I’d not seen anything in the way of a colourful butterfly this summer until we had some rain

then after the drought broke a couple of weeks ago with storms there were two commas in the garden, but nothing more except various whites until earlier this week

the commas were back

and two small tortoisehells

but they don’t seem to visit my garden often

the buddleias will soon be over

so I took several photos

but at the end of July, after the wind and rain, I found these butterflies again on the edge of the wood

the silver-washed fritillaries

I was quite surprised that they had survived our awful contrary weather this year

I counted about ten

feeding on thistle and knapweed

they are the biggest fritillary, and glide and swoop around the edge of the wood into the conservation grass

with closed wings they are very well camouflaged on the dead thistles. I look forward to finding them here again next year.

the thistles themselves are wonderful subjects

using the hipstamatic app on my phone makes them look even more dramatic.

on the Bayfield estate there are some fields of mixed planting, for pheasants but also wild birds and insects. chicory seems to be a thing too.

we walk round the “bird walk” about once a week. there’s a lot of shade if you’re early when it’s hot.

and the Glandford ford for a paddle

I feel a few paintings coming on from these fields

meanwhile some of us in the village hall painting group had a go with oil paint. and it’s true, it’s much nicer to paint with than acrylic. I still have usable oils from 20 years ago and more – including flake white, made of lead carbonate, which you can no longer buy unless you are licensed as a restorer.

I was inspired by Richard Scott antiques, where they have very pretty flower arrangements amongst the antique porcelain and glass.

but for the time being I am thinking of doing some big landscapes on some canvases I stretched and started fifteen years ago. watch this space!