Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches
I liked the light of this subject, predominantly in shade, with a few spotlights from the early morning sunshine picking out the Willows' branches. I particularly liked the orangey-red of the top of the Willow in the back centre of the composition. It's never easy to stop the eye whizzing out of the picture when following a river, but nature provided an old, fallen tree on the right bak to poke the eye back again.
Most of the tree work was done with my 1" household brush, layering subtle colours and tones on top of each other to give that sense of depth, with a few soft strokes of a more heavily loaded brush dragged over for the highlighted tracery.
I went out on Sunday morning, opting for taking some photos of the sun rising through the morning fog and frost, rather than a round of golf, and had a great time drinking in the atmosphere and watching the birds. Goldfinches were busily teasing out the seeds from the heads of the abundant Burdocks, a pair of, arguably, England's most spectacularly beautiful birds, male Bullfinches, were hopping along a hedgerow, keeping just ahead of me, and a three or four of the country's smallest bird, Goldcrests, were busying about amongst a thicket of brambles, with their tiny, mouse-like seeps calling out.
I stopped off at a local wood on the way home, where a stand of Beech trees was alive with Blue and Great Tits, all feeding amid the lush carpet of fallen leaves and Beech mast. It's great to be at one with nature sometimes - just to stop and watch as our fellow creatures go about their business of staying alive.
In sharp contrast, I watched a short video and made a donation to PETA, who do stirling work to promote the ethical treatment of animals. This film shows the bloody hell of a Chinese slaughterhouse, where, one after another, dogs who have been bred or stolen, are pushed into a room and are clubbed to death, or near death, before being skinned for making leather goods. It's sickening and harrowing, but needs to be watched. It was my birthday three days ago, and it would be a wonderful present if some of you would consider donating to PETA, whether you can stomach watching this gruesome short film or not. Here's the link: https://secure.peta.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=5&ea.campaign.id=34529&ea.tracking.id=H14LEA_C_FB