So, after many weeks of famine, yesterday I feasted. Overwhelmed by a grant application that consumed every possible hour, I had not cycled or painted or drawn birds from life for many weeks. My one effort had been the random doodle posted about ten days ago: about an hour’s work but remarkably striking a chord with several people. Anyway, this weekend, in bright early spring sunshine, I spent hours cycling and watching and painting. I felt very rusty (as well as out of condition) from sitting long at the computer.
This was the last piece of the afternoon. Through the scope, I was caught by this composition: groups of birds on a stony bar in the flooded gravel pit, with the sun catching the reeds behind. Above this was a pile of large sawn trunks and in the distance a dense green grey shadow of tall trees streaked by the faint shapes of their bare branches. I made several attempts, irritated by my lack of skill, increasingly cold and stiff and working awkwardly with bars of sunlight alternating with shadow across the paper. Defeated, i set off for home, but finished this later in the warmth.
Despite all that, I think the original pleine air sketch had something that has perhaps been lost by the later reworking.