We are on serious countdown now, 12 days to go before we leave, 8 days before the boxes have to go and I have been reluctantly throwing away much that I have collected over almost three years. So the nature table is no more. All my beloved pods and seeds and bits of twigs, bugs, fungi, dried leaves are gone. A few things are lingering, things which I can’t quite say goodbye to yet, the potter wasp nest, some red seeds, a large bug and a little lizard skeleton.
I have also been wistfully looking through my photos and remembered my very first day at the Leu Gardens. I had taken a picture of the Cockspur Coral Tree Erythrina crista-galli in the Arid Garden. I had not drawn the tree itself before, just a single flower head but I did write about it here, its somber legend and its “Cry Baby” name, given because of the abundant nectar which drips from its spur shaped flowers. Humming birds love them.
My photo in December 2007
Today I went back to have a look at it again. I am wondering if, in-between the commissions and the packing, I have time for a small painting so I made a couple of quick sketches from different viewpoints. I didn’t stop for long as it was midday by the time I arrived and blisteringly hot…typical mad dog!
Two black and white
and one with some colour
For me very quick initial sketches are a real help. They get rid of the “Oh-my-God-I-cant-possibly-do-this” fear factor and they begin to show me what really interests me in the subject. For some reason I like the white planter at the front which has some little upright cacti in it.
Two and a half years on from my initial photo, the planting around the tree has changed and it has been pruned a bit more here and there, but it is still a lovely twisty shape.. maybe I will get a painting done.