Thursday, 21 February 2013

More in the Woods

I have almost finished the winter section of the oak wood painting. Now I have to wait for spring to arrive in order to start the spring section. It's bitterly cold here in Wales at the moment but with beautiful sunshine so very nice not to have more rain!

I have added an oak twig with the lichen Evernia prunastri at the base in graphite. Also some vibrant red holly berries to fill up gaps! I also drew some hazel catkins as they are now about and hazel is very much a part of the sessile oak woodland flora. Their tassels are lovely to see and the twigs have the tiniest red female flowers on them.

Below are the mosses, decaying leaves and Usnea lichen.


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A year in the Oak Woods

I have begun a large painting of a year in an oak wood; it's a collection of things found in a sessile oak wood typical of west and mid Wales, so upland with acidic soils. So far I have collected things from 2 oak woods within a 20 mile radius of me; Elan valley and Coed Rheidol woodlands. My studio is now full of bits of moss, lichen, twigs and pots of acorns that I've gathered on recent walks and I'm trying to keep organised (and clean!).
The painting has started with the bottom left section all devoted to winter, then will travel round through the seasons until hopefully it will be finished in time for exhibition in October. Autumn may well be a bit rushed.

Above is the winter section so far with scarlet elf cups and Coriolus versicolor fungi, marble oak galls, Usnea lichen, Polypody fern, decayed holly leaf, ivy fruits & leaf and a decaying oak leaf.

Above are some sketches of mosses, lichens and fungi that I found in Elan valley oak woods.
The little cushion of moss is Ulota crispa commonly found on tree bark and branches. The other mosses are also common. There are very rare mosses, lichens and ferns that grow in the Elan valley woodlands but I have not found any and wouldn't pick them if I did.
 The Coriolus versicolor bracket fungi is also very common and it contains PSK which is used as an anti-cancer aid in Japan.
The feathery Usnea subfloridana lichen contains powerful anti-biotics and is high in vitamin C.

Above is a spring painting that I had started but have put on hold. It has been worked up from my sketches and old paintings that are no good. May finish it in spring when new material is available.