This has been such an odd autumn; it seems to have been divided into two halves, the crisp bright extra summer of September and then the relentless rain of autumn for this month. I remember arriving at university for the first time in October and the campus was glowing with autumn sunshine that year. The roundabout in front of the hall of residence had a glorious clump of frail but bold autumn crocus …at least twice the size of their spring cousins. How much gloomier it is to make a new start in the drab rain of this autumn, if the crocus are still there they will plastered to the mud and eaten by slugs or woodlice. This morning however the rain is absent and the sun is making the leaves reflect their subtle changes against a fresh blue sky.
It’s time to plant some bulbs, I have white hyacinth to bed out and white alliums together with dwarf iris, species tulips and some extra Tulipa New Design. Both bulb orders came with free offers so I have in addition some daffodils and extra iris. For my birthday I asked for Sempervivens and a pot to put them in …I got the pot and as luck would have it Lidl were selling six packs of Sempervivens for £5. I will probably under plant with dwarf iris as the leaves will not make a squidgy mess when the flowers are finished.
I have been to London to attend the private view of the Society for Graphic Fine Art Open. It has been very interesting, it could be a society to try and join in order to exhibit on a regular basis. However there are the economics to consider…my current pictures are quite small and therefore must have a smaller price tag but membership and the hanging fees are flat rate (up to a certain point) so doing only smaller works is therefore not as cost efficient as larger works could be, on the other hand reasonably priced smaller works must sell better on average as more people will consider them affordable. It would be good to make my hobby pay some of its own costs. I loved an etching of a prawn in the exhibition- wonderful lines and sugar lift which has an effect I really love. Naturally the only plate I used it on was one which I never did get to come right!
Stags horn fern and stag beetles come to mind looking at these- drawn approx. life size on cartridge with ink, pencil and coloured crayons.
Some time back I found an odd cluster of hazelnuts which were more baroque than the normal variant. This year I found the tree that they come from and have identified it as Turkish hazel, I wondered then if it might be drawn in ink and here are some bits from my sketch book (above). Previous sketch: http://lemonaday.com/2011/11/11/hazelnut-cluster/ #232
This is from the sketch book I took to France which is now full.
We went to the Midi which is very lovely. It is a long way south but quite harsh in some ways, it lacks the softness of many other places so close to the Mediterranean; no wonder really, the temperature in the village we stayed in went down to -15c last winter and just like the UK they say “it was ridiculous! we did not cope, the pipes burst and so did the water mains”. This explains why they don’t bother trying to grow lemon trees in their gardens even in the walled gardens of the villages, Figs and olives yes but lemons no and no straggly five foot high Pelargoniums either.
This sketch is just like the weather at the moment: a bit rough round the edges but I quite like it ( warmer would be better as colour might be better).
NFS size 6 in x 6 in, 15cm x 15cm
The decorating is beginning to make the centre of the house look more finished. DIY Dad has got to some tricky conceptual stuff which involves making neat joints in the skirting board where the corner of the room is an oblique angle with a diagonal descending valley board joining (exposed wooden beam). I have the better grasp of 3D problems and in any case the problem is of my own invention as I designed the extension, so I feel obliged to sweat the angles and help make it work. The extension works as a space and it is, I am sure, structurally sound – but my not being an architect can leave some awkward detailing in the final finish. The valley boards are two immense planks of oak which lace through the room and the room opening off it; from the window the triangle they make can be seen clearly. I love that as it was not part of the aesthetic plan but a structural necessity and the way the oak framer worked, yet it has turned out very pleasing to the eye, well at least my eye.
The meal this evening was some home made burgers that NO2 son made in school, but he then made some lamb and mint burgers when he got home as well, the first ones were veal and sage. They were really very good, he dosn’t cook often but when he does he is very thorough and I’m not just referring to his ability to get every last jar of herbs out of the cupboard. Waitrose sell veal that is not the cruel white stuff but more like the oldfashioned suckler herd veal.
Today’s picture is simply a coffee cup in pencil. I also tried to sketch No2 son at the computer but I did not catch him in a still mood.
#155 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
size 6 in x7 in 15cm x 17.5cm pencil on cartridge paper
So today I had some old friends to visit, they had had a hot journey and so we all sat in the shade and had some cooling drinks, a bit of lunch and so on. We went round the garden and I explained what we had done to the house in the big building project from which we are emerging. It made a real change to spend time in the garden looking at it and enjoying the bird song…well thrush song mainly. There is a thrush who has a very distinctive song and he is trotting it out over and over from several different perches very loudly. I have begun to wonder if he has lost his mate as I did find quite a few thrush feathers in the back a few days ago. They have reared one brood already so I would have expected them to be busy with the next brood like the blackbirds by the front door.
No1 son had his last GCSE and all he has to do now is find a lost library book and find his Geography teacher to hand back the textbook. This is such a relief for me but the joy has not made it to his facial muscles yet.
We picked four pounds five ounces of strawberries. This has never happened before the crop is phenomenal even the leaves are lush and tall. I think the thing that has made the difference is the black fabric weed suppressant, it must be drawing moisture up from underground, in the winter there is often standing water on the plot and the old chaps say there are springs there.
The redcurrants are ripening by the day too, closely followed by the blackcurrants.
At two days after the date to stop picking the asparagus the biggest and most tempting spears have emerged.
Today there is no painting but I have sketched the Allium bulgaricum which has been changing shape since I painted it. I am sure it must be the inspiration to an Art Nouveau motif that I have seen somewhere.
#83 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog