I will be creating a drawing each week, documenting the nature around me in Sussex throughout 2018. These images will be made into prints and given away free of charge.
To be eligible to qualify for a free print, you will need to have signed up to my newsletter. Each person on my newsletter mailing list will be allocated a ticket number, and then at the end of each month the four pictures will be given away to the four winning tickets. Each person will only have one number so can only win a maximum of one print for this promotion. The prints will be A6, unframed and unmounted. These will be posted free of charge to the address you provide, once you have been notified by email of winning.
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I am doing this project throughout 2017 to show how the timings of our seasons are changing. Thirty years ago, bluebells would flower in South-East England during May, now they are flowering early April, a month earlier than they used to. I want to start documenting the timings of the seasons and their changes in our landscape; for example, we are currently having a very mild winter. I have named the project ‘Art Seasonally’ as we are constantly encouraged to eat fruit and veg more seasonally. I am creating art works seasonally too, by only documenting what I see that week.
Most of you who already follow me and my work will know that I grow flowers and veg from seed that I then photograph, draw and paint. This all happens in our garden in rural Sussex, but I also take inspiration from the local landscape as we enjoy walking in the surrounding countryside and on the South Downs.
As a grower of fruit and veg, last year was a sad one because of this change in seasons. We had another warm Winter and Spring, which woke up all the trees early. This meant that their delicate blossoms were killed when frosts returned before the end of the Spring. This normally happens during May, and it did again last year, but it devastated our cherry crop, and killed all the pretty Wisteria blooms.
It is for all these reasons that I am doing this project, not for any militant environmental reasons, but for observational ones, to raise awareness that our seasons have changed compared to thirty years ago - within my lifetime! These changes will affect what we as a nation can and cannot grow in the UK, it will cause native species to start to migrate further north to find cooler climates, and bring in non-native species from Europe. Whilst questions are still being asked by governments on if this is something we can reverse, we need to be aware of the damage we have done, and hope to make an effort to slow it down. You can follow this project online, on social media, via this blog and via my newsletter.
I look forward to sharing my observations and my love of nature with you all, please don’t hesitate to share your comments on social media with me.
Wow, what a warm start to the New Year! I’m an incredibly cold soul and I’m only wearing a T-shirt and jumper, rather than the normal thermals and 2 jumpers. The garden is still pretty gloomy, and due to the warm weather, I have held off planting my bulbs at this time of year. This is something I have done for the past few years now, hoping to plant them mid-late January, so I have daffodils at Easter. I notice that my Day Lilies have already sprouted, which is far too early!
This week’s drawing is of a Great Spotted Woodpecker, a frequent visitor to our garden, bullying all the smaller birds away from the feeders. They like to frequently attack the telephone pole, which I hope is for insects rather than a personal dislike against our 21st century communication to the outside world! I have mentioned it to the telephone engineer who regularly checks on the pole, but they assured me that they couldn’t do too much harm! Phew, where would I be without my access to Netflix on these wintry evenings?
Last year, the Woodpeckers had a family close to the garden and decided to perch on the single storey extension roof below our bedroom window early one spring morning, or should I say VERY early….! I was woken to a cross between a chirp and screaming and wondered what on earth was going on. After peeking out between my bedroom curtains, I saw that the baby woodpecker was sitting on the roof, whilst mum went off to find it food, which it would bring back and feed to the youngster. All was well for 30 seconds after feeding, when the youth would holler for its mother to hurry back with the next morsel. I do love rural living, and watching them really made my day but next time could it possibly be slightly later in the morning?
Ah, this week’s picture is of a Blue Tit. These are one of my favourite garden visitors, as they tend to visit in a mob. They begin by lining up on the branches and roof surrounding the feeders in what appears to be a somewhat orderly queue. Alas, this never appears to last long, as one fellow might take too long on the feeder and there is then a free for all, where they all cram onto the feeder squawking and knocking each other, so that the feeder becomes an out of control children’s swing. They remind me of the teenagers of the bird world, first all relaxed, cool (or at least that was the word in my day) and chilling, before excitement takes over and they all bundle towards the music stage!
l was rather surprised to find our periwinkle in flower at the end of last week, not just one flower but three! It is early flowering, but I think this is the earliest I have ever seen it. I know some gardeners think this plant is invasive, but I think it is great ground cover as it roams about covering the ground and stops the nettles from coming through, and of course it is purple - my favourite!