Originally scheduled for March 2020, through multiple Covid postponements, Felicity Flutter and I finally reached Brisons Veor on the 19th March 2022 in beautiful sunshine but strong gusty winds.
And we remembered to check the Kurt Jackson Gallery in St Just where a new exhibition had just opened. Kurt's paintings and dedication to Climate Action is legendary but I was particularly taken by the delicate work of Sally Baldwin:
After 2 years of restrictions, it feels very different to be here this time. The desperate need to draw and experiment with materials has gone - there has been plenty of time for playing in the studio. Instead I feel a need to explore outside to see how the landscape has fared, to practice and compare my wildlife knowledge, to find new creatures to enfold into my learning. A need to spend time in contemplation, reflecting on how the #flightpathcommunityproject will develop and what else I can contribute to the fight against insectinction.
Despite being a month earlier this time I was surprised to notice much more in the way of wild flowers and insects. The windy weather (it felt like gales at times) didn't appear to deter the insects from making the most of the sunshine and grapple the Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) which were flowering everywhere. I have since learned that flowers have special cones to enable insects to "hang on" while they feed and gather pollen. Where photographing insects is difficult at home as they fear the camera, here the problem was holding the plant still in the wind!
Very impressed with the camera on my Google Pixel 6 phone and particularly loved the vibrant Dung Fly climbing across the flower head.
Apparently the Wasp, although common, has rarely been recorded in that part of Cornwall. It took me a while but eventually discovered she is Vespula Rufa
I was pleased to spot queens from most of the main Bumblebee species at various points on my walks. I always find Carder bees very difficult to photograph - they were either clinging on underneath the Allium triquetrium or had their heads right inside the primroses and rarely stayed long. Dandelions were nowhere near as popular as the Alexanders but I did spot a couple of tiny Solitary Bees delving amongst the petals. The queen Red-tailed Bumblebee was far too quick amongst the Gorse bushes but you can just about spot the ring of mites below her thorax hoping for a ride into her nest.
The Salix was absolutely full of Honeybees one day but when I walked past later in the week they had all disappeared and I spent quite a long time watching an Early Bumblebee and a Buff-tailed Bumblebee, the latter being far too high in the tree to get any photos. I've only recently learned to identify the Early Bumblebee, it's tiny and you can just see the red in the tail but it does look a bit like a small version of the Buff-tailed Bumblebee.
As I was wandering the lanes looking at all the insects I realised how much my identification skills have improved over the last few years. I have begun to instinctively "know" what some of the insects are without having to run through a list of characteristics and equally I'm pretty sure when something is not as it should be. I suppose it's a bit like learning a language - suddenly you are thinking in that language rather than translating each word.
Last time we walked along the South Coast Path to Sennen and it felt a long walk along the windswept cliff with little to see. Using the resources at Brisons I found a new circular walk which took us up Kenidjack Valley into St Just and back round via Cot Valley. There were some lovely pockets of wild flowers along the paths and it encouraged us to explore the Kenidjack Valley and head north towards Botallack mine as the weather improved.
We followed the stream to the coast on one of the best wave days of the week.
The offshore wind brought some amazing waves - perfect reference for Flic's exquisite Wave paintings. These photos were taken from using my phone and don't really do justice to the wild of these rocky shorelines.
And then I followed the Coast path north along the cliffs, discovering tin mines at every turn.
The cornish hedges continued to inspire especially when silhouetted against the stormier skies
And there were treasures to be found in the rockpools just below the house at low tide:
One week was far too short - much to reflect on
Don't forget to go out at night
When there's something happening in the studio you might like to know.
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