Tag Archives: allotments

A Digital Quickie

17 Jul

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Got to the end of a busy day without doing a drawing so I grabbed my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet with a free drawing app called Markers and did a quick digital sketch of my foot. I used mostly opaque colours which gives it a sort of silkscreeny look.

Concrete And Astroturf??!!

16 Jul

loganberry cordial

Husb and I are keen gardeners, well, no, that’s not true. I’m a keen gardener and Husb would happily fill the garden with concrete and Astroturf! Our garden is small but we also have an allotment and grow a lot of fruit and some veg. At this time of year, we’re picking our produce which means spending time cleaning and preserving it. Today we made 6 jars of gooseberry and elderflower jam and 6 bottles of loganberry cordial and picked about 4 kilos of jostaberries (a cross between gooseberries and blackcurrants), a kilo of rhubarb and a load of rainbow chard. Not much chance of doing anything arty with all this going on, but I did this drawing a while back of our local castle which overlooks the allotments. It’s an idyllic place, we’re very lucky.

Tomorrow, I’ll be jamming all those jostaberries and making rhubarb chutney.

The Same Thing Every Year!

15 Apr

herstory

It’s the same every year on our allotment (community garden). Husb and I resolve to do the correct thing and work on it for an hour, then two, then three and so on, building up the muscles that have atrophied over the deluge that passes for the British winter. Unfortunately, the deluge keeps on happening in this little corner of Wales and so whenever there’s a rare glimmer of sunshine, we rush down to the allotment and work for as long and as hard as we can to keep on top of the couch grass and weeds that thrive in our temperate wet climate. Yesterday was one of those days. We went down in the morning to do a “couple of hours” but ended up working through nearly seven hours of hard labour. It felt great at the time but today….!!!! I’d be on my knees if I could bend down, which I can’t.

Welfare poster

This afternoon was the launch of a group exhibition that I have some work in, at The Welfare in Ystradgynlais. Here I am with “Herstory”, the collaborative piece I did for International Women’s Day with graffiti artist Unity. I think I’m making a good job of disguising the fact that every muscle in my body (so it seems) has seized up! Oh, and it poured with rain. Again.

The Scruffy Little Model

9 Apr

Scruffy cat

It was a really nice day today, not too warm, dry and perfect to get down to the allotment to make an early start on the Spring clearance and planting. The same thing happens every year, I say I’ll break myself in and do an hour at a time and work my way up but no, I did four and a half hours of digging, weeding, planting and hedge trimming straight off. And then got home and crashed on the settee. And didn’t do any art. So I grabbed my sketchbook and scribbled Little Ming who is asleep on the pouffé. She’s getting on a bit, she’s sixteen now but she’s always been a scruffy little thing.

Oystermouth Castle 2

As we walked across the park by the Castle to the allotment site, I noticed a swathe of bright yellow celandine and gleaming white wild garlic (Ramsons) tumbling down the grassy bank. I love the Spring.

 

I have put my series of drawings en plein air of ancient Welsh monuments on Artfinder.  If you want to see more, please click on the image below or the Artfinder link at the top right of this page. This one is the legendary grave of Saint Elfys (Elvis) in Pembrokeshire, not for from the Presceli Mountains. Elfys? Presceli? Elvis Presley? Coincidence? hhhmmmm

St Elvis

Rhubarb At The Castle

8 May
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Rhubarb in pen and graphite

Too warm for me today, temperature around 21 Celsius, so Husb and I didn’t get down to the allotment until about 4pm, when it was staring to cool off a bit and I could do a load of digging without flaking out. Our allotment is on a site sandwiched between two woodland glades and right behind the 12th century Oystermouth Castle in Mumbles. It’s an idyllic setting but the soil is poor, a heavy clay and very hard to cultivate. But it’s good exercise and we generally harvest a good crop of fruits. Most veg need a lighter soil so we’ve built some raised beds and we’ve had moderate success with leeks, chard, rocket, potatoes, runner beans and broad beans. I’m trying out some beetroot and peas this year. Brassicas are a non-starter; as well as the poor soil, everything eats them.

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Oystermouth Castle at twilight

 

If you would like to see some of my other artworks, please click here.

Allotment Break

4 Oct

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I spent almost all of September at The Bagpuss Window, a semi-derelict shop that became a spontaneous artspace for a few weeks before demolition. Ironically, after our awful summer of torrential rain, September was glorious and I was stuck indoors for most of it. I took the keys back to the owners last Thursday and spent the next 3 days taking an allotment break. It’s been neglected and needs a lot of maintenance as well as catching up with some Autumn sowing. It’s been lovely to be in the fresh air and gentle late sunshine, digging for hours. I love digging, I could do it all day. I planted some Meteor peas today and a late sowing of kale yesterday. I shovelled some manure onto a bed to lie fallow for a month or so, ready for a November sowing of Aquadulce broad beans.

Rain is forecast for the next couple of days so I can stay in and take stock of everything that happened at The Bagpuss Window. I took loads of photos and did a lot of filming so I need to start collating all the images and then decide what I’m going to do with them. So much happened and it would be a shame not to document and publish it. Here’s a detail of the large wall drawing I did. Most of it was spontaneous and done under the influence of gong music. More of that to come…..

Weeding And A Male Nude

6 Sep

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After one of the wettest summers on record, we’ve had a couple of dry sunny days, so Husb and I were off to the allotment which needed a lot of work after a month of rain. I had a huge amount of weeding facing me, everything has grown huge including the weeds. I did loads of digging and now I’m suffering.

 

Here’s the last of the life drawings I did a couple of evenings ago at Swansea Print Workshop using a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and a free Markers app. I’ve saved the drawing periodically so it can be put into a slideshow of the different stages.

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Big John

16 Apr

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Went up to the farm a few days ago to collect a load of manure for the allotment. I stopped to have a look at the pigs, feeding in a big field. Most were quite dainty sows but there was one boar, Big John, with enormous tusks, a Mohican hairdo and a massive personality. Out came the A5 hardbacked sketchbook and Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens and Big John got scribbled.

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It was really hard at first because I’m not that familiar with piggy anatomy and like many animals, he moved constantly. But after some tentative speedy scribbles, I got into my stride and did a few, just as fast, but with more confidence and certainty. Don’t worry vegetarians, he’s a much loved piggy living a happy life; he’s not destined for the table.

Poo To Pool

11 Apr

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Husb and I spent a fair chunk of the day shovelling farmyard manure, transporting it from the farm to the allotment. Then a quick bath, change of clothes and off to a pool party celebrating the birthdays of 3 little relatives.

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Of course, I had to have a scribble or two. They’re very speedy sketches, kids are fast moving targets. They have such impossibly skinny legs, like bambis, you wonder how they can walk. I used graphite into my A5 hardback sketchbook.

Staying In

26 Oct

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After helping out with painting walls at the new Workers’ Gallery in Ynyshir yesterday, today was much more restful. The clocks went back last night so we had a rare lie-in this morning and a lazy day, clearing the last of the runner beans off the allotment – we picked a carrier bag full! Guess what we’ll be eating all week? I also picked kale, chard, rocket, French sorrel and a few straggly carrots.

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So this evening we are cwtched in front of the TV, in our pajamas and I have Sparta Puss on my lap, conveniently placed for a bit of a scribble on my Samsung Galaxy Tablet Note 8 with the free Markers app.

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