Early April Willow Sketches

Last week I had my first sketching walk of the year, not so much a walk as a stagger, but it was good just to get out in some almost warm sun. I went down to the nature reserve where they have been cutting back the willows. There is a curious look to the landscape. Fallen trees, half cut down trees, old pollards with new shoots and new pollards with nothing but stumps. The willows rise up out of swampy ground and there is an odd feeling of desolation, of a war torn landscape reminding me of some of Paul Nash’s bleak paintings. But here, rather than destruction, it is just life on hold, just waiting to get going again. In fact you have to admire willows for their vigour and ability to regenerate after even the most severe pruning. In the sun the stems glow yellow, purple and greeny brown. Some are almost orange. There were a few catkins here and there.

willows1bg     willows2bg 


pollarded 1bg     pollarded 2 bg

The stumps of newly pollarded trees and below the exuberant growth of whips from an old trunk.

willow branches bg

The old fallen willows are covered with an abundance of moss. In amongst the moss bracket fungi grow. Beautiful delicate things. I liked the shapes, the points of the fern fronds, the waved edges of the fungi and the random placement of twigs and one leaf.

moss sketch bg    moss bg

These were made a week ago on the 8th. I am sure things will have moved on by now. With more of a promise of Spring I will be out again very soon.

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  1. These trees remind me of crepe murder. Too much of the hand of man.

    Glad you are out and about.

  2. Willows are so lovely to look at and to draw, and I especially like pollards for the shapes and structures.
    Good to see you out and about again and looking inward to Spring.

  3. I've been enjoying the lingering colour willow has given the landscape this winter. Their bright wands have been most welcome whilst waiting for Spring to at last break the spell.

  4. Ct you made me laugh. I remember reading about "crepe murder" I think I even blogged a bit about it. Leu Gardens had some lovely natural ones, unlike the institutionalised ones in the streets. The similarity between those and the willows had not occurred to me until you mentioned it!

    Threadspidre and VP how lovely to hear from you both. Yes the willows are wonderful both in shape and colour. I have rashly decided to grow some in here in the not-so-Empty Garden. I am rather hoping they will love it here.. not much else does!
    I have chosen purple orange and yellow stemmed varieties. Quite lovely and of course wonderful for bees.

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