The Field in February

By Sally Pudney on 13th February 2020

Yesterday I made my February visit to the field at Aldham that I am painting each month throughout 2020 for my Twelve Months in an Essex Field project.

It was a beautifully sunny morning but with a very strong cold – icy! – wind. The sky was cloudless blue as I walked down the track to the railway crossing. The Clamp field, on the left of the track is misted over with green now – the wheat coming up! The headland along Walls field, How Hill, and my field – Martins – had been cut, and there were bird scarers in all three fields which kept making me jump! The ground was not as muddy as January, so I decided to walk around the whole field. In the shade of the trees there was still frost on the grass.

Down by the Roman River, looking through to How Hill field

There was a skylark singing almost continuously, robins flitting in and out of the brambles, and a pheasant ran out of the undergrowth by the river bank and ran off down the track squawking!

Periodically a big flight of pigeons went over – hence the bird scarers I guess! – and a lot of gulls flew in from the east at one point.

After Storm Ciara at the weekend the field edge along the river was littered with some quite big branches, and twigs which had blown off the trees – it was quite difficult walking through them!

Walking along the bottom of the field – the Roman River is on the left

I found a number of animal footprints where the ground was soft. All along the bottom of the field there were little hoof marks – maybe muntjac, or roe deer? And what I think was a fox print. And quite a few badger prints!

The top two are badgers, bottom left may be fox, and bottom right some sort of deer

The hazel catkins are starting to come out, and were hanging thickly on some trees in more sheltered places. Elder is the only tree actually coming into leaf.

I picked up a number of twigs to bring home to draw. Hazel (with catkins), one of the willows, possibly crack willow, blackthorn, field maple, and oak with a lot of crumpled dead sepia brown leaves still attached. It will be another little graphite drawing like I did in January. One of you lovely blog readers suggested that I might make these drawing into a series of cards, one for each month – and I thought What a good idea! Thank you for suggesting it, Brenda!

I’ve just finished priming up the board – 45cm square as all these field paintings will be – so I’m all ready to start my February painting tomorrow.

Hope you’re having a good week! 🙂

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