Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A circle of habitats - and more !

Time is travelling too fast again and I hadn't realised it was so long since I had written a blog post.

There have been several new developments here at Natures Details. 

At the beginning of September I was lucky enough to have a stand at the New Naturalists Collectors Club Symposium, which was taking place in Winchester, relatively local to us.  The day was a great success and I sold the Quail's Eggs painting along with other bits and pieces.  The highlight of the day was meeting the natural history illustrators Lizzie Harper and Richard Lewington.  They were both so open and supportive, and it was a real privilege to meet them and see their work.

The Peter Symonds College AHED botanical art and natural history art courses are all running, so I journey over to Winchester three times a week to teach those.  Many of my students have returned for a second year.  It is really fulfilling to see all of the student's determination and some lovely work is being produced.

A new venue for teaching was at Paxton Pits Environmental Education Centre in Cambridgeshire, earlier on this month.  It was a delight to greet nine students all eager to try to their hand at natural history illustration in the 'Brush with Nature' workshop.  Hopefully I will get to return there !

The trip to Cambridgeshire also had another purpose.  During the advertising for the above workshop, my work was noticed by a reserve officer for the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust.  He is based at a nature reserve that is located around the western edge of Grafam Water and is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest).

As a result I am now busy completing a rather large and complex illustration that will grace the interpretation boards on the reserve.  I haven't been able to mention it until the draft drawing had been seen by the client, and I am now delighted that I can reveal more.  Especially as most of my friends think I have turned into a hermit !

My brief was to create an illustration in a circular format that showed a Nightingale in the centre with six different habitat types shown around the outside.  Within each of these habitats, the key species that occur in them also need to be shown - hence the title 'A circle of habitats'

As you can imagine, there was a huge amount of reference material to gather initially, and my determination to keep previous sketches and my mass of personal wildlife photos is paying off.  The drawing was started using this reference material, and more was gathered to make the final tweeks to the drawing whilst I was visiting the reserve earlier this month.

These earlier sketches have come out of their folder to be used as reference - Adders Tongue Fern.
As I progress with the commission I will post images and further information about the nature reserve at Grafham Water, but to wet your appetites here a few sections from the draft stage of the work.
Grassland and ponds

Reedbeds and bird hide

Ancient Woodland


  1. Awesome Sarah ,you'll do them proud xx

    1. Ah, thank you Claire, painting starts this coming week ! x

  2. This looks like it is going to be an interesting project Sarah. It is going to to keep you busy capturing all the delicate details. Great that you have plenty of sketches and resources, if you are anything like me I keep everything I have ever done.
    I find it so difficult to work from photographs, I have to work from the real objects in front of me and be able to observe them.
    Good luck and look forward to seeing it completed. It is looking good .

    1. Thanks Milly. Lovely to see your latest blog posting.
      Yes I keep everything too. This project has made me realise how useful it is to have your own resource bank, and it is definitely something I'll be adding too.
      I prefer to paint from life, but this project meant that I had to use photos. A struggle at times and I am looking forward to getting back to drawing my bits and pieces :)


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