December 24, 2018

Blue Hour

As a norm I get quite depressed around Christmas because with no public transport it is impossible to go anywhere.  Christmas Eve is usually bang smack in the middle of a named storm and getting to church is mostly a  major logistical effort....  BUT not this year.  Christmas Eve was the nicest day we had had in several weeks.  Dawned in fog and mist that slowly lifted to blue sky and warm sunshine leaving tiny jewels of moisture hanging on the ends of twigs in naked trees. 

The trees are not that bare though,  as they  burst with spring buds and shoots ready for the warmth of spring. Colours still abound with young oaks draped in golden brown leaves and the occassional wildflower lingering  in sheltered places.   Nests are already being done up and on good days groups 40+ Woodpigeons are  hanging out together in the glow of a permanently setting sun enjoying the warmth and companionship.


Much to my disgust I have given in and started a 'TWITTER' account.  After much initial resistance it turns out to be a very interesting immediate source of up to date information, provided I am very careful who I follow.   At the moment it is restricted to nature, woodland and landscape art  sites, with occassional interesting individuals such as nature writers. I have also discovered  it is possible to hold personal conversations of a general matter regarding books and articles with their authors.


Robert Macfarlene does a daily 'Lost Word'  post on Twitter  which I now follow. eg.  
"Blue Hour"
'period of twilight when the sun has just slipped below the horizon............the blurring of edges of things......softness, sadness.'

In this season of perpetual twilight where the sun is settled close to the horizon all day  there are some wonderful opportunities for low light photography.

 Whilst watching murmmarations of lapwings over the marshes at Parkgate I nearly missed the Hen Harrier sitting and chilling in the tree above me. 

December 15, 2018

Ink laden days

Soft smudges of orange,  rubbed across deep dark ink ridden clouds,   white gulls floating in against a background  of  full arched  rainbows..........then lots and lots of rain.

Now the Autumnal colours have left the woodlands and fields and we are left with a wonderful stark exhibition of symmetry and sculpture of bare trees dotted with last seasons nests.  On close examination  twigs and branches are showing new green shoots and leaf buds.

After a combination of health problems and a catastrophic windows 10 crash (not my fault but Microsoft) this blog has been a little delayed.  Bird Surveys and art work too have been  held up.  Hopefully after Christmas the timetable will get back to normal.  3 weeks later I am still mopping up the mess.

In spite of  a hard year of severe weather events hot and cold, the trees and hedgerows are heavy with nuts seeds and berries. Many over wintering bird migrants  have joined our resident population so  competition is fierce for favourite spots.  We have a Blackbird living underneath a Pyrocanthus bush radiant with red berries that is obviously his larder to defend over the cold months ahead.

Just very recently a raucous crowd of 30+ Jackdaws TRIED to descend on a  rowan tree in a neighbours garden.  This was defended by 3 Magpies already in situ. The battle was mainly about who could shout the loudest.  Amongst all  a Blackbird sat amongst the Magpies  letting them do the work.  (The magpies won and the Jackdaws left)

Tried taking on Microsft for recompense over the windows 10 crash and after several weeks of stone walling  they have agreed to pay up !!

November 29, 2018

Eco mark making

After last years experiments with cyanotype, eco printing and nature art, this  next year we are taking the process  to the next level to produce finished pieces from all this experimentation.

It is time to try out new fresh leaves and mordants  in the eco steaming mix.   Starting so late in the year last time there were only  brown brittle fallen leaves which worked really well but in a limited range of colours.

With such a long drawn out Autumn this year it has been much more satisfying collecting more varied  leaves to steam with.  It has also been possible to be more measured in selection rather than just collecting what was available.

I have extended the mark making into using rusty objects.  Using the same paper and mordants the results are not disimilar to that produced by organics.

..........the slugs and snails quickly  finished working their way through the pages for a new handmade folding book for the North West Book Artists .

Nature art is always a long term plan and process in the making.  This slow methodology  seems to agree with my temperment of long evolved thought and method in final production.