Thursday, November 1, 2012

Piper Marsh a Work in Progress

I have been a regular visitor at Potteric Carr since the beginning of this year, the views are varied and interesting, everything seem to be on 'speed' it all grows so fast, colours change almost overnight - although it helps if the sun is lighting up the landscape -  and the wildlife is simply stunning. I have painted some of it, and it has been a delight, my plan is to paint a lot more of it.  

View from Piper Marsh Hide -  a work in progress.

I started this painting of the view from Piper Marsh Hide way back in March, and as sometimes happens, I have so far been unable to finish it. Fairly small at around 19"x12"  I have realised that it need to be much bigger, so it is still a 'work in progress' !!!

The problem is what season to paint?  I loved the ochres and creamy browns of the reeds when I first saw them in March, and the various colours of the silver birch against a blue sky. and the wildflowers on the marshy islands in later months are also very beautiful.

 I have taken many photographs of wildlife I have seen from the hide. In April there were a number of families of Canada geese, they were very protective of their young.

In May I saw Kingfishers many times fishing from a branch by an island to the right of the hide.

On one occasion I counted nine herons !!

In July I took quite a few photos of grass snake on a pile of cut reeds on the bank to the right of the hide.

...and swans in the reeds and wild flowers on the island a few metres in front of the hide.

So in essence I don't really have any problem painting the view from Piper Marsh Hide, I just have to get on with it !!!!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

A New Painting for Potteric.

There are many interesting subjects to paint at Potteric Carr,  beautiful views from the hides of wildlife, trees, water;  wide-angled views of Huxter Well Marsh (in planning);  the many pathways through woodland, light and shade -  the high path along Hawthorn Bank lined with silver birch and Willow Bank with marshy woodland on one side and open fields on the other, and perhaps the chance to see a roe deer or three.

Hawthorn Triangle , Mid March 2012 
(a view from the steps)

This is the first view I had of Hawthorn Triangle on one of my early walks familiarising myself with the reserve. It was a glorious day in mid March, the strong sunlight caught the extraordinary colour of the trees  and emphasised the light and shade in this beautiful space. There have been a few occasions since then that I have thought of painting it, when the orchids were in flower and later the teasles, sow thistles and butterflies. But this was 'a first view'  and will forever be the one I remember.

Thank you for looking in.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Just Morning Dew and Spider's webs.

It was very quiet when I took my morning walk down the riverbank, there was an early mist with the promise of some uninterrupted sunshine, just a few fishermen and hardly any traffic on the bridge.  

I had wellingtons on but I was getting very wet, there is just a footpath through the long grass this side of the river and it is a great pleasure usually to walk along it, but this morning was very special. The wild flowers and the views were off course very beautiful, but I was completely bowled over by the hundreds of spider webs on flowers and grasses, the dew sparkling like precious stones in the sunlight.

At this point I turned back ready for my breakfast, but I remembered............

 .............................. just a few metres past this fence there used to be kingfishers nesting in the bank.

Thank you for 'looking in"

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wood mouse and Foxgloves

Awoke this morning to a beautiful cool day with a slight breeze, just ideal for working in my garden which had become very overgrown with thistles, nettles and yards of goose-grass etc.
So, almost with 'first light' I set to with shears and all the garden tools so necessary for a good garden tidy up, and six hours later had a very respectable heap of stuff for composting.

 Paths and steps are now clear and hopefully I can get some good photographs, maybe even butterflies on the Buddleia.

Its good to be able to just enjoy the garden and not whittle about work that has to be done in it. At least not for a while!!

An added bonus today as I sat with a refreshing drink in the early afternoon sun, a Bullfinch visited the bird feeders and stayed quite a while, to be followed shortly afterwards by  a Wood mouse.

Almost as perfect as it gets!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Garden Wildlife

I photographed this Jay in my garden around 6am this morning, I know its not a good photo, fact is I saw it, had the wrong lens on my camera, took a quick shot, changed the lens, and the Jay had gone. Thing is it the first time I have seen a Jay in the valley for a couple of years, which got me thinking!! You just never know when or if you are going to see it again so 'make a note' and I think the occasional addition to my blog is the perfect spot !!!

