How to paint a morning...

Midgehole road in the morning mist

We were both awake super early so we got up and discovered one of those mornings where you know a good sunrise is coming. Over the last couple of months Dean has been painting our tree view, inspired by the way the sun illuminates the pigeon huts at the top of the hill at first light. This golden magic is always fleeting though and he hasn't managed to catch it yet but every time he tries he adds to a collection of beautiful little paintings all with different moods and lights. So, on discovering the morning, Dean went out into the garden to paint and I went out for a walk.

Midgehole road in sunset

It was incredible out, with wisps of mist moving about and that just-before-sunrise peace in the air. This particular hill (we call it the hill shaped hill) is always awesome but the wisps highlighted the scott's pines more than usual and there was such a vast palette of autumn colours.

 sunrise above Old Town Mill

I have a favourite spot in Hardcastle Crags at the moment, off up to the right of the main track just past the wishing well. I stood up high on a rock and watched the sun come up behind Old Town Mill. I knew that at that moment Dean would be in a flap with his paintbrushes trying to catch the moment before it was GONE! The thought of him made me smile.

first light on the beech trees Hardcastle Crags

I turned around to look behind me and discovered the woods being touched by that morning glow. 


I then realised that I probably looked as glowy as them too and the thought of us all being in it together made me smile too.

morning mist and sunlight through the beech trees

I leant with my back against a big old beech tree and thought about what I'd heard Agnes Becker of We Are Stardust talking about in one of her Instagram posts recently. She was talking about connecting to the nature we see around us by contemplating all the people and creatures who have come before us and have made up the landscape and the soil. It got me thinking about that the fact that once, the very solid tree that I was leaning upon, wasn't even there. What was its origin story? I heard a jay screeching nearby. Was it asking to be remembered for all the oak trees it had a hand in (or rather a beak in) planting?

sunrise and morning mist Hardcastle Crags by Hannah Nunn

The mist continued to seep in and out shaping and diffusing the light that was filling the woods as the sun rose higher.

sunbeam through an oak tree

I leaned in to photograph these birch catkins and saw this sunbeam through an oak tree.

sunbeaming through an oak tree

I was awestruck. I played about, taking photos and laughing out loud as it was so beautiful. I contemplated what John Muir Laws said on a Wild Wonder Foundation nature journaling lecture. He was talking about nature drawing versus photography and said that when you hear the sound of the shutter clicking there is a tendency to think you are DONE and you can move on. TICK! Moment captured! Whereas with drawing, you linger longer with no specific end point and experience the moment longer. I made sure that the shutter didn't end my immersion. I lingered. I bathed in those golden sunbeams. I felt as if the sun was beaming out of my body at all angles just like the tree.

I admit to also being very excited to share the photos I took. I knew there were some beauties on my camera roll.

On the way back the hill shaped hill was looking even more glorious, the scott's pine basking as the last of the mist lifted.

 postcard painting of an autumnal morning in Hebden Bridge by Dean Rebeiro

I got home just as Dean was peeling off the masking tape from around his painting. I think he captured the morning perfectly don't you?

I'm writing this post about two week after this glorious morning and we haven't had much sunshine since. Storm Debi blew a hole in our roof (now mended) and I have spent the last seven days with covid (still mending) but these pictures and the memory of the morning continue to lift me.

My friend said there was a lot of love in these pictures. She was absolutely right. And in the painting too. If you want to paint a morning (in whatever form), you've got to be there and you've got to love it. x




What a beautiful post. Felt like I was there too.

Brenda Lin

This is just beautiful from start to finish. The pictures are stunning, but your words and the way you describe your emotions just completes the picture for me. It also makes me feel connected to you as we have very similar woodland here in the Ariege (French Pyrenees) and I’m glad I am not the only person walking and laughing at the ridiculous joy of sunlight in the mornings! Get well soon. Jx


Wonderful pictures and words – thank you for sharing :)


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Hannah Nunn

Welcome to my blog

I'm Hannah Nunn, designer/maker of papercut lamps, wallpaper, window film and laser cut 'treasures' all inspired by the beautiful details of nature. Find out what inspires me and join me for walks in the woods and other adventures...


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