Visiting the field – January

By Sally Pudney on 13th January 2020

This morning I made my first ‘official’ visit to the field at Aldham which is to be the focus of my main 2020 painting project Twelve Months in an Essex Field. If you are new here you can read all the background to this in my last post.

It was a bright sunny morning, with a little cloud on the horizon, but an icy cold wind. And the mud was epic! I can see that I shall be wearing Wellingtons on every visit until May!

The field I am focussing on is called Martins field, but all the fields have names. I walked down the side of Broad field, to the lovely old brick bridge over the branch-line which runs between Marks Tey and Sudbury – only to find that the gate was chained up! But this wasn’t going to stop me, so I climbed over, as close to the hinges as I could.

I did some drawing, took some photos, and walked a little way down the field towards the river. Lots of birds were in evidence – I heard a green woodpecker’s cackling laugh, the coughing crow of a pheasant, blue-tits twittering, and – much to my surprise – a skylark singing! I saw a redwing, a nuthatch and a beautiful buzzard which was soaring on outstretched straight wings. It glided over the field, circled over the hedge trees, over the next field, and vanished behind the treeline.

Walking the headland along the line of the railway cutting there were lots of knapweed and wild carrot seed heads, and one bush of field rose with brilliant red hips. I walked out of Martins field, and along the edges of How Hill and Walls fields, before crossing the railway line and walking back up the lane between Clamp field and Stable field. This is a better route to the field I’ve realised – no gate, and a bit less mud! The wind was really strong by now, and the clouds were building up.

It was a very successful visit, and I’m looking forward to making a start on my first painting tomorrow. But I was quite glad to get home and warm, with some hot coffee and the very last piece of Christmas cake! 🙂

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