Over the last few months and for the first time in a good few years, I have been attending some art Classes at our local art school KCAT, so I wanted to share some of the work they have helped me start to produce again, here on my blog!
The course has covered the subjects of drawing and of painting, I need to get my drawings and paintings so far captured so I can post them here, something I will do this week but for now here is an acrylic landscape painting, a view of a late February afternoon about 10 miles from home. I love these late winter days when its sunny, the Sun light on our green Irish landscapes is just amazing 🙂
I feel in the need for some inspiration having taken a break from blogging over the last month or two in order to help with some big projects, Now I find myself a little removed from any creative ideas…
So over the next couple of weeks I am going to take a closer look at the work of some of my most loved artists.
Hans Op de Beeck (1969, Turnhout) is a Belgian visual artist who lives and works in Brussels. For over twenty years he has exhibiting internationally.
I first viewed his work at the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny back in 2014 and was instantly taken by his film making, I love his view of the world and the way he reflects on the passage of time in his videos.
Here is just one such a film : Staging Silence
‘Staging Silence’ is based around abstract, archetypal settings that lingered in the memory of the artist as the common denominator of the many similar public places he has experienced. The video images themselves are both ridiculous and serious, just like the eclectic mix of pictures in our minds. The decision to film in black and white heightens this ambiguity: the amateurish quality of the video invokes the legacy of slapstick, as well as the insidious suspense and latent derailmentof film noir. The title refers to the staging of such dormant decors where, in the absence of people, the spectator can project himself as the lone protagonist.
Memory images are disproportionate mixtures of concrete information and fantasies, and in this film they materialise before the spectator’s eyes through anonymous tinkering and improvising hands. Arms appear and disappear at random, manipulating banal objects, scale representations and artificial lighting into alienating yet recognizable locations. These places are no more or less than animated decors for possible stories, evocative visual propositions to the spectator. The film is accompanied by a score which, inspired by the images themselves, has been composed and performed by composer-musician Serge Lacroix.
By Deb Jones
Every year I get a gallon
Of wildflowers seeds
February is when I toss them
Into the wind
In an ever widening circle
The moisture laden breezes
carry them over 10 acres.
And the field I leave the most seeds in
is actually a pasture.
Violets, yellows, whites and blues
They come in such beautiful coloured hues
A field of wildflowers grow
And I let them grow unknown
Until they bloom no more
A pleasure to look at
A treat to sit in the middle of
Sometimes we need color in our lives
For no other reason
Than “Why not?”
Moss is one of the most prevalent of woodland and forest plants, it covers almost all of the trees, living or dead. It green colour is one of the strongest to be found and when found in any patches of sun light breaking through the trees can be stunning.
Commercially there is a substantial market in mosses gathered from the wild. The uses for intact moss are principally in the florist trade and for home decoration. Decaying moss in the genus Sphagnum is also the major component of peat, which is “mined” for use as a fuel, as a horticultural soil additive, and in smoking malt in the production of Scotch whisky.
Sphagnum moss, generally the species S. cristatum and S. subnitens, is harvested while still growing and is dried out to be used in nurseries and horticulture as a plant growing medium.
The practice of harvesting peat moss should not be confused with the harvesting of moss peat. Peat moss can be harvested on a sustainable basis and managed so that regrowth is allowed, whereas the harvesting of moss peat is generally considered to cause significant environmental damage as the peat is stripped with little or no chance of recovery.
Some Sphagnum mosses can absorb up to 20 times their own weight in water. In World War I, Sphagnum mosses were used as first-aid dressings on soldiers’ wounds, as these mosses said to absorb liquids three times faster than cotton, retain liquids better, better distribute liquids uniformly throughout themselves, and are cooler, softer, and be less irritating. It is also claimed to have antibacterial properties. Native Americans were one of the peoples to use Sphagnum for diapers and napkins, which is still done in Canada.
In rural areas, types of moss were traditionally used to extinguish fires as it could be found in substantial quantities in slow-moving rivers and the moss retained large volumes of water which helped extinguish the flames. This historical use is reflected in its specific Latin/Greek name, the approximate meaning of which is “against fire”.
Preindustrial societies made use of the mosses growing in their areas.
Laplanders, North American tribes, and other circumpolar people used mosses for bedding. Mosses have also been used as insulation both for dwellings and in clothing. Traditionally, dried moss was used in some Nordic countries and Russia as an insulator between logs in log cabins, and tribes of the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada used moss to fill chinks in wooden longhouses. Circumpolar and alpine peoples have used mosses for insulation in boots and mittens. Ötzi the Iceman had moss-packed boots.
The capacity of dried mosses to absorb fluids has made their use practical in both medical and culinary uses. North American tribal people used mosses for diapers, wound dressing, and menstrual fluid absorption. Tribes of the Pacific Northwest in the United States and Canada used mosses to clean salmon prior to drying it, and packed wet moss into pit ovens for steaming camas bulbs. Food storage baskets and boiling baskets were also packed with mosses.
