Monday, September 29, 2014

Working a Wildflower Meadow

The wild flowers in the meadow I planted last spring have all produced seed heads which are now attracting a lot of birds. I've had a charm of goldfinches feeding here along with linnets and yellowhammers. My resident colony of tree sparrows are also really enjoying it.

I'm hoping this new 'larder' outside my living room window will feed this population over the winter and provide me with plenty of new painting models at the same time.

Some of my best compositions, like the goldfinch feeding on a thistle head, above, are of birds feeding on seed heads. 

In the summer the meadow was full of insects and butterflies, including marbled whites, which again became excellent models for sketches, like the one above.

On one occasion I counted 40 marble whites in just 20 minutes!

Most people's living rooms look out onto a nice neat lawn, but I look on to a meadow of wild flowers. I like to think it is not just a beautiful backdrop but also a working environment.

It took a bit of work to get it established and looking back it now seems a long time since the cold spring day I first sowed this mixture of seeds and even longer since I gathered the seeds from the banks in my gallery car park!

I also spent a lot of time preparing the ground. The seeds were sown in what is actually a very thin layer of soil covering 400 tons of solid chalk which had been dug out when my new studio was built.

Among the many species that have taken are wild carrot, red clover, ox-eye daisies, horse shoe vetch, self heal, yarrow and greater knapweed.

These flowers have also been useful as studies for my backdrops. I am still working on a picture of two hares in a wildflower meadow. What do you think of it so far?


  1. Wild meadows look so much better than mowed lawns. Your Goldfinch painting is just great. I also love to paint small passerines among the weeds and wildflowers.

  2. Beautiful photos, and I love the hares!