Frosty mornings and African stone chats

“It is a serious thing, just to be alive, on this fresh morning, in this broken world.” Mary Oliver

Monday mornings trail run was certainly more than fresh. Often it is so tempting to stay at home, sensibly wrapped up and warm, then have to face a chilly run. But, I kept my appointment with my beloved mountain and showed up.

The frost was severe but so beautiful. Even the longer grass had not been spared and it looked as though someone had spray painted it white during the night. I stopped many times just to admire the effect of the ice encrusted leaves and stems of the bushes and grass. They looked as though they had been doused by a heavy hand with a thick layer of powdered icing sugar.

frosted leaf

The veld in Winter is pure magic. It is a rich tapestry of colour and texture, a feast for the senses. From  the tawny ochres and sepias, to the bleached straw of the grasses.

winter leaves

Near the top of the towers another bird has caught my attention. The ‘African stone chat’. These birds are more striking than their cousins the ‘Buff streaked stone chats’, as they have a lovely rich ‘brick red’ plumage. There are not as many of them either but they are beautiful and eye catching. I decided to use my pastels and charcoal for a change, although I love the illustrative quality of working in pen,  I wanted to try and capture the richness of the colouring of this bird.


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