Today has been a glorious day, with a chilly, misty start. You could smell the fog as it drifted across the lakes this morning and all the leafless Crepe Myrtle trees were wreathed in visible spider's webs. A jetty on one lake I pass has a little lone Christmas tree which looked lovely silhouetted against the mist.
When I arrived at the gardens I went down to the lake overlook where great flocks of waterbirds were circling and skimming the surface, appearing and disappearing in the fog, all greys and blacks and whites.
The spiders webs were also uncomfortably visible here, hung about with mist and strung across the paths and between the trees, some huge, easily 3 feet across. I really prefer not to see them, and their not-so-little occupants. I sometimes feel I have been wrapped like a cocoon after a visit to the Cycad garden and I now adopt 'the stick in front of face' approach to prevent being completely disabled by spider's webs. It's doing nothing for my arachnophobia. Luckily the spiders are not as big as the recently recorded Huntsman Spider found in the Mekong delta with a massive 30 cm leg span. This, the bright pink cyanide producing dragon millipede and more here . If the spiders at Leu were that big I would be hugging the walls of the Mall instead of communing with plants and would have to switch to drawing home appliances. I wonder what the market for fridge and cooker drawings is like?
This week I had actually planned to work outside every day as my pledge to work plein air once a week has come unstuck somewhere. Yesterday was rather dreary but today I eventually did get out. So with a minimum of stuff, 3 sketchbooks..(two for watercolour so I can let one dry while I work on another and one for pen / pencil etc) one pencil, brown pen, one brush, little paintbox, water and new folding lightweight stool which will make life much easier, I spent 3 hours sketching and did a couple of watercolour studies.
I have to do this now as I really do want to draw/learn about/paint and record some bigger subjects. I sadly can't bring everything back home to draw. Other than taking photos I have to go and draw these bigger things in situ especially the cactus for patently obvious reasons. So today was a start. The stool turned out to be a bit tricky as it is three legged and easy to fall off, but the gardens were mercifully quiet this morning. So here they are, a mixed bag of sketches.
From the Arid garden .. a cactus
and my favourite Gout plant, waving and saying hello ..
Elephants Ears from the Home Garden
Two views from the Pavilion which I drew back in April.. I love this tall lone pine tree. There is not much to it, but it is a great vantage point for the birds, and towers above the surrounding live oaks.
The White Garden
The path to the White Garden looking the other way from my April sketch.
There may be something here I can develop, but anyway it was a lovely way to spend the day in the eventual sunshine .. more tomorrow I hope, weather permitting ..