I was so encouraged by all your very kind emails and comments re My Day. I particularly liked the ones which felt, like me, that all work and no play makes for a very dull person. So today as it was sunny and beautiful I went out for some time. And of course, if you don’t go out and look, you don’t see, and then you don’t learn, so I do have the very best excuse to go wandering the local paths.
By 12.00 it was hot, steamy and torpid… no breeze at all and actually quite uncomfortable away from the lake. I cycled and walked for some time before deciding to go back to the dead tree again and the path leading up to it. Today I took pen, brush, white gouache, water soluble pencil and coloured paper. I like the sweep of the hill and the tree.
But after I had done the first sketch I walked up to the hill and saw a dead crow hanging from a stick in the ground. I know this is an old custom to deter birds but thought it was long over. It is completely misguided and unnecessary. I felt sad and the day seemed to become more oppressive. Now I am not so sentimental as to feel that everything in the garden of nature is always lovely. Living here we see our share of animal fatalities. But I do like crows…I lost my appetite for sketching, just as I had the other day, when sitting by the lake to sketch, my drawing was accompanied by the frantic intermittent buzzing of a fly somewhere which was being wrapped up by a spider.. what to do? Deprive the spider of its food, try to save the fly? I could see it nowhere and that gloomy day just got gloomier.. These small cruelties can sometimes seem unbearable, bad enough when they are animal against animal but somehow the involvement of the human hand is more unacceptable.
But on the other hand today there were so many beautiful butterflies around. I am particularly admiring of the peacocks with their dark underwings which give no clue to their beauty until they spread their wings. There were many, many of them resting on the path.
So just a couple of sketches. Yes, and a thumbnail of the crow at the bottom of the page.. I drew a similar one for my Scarecrow Book.
Later, the day became more settled, clearer and more beautiful.. I went out again and walked by the water, my faith in all things natural restored, for a while!