Week 7 … I have been OUT

Some sun arrived for a few days.  It was wonderful to feel some real warmth.

It’s been a busy week with a rethink of my workspace(s). Artists can NEVER have too much space and the Ugly Bungalow is very small. Available space often puts constraints on what you are able to do and that can be very frustrating.

I often have BIG ideas. As a result,  this weeks daily sketches have been sporadic and indeed sketchy.
But I did have my very first post op sketching trip on Friday morning. My painting friend Sue and I braved a bitter icy wind to make two very quick outdoor sketches and have one extremely long, warm, extended coffee and cake break. Our fingers were numb within seconds..no excuse of course.

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Fri Feb15th:

The shaky cold sketches. The river at Godmanchester is running very high and the nearby meadows are flooded. There were flocks of seagulls interspersed with rooks and a couple of little jackdaws.



Sunday Feb 17th:

At this time of year I love to see the rooks stationing themselves optimistically by their nests, all so clearly visible in the bare trees. There are many rookeries alongside the A1. These I saw near the Buckden roundabout on the way back from Barnesdale.
I always wonder if they strategically place themselves by roads for the rich pickings of road kill, grain spills and unwanted sandwiches.


Monday 18th:

Was cold but quite sunny. I am still mostly confined to the house so my sketches are still of the garden and its occupants. The birds are the most obvious. Although I saw a little striped jumping spider on the wall the other day. The fat pigeon loves this post. After eating as much as it possibly could this morning it snoozed there for an hour or so.


Tues Feb 19th:

My first solo drive and a brief stop at the reservoir in the late afternoon. It was breathtakingly lovely. I had my note book and wrote this

Everything is perfectly still and perfectly silent apart from the occasional mewing gull. The water is pink with the low sun. Anything on or just above its glassy surface must surely see itself perfectly mirrored. I am on the bank looking north. The reservoir is low. Small deltas of run-off cut into the mud. This would be a good time to look for fossils.”

I made a small sketch to remind myself of this occasion. I walked up to the back where all the small fishing boats are laid up waiting for the season to start. The jetties are deserted apart from perching birds. Sometimes I love the quiet of winter.


Wed Feb 20th:

There was a very hard frost this morning and the birds were queuing up for food outside the kitchen door. The fat wood pigeon was there with 4 blackbirds and some chaffinches. We think the blackbirds would be wiser to eat more and fight less. The early sun cast long shadows across the paving. The blackbirds love apples.


Thurs Feb 21st:

A bitterly, bitterly cold day .. true February, but a lovely brief visit to Easton to meet up with my painting group. The snow drops were beautiful and the gardens crowded so we sat and had coffee outside while white tiny flecks of snow drifted down on our freezing hands.

It was much too cold and busy for outside work so I brought back a little cedar cone scale, part of the leaf litter under the great spreading tree.  It’s a beautiful tiny woody thing it. A piece of delicate fairy carving. Feather like in shape and weight.

Finer even than the Grinling Gibbons swags and pea pods in Belton House which I loved so much when I was a child.  After my frozen fingers, toes and nose had thawed I sat by the fire with my sketchpad on my knee and drew this pretty thing.

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  1. Great to see that you are starting to get out. Love all the sketches – it's going to be wonderful to look back on these in the "warm" summer. I sent one of your postcards as a "thank you" to a friend today – and smiled at the Red tailed bumble looking back at me. Take care. Jane

  2. I'm glad the birds have you to feed them in this weather, like the idea of them waiting outside your door for their feed!

  3. Hi there Jane .. yes it is wonderful to be able to get out just a bit! And you are right about looking back on the sketches It will be interesting. If that is we ever get any more sun!
    ** readers please check out Janes excellent wildlife blog with stunning photos

    Emil..indeed they are lucky birds. They make us laugh because as soon as it gets light the blackbirds ar sitting waiting in the small trees. They are always the first. Then they all come down, sparrows, starlings, robins, chaffinches doves and pigeons .. sometimes it feels like being on the set of the Birds 🙂
    They give us so much pleasure.

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