Saturday, 28 July 2012

July sketches

Work is so busy at the moment,but I've grabbed moments here and there to go out sketching. Fortunately the weather has been much better recently and its been wonderful to sit in the sun and sketch. After another 3 trips to Ynyslas I now have enough information and sketches to start another study, similar to the last but this time with plants found in the dune slacks from late June to August.





Here we have a selection of sketches of Pyramidal orchids, cinnabar moth, six spot burnet moth, birds foot trefoil, Euphrasia and milkwort. I only saw the 1 cinnabar moth but loads of the six spot burnets.

 The pyramidal orchids I have previously studied in detail, so felt familiar with ; the best colour for the tiny flowers I found was quinacridone magenta, with a hint of cobalt blue. They remind me of little pink pigs or well endowed ladies with bonnets!
The moths both look black but when viewed close up are a glistening irridesent yellow, blue, dark green, and interesting to paint.
The other flowers are all small, maybe a little fiddly on the painting but I'll do them anyway as this painting is about the species I have found here in this habitat.

It seems I did not have to travel far to find my next orchid species as I have found some growing in my garden underneath birch trees.


These are broad leaved Helleborines. They like shady woodlands and are the most common of the helleborines.Apparently they are pollinated by certain wasp species which lap the nectar and seem to get sleepy or drunk and have even been seen falling out of the flowers. Wonderful!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Orchid Hunting

Over the past 3 weeks I have been to a few plant rich sites, including Kenfig NNR, Cae Blaen Dyffryn meadow and Elan Valley meadow- an SSSI. They are like oasis's of life amidst mostly barren farmland.
 Kenfig NNR is a large sand dune system with lake in south Wales. I found bee orchids, all the marsh orchids, twayblades and Pyramidal orchids. I also met a couple there who were looking for the rare fen orchid so I went along but I gave up eventually as I had to get back to work for the evening.


I quickly sketched the bees in situ to get the dimensions right and painted them and added dunes and sea in the background at home in graphite pencil. This adds another dimension and shows the habitat where they grow. The footprints in the sand tell a story; could be an intrepid orchid hunter or just a sole walker.
I have plenty of colour notes on bee orchids at home from previous works.

Cae Blaen Dyffryn is a 9 acre, traditionally grazed, neutral to acidic grassland. It is full of
butterfly orchids,heath spotted and common spotted orchids.



My sketches of greater butterfly and common spotted orchids.


Beautiful beech trees enclose the meadow on one side.


Elan Valley meadow is packed full of many species of plants some rare like the wood bitter vetch. I found my first Fragrant orchid here; it has a beautiful, sweet scent.


I will have to revisit this site to do some sketching, if the weather allows.

I am definitely hooked on orchid hunting now and may have to travel further afield to find other species!!