Friday, 27 May 2011

The 'Other Hampshire' - New Hampshire Wk 1

We have returned to New Hampshire as part of our honeymoon and have enjoyed the first week relaxing at Pawtuckaway Lake, exploring the adjoining state park and kayaking daily on the lake.

Exlporing the area by kayak has huge advantages and means that we get to creep up on the birds roosting and flying between trees.  One delight has been watching several pairs of Baltimore Orioles flyinng between the islands on the lake and we were lucky enough to see one close up in front of the cottage.
A Flycatcher of some sort is also nesting in the overhang of the cottage and it has been great watching the pair out looking for food, twisting and twirling in the air catching flies.  The nest is very small and is composed of moss and small pieces of vegetation.  Inside there are two small white eggs which hopefully will survive this year, as last year the chicks were taken from the nest.
 Baltimore Oriole                                                                       
One of the things that I wanted to do this year was to look for Slipper Orchids.  Previously we have always visited in the Autumn.  We have come out at just the right time, and as we ventured into the State Park on Wednesday, within two minutes we were seeing the orchids dotted around the edge of the woodland and in open glades.
The walk to see more ended up with us suffering for our cause and we are now covered in mozzy bites, despite having plenty of insect repellant on.  Anyway one of my dreams has been fulfilled and we managed to get some great images, although sketching was impossible because of the mosquitos.

As for sketching, I have started to get a few pieces of work done, which will make an interesting addition to the exhibition at Swanwick Lakes in October.

One piece of work I am particularly pleased with is a painting of some stones and a maple seed found on the shore at North Hampton State Beach.  There were not many other scraps to be found on the strandline, but I know further up coast there can be an array of treasures to be found.

I have started to use some of my Daniel Smith watercolours and the effects they can give are very good.  Some of those made from completely natural minerals have really good qualities, such as granulation, with other colours appearing as the paint granulates on the paper.

Other sketches have included a collection of bits found out on our first kayak and a sketch of the Slipper Orchid (Moccassin Flower) completed from photographs.

My sketching table is set up on the veranda of the cottage on the edge of lake and luckily is covered in mesh so the mozzies can't get me!!  The best time to be out here is at 5am watching the sunrise and listening to the Pileated Woodpecker making its way around the trees bordering the lake.

I'll sign off for now.  Next week we are travelling along the coast of Maine, so there may not be a posting until we return to New Hampshire the week after.  Cheerio !

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