Woodland magic

One day recently I planned a walk, and arriving at the start point I was about to set off when I heard the sound of falling water in the opposite direction. When I investigated the falling water it failed to interest me, but beyond it I could see a lovely woodland scene with a river gliding serenely amidst the pinewood. I forgot my original walk and followed the stream as it meandered along through the sunlit-dappled wood. Normally I can pinpoint likely spots of interest as an artist, but this took me by surprise, rather like entering the magical kingdom of Narnia.

Mossy banks, sunlit glades and artistically-placed fallen trunks added to the visual delight. I crossed a makeshift bridge and continued, photographing and sketching. The pines stood not in regimented rows, but as though placed by some great artist. Soon they gave way to a deciduous woodland, the stream became a more lively companion, tumbling and sparkling.

I sat on a mossy bump and ate my lunch, sketching at the same time the scene shown on the right. I also photographed it about 20 times, zooming in and out and trying different exposures. The results gave quite a startling variety of tones and even colours, driving home the lesson that these days, with digital cameras, it is worth taking loads of shots, trying to slightly change position, exposure and length of zoom with each one.

Looking at the scene here, the two bottom corners disturb me in that they are lit up, thus drawing the eye away from the centre, so I would subdue them with a dark wash, probably highlighting the right-hand ferns closer to the centre. Several of the trees also need subduing and simplifying, otherwise it becomes overwhelmingly detailed.

These landscape surprises are typical in Wales, and we shall be seeking out more in Pembrokeshire next month during my course in St Davids  There are still a few vacancies on the course.

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