The National Dahlia Collection at Varfell grows within sight of St Michael's Mount in Cornwall. The field is filled with colour, with the dahlias taking many different forms. This year the single flowers were particularly fascinating to me and the bees. There was quite a buzz.
A botanical tour of The Altai Mountains of Kazakhstan in June 2015 was made more fascinating by the wealth of butterflies, some familiar, others excitingly new. I came to a new appreciation of white butterflies, most notably the Apollo with its lovely markings and translucent wings. Many will enter my art, but enjoy them first in this short introduction to the butterflies of this corner of Kazakhstan.
With a round trip of almost 250 to deliver artworks to The Devon Guild of Craftsmen at Bovey Tracey I always go up onto Dartmoor during my visit. A favourite place in the quarry below Haytor, full of life and fascination for an artist.
Some ferries have particular charm and the very individual Odessa, that crosses the Zaissan Reservoir in Kazakhstan is one you have to love. Among the fellow travelers are swallows, sparrows and wagtails, all residents of the ferry following the bugs across the water and back again.
Two visits to the Burkhart Pass, with its mass of alpine flowers under a blue sky was the highlight of a botanical tour of The Altai Mountains of Kazakhstan in June of 2015. Acres of Violas reached up to snow-melt were they kept company with gentians and erythroniums. White anemones echoed the forms of the white clouds scudding across the sky ,and irises scented the air.
While delivering artwork to The Devon Guild of Craftsmen I noticed people pause and look over the parapet of the bridge, down into the clear, golden water of the river below.
Crete is an island of mountains. Famed for the beauty of its flora, it is a place I have always wanted to visit in spring. I have just returned from a botanical tour with Greentours http://www.greentours.co.uk/ a wonderful experience providing a wealth of visual material for my art. These are the plants and landscapes that will inspire my art through the year to come.
Choughs are the emblem of Cornwall but for most of my lifetime they were absent from the county. They returned in 2001 and now many walks along the coast of West Cornwall are accompanied by their calls as they fly with the jackdaws. They pair for life and are almost always seen in couples. Poldark is not the only romance among the tin mines on the Cornish cliffs.
In early spring I yearn for sunshine so I can bask in its warmth and light. The same is true for overwintering butterflies such as the Peacock Butterfly on the cliff above Nanjizal.
The Podolico cows of Southern Italy roam free in the landscape. How I wish all cattle had this experience, it was a joy to witness.