I was just about to start our first sketching workshop when suddenly, through the open doors of the Wildlife Trust HQ at Margrove, there was the sound of a bird making a noise like a fire alarm. This distracted me into telling a long and rambling anecdote about how I had managed to fix my mum’s smoke detectors only the previous day and my mum had been so proud of me as I had never ever shown any competence in DIY ever in my life. To be fair all I did was work out that it had a hinge cover rather than a twist/unscrew one but nevertheless this, in someone who sees the only reason for earning money is to pay someone else to do DIY, was majorly impressive. Can’t remember what the bird was, but I imagine most of it was brown – they usually are.
Anyway, we started off by just drawing a flower with no instructions from me, apart from to draw it as badly as they could as then after some help from me they would look like great drawers at the end of the day. Naturally once I’d suggested they do something badly they all came up with rather good attempts. Not put off by this I then demonstrated easy ways to draw accurately and lo and behold it was a lot easier and some cracking drawings were done.
Then, as the sun had come out, we wandered outside looking at the garden over coffee before heading out to the car park to do a habitat drawing. This was both difficult (i.e. people complained because they didn’t get it right first time…well hello, that’s life I’m afraid) and yet strangely everyone managed to produce something perfectly respectable before lunch.
The afternoon session was up in Woodhill Meadow sitting by the pond or a babbling stream sketching both a plant and its habitat in an hour – or anything plant related that caught the eye. It was proper idyllic as the sun shone and birds tweeted…no Bambi, but pretty close frankly (although I was grateful I hadn’t drunk too much liquid at lunchtime as the beck was very babbly and I’m just the wrong age now to hear too much by the way of stream sounds on a full bladder). Cow parsley, red campion, northern marsh-orchid, grey willow seed pods and emerging bracken were all subject to much scrutiny.
Then we all wandered back to the Trust HQ (except the lady I forgot and had to run back for…she was sitting completely engrossed in a red campion drawing, hidden on the other side of the stream, thinking only ten minutes had passed and not an hour) and I then talked about what people had done. Considering we only had a day, there was some really impressive work on show and I was really pleased that everyone had found something interesting and unique to draw.