Sunday 29 May 2011

week 21

How quickly the weeks fly by.   I wondered what to choose for week 21.  The shore is littered with so many crabs and crab legs and other body parts, all different sizes and colours. I find them fascinating each time I see them.   I decided I would like to draw a really detailed study of a crab.  It is when you really have to look  that you get to know the subject.  To do the close observational drawing I used  a  pencil,  and tried to capture all the wonderful details on the body and legs.  Then I did a line drawing of the underside which I discovered  is so intricately designed and I learnt so much about the structure of the legs.   I used a sepia ink pen and a paint brush and ink to shade.  See the photographs  to  see the drawings evolve.   Hope you enjoy seeing  the lovely colours of the real crabs.
Yesterday I went for my walk after the morning tide.    As we opened the gate to the shore we could feel the power of the wind.  We walked towards the water and what a lovely sight, the swan swimming.  It has been several weeks since we have seen her and I said how nice it was to be greeted by her.  The tide line was full of crabs,  seaweeds and feathers and ten jelly fish which were about as large as a dinner plate.  We saw the swallows,  a pied wagtail, oyster catchers and gulls.  The group of shelducks looked really pretty with their green heads and white chests,  as they sat together on the opposite bank.  The sheep were huddled together, the lambs crying for their mothers  and  they looked so miserable on this wild and windy shore.  I always know it is an unfriendly day when we have the place to ourselves.
 As we walked along the waters edge looking for objects we found lots of pieces of old china, disturbed from the sand by the tide.   With a  pocket full of  treasures  that will be added to my already huge collection of china,   a handful of pure white feathers from the swan,  and a bag of finds from the tide line we headed home.   The pink thrift is  now in large swathes across the grassy shore,  a welcome contrast to the grey sky. We had been there two hours and then  just as we were leaving the sun decides to shine and the day brightens up.   
Thank you for the lovely comments.  Hope you like the crabs, lets hope the sun continues to shine for this half term holiday week and you can enjoy a walk where you  are.         Millyx                                    

Saturday 21 May 2011

Week 20

This weeks page turned out rather different from what I expected.   It started with the live beetle in the jam jar.  I watched it moving around and made the three sketches at the top of my page.   He has now  been safely returned onto the shore to roam as free as he likes.  I looked it up in an insect book to find it is a Cockchafer, which likes to live in oak trees and feed on oak leaves.  That does make sense as I found it on the large oak leaf in the tide line.  So I placed them together and was interested to realise the leaf was eaten, even had a serrated edge,  I think made by my friend.  Actually I was a little uncomfortable with it,  it was big and I kept it  tightly sealed in a container as I sketched it.  The flowers are Thrift,  growing on the shore and looked so bright in last weeks greyness.  I picked them during the week and decided to put them all in, buds and flowers.  I chose a pink coloured crab and some green seaweed and I just loved this twisted brown piece of seaweed so had to include it.  So that is Week 20 completed and all painted with my acrylic inks and a little sable brush.
It has been a cold wet and windy week.  As the tide comes into the estuary it gets stormy and we have had some really heavy rain.  I chose my window of opportunity and went for my walk and collecting yesterday after seeing the weather forecast.  And as I am writing this it is really windy, cold, with a stormy grey sky and it has poured with rain all afternoon,  so I am glad I did go yesterday.  
There were lots of feathers,  the striped ones which belong to the curlew.  Lots of black ones too which is no surprise as there are many Crows, Rooks  and Magpies on the shore. We were also followed by two Swallows which kept swooping right in front of us, we think to collect the insects which we disturb as we walk through the grass.  We were amazed at their speed and agility and enjoyed watching them.   I found a black mermaids purse and a ball of  whelks egg cases  which was washed up.   There were so many crabs which had been eaten,  their backs opened like a hinged lid and the contents removed.  We saw oyster catchers, gulls, a curlew and shelducks in the sand by the water,  the tide was just coming in and the water was quite rough with the strong  south westerly wind.  It felt really cold and we were well wrapped up.  The sky was getting darker and warned that the rain showers were heading our way.  So we made our way back and shortly after reaching  home we had a really heavy shower.   Of course I still  found plenty of objects to choose from  for next weeks page.
Thank you for all the lovely comments.  "Ibisbill"  the striped feathers are Curlew feathers.  I was pleased to read that a school art group is following my blog....Hope the children are being inspired and are doing some lovely drawings.   The three giveaways have been posted. See Carrie has posted on her blog, thank you Carrie.  Hope you all enjoy my page for week 20.

Sunday 1 May 2011

Week 17

I am pleased to say this is week 17, that means a third of the year has been completed and that must mean a give- away.  So to enter tell me which week you like the most and why,  and please let me know where you are from.....I am curious to know which countries are following this blog.   The winner will be picked 15th May  and  will receive a little prize.  
My drawing is of a beautiful shell I found last week,  with the limpet growing on the side and the other swirling shaped growths.  I thought this was a great subject to draw and the other flat shell matched with  similar colours.   I added the little piece of seaweed,  all found together as I walked along the shore.  I did collect other objects but decided I liked these best.   I have let you see my first pencil  sketch and then the finished page.  I used the acrylic inks and a little help with colouring using Derwent signature pencils.  I am wearing out my fine number one sable brush.
Yesterday I went for my Saturday walk.  I have been away this week so as I stepped onto the shore I could tell how dry it has been by the pale coloured sand.  It was very white in patches where the salt has dried on top of the sand by the hot sun.   The sheep had gone,  all was quiet except for two girls dressed in shorts and vests  splashing around and kicking the water up,  their dog equally enjoying the fun and  making lots of noise as it bounced around in the water.   I was wearing a jumper and scarf with my hat in hand!  There was actually a strong  breeze blowing  from the North,  I was glad to be warm.  The sand was covered in sheep footprints and the shore in sheep poo.  The green grass has been enjoyed by the sheep, who will be brought back  next week to graze again on the grass.  I noticed although we had quite a full tide that filled the tidal river the sand was cracking in places and some more huge chunks had fallen from the banks,  the ground was so dry.    Lots and lots of crabs,  the large ones broken up and eaten with legs and empty shells discarded.  I found lots of little shells and some rather battered feathers.  I saw patches of white feathers on the sand and then discovered the remains of a bird,  almost certain the work of a hawk or other bird of prey.  A second dead bird on the grassy shore has been there slowly rotting for a couple of weeks.    No sign of the swan but I did find one of her feathers, so she is around somewhere.
It is a pleasure to walk with the clear blue sky and crisp views of the hills.   The fields and surrounding country side  is all looking green and lush.   All the pools of water have dried up,  hard to believe the swan was swimming on water on the grass just a week  ago.  Wild flowers and plants have filled the edges by the railway lines and attract butterflies and bees,  I spotted an orange tipped butterfly.   Birds calling out, others move around the sand looking for food.   We are crossing our fingers this lovely sunny weather lasts.  I reluctantly head for home,  nearly time for tea,  the sky is blue and the views are  beautiful,  another pretty  sunset to enjoy.
Thank you for the lovely comments.  Hope you like page 17, press for close up.       Millyx