the lines. Instead, I divided the space into regular areas, and then continued to divide spaces in two until a structure emerged that felt right. This iterative process allowed me to make small changes until the drawing represented something close to my memory.

I realised afterwards that, by anchoring each new component to the guessed position of the previous one, I was creating an image that became further from the truth with each iteration. This feels similar to the nature of memory itself; each time something is relived, it develops a new inaccuracy and concretes previous ones.

I'm interested in finding the most basic truths in an image, so I decided to begin a new set of drawings by following this process backwards. Rather than beginning with an imagined scene, I started with a watercolour I made just over a year ago (also of the view from the Copper Horse). These are some of the drawings I made.

The drawing above shows the view from the Copper Horse in its purest form, as only its most vital components: the horizon, the Castle and the Long Walk narrowing into the distance.

However, if my concern is not the scene but the actual physical objects in front of me, then the image can be reduced further. The horizon is something shared by a lot of views and it is vital to this view. But it isn't important to the description of the place.

I reduced the image further so that only the Long Walk and the Castle were left. The most economical ways to draw this were:
  • to allow the converging sides of the Long Walk to meet at a point and to move backwards for the horizontal line of the Castle; and
  • to represent the Long Walk as a single line with the Castle at its end.
The first takes into account perspective, and is therefore still attempting to represent the view. The second is the purest description of these two features in the landscape.

It shouldn't really be a surprise that these two forms look like uppercase letters A and T. Each letter of our alphabet has evolved from a more complex depiction of a real world object, which - through the increasing economy necessary for writing - has been reduced to just a few marks: the simplest form it could be without losing distinction from other letterforms.

I'd like to continue exploring this reductive process to make a set of symbols that record places I visit. These would be something like icons of a map.

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