Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Early Butterflies.

I recently had a chance to sketch some butterflies on my local patch and felt inspired by the excepionaly mild spring weather and the abundance of fresh wild flowers. I can't recall in recent memory seeing such a flush of Orange Tip and Holly Blue and have counted dozens on my walks. Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Speckled Wood have visited my Hertfordshire garden just about every day and Green-viened White are everywhere!
This latter species sits well with the bluebells in one painting and so I indulged myself unashamedly as they flitted across a drift of mauve and blue in my local wood. Above me at the time are a pair of Sparrowhawks noisily building a nest and a Blackcap warbling continuously over my shoulder. For me this is pure escapism!
I normaly mix my own greens depending on the amount of light available as I compose and execute the painting but I also like to use ready made Olive green and Sap green! These help to give a cool tint and add depth to the shadows behind the herbage. It helps white subjects such as flowers and butterflies to come forward and stand out!

The following two paintings are studies of blossom which has been glorious in the garden and in the hedgerows this year! I love to include blossom in my bird and butterfly paintings and can't wait for any excuse to do so?

Oh! Incidentaly! The Buff tailed and white tailed bumblebees have been getting completely plastered on the cherry and apple nectar and gathering sackloads of pollen on the way!
My next study was done early on good friday in the church yard of St Mary's Aston which is a quiet village just ten minutes walk from my house. There are clumps and drifts of Cuckoo flowers (Lady's Smock) among the gravestones and at this time of year it is in full bloom. A favoured food plant of the caterpillar of the Orange tip butterfly! I painted this to the strains of J S Bach being played on the church organ and the experience was one of solace and reflection. Lynn has started chemotherapy and the first session has been pretty tough what with sickness and fatigue and she will have several more sessions of treatment over the next 18 weeks! All the staff at the hospital have been fantastic and very supportive and the prognosis is extremely good! We would like to thank everyone who has shown concern for their kind thoughts and best wishes and I can assure everyone that Lynn is being well looked after.

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