Up in the dark wood, the plants are starting to grow. Blossom is out on the blackthorn, primroses and bluebells are starting to flower. I wanted to make some sort of record of the developments for my work about the Spinney and I had also suggested to my painting group that a daily drawing sketchbook would be a good way of getting back into observed drawing before our first meeting at the end of the month.
So it seemed only fair that I should do the same and I really need to get back to this essential bit of looking and seeing. So here are the first 7 days of sketches. I try to limit the time and not be precious. It’s just a bit of daily practice but also a really good ideas generating process. A4 super cheap sketchbook with just 32 pages perfect for a month. I collect a bunch of single leaves and other bits and pieces from my route. Some leaves are small, just emerging, some already well on their way. I keep them in a plastic bag in the fridge. Easily mistaken for salad apparently.
Some of this weeks ‘salad’… Mmmm…delicious!
1st April : Arum, 2 thistles..(ouch), burdock, fascinating agrimony with its additional leaflets, celandine, dock.
2nd April: Dog’s mercury, speedwell, ground ivy, primrose, wild garlic, goose grass, cranesbill, violet, dock with spots, field maple, dandelion, elm seed, ivy, cow parsley.
3rd April: Pine twig, dock again showing how the leaves turn back on themselves, spurge laurel flower and leaf. This shiny leaved plant manages to survive under the canopy of the wood and has curious nondescript little flowers and the beginning of the berries at this time of year. Dogs mercury again showing more of the plant and the spray of tiny flowers. A cowslip. This one from my garden but they grow happily on the banks of the reservoir so included in the “route”
4th April: Goat willow stem and its lovely catkin which has a fascinating structure when you look closely. A twig of blackthorn which is beautiful, a long black stem ending in a few white flowers. En mass this is such a poignant evocation of spring in the British countryside.
5th April: Common hogweed leaf. a young one and the very odd flower of coltsfoot with its long snaky stem with scale leaves. The flower has faded but again a fascinating structure.
6th April : Feathers picked up over the last couple of days. A big pheasant feather and I think an accompanying small one. A very beautiful spotted woodpecker feather and a mallard feather rescued from the little that was left of the bird on the waterline…only its head was intact. I know I should have brought it back to draw, but….
7th April : A page of deconstructed little wych elm seeds. A small bunch had blown off the tree by the shoreline. I removed them from their twig to draw. There are 17 of them. They are neat, heart shaped seeds with a red seed capsule. I missed the flowers which are tiny red-ish bobbles. It seems so early for a tree to already be setting seed. When ripe they will rain down like heart confetti all over the village and into our garden.