Saturday, 4 May 2013

Lowland Spring (Ashford Hill National Nature Reserve)

Yesterday was my first opportunity for a painting expedition this year. I thought to myself, surely the bluebells are out by now (they are late this year on account of spring being reluctant to show its face). So I laced up my boots and headed for the nearby bluebell woods.

There were some bluebells, but there were a lot more bluebell leaves. Maybe the woodland floor will be carpeted in blue next week...

So I kept on walking, getting slightly lost once or twice at the interface of the two maps I had with me. I was looking for a subject, but wasn't inspired enough to stop until just shy of two o'clock, by which time I was both hungry and concerned that I would run out of time.

(Photograph taken in dull morning light)
I found myself in a valley nature reserve that I was previously unaware of. Apparently, it is one of the "few remaining habitats which were formerly widespread in lowland England but have been lost through agricultural improvement".

I wanted to include some indication of the season, so I included the white-blossomed scrub on the right as well as the proliferate tree to the left, with its fresh foliage. I liked the curving line of the ditch and the wooded rise at the back.

I only had two hours of painting time on site, but I spent a bit of time adjusting the painting - from memory - after I got home.

Oil on canvas, 46 x 55 cm

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