A Brush in the Field

Richard Bell’s Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Friday, 4th April, 2008

Field Brush SetI WAS SHOWING YOU my new sketchers' watercolour box yesterday so today here's my new brush set - another Winsor & Newton product; the Cotman Field Brush Set with:

For me it will be the largest sizes that will be most useful; I can't imagine myself ever using the 00 and of course I'm more likely to start a drawing in pen than pencil. Perhaps I should try dabbing my watercolour with the small natural sponge, that's something else I've never used.

So why the new beginning re. art materials?

The Eagle Press

Well, for one it's spring and that's always a good time to make a fresh start but also, sad to say, Wakefield's long-running artists' materials and stationary suppliers, the Eagle Press in Wood Street suddenly announced that it would be closing a week ago and they've been selling off all their stock at half price so this is a good opportunity to stock up on my regular materials, such as Pilot Drawing Pens, sketchbooks, Rotring ArtPens and ink but also to try out new things like the brushes and the sketchers' watercolour box.

The following sketches were made with a brown Pilot Drawing Pen in 0.8 mm size. I was delighted to find a couple of these amongst the more popular black ink versions as brown fibre tip drawing pens of any kind are rather difficult to find. I also picked up a couple of Zig Millenium pens in 'pure brown' but I prefer the darker brown ink of the Pilot pen.

I got a lift in to the library with Barbara this morning and had one last rummage around in the now well picked over supplies on offer then walked back via a coffee stop at the Stork Lodge Café in Thornes Park and the cycle way, riverside path and canal towpath back to Horbury Bridge.

Tree Sparrow, Woodpecker and Chiff-chaff

tree sparrowA tree sparrow was taking a wisp of nesting material in the direction of conifers surrounding gardens behind the Cathedral School and adjacent Lupset Golf Course. It's lovely to see it because, like its close relative the house sparrow, the numbers of tree sparrows have declined in recent years.

woodpeckerI was sorry to see an expanse of brambles and willowherb disappear when these houses were built about 8 years ago but I'm glad to see the gardens attracting a variety of birds. A great spotted woodpecker flew down to a garden well supplied with bird feeders then up again into the branches of a Lombardy poplar at the edge of the golf course.

butterburButterbur, in both pink and white-flowered varieties, was growing by the weedy ditches (which contained frog-spawn by the bucket-load) at Dudfleet, Horbury Junction.

chiff-chaffI heard my first chiff-chaff at Addingford. It was so loud that at first I wondered if it was an odd-sounding great tit but I got a good look at it in the branches of a poplar, then heard one or two more in trees and bushes alongside the canal.