We are home after our break and straight back to getting stuck into organizing things here. ( All after delays and a late evening flight back to the UK.) Despite intermittent “baby sitting” duties whilst with the family we had a very relaxing week away, lots of walking and fabulous weather.
The early mornings were quite chilly where we were and we could discern the cold air hanging against the mountains above the trees as we strolled round to my daughter’s apartment after breakfast. As the sun rose higher and we took our morning walk the smell of pine was all enveloping as the forest warmed up. By afternoon it was really very hot in the full sun. The mountain ash trees were abundant with berries and looked amazing against the deep blue of the sky. Alpine meadows were thick with autumn crocus, but the other wild flowers were very much past there best this year after the hot, dry summer.
I didn’t have a lot of time for painting, but did manage a few quick sketches “au plein aire” . The forest slopes are full of “European larch” a number of which were obviously damaged by the unprecedented winter snow fall earlier in the year.
I did this quick sketch of a spindly specimen by the river during a walking break to enable GOS to check the cricket score in the last test match!
The European larch is a deciduous conifer, which means that unlike evergreen conifers, it drops its leaves in the autumn. Before they fall, the European larch’s leaves turn a brilliant yellow ( It was introduced to Britain in the 17th century.) In European folklore, larch was said to protect against enchantment. The wearing and burning of larch was thought to protect against evil spirits.
On my return home I did the following watercolour from a dramatically lit early morning photo I took along, what my granddaughter calls, the ” goat path”. We have a little stop part way along the track every time to say “hello” to a herd of very friendly little goats on the edge of the forest. (There is an “alpaca” path as well, in the opposite direction, but that group are housed behind a high chain link fence. Very interesting to watch – they seem to squabble a lot! ).
It is pretty windy here today with the remains of hurricane “Ali” causing tree damage – we have had a sizeable willow brought down – so I guess that will have to be dealt with now…..