Sunday, 13 July 2014

Colour from the season - Bell Heather purple

I've been studying a few Moorland and Coastal plants of North Devon (and their colours) for a wonderful project I'm working on at the moment. For so many years I took for granted the ability of my eyes to endlessly re-adjust their focal range with ease from paper to subject to distance.  I think I did appreciate my sight at the time, but not as much as I do now it's fading and I'm using specs AND a magnifying glass to see fine detail!

When I think of moorland Heather it's a pale muted purple colour, but the hue of Exmoor Bell Heather's flower close up is the vivid magenta purple below! Maybe the colour memory is due to the moorland light, or perhaps it's redolent of later in the season when the flowers are ageing and turning a dusky purple pink then brown (as in the second and third colours in the palette below).

Tackling something far smaller than I would normally consider drawing with dip pen and ink (which is how I love to draw), involved masses of concentration to capture something of the personality of each flower and pay attention to every tiny leaf form and notice how it interacted with the space around it. Fascinating and laborious in equal measure!

Bell Heather (Erica cinerea) along with Gorse, Ling and Bristle Bent Grass according to the Exmoor Natural History Society, are the dominant plant mix on Exmoor. The Heather has just begun to come into flower and soon Exmoor will be a glorious carpet of this purply magenta, interspersed with splashes of Gorse yellow - it's breathtaking...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.