Tuesday 27 September 2011

Week 38

Week 38 and My page is this beautiful feather with a white circle.  It has been sitting in my kitchen window and I keep looking at it as I am washing up or making a meal.  Each time I walk past it I keep thinking I will draw it,  I just need to find the time.  The dark nights are here, the days seem so much shorter and my days seem full,  and now my eyes don't like the evening light.  The evening was a relaxing time for me to sit and draw but until I get a daylight bulb it is no good,  I just can't see the detail or the colours properly. So after all the other jobs I finally sat down today and raced against time and the light to draw my page. It was photographed as the sun was going down,  the camera flashed but the feather is there to see.  I used my new grey coloured ink, cool grey, and black Indian ink, white, burnt umber and yellow ochre drawing inks.   I have recently stocked up on the FW acrylic inks and have some new colours that I have not used before.
Grey was the colour of the sky on Saturday,  it seemed to brighten up late afternoon after the tide has gone down.  At about 6pm we ventured down onto the shore for our walk.  My husband noticed the erosion of the banking and how wet the ground was,  it has been a few weeks since he walked with me.   I think maybe he thinks I exaggerate  when I tell him about how wet it was on my walks.  Another hairy caterpillar crawled in front of me, would it survive to become a moth  I wondered.  There are so many feathers,  I sat on the boulders and examined a find.  The view out to sea was lovely, so still and calm and quiet.  The grey clouds hang over the hills and the sun is dropping,  it won't be long until the light fades.   With my hand full  of feathers we slowly wander along the crumbling banks and  know it is getting darker as the station lights are switched on.    As we make our way to the area where my swan usually lives,  it so silent and  still.  The railway bridge has been unwrapped of all the plastic and the wooden boards and scaffolding are gone,  the fresh green paint makes it look brand new again.  As we make our way back to the station the reflection of the station lights make a line of yellow shapes in the water.   The sky has darkened and the daylight has almost gone. It is just after 7pm as I climb the steps of the foot bridge over the railway line,  the sky is darkening.  As  I glance across the shore I can see the lights from the houses on the other side of the estuary.   No one will been seen here until the early morning walkers and their dogs.
I place my feathers in the kitchen window,  grey and white from the gulls,  and they whisper to me, try out your new grey ink....so I did.

Hope you like the feather for week 38.  Thank you for the lovely comments which I always enjoy reading.            Millyx

Sunday 18 September 2011

Week 37

Another week and here we have my double page for week 37.  As I went for my walk on Saturday morning I was able to draw and paint for the rest of the day and finish off today.  It is painted with my acrylic inks and a number 1 and number 5 sable brush.  My palette was red, sepia, blue, yellow ochre and white.  I will show you some of the work in progress as I painted at the kitchen table.
I was quite pleased to find some new seaweed,  the big flat burgundy and pink piece, and also the delicate pale pink pieces, as there was a  huge amount to choose from after the full moon and high tides.  And a new subject for my page is the hairy caterpillar.  Also I added a tiny pink shell and the lovely long wavy  maroon seaweed with the bubbly shapes.  Of course I collected some lovely feathers and other objects including many red berries but decided on these to make the page.

I went for my walk on Saturday morning, it was fine,  so I thought.  I had only been there a few minutes and it started spitting!  My hood was pulled up and off I went to see what I might find.  I saw a huge hairy caterpillar cross my path,  the size of my finger.  Later I kept thinking  I should have had the caterpillar but didn't know how I could carry it.   The camera was getting wet,  that was in my pocket and I only had a plastic bag.  A caterpillar needs to be carried carefully and I really had to watch where I was walking.  Water was running off  the banks as a waterfall,  fast running water as it ran back into the tidal river.  Everywhere was so wet and slippery.  Where is all this water going to go as the tide is coming in shortly.   The sky was full of fast moving clouds, the views were changing,  first you see the hills then it all disappears as showers race across the land.  Did I mention how wet I am getting,  it is pouring down with huge droplets.  I pretend not to notice and just keep walking. 
I admire the wire fence hanging with seaweed like a piece of art.  I watch the birds flock together and land on the piece of sand,  obviously not happy in  this weather, the screeching sounds they were making as they circled above.  Long orange slugs were sliding through the grass and then I found another hairy caterpillar crawling towards the water.  I decided to save it,  I wrapped it in the chocolate wrapper by making an envelope and  thought it could come and live in my garden.  Shortly afterwards I found a third caterpillar, this one very wet with big droplets of rain collected  on the hairs on its body.  So he joined his friend in the chocolate envelope.

My friend the swan looked so beautiful and elegant. I was amazed how clean and white she was on this wet and dirty place. We enjoyed each others company as she followed me,  as she swam and I walked. I thought we were all alone but the loud bang of a gun has me jumping, somewhere hidden a wildfowler was shooting at the ducks. No wonder I didn't see any ducks today!  The sky was constantly changing, rain and then signs of a brighter day as the blue sky appeared behind the rain clouds.  As I opened the gate to leave the shore I had to balance on a stone in a puddle,  not that it mattered as I was already very wet.  I had enjoyed my two hour walk, fresh air and the glimpse of a beautiful rainbow. I was heading home to my own rainbow of inks to paint my page.  Thank you for the comments, it is always lovely to find them. I will leave you with some photographs of my walk.                Millyx
p.s. the caterpillars had blackberry leaves for lunch and are now living in my garden.

week 37.

