Sunday, 24 June 2018

#30DaysWild in Watercolour

During June, the Wildlife Trusts have been running the #30DaysWild Challenge. The aim is to have one wildlife encounter everyday. I usually take a photo and put it on Twitter but this time, I decided to try and do a mini-watercolour instead. So each day, I've carved out between 20 and 90 minutes to do a little painting.

1 June - Ox-eye daisy - Crowborough.

This little project nearly fell on the first day because I expected to get home in time to create something. Instead due to a timetable meltdown, I had to content myself with some Ox-eye daisies at Crowborough.

3rd June - Ashdown Forest.
At the weekend, things were a little more relaxed and I found myself in Ashdown Forest, surrounded by Orchids and birdsong, painting the view of the gently rolling downs.

7 June - Uckfield garden - Insects on Ceonothus
Sometimes it was the tiny things that caught my attention.  One morning, I found a Rose Chafer and a selction of bees on our Ceonothus.

5 June - The Vapourer Caterpillar who hitched a ride on my hat. 
One day, I went on a walk through Uckfield's West Park Local Nature Reserve with the Uckfield Local Nature Reserves Supporters Group. On the way back I noticed that the brim of my hat was moving! It turned out to be a little punk rocker of a caterpillar - one that would grow up to become a Vapourer moth. I put it on a suitable food plant in our garden and wished it well.

16 June - Sussex Flag and Swifts

Saturday, the 16th of June was Sussex Day, so I painted the Sussex Flag that flew above our Civic Centre along with some of the Swifts that frequent the area.

17 June - Meadow Thistle - Chailey Common

Last September, I visited Chailey Common with the Sussex Biological Recording Group. One of the aims of the visit was to check on the progress of Marsh Thistles. At the time, there were plenty of rosettes but, of course, the flowers were long gone. I decided to pay them a visit and was delighted to find some in flower and being visited by Large Skipper butterflies and bees.  I could hear the Longhorn Cattle used for conservation grazing mooing in the distance.

22 June - Moon peeping through Honeysuckle

When I got back on the evening of June the 22nd, the scent of honeysuckle was already heavy in the air and the moon was rising in the Cobalt blue sky.

23 June - Fallow doe and fawn at Ashdown Park Hotel
One of my favourite sightings happened by chance. On the Saturday we went to the Ashdown Park Hotel for a wedding tea. On the way in, we saw a doe step out of the bushes onto the Hotel's private road. She was followed by a tiny fawn.

30 June - Hempstead Meadow Nature Reserve
I felt a little sad when I reached the end of the challenge with this view of Hempstead Meadow Nature Reserve. Several passerbys were interested in what I was doing and a group of lads settled down in nearby trees to have a chat while they waited for the train. 

19 June - After all that walking I needed some pud!
I've really enjoyed and learnt from my self-imposed challenge. Most of my paintings were done outside and I have found that spending time in the presence of nature enables me to see so much more than if I were to take a quick photo and move on. I can hear what's happening and feel the atmosphere. Creatures come and go. While I was painting a pair of Swans in Leatherhead, a kingfisher whizzed by! Often people will pause and, seeing me painting a bird or flower, will tell me about good places for wildlife spotting or just simply want to see my little collection of paintings and pass the time of day.

There are several very talented local wildlife artists who exhibit at Uckfield events so keep a look out for local shows and, if you get a chance, pay a visit.

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