Reedbeds and reflections…

River Wensum at Sculthorpe Nature Reserve © Mari French 2017

River Wensum at Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve © Mari French 2017


Delighted to discover a new reedbeds landscape this week, this time at Sculthorpe Moor Nature Reserve, just outside Fakenham. It’s only 8 miles from my home but although I was aware of it, I haven’t visited before (a mistake), as I normally head for the north Norfolk coast and the saltmarshes and reedbeds there. 

Sunday was a blustery and changeable early spring day, with scudding clouds and more bright sunshine as the day unfolded. The reserve is larger than I thought with extensive winding boardwalks providing comfortable and easy exploration. Lots of benches too. I had my camera with me but no sketchbook, which I’m going to put right on my next visit (soon). 

Untitled. Mixed-media on paper © Mari French 2017

Untitled. Mixed-media on paper © Mari French 2017

Birches embracing, Sculthorpe Moor © Mari French 2017

Birches embracing © Mari French 2017

Mere and reedbeds, Sculthorpe Moor © Mari French 2017

Mere and reedbeds, Sculthorpe Moor © Mari French 2017

Reflections and bridge, Sculthorpe Moor © Mari French 2017

Reflections and bridge, Sculthorpe Moor © Mari French 2017


I loved the variety of habitat – white birch trunks standing out against the furze of woodland, the meandering river Wensum, its banks lined with pollarded willow, catkins already out, reedbeds and open meres (with great views from several hides). Lots of birdsong, which you’d expect in spring in a place popular with birdwatchers. Speaking of which, the peace and quiet was more noticeable and welcome given that any visitors encountered were talking fairly quietly being there mainly for the birds and wildlife.

Untitled. Mixed-media on paper © Mari French 2017

Untitled. Mixed-media on paper © Mari French 2017


Movement of wind in the reeds and bulrushes, sparkling sun on the water, movement of branches, reflections, fenceposts punctuating the reedbeds … these obviously all fed into my subconscious because a few days later in the studio, after some experimental markmaking, I produced these mixed media on paper pieces, which I’m rather excited by! (And yes, I did see some interesting birds).

thinking ink…

Having fallen behind with posts last couple of months, I’ve a fair bit of catching up to do. These are my latest playing around pieces, with inks, carried out in a rather cold studio this month.

The first two below also use paint pens, ink pencil and acrylic paint.

Untitled. © Mari French 2016

Untitled. © Mari French 2016

img_0383

Untitled. © Mari French 2016

I already use acrylic ink in liquid, pencil and block form in my mixed-media pieces, but I bought a few of the new Muted range of Liquitex acrylic inks recently and enjoyed experimenting with them. I did find that, for me, the muted ‘grey’ (purple really) and the muted violet (purple) need to be combined with other colours to bring out their beauty, but they’ve increased my arsenal so I’m happy. I also got the muted turquoise, which isn’t that muted and a bit garish for me, but never mind.

Winter, saltmarsh. © Mari French 2016

Winter, saltmarsh. © Mari French 2016

Oh, and they also mix successfully with acrylic paint too.

too hot, but painting anyway…

Sea lavender and marsh pools

Sea lavender and marsh pools © Mari French 2016

It didn’t take long for last week’s sketching inspiration at Thornham Saltmarsh (see my previous post Seeing purple) to find its way to my easel.

I really didn’t feel like going into the studio today, it was so hot (around 28 to 30c). I’m no good with heat (before those who live in really hot countries object!). The studio is in a hayloft, basically the roof space above an old stables, rustic, interesting, but baking today. Anyway, bearing in mind one famous artist’s wise advice (possibly Louise Bourgeois) to make yourself go into the studio even when you really don’t want to, in I went.

Glad I did now. Just painted for a couple of hours before lunch, but once I’d decided on this palette of sludgy purple and bronze, the rest followed. It may need a bit more work yet, but I’m feeling positive about it and enjoying this slightly different colour combination. The piece is painted in acrylics, with oil pastel and Inktense pencil scribbled into it.

 

Sea lavender and coal barn, Thornham Saltmarsh. © Mari French 2016

Sea lavender and coal barn, Thornham Saltmarsh. © Mari French 2016