Tag Archives: gardens

I Hated Doing This One!

16 Aug

field 5

I finally finished the painting I started with Facebook’s Cheese and Wine Painting Club over a week ago. It’s a weekly session where people join in online to paint a fake. This is the first time I really found it a chore and to be honest I hated doing it, which is why it’s taken me so long. I kept putting it off. I decided after a few weeks in lockdown to improve my painting skills and so far this has been a good way of doing it. I shouldn’t moan, I suppose if it’s hard then I’m probably learning more than if I sail through it. All those sunflowers and lavender were so incredibly fiddly. Good discipline though.


Faking It Slowly

9 Aug

fields 3

I dropped into Facebook’s Wine and Cheese Painting Club on Friday, to practice and improve my skills. It looks like a fairly simple work but it’s surprisingly complex, with loads of layering, stippling the colours over each other.  It’s going to be a long job. This is what I managed in the hour and a half session but I reckon there’s another 4 hours at least. I didn’t get a chance to work on it through the weekend, today’s fine weather was perfect for a couple of hours down the allotment, followed by a few in the garden. A hot sweaty job. Got loads done though. So this fake is going to have to wait until tomorrow.

I use Liquitex Heavy Body acrylic paints and Daler Rowney brushes.

I also got a cracking charity buy yesterday, from the Cats Protection shop. I love spiders. Always have, ever since I was little and got a liking for the little critters running up my arms – it tickles.

spider brooch


Out The Back

3 Jun

4 garden

This is the sort of subject that I really don’t like to draw, it’s way outside my comfort zone. Give me people and animals any day, or even a bit of open landscape. But. I need to challenge myself, so I had a scribble looking out of the back door into my garden. It’s a very busy space and it’s difficult to draw, especially using a soft charcoal pencil and willow charcoal onto very textured Khadi paper. But I didn’t want to use pencils because then I’d have wandered into the tech drawing zone, which is what I don’t want to do. Never mind.

A Day And Night On #PlanetLockdown

14 Apr


Lockdown carries on. Cooler today but still sunny so I spent some time in the garden sketching some ideas. Then I marked up a block of grey lino – I should get three small prints from it.

marking the block

I’ve been playing with words; words that keep cropping up throughout the pandemic; some good; some negative.

first stage

I’ll work on the lettering and try out different styles before I transfer them to blocks for carving. I like hand lettering and I love the book “Hand Job, A Catalogue of Type” by Michael Perry.

hand job

Then I made lasagne – there’s enough for tomorrow too.



And now Husb and I are settling in for a night of Deadpool and Deadpool 2.


See you tomorrow on #PlanetLockdown xx 😀



Africa In Madeira

4 Apr


Madeira 2

Husb and I spent a few days in Madeira, an amazing place, and we went and explored the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens and Museum in Funchal, after a crazy ride up the mountain in a cable car swinging wildly in the wind.

Madeira 4


There’s a fabulous permanent exhibition, “African Passion” from sculptors from Zimbabwe in the 1960s.  I had a scribble with some conté crayons in white, sanguine and black onto grey tinted handmade paper. The two beautiful sculped heads that I drew are by Boira Mteki (1946-1991).

Madeira 3


It’s rare to be able to see so many, over 1,000, artworks from Africa from many artists, and the effect is extraordinary and the tropical gardens surrounding the museum are also spectacular.

Wellies And Woods

27 Dec


This afternoon, Husb and I went for a family walk in the gorgeous Penllergare Woods, just north of Swansea. It’s a spectacular Victorian garden, established by the photography pioneer John Dillwyn Llewellyn, that is being restored to its former glory. He had the valley of the Afon (River) Llan landscaped in the ‘Picturesque‘ style.

twin trunks

I took some photos and did a quick scribble of two of my young nieces in their wellies. It was an overcast and occasionally drizzly afternoon and the sky looked bleached out.


The river was very high because of the recent torrential rains and the waterfall was much more fierce than normal. Penllergare Woods is well worth a visit, there are miles of beautiful walks and a very nice tea room with home made cakes. It’s a trust run by volunteers and relies on the support of visitors to keep it going.


The Rat!

26 May

26 rats

This morning was so gorgeous, warm and sunny so I took the washing out to the garden to peg on the line and there was this dead rat! Sparta had been hunting again. Normally I forget that I’m a feminist and scream for Husb, but I gritted my teeth and fetched my sketchbook. I’m an artist, I should be prepared to draw whatever life puts my way. I felt sorry for the poor thing. It was only a young rat and looked as if it was sunbathing in the grass, apart from the flies that were bothering it. Then little Ming scampered over and started playing with it. EEEEWWWW!!! Then I started yelling for Husb.

Sedum And Spartapuss

8 Jul

Today there was sunshine. Lots of sunshine. No rain. I was up and about really early and took a cup of tea into the garden to sit in the sunshine. Sparta the puss had the same idea [without the cup of tea, she prefers milk]. She was sitting sunbathing on a little brick wall behind an enormous clump of sedum. I like the sedum because it provides flowers quite late in the year which is really good for insects. I try to make the garden friendly to wildlife. We have bats visiting each evening, hoovering up the insects over the pond and there’s a good range of birds.  I quickly sketched Sparta and the sedum. I don’t particularly like drawing nature, it’s hard to draw plants without making them look like botanical drawings. I find it challenging to come up with a visual shorthand for them but this drawing isn’t too bad, I’ve never drawn the sedum before.

Sparta and I had a big argument just before I did the drawing. She ran into the kitchen with a newly murdered sparrow. I took it off her and gave her a row. Like she was bothered! That’s why she was sitting with her back to me in the garden. Sulking.

A Male Model And A Snowy Mespilus.

30 Mar

Charcoal and pastel drawing: male nude.

I love the life drawing sessions at Swansea Print Workshop. They’re quiet and intense but also friendly and it’s a joy to work with such professional models. This is an older model who has a fantastic air of stateliness, even when unclothed and I have done many sketches of him that have been developed into monotypes and fully worked-up drawings. I normally work with a small ink pen into a tiny sketchbook, usually an A6, but I’m trying to push out of my comfort zone at the moment and did this one last night in compressed charcoal and chalky pastels into an A3 pad over the two pages. It’s a lovely creamy Bockingford-type paper, heavy and textured.

Digital photograph: our amelanchier tree.

This evening, after a long day at the studio, I hung out in our back garden in the lovely Spring sunshine and admired our amelanchier lamarkii which has just burst into bloom and is smothered in gorgeous starry flowers. It’s also known as the snowy mespilus in Britain and has deliciously sweet berries later in the year. We usually manage to eat a few but we have a family of blackbirds that return to the area every year and they gorge themselves on the berries, so we leave most of them for the birds. It’s a joy to watch them from the window, the parents introducing the little birdlets to the amelanchier berries. I have to keep an eye on Sparta the psychokitty though or else the blackbirds will end up as cat fodder.

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