Something in the post……….and something rich and strange

August 20, 2014 Leave a comment

 

This is rather nice, an old lemon has been accepted for the Annual Open Exhibition of the Society for Graphic Fine Art in London. It’s a sketch in ink and wash I did last autumn after taking lovely aunt for a jaunt to the coast at Shoreham in Sussex; it was a very stressful time as lovely aunt was becoming quite ill by that stage but she still enjoyed herself and pottered around the market entranced by the best stalls. The peppers were originally posted in April this year as I did not have posting time last autumn #218. http://lemonaday.com/2014/04/07/dry-orange-chillies-on-the-table/

The exhibition is in the Menier Gallery where they used to do something far more worthy…they used to make chocolate, sorry I am being silly they actually raise money to get art into hospitals. The exhibition runs 6th October to 18th October 2014.

Now for the rich and strange…this is not my definitive take on Begonia Escargot but I enjoyed making it especially the textured wash background as it involves several interludes for tea or coffee while the paint dries under clingfilm. #229

 

229ba

A few days in the North

August 19, 2014 Leave a comment

 

228b

 

size A5
We went to Yorkshire for a few days- not exactly a holiday more a family outing extended for several nights. Diy Dad drove in his familiar, gritted teeth into the storm ( ex hurricane Bertha ),fashion. His father and I took turns navigating the various traffic standstills, passing through places I was only familiar with from the miners strike on the detours.

Aunt A, with help, had ordered a magnificent “cushion” of stuffed lamb from Mr Kendall her favourite butcher who had delivered it to her door. This we cooked and when the extended family in the area plus two Spanish visitors turned up it was demolished in short order, I wondered what the Spanish take on stuffing would be but they loved it . The apple crumble I made with crumble mix, blueberries and windfalls brought from home went the same way. Our cider went all over the table…too much excitement for one day.

We slept up on the moor in a remote house where diy Dad’s cousin lives; it is a beautiful place the wind whips across the moorland and the rain comes down only slightly below horizontal…caught out in it you need to find a vertical object for shelter rather than something actually over your head. The adjacent grouse moor is littered with feeders and there are hundreds of grouse as well as red-legged partridge…but the grouse do not often make their sharp g’back g’back call when you flush them from the heather. My memories from the other side of the Pennines forty years ago is of fewer but noisier grouse but who knows if I have an accurate memory-there is no going back to check.

The following day we took Aunt A in her wheelchair to Fountains Abbey and as the boys disappeared at great speed up the path towards the water gardens I began to regret putting too many things in my art bag and sat down to sketch. In doing so I missed out on tea and scones at the head of the water gardens but got to have a little wander round Fountains House which is small but perfect.

This is one of the sketches; I was taken with the two windows on opposite sides of the tower which I guess are identical. I drew what I saw but looking at it now it can’t be right unless the building is not symmetrical. I still like the offset clash of the two versions of the same thing.As I drew it I tried to break it down into manageable observable sections. A proper architectural artist would have a better knowledge of the structure and it would look more real as a result. However I am pleased with the effect of the two patterns overlaid even if the far side would be unbuildable from what was observed and recorded. It could of course be reworked into an etching, drypoint or collagraph.

 #228

And again a bit more………….

August 7, 2014 1 comment

227a

A5 size

I have put a bit more detail and boosted some of the colour. mostly it has been about filling in the background.

There are so many things in this border…Crocosmia, Sedum, Alchimilla, Stipa, Rudbeckia or Echinacia

Then I added to it……………….

August 6, 2014 1 comment

226a
size A5

This is partly worked up I will need to consider one or two bits and tweak them. There is a certain amount of what some people call knitting that needs doing. That loosely means bits where there is something that needs filling in or covering and its fairly routine but needs to be done in a routine manner without spoiling the good bits of the initial sketch.

I did get to Great Dixter yesterday and enjoyed it immensely. They are all so lovely there; I didn’t recognise a Salvia and they went and found out what it was and whether they had it in the shop. We had a long and interesting chat to one of the stewards and when I saw another plant I did not recognise at all the head gardener went to see if he could dig some up for me from the greenhouse floor, sadly it had been pushed out by the hardy begonia! I did a sketch there in charcoal which I have added watercolour to today and also done a piece based on a begonia leaf which I washed over with textured watercolour. It is more of an illustration piece than a sketch or a painting but it’s fun.
#226

As it was staight from the garden…………

August 4, 2014 Leave a comment

225aThis is a sketch book page (size A5) on Langton’s not (cold pressed) paper.

It will be worked on in the studio to give a before and after. Easier to say this as No1 son has gone to see his grandparents for a few days, No2 is quietly teaching himself some computer code and someone else is cooking supper! Its turning out a better day than I thought.

