One thinks that one can, at times, have an almost romantic view of the nature that is around me.
Only for nature to give me a quick, sharp, jab of reality.
I had in mind this week to actually take my sketch book, along with my watercolour set, outdoors! A big step for me.
The setting – a small stream flowing around several bends, long grass atop of sandy banks, small islands of pebbles scattered along the shallower parts. Serine indeed, with the soundtrack of trickling water to relax with.
The plan was for Spot and myself to nestle in on a lower part of a bank, away from the sight of passing dog walkers, and just relax. My artwork not on show, thus reducing the anxiety of publicly sketching and painting, snacks and a flask of fruity green tea to hand.
One thought it may be prudent to goto the location today – pre sunset – just to have an idea as to where one would like to be situated. Armed with my trusty Tilly hat, covered in the most repugnant anti-mosquito spray I have, just in case, one took Spot for a little walk.
The air was still and warm from the days earlier summer temperatures, the stream was low, much lower than what one remembered it from last time, but this served only to make the pebble islands have greater character, a real bonus for the artwork to come in the following week. The long grass brushed gently against bare skin of my lower legs, parting ways in front as Spot pushed through, for her, a towering forest of green. Her white tail wagging all the while.
Yes, this was a pleasant walk.
A spot was found that would be suitable for the later excursion, secluded, and a flat area large enough that a seat could be placed on the ground for Spot and myself to share, whilst being able to place the art materials around in an orderly fashion. Yes this was the spot.
We sat for a while admiring the view, then the gnats must have gotten used to the smell of the repellent, and I became a viable option for lunch, vowing to wear much more next time I stood up.
The low angle of the sun, now setting, made the gnats shine as they flew around. They shone like the droplets of water that makes up the mist, swirling in a thick mass – at head height. And yet my head height was only level with the top of the bank, I had yet to climb up into that swirling mass of glistening white, currently starting to obscure the view of the surroundings, I had no other exit. One just hoped that the stinky repellent was enough to get clear of the area – quickly! Without all exposed areas of skin bitten. One has never seen so many gnats as one did today.
The sketching trip I think will be changed to a quick visit for photo’s, as I do not think that even if the entire bottle of spray was to be used, it would be enough. Even as the memory is recalled it is making me itch.
So far I am lucky not to have bites starting to develop.