Monday, 8 February 2010

Falling Acorns

A beautiful sunny day and a chance to walk to a favourite place through the lanes in my village. Last time I walked here it was covered in snow, now it is covered in a carpet of leaves. I cannot help but notice the many shades of brown in the leaves on the ground, some with glorious creamy yellow and orange markings. It made me think of the names in my crayon box, brown umber, yellow ochre, Venetian red, Sepia, Sanguine and terracotta. The colours brought to life here, all scattered along the path. I know there are too many to choose from, so I select a few by the curve and shape of the leaf and the colouring. I settle with my choice and try not to collect any more.
When I reach the oak tree I search the stone steps and mossy bank. There they are, the delicate little acorn cups on thin fragile branches, blown off the tree long before they reach full growth. I collect their strange little shapes, the falling acorns of 2009. It happens each year. I don't know why but I love finding them, one resembles a little old fashioned clay pipe.
The squirrels left empty nut shells on the path. Nature has its own systems, methods and ways to select in the cycle of life. I do wonder, How many of the acorns will eventually grow into a new oak tree?
My drawing records some of the little branches and oak leaves I found.
Pencil studies and coloured with acrylic paint. Press for close up.


kookaburra said...

The acorn twiglets resemble a crowd of onlookers, curious & full of commentary.

What colour, exactly, is sanguine?

Susan Scheid (Raining Acorns) said...

Lovely to see this new drawing from you today. We have many oaks in our yard, yet I've not noticed these little onlookers, as kookaburra has named them. You remind us how important it is to slow down and look.

Carolina said...

Hi Milly,
I love the way you leave the nerves white on the leaves, that seems to be very hard work, do you use any kind of white-preserver or something? I also love the different colors on the leaves, and those acorns (never seen those kinds before). Lovely drawing and composition :) I imagine it must be hard to decide to stop collecting, the good thing is that you can get there any time (that must help, right?)
Best regards,

Heather said...

I love picking up acorn caps myself, and anything else that I happen to come across during a walk. I've been busy lately, constantly rushing from place to place. Thank you for the reminder to continue looking for the small details in the world.

ellie said...

Happy New Year ! Ehem...I know we are now well into Feb', but what a joy to see your beautiful work and to be thrilled by the way you record these lovely decorations from nature XX

MILLY said...

thank you everyone for your comments.... answers to questions.

Sanguine is a red/brown, it is a red earth pigment. It is known as blood red, the ancient word for blood. Usually used as chalk, as used by Leonardo De Vinci in many of his drawings.
It is "brownish red" a rich colour. Place it next to brown, it looks red. Place it next to red it looks brown. I have sanguine drawing pencils by Derwent.

No I don't use anything, the white is the paper. I draw with pencils, then paint with a fine brush. I always mean to paint the veins but then like how they look left white. Yes, it takes time and patience. And yes I have no need to collect too much, I never find time to record it all!

The Emglish Oaks...............
The acorns are off an English oak tree, Quercus robur. Also known as a Pendunculate Oak. "Acorns are on long stalks or peduncles", this is what seperates it from the English Oak, Quercus petraea, the Sessile Oak. The leaf is short stalked or stalkless.
Now you will see I have long stalked leaves, from the Sessile Oak, collected on the lanes not from this tree and has stalkless acorns, just a cup.
"Trees in Britian"by Roger Phillips

The tiny leaf belongs with the acorns.

Hope that explains why you may not have seen them, unless you have our English oaks?

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Hi Milly, lovely drawing of the acorn cases and oak leaves and your writing about the colours in the crayon box. There is something lovely about the cases isn't there? A lot to do with the colours - textures, too. Bye for now, Lesley

Acornmoon said...

Isn't it remarkable how many different acorns there are? I heard today that this winter has damaged the oldest oak tree in Britain, believed to be 1000 years old. Your acorns are my favourites.

Pomona said...

We picked up some acorns on a walk many years ago, and planted them up in pots. They have quite a good germination rate, and now we have an oak tree in our garden!

Pomona x