Saturday, 1 September 2012

Flower, fern and ............... eggs!

A couple of weeks ago we had a relative visiting and we went to Meon Shore, which is the local beach overlooking the Solent towards the Isle of Wight.

Yellow Horned Poppy
It is the beach I go to the most, it is less built up than Lee-on-the-Solent and has a sense of wildness about it, especially in the evening and in the cooler months when it is virtually deserted.  The other bonus is that on the other side of the road bordering the beach is Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve, so there are often delights to spot there too.

The beach itself is shingle in nature and becomes more sandy when the tide is out.  I have often looked at the plants that occur along the beach and recognise some of the common species such as Sea Beet.  I have often wished that I would see one of my favourite plants - Yellow Horned Poppy.  I had seen it previously in Devon and I know it occurs further along the South coast towards Lepe.

As my cousin and I ambled along the beach at Meon there at my feet were a couple of plants of Yellow Horned Poppy.  I was thrilled to see them and to me the plant has such character, with elongated seed pods, bright yellow flowers and pale bristly leaves.  I didn't have my camera on me but above is a photograph of the said plant that I took at Slapton Sands in Devon.

Last week I spent some time at my friend's farm in Devon, near Tiverton.  When I got down there I realised how much wetter the weather had been in that part of the country.  A lot of the farmers have been affected in terms of crops and the quality of grazing for farm animals.  The vegetable garden on the farm has been affected too, with some crops not doing so well because of the damp conditions.

As usual, I went off exploring the lane next to the farm with the high hedgebanks and they were dense with foliage.  There were still a few Red campion in bloom and the Harts Tongue Ferms were pushing their way out between the other plants.  My attention was drawn to a frond that was deep under the other foliage and as I pulled it out I realised how long it was.  It was slightly darker too and not so yellowy green in colour, I presume because of the lack of light.

I decided that this was going to be my challenge for the week and I set to portraying this fine specimen onto paper.  The main colours that I used were Indanthrene blue and New Gamboge.  The left side of the frond had the sunlight shining through it and you could see the spore producing bodies through the leaf from the underside.  There were also small areas of decay that added to the character of the frond.

The finished painting
My punishment for sitting so long painting the fern, was a worsening of my neck condition, so much so that I couldn't drive myself home at the end of the week - husband to the rescue !

Now I am painting a much more manageable subject - Quail's eggs.  To me they are like little jewels, each one so different in colour and pattern.  A lovely friend who understands my need to paint 'quirky' natural subjects, gave me about 60, so I have now set to on the painting below.  The image shows the painting with the second washes on, next will be the fine details. 

Hopefully I will be able to keep the eggs intact and can create some more pictures from them.  Watch this space for progress on the painting above.


  1. Great post, your fern is beautiful and a wonderful shape on the paper. Lucky you being given so many eggs, each one is always unique with their own patterns. Yes I really love birds eggs and have started painting different ones. I have enjoyed mixing new tones, as I do not use blues much in my subjects but have chosen blue eggs.
    I have enjoyed seeing your work and reading your posts and photographs.
    Hope your neck improves soon. Take care. Millyx

  2. Gorgeous fern leaf Sarah,great challenge really well done. Hope the neck recovers soon xx


It is always lovely to hear your comments. Please feel free to leave them here and I will approve them asap.