Saturday 29 January 2011

week 4. Feathers

Here are the pages for Week 4. I loved the shapes of the battered and tatty looking feathers and decided to arrange them across the double pages. We have many different birds that visit or live in the estuary. I know from my experience that in the summer months the feathers will be pristine and plentiful, so lets show the scruffy winter ones. We always know when the geese arrive with their distinctive noise. Look up to the sky and there will be the V shapes as the Greylag geese fly in and land on the grassy shore. It is often hard to see them on the ground as they blend in so well, then a low flying jet blasts across the sky and in those few seconds they panic and frightened by the noise fly up and circle around in total confusion. I could hear them calling across the shore but could not see them, but I was thrilled to see a Kingfisher, if only a blue flash flying along the river. In this estuary, the fresh water rivers from the mountains flows into the estuary, the main river is the Duddon from which it derives its name and then sea water flows in with two tides each day. The estuary attracts much bird life and the two swans who have raised a family here were swimming along the tidal river. I am not a great bird spotter but I love finding the feathers.
I drew my collection in pencil and then used acrylic inks. I wanted the fine detail of the feathery shapes so I used the number 1 sable brush. It was rather slow progress this week completing the feathers. The problem of white on white was solved with yellowy or grey to capture the paler feathers. I love the brown striped feathers, this one was a little green but I kept it a little cleaner. Thought you might like to see my colour palette. In the end I was really happy with this page.

I can't believe how quickly Saturday comes around. Today is week 5 collecting. It was a beautiful clear day with a hard frost. Football was cancelled so I had some company. The seaweed, oak leaves and feathers were all frosted. I liked the frosted seaweed which looked like pieces of white lace. The feathers felt strange as frozen shapes, they soon melted in my jacket pocket back to their soft textures. I saw many oak leaves with their familiar shape, but they looked so pretty edged with white frost. Today the water was so low that the old remains of a jetty from days gone by was visible, where slate from our village quarry was taken away by a flat bottomed boat. Old pieces of blue and white china and broken glass bottles were visible on the seabed. Yes, we fished out some bits and pieces, maybe they will appear on my pages. Today I found lots of shells. We were able to walk across areas which last week were completely covered with sea water, large expanses of sand with wave ripple patterns, bird prints and lots and lots of shells uncovered and stuck in the sand. The many tributaries and deep gullies were dried up today, but exposing the dangers of this shore and how deep the water is when the tide is in. I fear the sand and often feel nervous, too many childhood memories of sinking sands getting my feet, then ankles stuck and the panic. My steps kept to the very dry areas and if sheep or human footprints are deep it is a no go area for me. I know this shore, but I also know the dangers. The village and the shore are seperated by the railway line. The sea is eroding the grassy banks and the railway line has recently been protected with a stronger barrier of limestone rocks at vunerable places. I found a seaweed growing on the limestone boulders and collected a sample. As I sort out my treasures I suspect the shells will feature strongly for week 5, wait and see.
Thank you for the comments, hope you like the feathers. Millyx

Saturday 22 January 2011

week 3 Wind and Rain

The oak leaf was the first object I collected and it blew straight out of my hand. I had to chase it and then fish it out of a large puddle but I am glad I did. I loved the shape, the holes and the colours. The arrangement consists of just some of the items I collected on this wet and windy day, things go together by colour or shape as I select them for the double page. The orange colours really shone on this wet stormy day of week 3.

Today, week 4, I spend two hours wandering up and down, stopping to take in this beautiful day. Such a still clear day, of soft colours with the misty blue grey hills and pink and blue colours of the sky. The tide was coming in and the water in the estuary looked like a mirror with the reflection of the hills. Lots of birds about, as a single white feather came floating on the water and stopped right next to me. I enjoyed the walk, the silence and the frosty chill which had made pretty ice patterns in the pools and pockets of white frosted grass. It all added to the calm scene. The sea mist is again creeping in to make it all a frozen winter wonderland as evening falls. I am about to start week 4 as I sort my finds.
Thank you for the comments, I am enjoying my beach finds, hope you are too. Millyx

Saturday 15 January 2011

Week 2 and the little things

So last Saturday I ventured down onto the freezing cold shore with layers of clothes and only my face exposed to the biting wind. I know that if this strange behaviour is spotted by the locals there will be questions. You see today I went in the pouring rain, I had the place to myself! What on earth is she doing down there on a day like this?
I so enjoyed the first week, loved recording the seaweeds but I had a niggling thought that it might end up being seaweed each week. Well yes seaweed is going to feature strongly but I did find lots of little things, tiny shells, berries, seeds, leaves and snail shells. So I decided to capture them together on a separate page from the larger specimens. This means you are getting an extra page of finds with week 2 double page.
Week 2 features the biggest black mermaids purse that I have ever seen, it was a WOW moment for me. I am really loving the colours of my finds...rusty oranges, greens and browns, deep inky blue blacks...and everything seems to blend with each other.
It is a very tactile experience, feeling wet slimy strands, soft slippery objects and sometimes a bit smelly...a foot or a piece of stick to poke around helps.
It is really making me look, seeing how beautiful some of this sea weed really is, the different shapes which you really start to notice when you draw them.
In my enthusiasm to get started I chose a large sketch pad I already had, the paper is quite thin and it is not taking the paint too well and resulting in wrinkled pages. I have decided it adds to the sea theme.
Thank you for all the comments, glad so many people are interested and some new followers. Please let me know what you think, leave a comment, as you join me on this journey.
Must go now and sort out my new bag of treasures for week 3. Hope you like them. Millyx

Monday 10 January 2011

My New Project for 2011

Welcome to my new project. On January the first I walked along the shore and enjoyed the fresh air and the views. The snow had melted and the grassy shore was very wet, soggy and slippery so I had to pick my way carefully. As usual my eyes scan the ground for interesting finds as my head continues to sieve through my thoughts. I need a new project, something fresh to occupy my need to draw. Gradually I start to find little interesting pieces of sea weed, lovely colours and then a snail shell, so out comes the collecting bag.
Maybe I have found my project, if I can find some more interesting objects. My foot pokes about in tangled debris and I collect tiny shells and leaves and seeds. There must be a sycamore seed, there is always a sycamore seed and I felt the delight as the large blackened shape appeared before my eyes. The sea water gives the leaves a dark blackened colouring, especially the many oak leaves. Red berries are always collected, that is my unwritten rule. Gradually after my hour and a half walk my bag is bulging with the wet tangled up treasure.
I have decided that each Saturday I will collect for my project. It is a big book, a double page spread will record my finds. There are some rules, only natural objects and walking the same piece of shore. One week to record and then a new week and new finds.
Here is Week 1, recorded in pencil and acrylic paint. Hope you will follow and see what the sea washes up, what grows and lives here and the lovely feathers from the birds in this beautiful estuary.
Hopefully 52 weeks later ...a fantastic book of my shore line finds.
Thank you for your comments, I love reading them and they are appreciated. Millyx