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Archive for April, 2010

Tulips – a painting a day

April 30, 2010 Leave a comment

http://www.etsy.com/shop/lemonaday size 5inx6in 13cmx15cm watercolour on heavyweight rag paper

Today I found three more fuchias that had stayed alive over winter bundled in bubblewrap on the front porch. There were one or two other things that might be alive, if  given the luxury of a drop of water. I suppose the point is to be pleased about what has worked rather than think about what could have been saved with a bit more organisation. Sometimes Bacopa survives the winter in the right place but not this year. I also used to keep the grey leaved foliage plant going (helichrysum). Still my mother usually overwinters that by her backdoor so I can borrow some. Next year we might have a greenhouse and all sorts of things will over-winter under the benches.

It makes huge sense to overwinter some of the stock plants for the pots as that way you start with bigger plants that are FREE. Also you have the measure of each of them, will it really trail or will it give up half way through the season? Things like the Erigeron Profusion or Mexican Wall Daisy are good as they fill in and are white with pink which means they go with lots of other colours, they are as happy in pots as in cracks in the pavement or trailing down hot sunny walls. They can be grown from seed and once you have a happy plant, you will be certain to have some new ones come up each spring, it’s then just a question of remembering what they look like when small and not weeding them out. I also keep a clump of stripy grass or Gardeners Gaiters in a pot; it is very invasive in a bed and hard work to remove but in a pot it is fresh and lovely and only needs cutting down once a year in midsummer to stop it going messy. It works well with other stuff planted among it and provides foliage fill for free.

The other bit of the garden that is taking off is the strip of roof garden over the log store, there are buds of Dryas Mountain Avens nodding in the wind and one Lewisia has made it and is getting on with flowering seriously. The dwarf phlox is purple with flower and the night scented phlox is about to open its first flower. I need to go up on a ladder though as I can see weeds getting a grip too in the gaps. It was so seriously dry up there I put water on it today; the top end was looking dessicated.

I have done a painting of some tulips today.

Alison

#36 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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Three strawberries – a painting a day

April 29, 2010 Leave a comment

http://www.etsy.com/shop/lemonaday size 5inx6in 13cmx15cm watercolour on heavyweight rag paper

The strawberry theme continues although there is some background here. I have made this very loose and applied the paint wet on wet and then in some places flooded it with oxgall.

Today I put out a big group of Tiarella seedlings in the shady area that got flattened recently following the build. The soil is very patchy; there are areas where I was digging holes and then throwing into the hedge base the yellow lumps of clay that I dug out. At least if I scrape around there are bits of soil to be found in places. I watered all the young plants very well and top dressed with a mixture of mulch and chicken manure pellets. There were one or two little seedlings of some species geranium that had emerged from the compost after I pricked out the baby Tiarellas. I hope they don’t mind shade.

I also went looking for patio pot survivors from last year , this was quite productive, I have four white fuchia Annabel, four fuchia in shades of pink trailing which made it indoors overwinter, several Erigeron Profusion which is trying to flower, two diascias, several rooted cuttings of Pelagonium on the kitchen window sill plus three parent plants and lots of trailing nepeta which is also starting to flower. In addition there are two good plants of fuchia Thalia indoors still. One or two pots that I have dragged out from shelter have some interesting looking seedlings too. I only really need to buy some lobelia as I have one e-bay pack of mixed hanging basket plants being brought on.

Things are really moving fast in the garden, lots of big hitters are out or ready to go any minute . The clematis Montana is almost out , the honeysuckle Dropmore Scarlet likewise. There is a delicate bush honey suckle opening with pink flowers L. tartarica I think .

My star bit of permanent planting is at its peak, here is a sequence of photographs. First shows the tulips still in bud and yeaterday there they are open in the sun. You can just make out the striped leaves.

The art exhibition was better than expected although it was clear that another class had had one really good project that exhibited very well and looked like they had enjoyed it.

Alison

#35 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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A sweet strawberry – a painting a day

April 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Sold  4.5″x6″ 11cm x 15cm watercolour on heavyweight rag paper

I was out of order here as I could have bought some English strawberries grown under plastic but they were the favourite with the growers Elsanta and they always disappoint on taste. I suppose they last a long time on the shelf and work better for the supermarket, but a strawberry is nothing without taste and perfume. So unless I require something sturdy and scarlet to decorate a cake or display I shall not buy Elsanta; it is ruining the reputation of strawberries everywhere.

This strawberry filled the studio near me with its perfume which was quite a task as the garlic from yesterday is still there.

