Last Thursday I "attempted" to paint a wild flower with water colours. I've wanted to learn how to draw flowers for a long time but never seem to have the time.
I opened this book but there were pages and pages and pages on equipment needed, techniques etc. etc. so I've shelved this yet again to another day (probably more of a project for the winter!) and turned instead
to this magazine article which appeared in "Countryfile" magazine some time ago. It breaks down in "easy" steps how to paint a Ragged Robin - how apt! :)
The Ragged Robin flowers in the garden are still in bud so I found a wild flower book with a photograph.
B has re-taken up painting in the last 6 months so luckily there are plenty of paints, rubbers,pencils and palettes to use although I wasn't allowed to use his brushes or water colour paper so had to make do with a cheap artist's sketch pad and paintbrushes that once belonged to D and E.
First stage the drawing then
you start to add the layers of the paint allowing each layer to dry before you attempt the next one. At this stage I realised the stem was too thick and the petals weren't long and spiky enough :( As you will see I really cannot draw or paint to save my life! In fact, it made me remember how relieved I was to finally be able to drop "O" level art after a rather disastrous mock exam result!!
More layers - in fact the more layers I put on the worse it looked!
The final version - yes, I know its awful but I was quite pleased with the ladybird! Interestingly, it has really improved my observational skills when I look at flowers - I see them in a completely different light :) The important thing is that I enjoyed it and perhaps one day I will find time to go through the flower artist's bible and perhaps slowly improve!
The first Blue Tit chick fledged early in the morning leaving just 2 in the nest.
Was thrilled to find 6 Orange Tip caterpillars on Honesty growing in the garden - they seem to be feeding on the seedheads.
Friday was hectic (afternoon tea with E at the Catwalk Cafe in Knowle - one of the best teas I have had and the cafe was lovely stuffed full of vintage items (E was in her element!) and then shopping for birthday presents) so for my #30DaysWild activity I only had time to spend about 10 minutes watching bees foraging on Foxglove flowers.
Driving to Knowle the motorway verges were a colourful sight with flowering Red Campion, Cow Parsley and Ox-eye Daisies galore.
The remaining two Blue Tit chicks fledged early in the morning - a poor photo of them below when still in the nest. Do hope they all survive.
Saturday - Plant and enjoy a wild flower meadow. Admittedly we planted ours many years ago but it gives endless delight and pleasure and attracts a good range of pollinators. Even if you only have room for a window box or a patio pot it really is worth planting some wild flower seeds.
Ribwort Plantain, Meadow Buttercups, Red Campion, recently planted Yellow Rattle, Ox-eye Daisies, Sorrel, Tufted Vetch and Salad Burnet are in flower at the moment.
Later in the summer there will be Scabious and Musk Mallow.
I counted 9 Orange Tip caterpillars today.
Sunday was busy so for 30 Days Wild I spent a few minutes reading Richard Jefferies - my favourite Nature writer and every time I walked past a vase of Sweet Williams I inhaled the scent :)
Monday - I rescued a Bumble Bee trapped in the garage, counted the OT caterpillars still nine plus I found 2 much smaller ones :) I knitted a hedgehog - the pattern was given in the latest edition of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust's magazine. Meet "Prickles"! :) I will make him a friend when I have time!
Tuesday - I looked at my Random Acts of Wildness cards and selected "Snap a blue photo"
Cornflowers in the front garden.
Today - I went and looked at a local drystone wall (inbetween the showers!). Stone walls and the amount of wildlife that colonise them always fascinate me.
A miniature world of lichens and mosses
So many different plants have self-seeded where little pockets of soil have gathered between the stones. Interestingly, I failed to find any Ivy-leaved Toadflax.
Blue Tits were taking food into a hole inbetween the stones and I found many spider webs.
Books read recently
I spotted this book in an Oxfam second hand book shop in Swanage when we were on holiday in Dorset a few years ago and I just couldn't resist buying it. It was one of those occasions when I bought a book purely and simply because I loved the cover. Its a short biography of Reginald Farrer, a gardener, writer and plant collector from a century ago. I enjoyed every minute reading this charming and interesting book.
Secrets of the Sea House - a story that moves between the 1860's and the present day set on the Hebridean Island of Harris. A haunting book with plenty of history, mythology, ghosts and tragedies - ideal holiday reading. I won't go into the plot in detail in case I give any secrets away.
Apart from Akenfield I have never previously read any Ronald Blythe but he has been on my list of authors to try for a long time so I treated myself to The Time by the Sea. Set in Aldeburgh 1955-58 it chronicles the story of the Aldeburgh Festival and Blythe's encounters and friendship with famous people, such as Benjamin Britten, John and Christine Nash, E M Forster and Mervyn Peake.
I am going to be brutally honest now (hope I don't upset people as I know Blythe is a highly respected author) and say I didn't really enjoy this book at all. It wasn't really what I was expecting although the fact that I have never been to Suffolk and so don't know the area probably didn't help. To be fair I did "get into the book" more as I progressed through the chapters and I did enjoy some of the chapters more than others but I am not convinced I would try any more of his books. Perhaps I started with the wrong one??