Last week I had my first sketching walk of the year, not so much a walk as a stagger, but it was good just to get out in some almost warm sun. I went down to the nature reserve where they have been cutting back the willows. There is a curious look to the landscape. Fallen trees, half cut down trees, old pollards with new shoots and new pollards with nothing but stumps. The willows rise up out of swampy ground and there is an odd feeling of desolation, of a war torn landscape reminding me of some of Paul Nash’s bleak paintings. But here, rather than destruction, it is just life on hold, just waiting to get going again.
In fact you have to admire willows for their vigour and ability to regenerate after even the most severe pruning. In the sun the stems glow yellow, purple and greeny brown. Some are almost orange. There were a few catkins here and there.
The stumps of newly pollarded trees and below the exuberant growth of whips from an old trunk.
The old fallen willows are covered with an abundance of moss. In amongst the moss bracket fungi grow. Beautiful delicate things. I liked the shapes, the points of the fern fronds, the waved edges of the fungi and the random placement of twigs and one leaf.
These were made a week ago on the 8th. I am sure things will have moved on by now. With more of a promise of Spring I will be out again very soon.