Recently, I took another canvas to the spot on Winnies Hill where I have sketched the willow tree a few times now. This time I worked in oils, still trying to keep the sketchy quality, and not overwork it. The day was a little overcast but with sunshine peeping through now and again. How many times have I recorded this scene now?! Still, Monet painted his haystacks at least 25 times so I still have a way to go!
Yesterday, I went a little further afield to Waterend Ford. The river Lea runs under a low bridge where you can sit and dangle your feet in the cool sparkling water. I stayed for a while considering sketching the river there, but then decided to walk along the Lea Valley footpath which runs from the ford for a couple of miles to Wheathampstead. I carried my sketching stuff and walked along the narrow path, almost overgrown with high nettles. You can sense the river but not quite see it through the dense undergrowth and trees. Gradually the path widens as it comes to the edges of fields, there is tufty grass with tall thistles all fluffy with seed, and various wild flowers of the tough variety! After a mile or so I find a turn in the river that looks like a pool, with, yes! a bendy willow tree. I open a new big sketchbook and do a hasty drawing, splashing on the watercolours.
It is overcast and I feel slightly uneasy sitting there alone, so I decide to go and find the part of the river further down where it is shallow and the children are playing. The sun comes out! time for a paddle!