Each month has a single day drawn in the same location. Because it’s an ongoing project, I hope each written story will help make more sense of the rough first oil sketches below.
December – late afternoon
The day draws to an end beneath a dull blanket of low cloud. Ewes hunker down in the lee of a hedge and a fire smolders in the valley. On hilltop stubble hundreds of seagulls have gathered after foraging in the fields, the huge flock lifts repeatedly into the air to wheel and resettle. Finally they break apart into long undulating skeins as birds glide away toward the coast to roost. Beneath them by the barn two farmers check their sheep.
January – sunrise
A clear calm night brings the first heavy frost of the year. Dawn sunlight colours the sky and thaws the highest fields. Their yellowed winter grass glows with rare warmth but the lower fields remain in cold shadow and the deep valley bottom is shrouded in fog. A lone lapwing calls in the quiet air. Heavily pregnant ewes get up slowly leaving patches of dark thawed grass where they’ve lain overnight.
February – late morning
A day of heavy showers and towering cumulus, driven by a strong NW wind. The sky is a deep rain washed blue with a promise of spring, while below, an occasionally rainbow breaks through the cloud’s dark shadow. Gorse and blackthorn bloom and flocks of rooks tumble on the wind in their courtship flight. The ewes have gone to shelter to lamb but in the empty fields work goes on, shifting feed bales and flail cutting hedges.