My latest 'plein air' adventure resulted in some fairly poor art, as usual, but that didn't matter in the slightest. I'm rapidly coming to the opinion that the 'art' is secondary to the sheer enjoyment of getting out into the countryside, on foot, ambling along listening to the birds, taking in the fresh air and enjoying the wildlife.
This time I headed to a 'wet' area near here that doubles up as a 'flood plain' receiving all the run-off water from the nearby concrete jungle. I followed a path alongside our main river, and after about a mile found that the river ran alongside a lake with the path being on a narrow strip of land between the river and the lake. It was there that I spotted a small shack under a tree in a field being ploughed by the farmer. I decided this was to be the subject of my painting. I set up my kit just to one side of the path and sat looking out across the river.
Being a 'townie' and never having had anything to do with sheep, or any other animals apart from my pet dogs, I admit to feeling somewhat insecure sitting in the path. So I stood up. I was hoping to make myself look big enough for them not to charge .... or is that Bulls? Anyway, I stood my ground and waited to see what would happen.
I need not have worried because, once they'd approached a little nearer, as if on command from some invisible shepherd, they smartly moved into rows of two.
If this had been a class of school children under the watchful eyes of their teachers I could not have been more impressed.
Most of them walked calmly passed without so much as a glance in my direction, though some were mildly inquisitive and couldn't help try and get a peep at my half-finished painting.
Some looked as if they wanted to say "Good morning" and have a chat.
And after several minutes of watching them stroll passed, still they came. My best estimate, for what it's worth, is that there were something like 100 sheep in all.
But I soon felt at ease with them and returned to my painting, aware that they were steadily passing by just behind me.
Though feeling more confident now, when one of them suddenly let rip with a loud and rasping "Baaaaah", I jumped a mile and almost spilled my paints. Good job I didn't or this little guy may have received an unexpected make-over.
As I suggested at the beginning, the 'art' that took place that day was not very satisfactory. Within minutes of starting the watercolour I wasn't very pleased with the way it was going. I think we know when something just isn't working. Rather than persevere or worse, start over, I just left it. However, later at home I took a different view and decided to finish it from the reference photo's I'd taken.
And as I walked back along the river path I could see part of a Quarry over some bushes around a bend in the river. I climbed up on a fence for a better view and sat there to do this quick pencil sketch
I'm looking forward to my next walk ... whether I get to paint or not. ;-)