Sunday, 30 April 2017

Parton Lepidodendron fossil.

Our normal trip to Parton yielded some lovely finds yesterday. Firstly the normal crockery and glass off the beach - including 4 marbles from codd bottles. The head of the crockery otter/dog was a bit disturbing and there was a bone letter opener too. The find of the day was the Lepidodendron trace fossil. ...and the final find ...Cumberland sausage butties with coffee at the Pantry! ...oh and sea kale off the beach to go with tonight's tea!

Lepidodendron, also known as “scale tree”, is an extinct prehistoric tree which was one of the most abundant trees of the Carboniferous period. It lived in some of the wettest parts of the prehistoric coal swamps and commonly grew in dense stands. Lepidodendron was primitive, vascular and absorbent and was related to modern day club mosses. It could grow to a height of over 180 feet (54 metres) and its trunk was often over 6 feet, or 1.8 metres in diameter. Its trunk produced little wood, and was composed instead of mostly soft tissues. Most of the structural support came from a thick, bark-like region in the trunk. The plant rarely branched, but when it did it was crowned with a cluster of long and narrow leaves which resembled large blades of grass spirally-arranged and ending in cones. Both the leaves and the trunk were green in colour. Common fossils include tightly-packed diamond-shaped leaf scars, which were left by the leaves as they dropped off the trunks and stems of the tree fern as it grew. By the end of the Mesozoic era, this fascinating plant had unfortunately died out.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Fingland Rigg promised!

Well the afternoon wasn't promising, but a plan is a plan! So off to Fingland Rigg with watercolours, acrylics and soft pastels. I forgot the polybag to put the dirty palette in and I remembered how good boardwalks are for sitting on to sketch! I forgot how windy it is - although it doesn't seem so! A snatched couple of hours in a busy day.

The watercolour sketch and the pastel.
Hoof bracket fungi.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Moving on from what I can do...

It's too easy to repeat things you have done or do things you know you can do. I save files called 'Art I like' ...'Things to try'....but then it comes down to priorities. Do I replenish stocks; try something new; risk failure and waste precious time; follow my instincts....or work on the salaried day job? Well on an afternoon with only an hour to spare and lots of things I should be doing, it was time to take a risk. I want to develop a more painterly technique for my pastels (and there aren't many of them) so here's an A1 sketch using acrylics and pastels. It's from one of my photos of Mawbray Banks last August when all the heather was out - whatever you think, it was time I enjoyed - time out for myself and it has inspired me to say - yes I will go out tomorrow - en plein - and hope it isn't too windy or cold and I can find a suitable atmospheric subject! ...or that I don't feel I have to succumb to gardening or housework or catching up on the day job!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Solway storms.

Hail, snow and sleet with a rumble of thunder thrown in this afternoon, so it was quite apt that I was painting oils of storms on the Solway today.

Carlisle bottle-tip vulcanite stoppers.

The numerous different stoppers from ginger-beer, beer and pop bottles found at the Carlisle victorian bottle tip.

Column 1 (Left): Carlisle Old Brewery (vulcanite, ceramic and chisel stopper)
Column 2: Carlisle New Brewery (vulcanite)
Column 3: Minns of Carlisle (vulcanite & lignum vitae wood)
Column 4: Grahams of Carlisle (vulcanite)
Column 5 & 6: Underwoods of Carlisle (vulcanite and other vulcanite chisel stoppers)
Column 7 (Right): Denwoods of Carlisle (lignum vitae wood and vulcanite)

Bottom rectangle: a selection of other stoppers found at the tip.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Garden flowers in the sun.

With such glorious weather (I really had to do some inside work) I couldn't resist a quick pop into the garden to photograph some flowers in the sun.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Sand martins - Mawbray to Allonby

Some fairly poor photos of sand martins, but it was lovely to have them buzzing and bombing around us as we walked along the coast today.

Mawbray to Allonby - with chips!

Our usual walk, in superb sunshine, with chips at the Codfather in Allonby - cracking!
General views ..
A good year for the dandelions...coming into Allonby.
Mallard ducklings on the beck on the way into Allonby.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Harrington Beach field sketch ....

