Friday, 10 March 2017

The trouble with lichen....

There isn't any.  I just love the title of that book.

They're strange, beautiful, fascinating fungi. A couple of weeks ago my friend Liane and I braved the February squelching and met up with a party of other Lichen lovers on Bristol's famous Downs. You would never imagine there being so much laughter from a group of thoroughly wet, cold people. Lichen seems to attract  rather jolly people!

I  finally managed to document the fallen samples I found in my nature journal ( they'll now be returned to their natural habitat!)  There was  endless aggravation  fun, trying to draw them whilst focusing through  my new hand lens. I won't be trying that again, but it is amazing to get such a wonderful visual perspective.

These are just my interpretations, (sans hand lens) of some stunning forms and textures; and here's a few photos of these little beauties.

Thanks to Avon Wildlife Trust  members, who arranged this event, and local expert Sheila Quin, who led the walk. I learnt a lot and it was worth getting wet feet!  We followed The Downs Lichen Trail.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

But how do you keep a Nature Journal in Britain, in the winter?

Now, I'm a very seasonal person. Following and recording the natural cycle of the year, and its changes, is a joy.  Britain, though, through winter, can be a challenge.  Sometimes, as I stand battling the wind and drizzle, with my boots squelching merrily in the mud,  I can understand why more people don't  journal outdoors! The rewards, however are enormous. Winter is a fantastic time for observation.

It pays to be prepared with lots of layers. (Although sometimes you can't move your arms much!) Good boots and socks for dry feet are a must, too. My fab hat and scarf were designed and created for me by my friend, the artist Palma Rea.

Sometimes though, our great British weather defeats me, but there's always something to pick up,  bring home, and draw in the nice warm studio (with a hot cup of tea alongside!)

Or  I can have a comfortable, reference sketching session at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

Many of my entries are just quick sketches and observation notes, watching the garden wildlife from of our second story window. This week Attila, (our resident marauding grey squirrel) has broken his third feeder in three weeks and cached almost 2 kilos of peanuts! Last seen rolling himself across the grass with a huge grin on his face....


If all else fails, there's always use personal photos for reference. Needing a little lift this week, snowdrops from the Kings Weston Estate were called for. 
As much as  I love winter, I won't be sad to see some more bright days over the next few weeks,  and a little less mud!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Exploring nature in 2017

Good Morning 2017!


This is the word I've chosen to guide me through the year. I've lots of  new avenues to find my way along, and opportunities which seem quite daunting, and not a little terrifying.

This year, I want to delve deeper and look closer into nature, and capture even more beautiful and wonderful things. Like the bark of these wonderful 300 year old yew trees.


The Universe must be doing it's stuff; because I've had a beautiful and unexpected gift  from my niecelet - which is a pretty perfect fit.