Today I went to Sheffield Park a very beautiful garden belonging to the National Trust near here. I took my paints but there was too much there for me to settle and find a small subject for a quick small picture. The highest of the lakes was covered in waterlilies and something with oblong leaves and pretty frilly white flowers. I should have liked to try that but it would have been an all day task. A swan crossed the lake perhaps thinking my painting bag contained crusts.

There were dogwoods with big flowers, soft deep purple cones on low growing firs and more azaleas, magnolias and rhododendrons than the mind can take in easily.

At home the plants are finally going into the area formerly known as the Somme. Last night husband transplanted the magnolia, I know it’s very late but there is rain due at the weekend. It will need cosseting with regular water all summer now. Two of the bamboos went in  and most of the rest of the planting it placed on the surface…the gaps are huge as this will be an area of big plants providing screening and a backdrop. It’s going to look rubbish for a couple of years at least. I am also going to have to find a cheap and cheerful temporary groundcover plant.

It will be No.1sons GCSE art exhibition (the one he forgot to mention) this evening .  A must see, my friend and I wish they would put the boys and girls stuff separately as we can’t help expecting that the girls will have done so much more.

Alison

#34 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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Garlic and shallot – a painting a day

April 27, 2010 Leave a comment

  4.5″x6″ 11cm x 15cm watercolour on heavyweight Fabriano paper

There are several times in the year when you get something really special that doesn’t come all the time. At the moment there are the wild garlic leaves in the woods and from the supermarket fresh garlic from France.

The first delicate broadbeans are another thing that is special. I like to make a pasta sauce with the fresh garlic if I can still get it, a packet of philly or similar cheese and a cup full of pea sized baby broad beans just slightly cooked. Salt ,black pepper fresh thyme…that is all. Never get tired of it there’s no real chance to.

The shallot is one I grew by the back door last year; they have stored really well.

Alison

#33 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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Cherry blossom – a painting a day

April 26, 2010 Leave a comment

http://www.etsy.com/shop/lemonaday    6 inches by 5.5 inches, 15cmx13cm, charcoal and wash on heavy weight rag paper

This was a difficult day, wanted to go to London to see hospitalised relative but there was no decision to be had until 4.00pm on whether they were to be discharged. I ended up waiting for phone calls and faffing around in the garden inbetween times. They have been discharged  now.

I did get two plants out of containers and into the ground; had to dig through six inches of pure clay left by the builders in one places. The plant I put in the shady area is called Kirengeshoma( I just had to look that up in the Chiltern Seeds catalogue). It really is a beauty for damper shady corners or along hedges or walls. It grows in the walled garden at Nymans and in the higher garden at Great Dixter. It copes with sun as it was in the sun most of last year in a pot. It dies down to nothing but now feisty nettle like shoots are reaching up. It should be ok as I found topsoil six inches down and I gave it a good mixture in its planting hole , plenty of water and some slow release fertilizer. Look it up, its a gem.

#32 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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Muscari and Primula in green vase – a painting a day

April 25, 2010 Leave a comment

http://www.etsy.com/shop/lemonaday    11 inches by 6 inches, 27cmx15cm, watercolour on heavy weight rag paper

Yesterday was a  missed day, too tired even to moan about anything

Today was meant to be the warm one so like the suckers that we are we invited people over for a barbeque….so it rained for the first time in weeks, then the wind blew a bit, then the sun shone a bit and I thought maybe…then it went in and looked sulky; gave up the barbeque idea. We did go out and find a bluebell wood which was glorious and scattered with white wood anemones. In this wood however some of the anemones are pink flushed, which you don’t always see.

Have done another version of the painting from Friday as I wanted to get more of the lovely little vase which came from a very elderly potter Ursula Mommens. She died earlier this year at the magnificent age of 101.

 I bought the vase from the pottery where she worked in the last seven years,   so she was in her nineties when she made it. I first bought a piece of hers when I was on a’O’ level geography field trip to the Seven Sisters cliffs; it was a present for my mother .Now I find that Ursula Mommens had worked with Michael Cardew, a well known British potter ,who was married to my school art teacher . She was also a descendant of Charles Darwin. The world is smaller than you think.

Alison

#31 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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Primulas and muscari – a painting a day

April 23, 2010 Leave a comment

 this painting is framed and for sale in the burgess hill open house event see blog June 4th

exhibiting in Burgess Hill    6”x6”, 15cmx15cm, watercolour on heavy weight rag paper

This is a funny kind of grape hyacinth with two colours, I love the inky dark lower flower and the way it contrasts with the delicate blue on the top half. If you think these are strange then you should see the wild grape hyacinth in old fields in Greece and Cyprus, they are not even all blue and strangely spiky.

I picked the primula from the front where they froth up among the Pulmonaria or lungwort; tomorrow in the sun I will take a picture as that corner of the garden looks good at the moment.

