Monday, May 24, 2010

Buckthorn in Bloom (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.)

20 May finds me "Out Back" of our house in Bishops Mills, to see what Buckthorn flowers look like - tiny yellow stars where each bunch of oval leaves emerge on the twigs.

Buckthorn is the most widespread invasive alien shrub, displaying amazing variation in leaf and branch shape and texture, depending on where it is growing.  Some bushes have long thorns, and some have none at all.  On our land this variability is mostly the result of how recently Fred has cut it down, as the thorns grow more on older branches, especially the shrubs that are out in the out in the open.  We have a campaign of suppression, cutting and feeding to caged Rabbits and Goats in an attempt to mimic the natural herbivory that Buckthorn lacks in our North American landscape.  Elsewhere it grows rampant, filling fencerows and replacing the natural understory in some forests.

It is a day of changing weather, and I risk losing the afternoon sunshine and having my painting rained on - but I set my stool in front of a low hanging branch and paint fast.  I have a violet gray underpainting and most of the leaves in place before the sky darkens and the wind rises, tossing my twig about - so I must rely on the photos I took on my arrival, to finish the painting...

This original painting is available for $275. For information on purchase and shipping please contact me at

1 comment:

  1. This is Rhamnus cathartica the Common or European Buckthorn. We also have had, since 1985, some of the Rhamnus frangula, or Frangula alnifolia, the Shining or Alder-leaved Buckthorn, but on our dry oldfields it's much less aggressive (and the bunnies don't much favour it). In nearby Limerick Forest, however, the whole style of logging has had to be changed because the Shining Buckthorn comes in so densely and rapidly under any new opening in the canopy.


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