|9th October, afternoon sketch of silver birch trees.|
Tempestuous Spring, with great swirling weather systems spinning like merry go rounds, cartwheeling Antarctic chill to freeze our toes, followed by gusts of warmth from over the Tasman to trick us that summer is knocking on our door!
Plants awakening, grass growing, rapid seasons of colour. Yellow of daffodils and gorse. Blue of bluebells and periwinkle. Red of tulips and pink of japonica. The sulfurous yellow and green-yellow of Kowhai (Sophora microphylla). The lettuce greens of new willow leaves.
Sunshine, impossibly bright. Then leaky fat clouds spilling rain.
Lawns busy with blackbirds looking for waterlogged worms like uniformed forensic teams grid searching a crime scene.
Apple blossom, first an impossibly pretty pink, then opening and softening to a foamy white.
Cherry blossom, all frills and show on the ornamental ones up the street, and white and simple on our own wild ones. The ornamental cherries are spectacular, but I like the more humble wild ones better, they are trees of the hedgerow, happy in company with plum, pear and hawthorn.
I have been doing more drawing than potting since I last posted something on my blog. With just a good quality hard backed sketch book, an old fashioned ink pen, a camping chair to sit on, and Mr Smaug the cat for company, I can wonder off into our little half acre of woodland and set up in the shade somewhere, and spend a happy hour or two at a drawing. I am finding the simplicity of pen and ink an absorbing challenge. There is just the white of the paper, and a scribble of thin black lines to express light and shadow, empty space and solid mass. There is a temptation to try to fill too much in, but I am finding that it is better to let the picture "breath", to leave some empty paper, and not to over saturate the shadows. There is always a great deal to learn, but nature is a great teacher, and it is best to simply sit at her feet and do your very best!
I mention photos, and I have been taking them with enthusiasm, there is so much to capture at this time of the year. Leaves - wonderful things - and a delight to see trees that have been fast asleep for the winter, begin to break into leaf. First there is the swelling of the buds, then, remarkably quickly, these open, and a tree can look so different in only a matter of a few hours.
|Hornbeam (Carpinus betula)|
|Black Alder (Alnus glutinosa)|
|Grey Alder (Alnus incana)|
|Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)|
Horse Chestnut leaves from below.
Laura is back to doing some gentle weeding in the garden, a little bit of craft work and lots of reading with Nigella Stopit keeping her company. With all the ups and downs we haven't been opening the gallery door very often, but we are still here!