Inspiration – Henry Moore’s Sheep Drawings

I was reminded recently of Henry Moore’s beautiful sheep drawings while taking photographs of a ewe with her lamb. Moore is perhaps best known for his large sculptures. There is a very fine example of one of these in Trinity college Dublin, photographed below. This piece is called ‘Reclining Connected Form’


Sculpture: Reclining Connected Form, by Henry Moore

Photograph by Andre Winlondon at



I read recently that when asked by his niece why the titles for his work are so simple, Moore replied “All art should have a certain mystery and should make demands on the spectator. Giving a drawing too explicit a title takes away part of that mystery so that the spectator moves on to the next object, making no effort to ponder the meaning of what he has just seen. Everyone thinks that he or she looks but they don’t really you know” *

I take the first part of this as something to really strive for myself in my own work. I also appreciate it as an observer of art and nature myself – the skill of looking is so often undervalued.. but I digress!

These are the sheep drawings I have been thinking about. Moore made a wonderful collection of them and several of the ewe with her lamb – mother and child – a subject which he drew from throughout his career.


Sketch of sheep and lamb, by Henry Moore



Sketch of a sheep from in front, by Henry Moore



Sketch of a sheep from behind, by Henry Moore

Photographs reproduced from the Henry Moore Foundation website



Moore has such sympathy with his subject. I love the expressions and gestures in these wonderful wiry drawings. These and many more are available as a collection in a book published by Thames and Hudson ( below ) which I would recommend to anyone with an interest in drawing.


Cover image of "Henry Moore's Sheep Sketchbook"

Day, Elizabeth. “The Moore legacy”. The Observer, 27 July 2008.

Sea sketches

I made some quick sea sketches in an effort to loosen up my painting and allow it to be more expressive. To this end, I chose coloured paper, acrylic paint, ink, charcoal and large brushes.

The subject matter is the sea, its dangers and its allures. I was thinking specifically about a stretch of sea between an island called ‘Inish Bofin’ (just off the coast at Cleggan, about seven miles from Clifden) and it’s neighbour ‘Inish Shark’.


Sea Sketch 1



Sea Sketch 2



Bofin has a population of about two hundred inhabitants while Shark was abandoned in the 1960’s, due to lack of support from the government of the day and also due to the hazardous waters around it. The two islands once shared life as sisters. The Shark people regularly made the journey over to Bofin, particularly on a Sunday, so that they could attend the church there. The stretch of water and most direct route between the two is known as ‘The Sound’ and is particularly dangerous due to a cross section of currents and shifting sands near the shore. The islanders rarely took this route because of the danger and some of the men that ran the risk, paid for it with their lives.


Map of Inishbofin



When looking over to Shark from Bofin, the waters of the Sound sometimes appear almost black and it meets the Bofin shore at a deceptively idyllic beach known as Tra Gheal ( which means bright or silver beach ).


Photo of man looking out across a bay



The island is a tonic for the senses, everywhere you go the sea is just there, the sound, sight and smell of it. There is for me a wavering sense of awe and trepidation about this particular spot as the knowledge of those who perished there unsettles its astounding beauty.

I plan to continue working on a series of sketches about the Sound which may turn in to paintings later.