The rusty groynes were lovely yesterday ...and here was my field sketch ...kind of hard to find something to draw but good to be challenged. I had hoped to find a collection of buildings to do in a Percy Kelly style - that'll have to wait.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Parton to Harrington...

We really should have planned these walks in some sort of order as today we returned to Parton and walked in the opposite direction towards Workington. To be fair it was an enjoyable walk - always nice to be on the coast; not as spectacular as other parts of Cumbria's coast but interesting,  none the less, given the industrial heritage. The sea was flat calm and the Isle of Man was very clear ...we could even just make out Ireland on the far horizon. Harrington itself is an odd little spot ...a harbour, stony beach - mainly slag and good views up and down the coast. Just a pity the icecream van left the beach carpark just as we arrived!

Top left - Parton: top right Harrington.
Other photos of the coastal walk.
Harrington harbour ...and a random toad! 
Lovely rusty bits on the groynes at Harrington. 
The Isle of Man. 

Monday, 17 April 2017

Whitehaven and Parton - a round trip

With the opening up of the coastal footpath we walked from Parton to Whitehaven; something we haven't done before and a strip of coast that we've whizzed past many times on the A595. We walked from Parton along the wagon way - which was for horse drawn trams  to haul coal from Parton to Whitehaven docks. A lovely little walk and good to see the promenade developments at Whitehaven - an interesting contrast to some of the more run down areas of the town.

Towards Whitehaven along the railway and Parton beach. 
Whitehaven and some of the sculptures celebrating its varied and really interesting history ....
Rope sculptures on the Millennium  Promenade.
Whitehaven lighthouse (1841)...the derelict 'lighthouse' on bottom left photo wasn't a lighthouse but a signal station. 
Jackdaws collecting nesting material in the wall at Parton. 

Sunday, 16 April 2017

River Caldew field sketch.

During yesterday's walk I did manage a field sketch - it was cold and on occasions spitting with rain but I was pleased with the result.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Caldbeck to Hesket Newmarket ....spring walk

An early spring walk. The wood anemones were at their best; the wild garlic just about to bloom. The celandines glowed; the herb Paris was just about to blossom. Lunch at the Old Crown and ice cream in Caldbeck...another cracking walk.
Top left: the road to Caldbeck....the rest are from the walk along the Caldew.

Left - Waters meet and then top right - herb Paris (ancient woodland indicator species) and damp wood anemones. 
Toothwort ...uncommon - a parasitic ancient woodland indicator species. 
Bleach cup fungus....found in the spring.
Happy boy -Rocky! 

Friday, 14 April 2017

A distressed nautilus!

Another find from the Victorian bottle dump ...a nautilus ....not sure how or why! It would be fascinating to know how it got to Cumbria to start with...was it an engraved Victorian artefact...why was it discarded.....???

Victorian tile fragments....

On today's walk we found fragments of tiles .......

Add caption

Thanks to Tom for the digital reconstruction ...if only! 

Collecting what the others have left....

A riverside walk through a Victorian bottle dump and lots of finds left by the serious diggers....

The Irish pipe with the shamrock is particularly nice and requires further research! The bottle stoppers are: a decorative glass; a traditional glass stopper and a vulcanite screw stopper. 

Dr Mackenzie's smelling bottle....
The original advert.
The bottle stopper that I didn't find...

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Catbells and Castlerigg.

With Molly back home from Alaska for two weeks, it was an early start to drop paintings off in Grasmere for the Cumbria Local Arts exhibition; then secure a parking spot for Catbells. It wasn't a good day for photography and it was drizzling on Catbells so we didn't bother walking onto Maiden Moor. We did though stop off at Castlerigg stone circle ...but again the light was poor and it was too cold to paint! Back home it was then, to play monopoly next to the aga!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Howk, Caldbeck.

Well it was a pretty damp and manky morning so up to Caldbeck and a walk up the Howk.

The elephants return!

These little cards are a total pain to make and aren't really commercially viable at the price I sell them for. I had stopped making any but here are a few more! People just seem to like them!

More mothing.....

A bit delayed are some pics from the gloriously sunny weekend we've just had the weather changes!

Left hand column: powdered quaker, satellite and chestnut.
Right hand column: water carpet, early thorn (2nd generation) and  Hebrew character.
Bottom: a pair of red sword-grass.