The primulas smelt nice in the studio, as soon as you walk out however you catch the whiff of the pear tree…its horrid a chemical doggy sort of small. The first apple blossom opened today ,now that does have a sweet and fresh smell.

This will have to do for today ,as the Geography course work is back again like a bad penny.

Alison 

#30 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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Pears on a tartan cloth – a painting a day

April 22, 2010 Leave a comment

  4.5”x6”, 11cmx15cm, watercolour on heavy weight rag paper

That completes the first four weeks of painting a day, its hard somedays and then others it just happens and flows and works.

Today’s picture is quite a fast wet watercolour the mad thing was trying to somehow express the chequered fabric without getting into masking fluid. Not that I don’t approve of masking fluid, I just don’t have any right now. The cloth is a scrap from a favourite pair of my son’s pyjamas. I also worked on another picture which is SO bad I will restart it another day. It too has a sentimental background, a handkerchief of my grandmothers. It will be better when I try again I’m sure. Paintings often are better second attempt, but mostly for the blog I have gone with my first effort.

I did one of the dullish jobs in the garden today, compost management, swopping bins over and sieving the old stuff. Dull but necessary and gets you to the useful bit the black gold. There’s just never enough so I will need to cough up the money for a load of manure this year.

There are several trees coming out now my favourite is the cherry which weeps slightly, it opens pink and fades to white against lime green foliage. Lots of bits of the lilac tree here and next door have died in the winter, it’s only now that one can tell.

Alison

#29 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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Figure on purple cushions – a painting a day

April 21, 2010 Leave a comment

  11 inches by 6 inches, 27cmx15cm, watercolour on heavy weight rag paper

I looked groggily at my mug of tea in bed this morning against a blue sheet and wondered if it could be arranged into something pleasing for a still life …then realised that what would be pleasing was the hot stuff inside the cup. Oh! that’s what it’s for!

Moving on swiftly so as not to dwell on the breakfast time that followed, it is an absolutely stunning day again and the sky that I can see from here is as pure as we will ever see it. Nothing is there but quiet blueness.

Outside the garden has reached that exit velocity stage it is leaving the orbit of my complete control. I am flattering myself here I have only partial control at the very best of times.

Earlier in the spring the gardener looks from one tiny pocket of treasure to the next as the carefully placed daffodils come up and the nurtured winter flowering shrubs do their best in appalling conditions. Now however the strength of the sun is giving all the life out there the power to be spontaneous. Tiny dog violets arise and flower in the uncut grass, goosegrass seedlings turn from something small and ambiguous to something reaching lustily for the sky in a few days. Weeds that were kept down by the winter have managed to germinate, grow and flower already…bittercress is one of the ones I most loathe it’s so fast off the mark, I have also found a speedwell under a bush which has already set seed. Then there are the accursed dandelions which I enjoyed seeing in the verges on the way to Shropshire, I dig them, top them, generally give them the worst time but up they come as cheerful and rude as ever.

The briony is growing too this one is almost as bad as greater bindweed it is very persistent and the birds spread the seed which sets liberally on the school’s chainlink fence across the road. Its favourite place to germinate and thrive is in a thicket containing roses and or berberis, somewhere you just do not want to go, there it quietly builds a tuber underground and settles in lacing its tendrils through the backgrowth so that you don’t see it until it reaches the light on top of the bush.

Today I have done something different, instead of a picture from life I have worked from one of my life drawings. This was one where I worked from the background shapes forward to the figure. In other words instead of drawing the shapes of the figure, you draw or paint the shapes you can see behind leaving a silhouette of the figure. It does work and is good for getting over assumptions about what a body looks like.

Alison

#28 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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Scarlet and yellow tulips on the bedroom window sill – a painting a day

April 20, 2010 Leave a comment

  11 inches by 6 inches, 27cmx15cm, watercolour on heavy weight rag paper

This is one of those, let’s get a fast impression of what the colours and the light are doing, paintings.

I always like to get these flame coloured tulips and sit them against a turquoise painted wall. The colours really start to zing. They are not quite opposites but close to the opposite. Then when the evening sun shines on them….

The jug came from my aunt’s house, it may have come from her mother’s it’s a little eccentric- like all of us who have not been cloned for average features and personalities.

I got called into the school and told that the GCSE course work was being worked on all the time my son and I thought it had disappeared; apologies were proffered for the distress and the delay that was admitted to…mmm I’m thinking.

The ground in the garden is already hard and baked in the worst beds, in fact one has already cracked. I am half way down the water butt and there seems to be no possibility of rain until the weekend.

However there are bits of the garden which are taking off the red leaves on the pieris have suddenly eclipsed its flowers.

Alison

#27 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog

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