Fig. 1 Burnt sienna oil paint with equal amounts of wax mixed and spread on to the oil paper with a brayer and then scraped the trees out with a credit card.

Fig. 2 Wax was added to Burnt Sienna, Indian Yellow, Ultramarine Blue and applied with a brayer and left to dry overnight before scraping out the pattern.

I had taken a photograph of a tree log infested by fungi, which was the inspiration for the palette knife paintings I have shown in stages as it progressed Figs. 3-5. The choice of colours were Ultramarine Blue, Indian Yellow, Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Orange, Yellow Ochre, Cerulean Blue and White. I was trying to replicate the texture and the feeling of depth in the fungi on the log. Thick oil paint was applied generously with a palette knife in a diagonal fashion from top right to bottom left in the direction the log was laying, picking out the tonal areas without being too exact. I was just finding out what worked and I went with the flow, following my intuition.

Fig. 5 Tree log with fungi in oils – stage 3

I added more paint to fig. 2 and left it to dry for a day before coming back to reflect on the work already done. I felt it needed texture and definition, so I used a paint brush to add more depth by adding dark to lift out the light areas. I enjoyed the freedom of applying the oil paint with a palette knife and felt the experiment went quite well.

Fig.6 Is a Watercolour on Hahnemuhle 435 g/m2 block 30 x 40 cm from a photograph. Comments from the Crit Meeting on 8th May were – it feels like hands coming out to get you – mysterious, seen to be not quite there – reflections are a good theme.

I managed to get wrapped up very well to go into Jubilee Park to paint Fig. 7 The Bird Cherry Tree before the blossom disappeared. It took me about two and a half hours to complete it. I tried using masking fluid to keep the white areas for the blossom but it looked too stark so I softened the edges and added darks to give the tree depth. Fig. 8 Blenheim Apple Tree is in soft and hard pastels. I invented the background to give it a little space as it is in our garden in front of a fence.

Fig. 9 Abstract No. 2 was another response to the Tree Log with fungi but this time dropping acrylic ink on a 425 gm sheet of watercolour paper. I love the way it blends and makes a fabulous range of colours. I was tempted to define the edges in some areas in black ink but left it for now. I may come back to it later when time allows.

Fig.10 White Hawthorne Tree in Pencil was a challenge in how to show the lovely fronds of blossom, whether to draw around them or lift them out with a putty rubber. I tried both and also in the bottom left corner I did a small experiment with tiny marks of masking fluid and dropped the watercolours on then waited until it was dry and rubbed the masking fluid off. I have been reading David Hockney’s new book about his iPad paintings and saw the tiny dots for blossom on his paintings.

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