The forest floor is always full on life old and new, it offers amazing images with a macro lens and man times I just love getting in close and then waiting to see the captured images when I get home 🙂 .
In this image it was not until I looked closer that I noticed a small grub( Bottom Center of the image), munching away at all the dead wood, its these little insects that act as the recycling machines of the forest as they turn all the fallen trees and branches into a compose for new tree growth.
People for Bees
The Irish wildlife trust are running a People for Bees project across the country once more in 2019. With People for Bees we deliver accessible talks on bees, their identification and how to create bee friendly habitats.
This training includes practical outdoor sessions where participants practice field skills like bee identification, bumblebee monitoring and biodiversity record taking. The project is aimed at community groups and members of the public in every province of Ireland.
The Irish Wildlife Trust works closely with the National Biodiversity Data Centre to support the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and the Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme. With the new skills learnt through our People for Bees programme, participating groups have the knowledge and confidence to start carrying out bee population monitoring and habitat creation in their communities, thus completing two of the objectives of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan – “Making Ireland more pollinator friendly” and “Bee population monitoring”.
All-Ireland Pollinator Plan
In 2015 Ireland, North and South, developed a strategy to address pollinator decline and protect pollination services, the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.
Sixty-eight governmental and non-governmental organisations agreed a shared Plan that identifies 81 actions to make Ireland pollinator friendly.
You can take part, using the guides and resources provided by the National Biodiversity Data Centre for your garden, school, local community group or council and map those actions on the online mapping system, Actions for Pollinators, to help track the build-up of food and shelter in our landscape.
Sheeps bit – Wild flowers
The Slate Quarry at (Ahenny, Windgap, Co. Kilkenny) is one of our best local locations for wild life and wild flowers – at this time of year. There are three or four old open quarry pits most of which now form small lakes, along with many heaps of slate that remained in place after all the good slate in the area had been removed. In the summer the lakes are used for swimming in.
I often visit and today I captured these blue sheep’s bit flowers at lunch time and they cover most of the tops of the old slate heaps. Natural blue wild flowers are one of natures rarest finds so it was a true pleasure to see such a large amount growing in one place.
Here are some details about these very special little plants ….
Scientific Name: Jasione montana
Irish Name: Duán na gcaorach
Family Group: Campanulaceae
Also known as Sheep’s-bit Scabious, the books say this is a rather variable plant and can easily be mistaken for a composite or a scabious, but theAlso known as Sheep’s-bit Scabious, the books say this is a rather variable plant and can easily be mistaken for a composite or a scabious, but the florets have a 5-toothed calyx and not a pappus. Also the anthers in this plant do not project – unlike those of Devil’s Bit Scabious. I hope this helps. It is a pretty little downy biennial which grows in rocky places, cliffs and heaths up to 40cm high. It has bright blue rounded flowers aggregated in a compact head (15-25mm) which is borne on a slender stem. Its leaves have wavy edges and are hairy, grey-green and short-stalked. The plant is on flower from May to September. This plant is a native and belongs to the family Campanulaceae.
I first identified this flower in Laragh, Co Wicklow in 1976 and photographed it in Glenmalure, Co Wicklow in 2006.
florets have a 5-toothed calyx and not a pappus. Also the anthers in this plant do not project – unlike those of Devil’s Bit Scabious. I hope this helps. It is a pretty little downy biennial which grows in rocky places, cliffs and heaths up to 40cm high. It has bright blue rounded flowers aggregated in a compact head (15-25mm) which is borne on a slender stem. Its leaves have wavy edges and are hairy, grey-green and short-stalked. The plant is on flower from May to September. This plant is a native and belongs to the family Campanulaceae.
I first identified this flower in Laragh, Co Wicklow in 1976 and photographed it in Glenmalure, Co Wicklow in 2006.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre
It a pleasure to be into photography at this time of year, nature is in full flight and at her very best.
For many personal reasons I have no been posting regularly here on my blog for the first time in many years so it also a pleasure to be able to make a start again.
Last week I spent as much time as I could taking my much love Nikon and macro lens out into our local woodlands and capturing lots of nature images. Here is just one of the many images I managed to get the time to process so far.
Now that I am starting again to post here, I plan to be very specific this summer with my images and close-up nature images will be one of my main areas.
Family: Pieridae Swainson, 1820
Subfamily: Dismorphiinae Schatz, 1887
Tribe: Leptideini Verity, 1947
Genus: Leptidea Billberg, 1820
Species: sinapis (Linnaeus, 1758)
The Wood White is one of our daintiest butterflies with one of the slowest and delicate flights of all the butterflies. When at rest, the rounded tips of the forewings provide one of the main distinguishing features between this butterfly and other “whites”. Adults always rest with their wings closed. In flight, the male can be distinguished from the female by a black spot at the tip of the forewings that is greatly reduced in the female. This butterfly lives discrete colonies and was only recently separated from the visibly-identical Cryptic Wood White. This local species can be found in central and southern England and also in Ireland on the limestone pavements of Clare and South-east Galway. This species is absent from Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.