Ash die-back, framed illustrations, and a fish - December 3rd 2012

Story posted: Monday, 3. December 2012 by Lizzie Harper

I picked up two paintings from the framers this week, and they look brilliant, thanks to the skill of this excellent local framing workshop Fitting Frames.  I also had a jigsaw of the Waterbugs and Dragonflies image made up, since it's destined for a house with small children in, so I've included that in the photo too.

Two paintings recently picked up from Fitting Frames


I also sold a framed illustration of mixed wildflowers, which included hawthorn, sloe, and pyramidal orchid.

Hawthorn pyramidal orchid and sloe from sheet of mixed wildlfowers

Another two of my paintings, a salmon and a trout, raised a very decent amount at our local school Christmas fair (Hay on Wye Primary School), which was gratifying.

Salmon painting


I decided a useful project would be to research and paint a sheet of diagnostic symptoms, to help people identify ash die-back (now, according to the Woodland Trust identified at more than 257 sites across the UK, and I think a local friend has just found the first case in Herefordshire on his woodland).  What surprised me was how many different traces the disease leaves; cankers and damage to the stems, thinning of the tree crown, withering of sprigs and leaves (with a tell-tale black midrib along each leaf), little white fruiting bodies on leaf stipes and blackened twigs in leaf litter (of the fungus responsible, Hymenoscyphus pseudialbidus), and internal damage to the wood which leaves it greyish brown and mouldy.  I only have the thinning on the crown and a dying sapling left to paint, then the piece will be completed.

Symptoms of Ash dieback, Chalaria fraxinea including damaged leaves, wood, cankers, and fungal fruiting bodies

It’s a fascinating project, but also enormously upsetting; I’m very fond of ash trees with their hopeful upturned branches and beautiful black buds, and along with many other people, will be deeply saddened as the effect of this disease becomes more apparent across the British landscape.

I’ve also updated business contacts and done some more promotional work, and am hoping to send out my Christmas mail-shot next week. 

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