Sunday, 28 February 2010

February Tideline

Yesterday I went for a walk on the shore. It was the most beautiful day with sunshine and a blue sky. So I decided rather than explain it I have posted a photograph. I cross the railway bridge, through the gate and step on to this shore. I look out of my bedroom window every morning at this wonderful view. Some days it is grey and stormy and I can't see the hills. Today a large tide is due and all the grass will be covered in sea water, the shore flooded until the tide turns and reveals the land again. It is always changing with the different weather.
Yesterday was so cold with a biting wind, the snow clinging to the hills in the distance. I walked for over an hour, felt the sun but mostly the wind on my face. Along the tide line I collected some oak leaves, the salty water turns them a bluey black colour. There was a lot of seaweed brought up with the high tide. A great find was the Mermaids purse with its long tangled threads, it deserves a more detailed drawing all by itself. I found a few duck feathers with lovely markings blowing about.
It was the little fat bubbly strands of seaweed that ended up in my drawing with a strange greeny grey holly leaf, a feather and the mermaids purse. I sat for hours last night painting them in acrylic paints, using yellow ochre, red, blue, brown and white to mix the colours. I love being down on the shore, the estuary surrounded by the hills, seeing the birds and collecting bits and pieces to draw. Another page in my square book. Hope you like it.
Press the photograph of the shore, see what I see.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Fragments of Time

On my walk along the Bridle way I found this large piece of china. It was half buried in the rich dark brown soil and I loved all the crackled patterns formed over time.
Over the Winter months the weather has almost seen an end to the Autumns leaves. I picked up this delicate pale oak leaf, now full of holes. The sycamore seeds are so thin as the wings reveal their skeleton lacy patterns. And what remains of the rose hip berry is wrinkled and turning black. The little acorn branches and cups are also thin and fragile and easily collapse.
I put them together as a record of my day. The little blue and white triangle of china and the interesting shapes of my natural finds placed on a page in my square book.
As I started to draw them interesting little connections appear. Nature formed a pattern on the china, patterns I had seen before, on the wings of a dragonfly. The more I looked at the crackled lines the more it reminded me of those wings that I have drawn before. The colours faded over time, different objects all with the same pale yellow ochre and brown shades.
It occurred to me that all these objects have done their job, served their purpose and then slowly they become nothing more than small fragments of dust and return to the earth.
I captured them, a record of their existence.
Painted in acrylic paint, press as usual for close up.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Close up......and now the front

My friend brought me a beautiful Red Admiral butterfly in a jam jar. It was dead when she found it in her garage, so she collected it and saved it for me. She had taken it to school to show her class of young children. She told them I did drawings of butterflies, so I promised to draw it so she could take the drawing back to show them.
I finally got around to opening the jar and started to look at the butterfly. It tipped out of the jar wrong side up, I was fascinated with the underside. With the help of a magnifying glass I sat and carefully made my detailed drawing of the lovely wings. The patterns were really beautiful close up, you discover how intricate the markings are on the underside of the wings .
I hope to do the Red Admiral as you usually see it, in all its glory, but really enjoyed doing this version.
It is painted with my acrylic inks and my number 6 sable brush. Then a little shading and texture with a black ink pen. It is in my square book, so is much larger than real life. I am really pleased with this, it is amazing what you see close up. Hope you like it, press for close up.

Thank you to everyone who left me a comment about my drawings.

And here is the front, with real specimen on the tag. I still think the underside is more interesting and more beautiful.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

A flash of Red

We walked along the bridle way, a lovely old path with high hedges to shelter you from the wind and rain. No need for shelter today it was beautiful, bright sunshine and a crisp clear day with views for miles around. By accident, on my walk I ended up at the farm where my Dad lived before he married my Mum. Although I have looked up at at this group of buildings from the road, this was the first time I had visited this farm. From its high position the views were amazing, yet on a cold dark wintry day it must be a lonely place to live, it felt very exposed to the elements.
I imagined my Dad growing up here, walking the same foot paths across the fields and passing through the same stone stiles that I just had. As I left I could see how close he was to nature, growing up at this farmhouse surrounded by fields and trees with the lovely views. He was always the one to give me values, to appreciate where I grew up, see how lucky we were to live in the countryside and by the sea. As a family we walked miles, and enjoyed our environment.
Dad was a wonderful gardener, I spent hours watching him lovingly grow all the flowers from seed for the pretty garden. He grew soft fruits and vegetables, we tasted food straight from the ground.
Dad would show me chrysalis and ladybirds, spiders and beetles, worms and little mice in the greenhouse. On walks he would find birds nests, moles, rabbit holes and frogs for us to see. I remember watching and being mesmerized by the dragonfly at the quarry dams on the moors and seeing snakes and newts and so much more.
It sparked off many memories of my Dad. He would have loved seeing my drawings, he knew I had the same love of nature as he did. Along the bridle path I collected the empty snail shells, the hawthorn leaves and I found the very last red berries. They are not very red as time has aged them, two hawthorn and a rose hip. Little shards of pottery littered the path, who knows I might have brought home a piece that belonged to Dads family.
Another page in my square book. Some of the real specimens and my drawing in acrylic paint.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Falling Acorns

A beautiful sunny day and a chance to walk to a favourite place through the lanes in my village. Last time I walked here it was covered in snow, now it is covered in a carpet of leaves. I cannot help but notice the many shades of brown in the leaves on the ground, some with glorious creamy yellow and orange markings. It made me think of the names in my crayon box, brown umber, yellow ochre, Venetian red, Sepia, Sanguine and terracotta. The colours brought to life here, all scattered along the path. I know there are too many to choose from, so I select a few by the curve and shape of the leaf and the colouring. I settle with my choice and try not to collect any more.
When I reach the oak tree I search the stone steps and mossy bank. There they are, the delicate little acorn cups on thin fragile branches, blown off the tree long before they reach full growth. I collect their strange little shapes, the falling acorns of 2009. It happens each year. I don't know why but I love finding them, one resembles a little old fashioned clay pipe.
The squirrels left empty nut shells on the path. Nature has its own systems, methods and ways to select in the cycle of life. I do wonder, How many of the acorns will eventually grow into a new oak tree?
My drawing records some of the little branches and oak leaves I found.
Pencil studies and coloured with acrylic paint. Press for close up.