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Week 36

Here is my week 36 page which I have just completed, although I might still need to do a little bit of touching up  here and there.  It is getting so dark that I needed to photograph before it is too late.  The page contains a piece of seaweed and a yellowy mermaids purse,  a large holly leaf and a  hawthorn leaf and three red berries.   I collected many different objects shown above  being washed in the sink,  but chose these for my page and I am pleased with  how the arrangement turned out.   They are painted with a number 4 sable brush and my acrylic inks, with  brown umber, sepia, yellow ochre, red and blue mixed for all the colours.  As the time slips by,  two days of painting, the seaweed shrinks and the colours darken and the most horrible fishy smell drifts in the air,  the things I do for a good picture!
Last Friday I was invited to give a little talk and show my art work to a lovely group of people at Keswick art society.   It really had me thinking about what I draw and paint.  I explained that I collect  my specimens  on a walk,  I then choose and arrange them to make the drawing.   I realise they are all objects in my environment,  familiar to me and yet always interesting to me.  I  really enjoy not knowing what I will draw until I go for a walk and then find the objects that make the pages.  At the end of the talk it was lovely to hear the words inspiring and beautiful many times by different people, so thank you if you happen to be reading this.

We are experiencing some gales and stormy weather, along with the high tides the shore is very wet.  I didn't like the look of it on Saturday and eventually ventured down on Sunday,  late afternoon after the tide had gone down.  I had a real battle on my hands just walking along as the strong winds blew off the sea.  I was well wrapped up, only my face showing and at times it was hard to catch my breath as I was pounded by the wind.   The water in the tidal river should have been flowing out to sea,  the wind makes it look like it is running in the opposite direction..   I was shocked how much of the banking had collapsed with the strong tide, it is eroding the land and creeping nearer to the train lines. The amount of water running off the banks has created deep channels and patterns in the sand.  My reward was to see the huge amounts of seaweed, the tideline full of natural objects.  I found the two yellowy mermaids purses tangled in the seaweed,  one was used in the page. My unwritten rule, always collect the red berries, and of course the many different feathers attract my attention.   It looks like a messy tangle because that is what it is, all mixed and mashed by the stormy sea.  I used my foot to kick it  and roll it over to have a better look.  So many things I see which I could draw but with enough in my bag which I am really  hanging onto for fear of it blowing away, I am finished here. 
The grey heavy clouds are warning of rain.  I hurried along slopping and splashing through the soggy ground and jumping the gullies.  It started to rain, sharp stinging rain on my face and it feels dark and hostile.   The acid yellow lichen glows on the limestone boulders,  just the way  my red berries did as I slipped  them into  my pocket for safe keeping.  Home to a warm house and I drop my finds into the sink to watch the colours and shapes appear from the tangle, the start of my page for week 36.
Thank you for the lovely comments. Let me know if you are visiting, I would love to hear from you.
the tangle of seaweed and the two mermaids purses.

the tideline

yellow lichen

Press pictures for close up.

Monday 5 September 2011

Week 35

Week 35 and what a wet grey day to venture onto the shore for my walk.  It rained and rained, all day it rained and as the tide came in it rained even harder!  I could see how wet everywhere was and I felt like it was even too wet for me. Then at around 6 pm it stopped, quick as a flash I changed into my old shoes and waterproof jacket and grabbed the camera, a banana and some chocolate and braved the day.  It was so wet, everywhere I walked the ground was waterlogged and I was slopping around in mud.    I followed the bank up towards the boulders, splashing my way through puddles and jumping over water streaming back into the tidal river.   I had a little chat to a villager walking with his two dogs and he said this was the second time they had all got soaked.  There was no view of the hills,  a blanket of low clouds covered everything, it didn't feel too friendly and I knew I would not stay longer than I needed to.  The tideline was way back on the grassy shore.  On Wednesday I photographed the high tide, it was just a few feet short of reaching the gate through to the railway station.  I thought it might have washed up something interesting and indeed a large jelly fish was caught between  chunks of the collapsed banking. It was upturned and about fifteen inches across.  Not a subject to draw but one to photograph.  The sea had also washed up larger pieces of seaweed,  red,  green, yellow, black and brown.  The colours were so bright in the greyness of the day.  I collected several different pieces,  and would have loved to have recorded them all.  The feathers were wet and not in the best condition,  yet I still chose a few.  I found some strange hairy objects, must draw one and find out what they are, rather like a sea urchin.   I found a black mermaids purse which looked really fresh.  With more than enough in my collecting bag,  very wet feet and realising it had started to rain again I happily headed home.  Two men arrived at the gate just behind me, so I held the gate open for them.  You go first he said.  No, I answered,  the bare foot wonders first.   He smiled and said, do you mean the bare foot barmies.   They really were running in bare feet,  that is another story,  a regular sight here as people take a course in it.   We were all on the shore,   all doing things for different reasons,  one of us to collect things to draw,  some to walk the dogs and others running in bare feet,  but I have no doubt  we all got wet  feet!

My page for week 35 is this lovely big piece of yellowy green seaweed.  It was so fascinating with all the little branches, which  I could imagine  all waving and moving under the sea.  I drew it lifesize and just managed to fit it onto the double page.  I used three colours of the acrylic inks, Sepia, Sap Green and yellow ochre. I mixed the inks together and painted it with a number 3 sable brush.  I recorded a few of the shades in the corner of the page.  As the hours went by painting, I watched the wet seaweed dry and change colour and darken to green shades, much different from the original yellowy colours which I tried to capture.
High tide on Wednesday.

The jelly fish

More erosion of the shore

Saturday, no view, hidden by low clouds

Compare with last week to see the hidden view.
Hope you enjoy my week 35 seaweed.  The nights are getting darker, it is hard to photograph my drawings as the light is so poor.  Thank you for the lovely comments, always love to read them.    Millyx