Thursday, 28 April 2011

The Lake and waterfowl at Kew Gardens

Last Wednesday I was sat in the sunshine, next to the Lake in the centre of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, drawing this sketch and listening to the complete din which the birds were making combined with what sounded like tree munching.

Spring Green, Sunlight and the Sackler Crossing at Kew Gardens
11" x 16" pen and sepia ink and coloured pencils in Large Folio Moleskine
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
It reminded me of city folk who go to the country for some peace and quiet and can't get over how noisy it is because of all the noises from the animals and activities which go on a rural area.

The Lake has a huge amount of waterfowl and they're all very territorial.

When we arrived we had a swan letting some Canada Geese know that they were NOT allowed to get into the water just in front of where I sat.
They tried it once or twice and the swan steamed in with wings set to "ack ack" mode and saw them off.  After which they took to marching up and down on the bank with occasional forays for a bit of weed from the edge.  We were sat there so long they began to ignore us so it was fascinating to watch.

In the meantime the gardeners seemed to be getting rid of prunings although it did sound rather more like they putting an enormous tree through the shredder as the noise was so loud.

Then the mallards had periodic races across the top of the lake.  They seemed to be keen to see how long they could skip across the top of the water before they had to take off

The coots were being noisy as per usual (when are they ever not?)

Every once in a while some other Canada Geese would practice display landings by swooping in and doing a very "look at me" landing in the middle of the lake.  Boys will be boys.....

Believe it or not the sketch is not quite so luminous as the leaves were.  I had the combination of brand spanking new leaves with that incredible green - lit from behind by the sun - at the same time as the sky changed so it became violet blue as it thought about having a thunderstorm.  Thankfully that held off until we got home!

Link:  The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew

Friday, 22 April 2011

Mauzy morning

Newfoundland has its own language of sorts depending on where you go on the island or Labrador.  Words that I have heard in Dorset and Somerset pop up here as dirivatives or glimpses of Ireland are apparent in brogues and phrases.

Words for the weather are no different, and mauzy is one of them.  Here's the definition taken from the Dictionary of Newfoundland English.  Oh yes, there is one.

This word had sprung to mind when I was creating this painting.  The painting is a combination of life and memory.  I had seen this 'mauzy' morning on the drive to work and didn't have a camera with me to try to record it so I committed it to memory as best I could.  The mist, the light, the colours with the sun burning off the edges and highlighting the water.  Its an interesting exercise to see how much visual information remains in your memory to recreate on canvas.  I think it works best when you are very familiar with a subject at various times of day.  The brain seems to do a mental mix and let you pick out the elements that it thinks work best.


Definition according to the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:

mauzy a also maus(e)y, mawzy [phonetics unavailable]. Cp EDD mosey adj1 3 'damp and warm, muggy, close; foggy.' Of the weather, damp, foggy, misty or close, sometimes with very light rain or condensation on objects and a cool, gentle wind off the sea; cp CAPLIN (SCULL) WEATHER.

1897 J A Folklore x, 207 Mausey day, one dull and heavy, with no wind and thick mist. 1937 DEVINE 33 A mausey day is a cloudy, foggy day with no wind and a little rain at times.
1957 Daily News 16 Oct, p. 4 Oldtime seal hunters ... expressed the opinion that the long, hard winter, the heavy ice and the 'mauzy' weather of early March were just right for a bumper season. P 105-63 It's a mauzy old day, sir. 1968 KEATING 13-14 'Breeze comin' from duh suddard,' the skipper said. 'Always blows up mauzy weather.' And the fog did indeed roll over the deep as the warm south wind hit the chill air of the bank.
1969 HORWOOD 166 The Caplin Scull is not just a phenomenon of nature, but also a period of the year, and even a special kind of weather—'mausy' weather, with high humidity, frequent fogs or drizzles, easterly winds.
Supplement: mauzy a
1977 MOAKLER 29 We lost the gale sou'east of St Pierre/And lowered dories in the mauzy air. 1988 Evening Telegram 17 May, p. 8 The weather was mausy and...I had it on my mind about a rabbit slip that I never had struck up yet the spring and I wanted to get in and see to that.