after the heat, the rain and grey glum damp weekend, the sun is back and it has brought a new crop of butterflies with it.

today in my garden there were at least six painted ladies on the buddleia

plus a peacock and two red admirals, and more of the gatekeepers and large whites/veined whites which are the most common.

in the rough headland by the wood there are plenty of thistles which feed all sorts of insects

 

this beetle is a harlequin longhorn (Rutpela maculata), at least it seems to conform to the description here with its very long stripy antennae which you can just see, and its wasp-imitating yellow and black wingcases. It’s not in my insect book, or there with another name.

as in my garden, painted ladies consort with red admiral, gatekeepers and large whites

Bimba and I wade into the long grass and flowers (including these splendid marsh thistles) to see if the the silver-washed fritillaries are flying. it’s a perfect hot morning for them, and here there are thistles, knapweed and hemp agrimony, all three favourite food plants.

the hemp agrimony loves damp places and this is a soggy bit of land. once it was ploughed and there were big ruts full of water at the edges here. now it has a wonderful range of wild flowers which are spreading out from the scrub wood which was once a wet meadow.

and here they are, leopard-spotted and large, flying and feeding together with the painted ladies

I was here ten days ago and there were none

I didn’t see as many this morning as last year. it was only 9.30 am so maybe a little early in the day.

think I saw about six. and several painted ladies.

there were also a couple of common blues. missed it with the camera, but there was one on this st john’s wort.

fleabane here. maybe I should try rubbling in on my skin as an insect repellant. three horseflies had a go. last time I was here one did get me.

after the richness of butterflies off the beaten track, the lanes seemed barren and empty. even this once-tarmac lane which is full of field scabious and st john’s wort had very few butterflies this morning. not enough thistles, and the grass field next to it has one kind of grass only, no flowers, just a little patch of clover at the opposite corner.

it was a bit hot for Bims this morning. one needs to be very careful with dogs, they can easily get heat stroke. when we got back she immersed her front legs in the deep water bin I keep full for her, and had a good drink. never mind that she comes from Spain; they don’t have this high humidity there.

last week the Holt festival had a little exhibition of Lucy Rie’s pots and I took a few photos.

they are like exotic butterflies, delicately thrown in porcelain

or stoneware glazed with “volcanic” effects

I love her tall forms, they inspired my “listening pods”

perhaps when working on this painting at Art Group this week I was subconsciously inspired by that zinging yellow bowl. there is something butterfly like about the shapes too. never mind that stripy beetle!

both these are 50 x 50 cm. square canvases make painting abstracts easier, I’m sure. I’m building up layers and scratching through with the point of a small palette knife. in hot weather it’s much easier to get the acrylic paint thick but I have to be quick to make the scratch marks.