"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Little Big Feet

I am nearly back to my own work, it’s just been very busy with 4 very enjoyable drawing and painting Workshops and getting ready for Louth’s Festival of the Bees tomorrow. I will be there with the Buzz paintings and talking about bees and flowers etc. It’s an excellent week with speakers and exhibitors and I really hope that everyone who can, will go along and support all the hard work put in by Biff Vernon and the organisers.

louth festival

Listening to the report on our diminishing wildlife today just reinforces how important it is for us all to do a little bit to plant more bee friendly flowers, keep a little bit of wild garden for hedgehogs and birds and to stop killing things. David Attenborough  talked about our “extraordinary expertise in destroying and poisoning things” and I watch my neighbour spray and dig in order to obliterate every weed or disorderly plant in order to maintain the depressingly uniform bright green “lawn”. I guess the tarmac will be along soon.

We who care think the message is getting across because we generally talk to each other. “Everyone knows about the bees” my friends tell me but that is just not true and there are acres and acres of the self obsessed, the ignorant and uncaring. However we keep going, trying to inform without preaching and I keep talking bees to anyone who has ears to listen and a few of those who don’t.

Little Big Feet

Meanwhile there are coot in the lane and of course on the reservoir. They are delightful and potter about near the stream on their enormous feet. I don’t think they are endangered. It’s on my list for a “good” painting …meanwhile a sketch…

coot bg

Coot in the Lane, Grafham watercolour

Friday, 10 May 2013

Bees, Birds and Bluebells

There has been a lack of blogging due to the rush of Spring sunshine and the need to get the garden under control. Things are looking promising. Where a month ago there seemed to be nothing, now last years carefully chosen bee plants are springing up everywhere. 

May is without doubt my favourite month. These noisy early dawning days start at about 4.30. Spring morning sounds spill into our rooms through open windows. Wild enthusiastic birdsong, bleating lambs calling for their mothers, cackling geese, chattering ducks and crowing cockerels.  I don’t think I have ever lived in such a rural sounding place.
Clouds of mason bees hover round the bee house and all seems well in the Strawberry Pot, home of the little Hairy Footed Flower bees. The hedgehog is back,  the mouse is very busy in the wicker planter, a racing pigeon has decided to stay and the Emperor moth won’t leave.

image

A small sketch of the beautiful moth, clinging onto the twig where it has been for a week. I brought the twig complete with moth, inside to draw, then put it back outside. It is entirely free to come and go but seems very happy to stay put. I read they don’t feed at all in their adult stage which seems to me to be inexpressibly sad!

There has been digging, seed sowing, planting, replanting, digging up more and more bits of the muddy grass to make way for more and more bee flowers. I have painted the garage doors red and the big gate dark brown and I am wondering about adding a few little gilded bees.

I have had two lovely workshop days with lovely weather and even lovelier participants. Yes!  May is the month for me.

Of course as I type there are howling winds and rain but last weekend I went to my favourite wood. The main path was nose to tail with bikes and people and kids and dogs. But I know a little track where the only sounds are the birds and the knocking and creaking of the tall trees as they sway in the breeze. And here there are bluebells, extensive and  lush stretching far, far away under the dappled canopy of the old oaks. A shock of blue in the dark wood. Beautiful. Jays, shy squirrels and black caps are all there too.

bluebells 

Drawing and painting resuming soon…