Katkins in the sun

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A warm evening in March, out at Westport lake. One of my favourite places for a walk. Over the last few years the trees have grown and the management of the lake has been taken over by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. The sun reflects off the water and ripples from the swimming birds make it sparkle. The lake was artificially created from the remains of a marl pit (where they dug out the clay for potteries) and old mine workings. It was created for wildlife in the 1980s I think when Shelton Bar Steel works closed ?

Life spreads and grows. Greenery overtakes the tallest buildings, ivy scrambles, buddlea infiltrates. And beauty comes from waste and destruction.

I promised myself I would paint.

Today I started a painting for the first time in months. I saw an image by photographer David Tipling of a Barn Owl from a Staffordshire Wildlife Trust bookmark and just had to paint it.

Why the owl? The photographer has captured it in flight beautifully  The sinuous curve of its wings seems to scythe through the air. Its face is both impassive and intent.

I hope the photographer does not mind me painting his image.

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Sunday walk

After all the fun of the panto we went for a Sunday afternoon walk round  westport lake.

As the temperature had soared to over 16 degrees it was very busy and we only just managed to find a parking space. After a lunch in the visitor centre we got some duck food and walked about two miles round the lake. There are catkins on the trees and baby iris plants starting to come up along the edge of the lake  The site is now run by the Staffordshire wildlife Trust who have done a lot of groundwork to make the place much more pleasant for people and animals alike.

Well worth a visit.