While I am at it, so to speak I might as well note one or two other things I hope to see again sometime.

Thrush singing from the top of a conifer, also early morning.

Wrens nest , she seems it have used a considerable length from a ball of garden twine which was on the shelf below the nest. There were seven fledglings but unfortunately I did not get a photograph.

Nuthatch, this was wintertime, now I have two which are regular visitors to my bird feeders.

Two Bees on a February Snowdrop

....and a seat by the Bluebells to enjoy it all.

Thank you for looking.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dawn Chorus at Potteric.

On May 6th I joined a group of people for the Dawn Chorus Walk at Potteric Carr Nature Reserve. It was a frosty 5am start and a great opportunity to see the reserve in the early morning light.

 We visited Decoy Marsh first where we saw, and heard, the explosive call of Cetti's Warbler in the bushes near the hide, then on over the railway to Childers Wood. It was the first time I had visited this part of the reserve, it was quite beautiful, the early morning sun light filtering through the silver birches and very quiet apart from birdsong.

 Our walk took us through quite a large part of the reserve and we finished up at Cottage Drain Hide where I saw the the family of Greylag Geese, the subject of one of my new paintings.

"Cottage Drain hide Early Morning 6th May"
acrylic in stretched canvas 18"x24"

 After a very welcome and delicious breakfast in Low Ellers Cafe I spent some time in Willow Pool Hide where I saw the subject of my second painting, the Moorhen protecting her young from a Coot.

"Defending the Family"
acrylic on board and over  the flat frame 

The two paintings which resulted from that morning are now on display and  hanging on the wall in the cafe at Low Ellers.

I have a wonderful subject for a third painting from that Dawn Chorus Walk, a pair of Kingfishers made an appearance on the Mother Drain under the bridge and I am presently deciding exactly how to compose it, what view to take - one of the most interesting and important  things about painting for me.

And the Dawn Chorus Walk, well highlights included cuckoo, green woodpecker and bittern, a gentleman from Chesterfield had forty birds on his list.

 Now that Bittern, wouldn't that make a great painting ?


My paintings of Potteric are on display and for sale in Low Ellers Cafe in the Field Centre and are listed here:-

Thank you for looking in on my blog.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Spring Morning at Piper Marsh.

A grey day at Potteric today, no sun, so the colours were rather drab apart from  a glorious clump of bright yellow Marsh Marigolds on the bank of a pool and reflected in the water. Some Hawthorns are in flower, and most of the trees are in leaf in many shades of green, but for me, the biggest difference the lack of sun makes is in the colour of the reeds, all the glorious shades of ochre and gold were missing today.

The cafe was very busy so after a warming drink of hot chocolate I carried on to Piper Marsh Hide. I was hoping to see the family of geese I had photographed last week close by the hide but was out of luck.
I had started a painting of Piper Marsh some weeks ago and although I was quite pleased with the trees in the background I have been unable complete the foreground, however I was in luck today with some good photographs of both geese and herons in action, so, fingers crossed.

Finally, returning across Black Carr Field I noted an interesting moss covered tree stump which has definite possibilities as a subject for painting, so that goes on my 'to do' list !

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Painting Potteric Carr

Since February I have been able to visit Potteric Carr Nature Reserve two or three time a week on 'good weather' days. The reserve covers 500 acres, has 14 viewing hides and one viewing screen and 8km of footpaths, and I have not yet seen all of it.
The YWT website has a very good map of the reserve pathways and hides at:-

It will be fascinating to learn about the wildlife on this reserve and how different it is from my own environment Sprotbrough Flash.
The website edited by the Potteric Carr volunteers is very interesting and informative and has stunning photographs  at:-

As the weather improves (hopefully) I plan to take my paints with me, I have not painted en plein air before so it will be a new experience and quite a challenge. I have already sussed out some of the views/subjects I want to paint and look forward to the variety of the seasons.

My paintings of Potteric are on display and for sale in Low Ellers Cafe in the Field Centre and are listed here:-

Thank you for 'looking in' on my post, I intend keeping this blog up to date with my progress in learning about, and painting on this most interesting nature reserve.