David Bellamy – Nature’s Little Jokes

My recent silence is a result of being up in Snowdonia, at last finding some snow this winter to sketch and roll around in. At times ferocious winds made sketching something of a challenge, but I returned with several good compositions to work on. One subject I spotted while driving along first thing, and luckily there was somewhere to park. The scene that caught my eye was dominated by Esgair Felen – not perhaps an outstanding subject under normal conditions, but under deep snow and with the early morning light catching it, I just had to go for it.

I usually prefer to photograph a superb subject before sketching it, but as I arrived in position the sunlight faded. Still, I took some shots then hurried back to the car. Halfway back along the 150 or so metres the sun came out again, tempting me back. But I wasn’t playing that game. Without moving, I focused the camera on the mountain despite the fact that I could only see the top two-thirds or so, and fired away, catching the glorious light on the critical part at the top. Then I realised that I’d caught a new composition – the foreground in the shots was made up of crags and rocks, making the scene look far more remote than in actuality. OK, I didn’t have the lake in the scene, but I had a second exciting composition to play with.

The watercolour sketch includes the lake and I finished it off with Derwent Inktense pencils, which are excellent for giving a watercolour sketch a bit more power. Even for my sketches, however rough, I like to paint with the beautiful watercolour sables produced by Rosemary & Co. as they come to such a lovely point and make it a pleasure to sketch in this way. You can now buy my favourite ones from our web shop

By playing its little joke on me – albeit the pretty common one of making the subject disappear before my eyes, or losing its appeal – it had actually given me two compositions instead of one, so in future I must watch for this phenomenon more closely, as perhaps I’m missing out on many secondary scenes…….

7 thoughts on “David Bellamy – Nature’s Little Jokes

  1. It just goes to show there is do much in these islands of ours that compare, albeit in different ways, with anywhere else in the world. Thank you.

  2. I actually love Rosemary’s brushes and have used them for many years and have found that not only do they have a fine point but they keep it much longer than most other makes.
    Glad you had a good experience with the varying light and position. Are you going for a composite painting or two individual ones ???
    Can’t wait to see it (them)
    Alan (Yorkshire)

    • Alan, you’re right about Rosemary’s brushes: their points do last longer than most others. I won’t be doing a painting of the Esgair Felen scene for some time as I’m tied up with another project, but later in the year I’ll no doubt manage to get round to it. I will do two separate paintings eventually, rather than try to combine the two compositions. David

  3. Timely for me, as Snowdonia is my destination after your course in July. I always learn something from your blogs. Thanks!

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