I have harvested the pears from the early tree and have started to pick both the Katy apples and the Owen Thomas. There is a Worcesterish flavour apple at the community orchard ripe too.

Butterflies seem to be especially abundant this year and I have seen a Brimstone recently which is unusual, even rarer is the Fritillary has been flying strongly in the garden, we have dozens of Gatekeepers or are they Meadow browns? and a few Speckled Wood. A while back we were seeing Red Admirals and before that in June some tortoiseshells. Of course when I say abundant I do not mean in the sorts of numbers there were in London when I was a kid but relative to what I have seen here in Sussex in recent years. The most popular flower in the garden at the moment is the oregano which is covered in a busy haze of bees and bee imposters as well as the little brown and orange butterflies. An enormous Southern Hawker dragonfly was sitting on the spirea too one day.

The hot border was at an NGS garden called the Hundred House near Framfield in Sussex. I am currently planning a day trip to Great Dixter to keep DIY dad away from his multiple projects for a day. The garden here has had a big change imposed on it- the tatty summer house has been taken down and a new roof is to be made for it…..and a proper base. Anyone thinking of spending good money on a shed should pay attention here , the base is as important as the shed itself and needs to keep the shed itself up and out of the mud which will lead to rot as night follows day. Any earth which is nearby at a higher level will slump towards your shed, any tree which has leaves to drop nearby will pile its leaves on the damp earth and wick moisture up to the thin wooden walls. Animals will move in underneath if they can and make a den or nest, solitary bees will find crevices in the walls or doors to make nests. All this has to be considered when placing a shed. Then there is the maintenance…..the roof, it follows, must always keep out the rain. Our best shed/summer house is in amazing if not perfect condition …it appears in a photo of my former neighbours taken in about 1960. It must be made from red cedar as I do not believe any other wood could last so long.

Green Parsley Flowers

July 31, 2014 1 comment

224a
size approx. 9″ x 7″
The flowers were in a vase and I was sketching them at the exhibition at Nymans but , being in rather a cramped corner I realised I had nearly flicked paint onto an art work of mine which I was trying to sell and I stopped painting!! The flowers came from my garden and having picked the stars of the bunch: Penstemon and creamy white roses, I needed fill and had none until I noticed that the parsley had gone to seed and was a lovely yellowy green a bit like Alchemilla mollis. The shapes in the flowers are lovely too . I finished it off in the studio just now.
#224

A little bit of Africa in Sussex

July 29, 2014 2 comments

223

9″ x 7″ approx
There are things you want to buy when you live somewhere but don’t, things you buy and regret and then there are things you buy later because it would have been nice to have bought them at source. I read recently that we often buy when in the throws of nostalgia. Afterwards you have to find somewhere to put them.

We bought this carving in Sussex in the days when a reasonable middling income didn’t attract higher rate tax but still allowed one some disposable income (that is all reversed now). It was an impulse buy; having gone past our turning we turned round in a driveway and saw among other statues they were selling this carved Shona woman. We have a little one in the same stone inside called “Granny” which was bought in Africa…on impulse- we thought she was £20 but that had been the jet lag doing the calculation…..still no regrets, we love them both.

This flower bed was pretty this year if a little sparse on the lavender…wonder that it survived that wet winter at all. I should take some precautionary cuttings to root and keep in drier conditions over winter. I will do the same for the cotton lavender and see if I can obtain the seeds for the perennial poppy in soft orange that was part of the original planting. Compare with the same bed (June 2010 picture 85 or thereabouts) when I sketched it before-while England lost at football, some things don’t change much.

Just spent Sunday going to most of the open gardens in Burgess Hill we managed 6/8….they vary as much as the people who own them.I was very taken by climbing hardy fuchsia Lady Boothby; bright upper and smouldering lower parts on five foot ruby stems. One small garden had been subdivided about four times making an entrance, a main room, a dining pavilion, and a lounging room off the main, hidden behind the bijou opulent dining pavilion was a greenhouse and water feature…I felt ashamed at the emptiness of my beds only the backdoor pots can compete. The owners of several of the houses seemed to have a real knack of cramming personal references into their garden, they were as gloriously abundant as a Christmas display in Harrods or Selfridges. I am afraid I decorate sparsely – more like a string of token tinsel about the greengrocers vegetables in my case!! Actually I couldn’t garden that intensively as it would be too much work, what a treat to see other people do it well.
IMG_0445

I have however put the old broken cupids back in the pots by the back door (see above). The plants hide the broken bases, my grandmother forced these figures on me one day( “Here,have these you can patch them up!”), and, as I had not wanted them and they were badly broken, they sat in a box unloved and unused for at least twelve years. There was no chance of my mending them not having any handy machinery for cutting the green onyx or alabaster which had fallen off the plaster bases and where to get the hideous stone anyway? I like them waving or drowning in the annuals though.

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