Tag Archives: Victoria Sandwich

High Tea on High Street

22 Nov

gallerie simpson

Husb and I popped into the new Galerie Simpson on the High Street earlier today, to partake of High Tea in the one-day-only Tweeting Bird cafe organised by Iris, who also did a lot of the baking. We took tea from a golden tea pot, munched on salmon and cucumber sandwiches and nibbled a variety of delicious home-made cakes including bara brith, scones with jam and cream, iced chocolate cake and a classic Victoria Sandwich.

Never one to miss the opportunity for a quick scribble, I sketched a few of the people in the lovingly restored interior of this old building which was for many years a bespoke corsetry shop called Madame Foners. One of the girls I drew had her arms grasped firmly behind her back in a way that only the young can manage, my ageing bones would snap if I tried to manouver them into that position.

I used some graphite sticks I bought at The Secession in Vienna earlier this year (ooh get me!) in black, grey and gold into my A6 Tate gallery sketchbook.

Ghost. Cake.

29 Oct

blue ghost

Yesterday I posted about the new monotype I made, based on a drawing from my travel sketchbook. The monotype process produces an unique piece in full colour, but it’s possible to put a second piece of paper (BFK Rives 250 gsm) through the press and take a secondary ‘ghost’ print which is much paler and more ethereal. The prints are taken in sequence, first the Process Yellow, then the Process Magenta and finally the Process Cyan. Some of the Impressionists, notably Degas and Monet, used to use ghost monotypes as the basis for some of their pastel drawings.

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I had visitors this afternoon. So I made cake. A classic Victoria Sandwich with my homemade loganberry jam. I grow the loganberries in my garden and on our allotment, I’ve never seen them for sale. Husb is piling into what’s left. He takes no prisoners!

Victoria Sandwich



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.

Another Day, Another Head.

27 Jul


Carrying on with studying the head, I did a couple more drawings from the Burne Hogarth book, ‘Dynamic Anatomy’ then I pressganged Husb into posing again. I continued to work in greys and white over a black ground, using mostly a large soft brush in the Markers app on my Samsung Galaxy Tablet Note 8.

I managed to squeeze the drawings in this evening after loads of cooking: a dozen chocolate cupcakes, a Victoria Sandwich and a couple of jars of blackcurrant butter. Then a trip to the allotment and a dip in the sea and a workout on the free beach gym. Busy day 🙂

The Hard Hand

27 Mar


Just back from life drawing at Swansea Print Workshop. I chose to punish myself this evening with a foreshortened hand. It was hard. After the tea break (with a Victoria Sandwich) we had a one-hour pose and I spent the whole time working on this hand and knee.

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Practice and Photobomb!

30 Jan

30 natie 1

I did some portrait drawings this afternoon, working with friend and fellow artist Natie. I’m preparing for a major piece of work later this year and need to bring my portrait drawing up to scratch, so Natie dropped by to help me out and I did some drawings in charcoal and chalk onto newspaper.

30 natie 2

I find portraiture difficult and it takes quite a few drawings before I get an accurate likeness in a style I like. But that’s par for the course. Art is mostly practice in my experience and there are a lot of failures along the way. The first one is not a bad likeness, but nowhere near as pretty as she actually is and I’m not keen on the drawing technique I’ve used. The second is less like her but I prefer the style, it’s more scribbly.

30 natie 3

And here she is, photobombing! The drawing continues, I’m off for the Thursday night life drawing session at Swansea Print Workshop now in a minute. I made a Victoria Sandwich to take along, filled with spiced plum jam.

Sisters In The Graveyard

14 Jul

14 sisters

Another hot and tiring day. Went up to Bath again to take down the Commensalis exhibition. That week just flew by. We had a ‘closing’ for the show, afternoon tea with lashings of tea and home made Victoria Sandwich. It was very busy but I had a few minutes for a quick sketch and drew these two young sisters dozing in the sun amongst the gravestones.


Drawing Rooms

10 Jul

window 2

The opening on Monday evening of the group exhibition my work is in, Commensalis in Bath, was fab, really busy, great fun and loads of happy people who enjoyed the art. I stayed over to invigilate the next day and also to do a short residency; I set up a tabletop easel and did drawings of the interior throughout the day. I don’t normally draw buildings and I find it hard not to make them look like architectural drawings, so I tried to focus on atmosphere rather than detail. It’s a fascinating building, sparse and a bit Gothic, a mortuary chapel surrounded by very old graves. I did the drawing onto an A3 canvas sheet, prepared with a yellow ochre oil wash, using dip pens and Indian ink, black and white conte crayons and wet wipes (yes, the things you wipe babies bottoms with) to get a wash effect.

Here are a few pictures of the opening featuring my ‘Art Here’  banner and the marvellous ‘Lady Margaret’, of The Natural Theatre Company, who kindly and graciously opened the exhibition, aided by the ‘Wind-up Merchant‘ Nick Steele with his antique HMV Gramophones and DeeJay set of vintage 78 vinyl platters.

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The show is still on until Sunday, 12.00 to 18.00 daily, so if you fancy a day trip to Beautiful Bath, pop in and see the exhibition in Walcot Chapel. And on Sunday, between 3 and 4pm there’s Tea With The Artists – lashings of tea, scones and Victoria Sandwich…….



Inky Lady

6 Jun

06 tonya

Just got back from this evening’s weekly life drawing session at Swansea Print Workshop. I made a simple Victoria Sandwich to take along for tea break. This is one of our longest-serving models; she’s terrific and can hold a pose perfectly for ages. This is a one-hour pose drawn onto some handmade paper I bought at the Tate Gallery that I prepared with a dark grey ink wash. I used Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens, size M and B for the linework and a brush with Indian ink, white ink and an ink wash for the tones. Size more than A4, not quite A3.

Hell And Cake

4 Apr

I HATE shopping. It’s my idea of hell, unless I’m buying books or tools. I had to buy some new clothes to replace some that were literally falling to pieces so I spent two hours in shopping hell (Dante knew nothing…NOTHING…) and bought two pairs of leggings, a t-shirt and a sports bra. Result. That’s me sorted for the summer.

04 cakes

So when I got home from shopping hell, I made the mistake of having a sit-down in front of the telly with a nice cup of tea. Note to self: do NOT watch reruns of The Great British Bake-Off during the day. I don’t particularly like eating cake but I LOVE baking. And Mary Berry led me astray. So instead of working diligently in my studio, I ended up baking a Victoria Sandwich and loganberry cupcakes. Husb scoffed two cupcakes then begged me to take the rest to life drawing this evening, to save his waistline. But that’s another blog……

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