Posted on 15 Comments

The Bend in the Stream

Painting of woodland stream
Painting of woodlands in spring
The Bend in the River (73x100cm)

I am just going to post the photo of this woodland painting, it seemed to take all week to paint. I kept rushing out to take photos of the woods in the glorious (but worryingly warm) February sunshine we had early in the week, so I sort of lost my usual rhythm with the painting. Still, I doubled down and worked hard and I am pleased with the final result.

The clouds of pinkish trees off in the distance are hundreds of hazelnut catkins, catching the light. What I love about this ancient woodland is that, although its managed, and trees are cut back, and paths kept clear, fallen trees are allowed to rot in place. I have painted at several fallen (and falling), trees in this composition. Three lie in the stream, the other reaches across the canvas in an arc.

I’ll let you into a secret. I have been known to hug a mossy tree. They are like nature’s sofas. they are soft and springy. They provide so much for the eco-system. Mosses, lichens, ivy, and fungi grow on their surface and the creviced bark provide homes for hundreds of insects. The dying trees send nutrients back into their roots, passing on to their neighbors (who are usually their offspring). In our urban lives, we are insulated and somewhat shut off from the ebb and flow of natural life. My visits to the woodland remind me that life and death are constantly happening and that release from one form of life provides life for others. Don’t believe all that hype about “survival of the fittest”, nature is more sophisticated than that. It is all about balance, no one species rules the woodland, thousands live, cooperate and thrive here.

Here’s a fascinating TED talk about how trees communicate.


15 thoughts on “The Bend in the Stream

  1. Beautiful painting and deep thinking about nature, that’s really admirable!

    1. Thank you, Hein. Do you think about the ebb and flow of nature when you are watching and photographing birds?

  2. This is all true what you say about nature. I’m glad they keep it as it’s supposed to be. Lovely painting.

  3. Lovely work, Emma! (I have been known to hug trees, too! ) 🙂

    1. Thank you, it’s funny that “tree hugger” is used as an insult but its actually a nice thing to do.

      1. Yes! It feels really good to do! When I was a teenager, I used to climb trees and put my ear to their trunk and hug them up high and it felt so good, just listening to the noise they make in the wind! Soothing somehow – Thanks Emma, you reminded me of that! 🙂

  4. Ah… hugging moss covered trees….sounds like a good idea. Something that always fascinated me is how a tree trunk looks quite ordinary and then int he dampness of rain or fog suddenly the ale green lichen appears all over the trunk. Next day in the sun it is gone. Our driveway at home is lined with ornamental pear trees and I watch this transformation from out kitchen window.

    1. I think the moss and litchen needs a lot of moisture, something we have a lot of in Wales. Perhaps the lichen is still there when the sun comes out, only dried up.

  5. This painting literally glows! And judging by the size I’m betting it makes for an exciting first impression. Love it to pieces!💕

    1. Thank you so much, Alli.

  6. I watched the video just now. <3 Such destruction going on everywhere. You live in wonderful environment. I hope it lasts.

    1. It doesn’t happen by accident, local people and farmers manage the woodland, and I know that an organisation called the Gower Society has done a lot to stop the “development” (in otherwords, the destruction) of the unqiue natural environment of the Gower Peninsual. All the people who visit the beaches, heaths, cliffs and woodlands are indebted to them.

  7. Gorgeous! I love that mossy trees are nature’s sofas and that you’ve given one or two a hug.

  8. Prachtig hoe je de natuur wee rgeeft.Ben er blij door verrast

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