September Sketches 3

Week three of the 30 min sketches: It’s been really interesting. I find I am freeing up a bit more, getting more interested in ideas that might develop further, less concerned about how they look to anyone else but me. But, after Tuesday, I decided to scan the whole sketchbook page as I don’t want to give the impression that these are finished works.
However sketchy these quick, sometimes scrappy, things are, they are proving to be very useful. More than I would have imagined. More useful to me than a careful study because the time constraint makes you engage some immediate responses and be creative. This can be frustrating because other (better) ideas keep occurring while you are rushing to get them done.


A4 sketchbook
with notes.

I found myself making additional notes and sketches on the page opposite the image. It was not really my intention to do this, those other ideas just have to be set down somewhere. This week Blackberries have been on my mind quite a bit. I have picked them, eaten them straight, cooked them with windfall apples. My skin has been lightly flayed by them and I was fascinated by a coincidental and wonderful little programme about them on the radio.The legends, superstition and life style of brambles is most interesting.. the dark side most interesting of all… as it always is with me 🙂 And lovely birds are still a part of every day; reservoir birds, garden birds and  woodland birds. And the glorious colours of autumn just cannot be ignored!


Today, Monday: Early cycle by the reservoir in a misty grey chilly morning. The terns are barely visible. They blend into the haze. Red beaks and legs and their black caps are almost all you can see.


Sunday: Elderberries and Spindle tree: A glorious sunny day so I made two drawings. The red stems of the berries are wonderful. The leaves are turning yellow green.
Then I saw the spindle trees with their flame red autumn foliage, bizarre pink berries and orange yellow seeds

spindle 1    spindle-2

I first made a wimpy, nothingy sort of sketch, when what I REALLY wanted to record was the colour, those clashing reds, pinks and oranges. No 2 is what it was really about. It’s a good lesson…visualise what really interests you… It would be worth making a good drawing of the pods, seeds and leaves, though. They are very interesting.


Saturday: Dazzle camouflage.  There are quite a few grebe families on the reservoir. The young ones are growing up now but when they are little they are gorgeous, stripy, black and white, perfect camouflage for ripply water. They often hitch a lift on the back of their parents. I had to include a one.


Friday: Grave Plantings: Another dark superstition from the blackberry programme: Apparently they are planted on graves to keep the dead in and the devil out. I thought the worms would find there own way in so added some wrigglers at the bottom. I went along to look at our church graveyard here. Sure enough there are some brambles growing in tangles over a couple of old faceless graves. There were berries. I didn’t try them..


Thursday: Blackberries and bodies. I had heard a programme about brambles and liked the remark that bramble plants are often found in places where people have done very bad things to other people. Either people choose those places to dump bodies or brambles quickly twine and cover the evidence. Brambly undergrowth is not somewhere you really want to investigate if you value your skin. Winter may be revealing though.


Wednesday Picking blackberries for an apple and bramble pie. It is a process of negotiation with bugs, daddy long legs, lacewings, wasps, tiny green things, white plume moths and ladybirds.. etc etc.


Tuesday 14th: It’s chutney and jam time, I made some plum and apple chutney with chilli. For me it has to be  hot hot HOT… That’s all for this week.

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  1. that would make a perfect label for the chutney jar!

  2. very beautiful sketches this week. love them all, especially the terns.

  3. Sorry for very late reply Holidays and the new (and sadly last) academic year have just got in the way . Thank you both for your continuing support. Love to get your comments… Yes to the chutney label!! Yes to the terns!!
    Mists and mellow fruitfulness are truly here now . I am just off to pick some sloes. Not much time now for sketching my immediate world but hopefully there will be a few views or objects.
    Am off to the darkest recesses of medieval manuscripts for a year!

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