The wildlife in my garden and the garden itself have provided all the inspiration that I need to draw and paint. It has also saved the expense of buying Old Masters as I have my colourful ‘masterpieces’ around the house. I am joking, of course, about the Old Masters but it is, in my view, much more interesting to look at pictures that tell familiar stories rather than bought ones that generally have very little personal meaning. Above is a drawing of one of my friendly song thrushes having a morning gossip about the latest garden news with the frogs, a snail and a careless grasshopper. He seems to think that what he is saying is of interest to the frog whose rapt attention may be duplicitous.
The cherry trees are very popular with all the birds in my garden. They are convinced that as I am so accommodating, I must be growing the cherries especially for them. While they allow me to sample a handful or two, their breakfast starts with cherries and I am often walking under the cherry trees with a rain of pips falling around me and on my head. They chirrup and slurp loudly while they eat and their appreciation of the sweet and juicy cherries is so funny that I cannot begrudge them the pleasure. Bon appetit!
The apples are a great favourite with my troop of starlings. I don’t know where they have read about homegrown fruit being delicious, full of minerals, anti-oxidants and of great nutritional benefit but obviously they are well-informed. I am allowed a large basket of apples from each tree, and that is about 10-15 kg of apples from a tree for me and my family. My mantra is – share and share alike – and the birds, the squirrels, the slugs and the residing insects, all participate. My small orchard of fruit trees includes my favourite James Grieve, a dessert apple, medium to large size that was raised in Scotland by Mr James Grieve of Edinburgh. Its flavour is excellent, fresh, sweet with a touch of sharpness. I also grow a few others, and so the harvest is a time of fruity cornucopia in my kitchen.
The photos in my other garden posts show huge bowls of plums. These are so irresistible with a liquid honey sweetness and moreish flesh that they jump into my tummy without any help from me. The birds are so impatient to taste them that often they just try to nibble the unripe fruit to their big disappointment. One of the plum trees grows under the bedroom window. When the plums are ready I can open the window and get all the plums off the top branches, bliss. Of course, to have fruit tree branches touching the window is particularly wonderful in the spring. Waking up to the frothy, white blossoms does remind me of a young bride in her white gown. This picture sets me smiling for a whole day.
The flowers in the garden just lend themselves to be painted. I am not the only admirer; bees, bumble-bees, wasps, ladybirds, and all types of insect belong to the same worshipful club of which I am a member. Some, like a ladybird, can be found sleeping among the scented rose petals. Below are just a few pictures of the flowers growing in my garden.
Lilac in its spring beauty and tulips, a greatly popular flower. They bring spring home and make me anticipate the coming summer.
The alstroemeria, phlox, daisies and pelargoniums are colourful and long flowering.
At Easter I painted the young chicks who live in the Chicken Rescue garden. The second picture portrays their busy social life at the garden.
The frogs in my garden have their own plaque over the pond. It reads: The Kingdom of Beautiful Frogs. There is a post of that title devoted to them. Here is one of the frogs who became a real friend.
As I painted many pictures of my wildlife friends, here is just a summary of a few in black and white. It is proof that everyone can draw from life if they love wildlife and nature.
This is a feral cat, Freddie, who after a few months of pampering, became a friend, not only to me and my family but also to the wild birds in my garden. Below a study of a bird.
And here is one more of my beloved hedgehog, Gaby. If you are interested in hedgehogs there are a few posts in my blog about Gaby’s extraordinary life with me.
One more of dear Freddie:
Happy painting, everyone! It will be far more satisfying than the colouring books so popular lately.