Tag Archives: foraging

Quickies In The Sun

5 Aug

3 quickies in the sun

A dry and sunny day in August is as rare as hen’s teeth in these here parts so despite smothering with a cold and sore throat, Husb and I put on our jackets and drove down to Southgate on the Gower Peninsula for a couple of hours. I sat in the sunshine on the clifftop and did some quick and tiny watercolour studies, en plein air, using Winsor & Newton half pans onto a rough Saunders Waterford watercolour paper (300 gsm) from St. Cuthbert’s Mill which comes as a glued block. I haven’t used glued paper before and it’s brilliant, no need to stretch the paper before use. I tried to ignore the detail of what I saw before me and concentrate on getting down the colours while Husb picked blackberries. He’s in the kitchen now, getting this year’s Bramble Jelly started. mmmmmmmm 😀


Bruises, Plums And A Nude

31 Aug

Pat portrait

Today there was sunshine! After a month of monsoon we had a dry day so Husb and I tackled our back garden, which had grown into a lush jungle after all the torrential rain throughout August (apparently the wettest August since records began). It’s become so overgrown that we spotted a huge rat hiding in it a couple of days ago. We did about 6 hours and my Felco secateurs were so over-used that I now have a bruised and painful right hand. That’ll teach me. An artist without a usable hand is pretty useless! I’ll rub some Arnica cream in before bed.

Went to visit Mam-in-Law later and she’d foraged about 3 pounds of plums so I’ve got a pot of plum chutney simmering on the stove. Husb had to help me cut up the fruit because my hand is so sore. I used a recipe from Mam-in-Law’s old cookery book that was published over 60 years ago. I adapted it to modern tastes; garlic wasn’t common back then and I used fresh instead of ground ginger and wine vinegar instead of malt. I’ll be putting it into jars about 11pm, but it’s worth the effort. There’s nothing quite like cheese on toast with home-made chutney.

This is another of my older drawings, done about 8 years ago (doesn’t time fly?) when I was experimenting with watercolour and drawing pens. I like the way my brain just turned everything so psychedelic. It wasn’t planned. Maybe I should be worried…… 🙂

Funny Old Day

27 Aug


It’s been one of those bleurgh days that feel like nothing’s been done, although when you add it up, it’s not such a waste of space after all. Husb and I have been foraging for blackberries for the past couple of weeks, apparently it’s a bumper year, and we’ve made a fair bit of bramble jelly and blackberry cordial. We’ve been stockpiling the pulp in the freezer and got it out today to sieve the seeds out of it. Long and tedious, but there was nothing much else to do in this miserable weather. I added three quarters of a pound of sugar to each pound of pulp and cooked it up in a preserving pan, making 5 jars of blackberry butter. It’s excellent for filling a classic Victoria Sandwich and I like it dolloped on a warm croissant.

Fruit butters were popular with the Victorians and are a good way of using up pulp when you make jelly and cordial (that’s the British jelly, which is like jam without the bits).  I always use the classic book on preserving by David and Rose Mabey, which gives interesting facts and history about the different preserves as well as excellent recipes. I bought it when I were a lass back in the 1970s and it’s falling to bits now, but I’ve never found a better one.

I hadn’t done any drawing throughout the day so I quickly sketched Husb this evening as he watched BBC4s ‘Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds, A Tale Of Three Cities’, an excellent mini series on the arts narrated by James Fox. This week it’s Paris in 1928. Fascinating. It was Vienna 1908 last week and New York 1951 next week. I used my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet and a free Markers app, sketching in white and greys on top of a dark ground, his face lit up from below by his laptop.

Daps And Brambles

26 Aug

beach 2

Husb and I are making the most of the gentle weather to get down to the beach as often as possible. It’s a beautiful place and not as appreciated as it should be. We had a good walk this evening at high tide and an added bonus ….. there were loads of brambles in the woodland fringing the beach and we foraged four pounds (almost 2 kilos) of ripe blackberries. They’ll be converted to blackberry jelly tomorrow. I can smell them cooking now, filling the house with the scent of late summer.

beach dap

I stood at the edge of the waves and had another go at drawing the sea, concentrating on finding marks that conveyed the impression of water. I haven’t cracked it yet, long way to go, but I’ll persevere. It was much easier drawing my dap. In other parts of the world they’re trainers, baseball boots, bumpers, convers, gym shoes, plimsolls, sneakers, but round here they’re daps.


Drawn with Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens, sizes S, F, M and B, into my tiny A6 spotty sketchbook.

Muck Spreading

4 Aug


I didn’t draw or blog yesterday! I am a bad person! Sometimes life gets in the way. Husb and I ended up shovelling lots of farmyard manure, transporting it to the allotment and piling it on some of our raised beds. Several hours of muck spreading in the heat and flies. Then we went foraging and collected plums and blackberries.

So here’s today’s sketch, a digital one, again of a head. I’m practicing for something that’s happening on Thursday. I’ll tell you about it later in the week.

Husb posed, with the light from his laptop creating strange shadows up his face, making him look weird. I used my Samsung Galaxy Tablet Note 8 with the free Markers app, laying down a dark background and working over it with lighter tones.

Whinberries On The Beacons

6 Jul


We spent a couple of hours foraging for whinberries on the Brecon Beacons earlier today. Whinberries are a type of blueberry or bilberry and the picking season is very short. I haven’t been out picking them for years and I can’t remember how I cooked them before.


Traditionally, they’re baked in a pie. I’ll sleep on it and make something nice for tea tomorrow. I stopped picking for a few minutes to scribble Husb in my tiny spotty sketchbook with a Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen size S.

Posh And Tat In Tenby

20 Apr

Ink sketch: the old bookshop down Quay Hill, Tenby.

Had a day off today and went to Tenby which is such a gorgeous little place. I love the way it’s a bonkers mix of complete tat and very posh. You can tell it’s posh because the pound shop is a one-pound-twenty shop ;). Right in the middle is the old section surrounded by the medieval town walls, dating in part from the 13th century. Then the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian bits circle around it, teetering onto impossibly sheer cliff faces overhanging the beaches. We delivered a load of prints from Swansea Print Workshop to the White Lion Gallery which is having an exhibition throughout May [I have some work in it] and then we strolled around the old harbour on North Beach. The cliff path is a great place for foraging; today we picked a load of wild cliff cabbage which I cooked for tea with lardons, brandy and cream. We met another forager who pointed out some Alexanders – I’d wanted to try them for years but have never been able to identify them. We swapped recipes for wild garlic and chatted about Richard Mabey’s book, Food For Free, which had it’s fortieth anniversary recently. He also wrote Flora Brittanica, which I love.

The sketch is looking down from the top of Quay Hill into the North Beach harbour, with a little old bookstore half way down. Husb went to explore in it while I drew and he said you couldn’t turn around quickly in case piles of books toppled over onto you. It’s drawn into my little Paperblanks Fantastic Felines sketchbook that I love. I had it for Xmas and it’s nearly finished now.

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