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.
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.
This is a watercolour sketch of one of the gates to the walled garden at Nymans a National Trust garden in Sussex UK.I was sat only 12 metres from the main path but on this side path it was quiet enough that a mouse or vole was carrying her litter of babies across the path one at a time to (presumably) a better home in the long grass to the right of the path. As I say it was very quiet until two German tourists noticed me and decided that the view must be worth a photo if I was sketching it- so he went and stood in front of the gate and she came and stood right in front of me until she had her shot, not a trace of an excuse me! So rude!
The reason I went was because it was the sort of day when it was threatening rain and there was space in the car park. Due to the new charges at Wakehurst Place many people are going to Nymans instead. This is a shame as it is a much smaller garden with a more intimate scale and too many visitors would make it difficult to sit down and sketch or appreciate the garden so well.
Going back to the sketch it has a schoolgirl error in it …can you see? I will need to do some work in the studio on it or make a copy; I also need to get some opaque paint to put in the cream roses growing over the gate….or do a copy. It has a nice feel however.
5″ x 7″
So then I did it again and although I thought that this one was a bit out of control I probably like it best….its a softer version. It’s painted in daylight …back lit which is technically not sensible.
Life is a bit odd at the moment there are lots of things going on but having lost my aunt I find myself a bit adrift mentally. There are no discernable gaps in the day, not usually a sense of freed up time, more an accusing pile of deferred tasks from when I was too pressed to do them-which now I can do them ( in theory) are not appealing to me. I sorted through my purse which was bursting and failed to find what I need ( a receipt ) I did however find all sorts of oddments which needed dealing with. I know, deeply unimpressive use of a woman’s time I also started stitching a seam which had gone.In my defence I seem to have caught a monumental cold at the Viking exhibition on Monday. I wandered into one of my favourite shops near the British Museum, Cornelissen & Son’s colourman in Great Russell Street….its very little changed from the Seventies (and it looked Victorian then); my school art teacher sent me there to buy a portfolio( which is still in use!) I have never bought loose pigment to work with but this is where to get it should you need to.
Yesterday was sunny and glorious and I was stuck in Kent with No.2 son on a course….I spent the day at a National Trust garden sketching. Now that I know would have been impossible before, I would have had to make cover arrangements and have been worrying about how they would work. The sketches are both unfinished and as I took one off the block to start a second, in order to alter it I have to tape it onto a board to prevent it cockling. Cockling is a word that resonates with Cornelissen’s. To see what I mean look at Making a Mark:- http://makingamark.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/Artist-Quality-Pigments-Artists-Colourmen.html
size 12in x 6in, 30cm x 15cm approx. copyright alison warner
This is a stick of rhubarb, it looks a lot like a strange tree with a pink trunk.
It was delicious and pretty to eat, forcing seemed to bring out the redness. It is hard to classify rhubarb, it is treated as a fruit in the kitchen, but is a stem so it is really a vegetable; not only that, it is a vegetable with poisonous leaves which have to be removed before cooking. I wonder what would happen if you sliced it into thin pieces and stir fried it with other vegetables….in a savoury dish would it be tasty or inedible?
Hm ( I just googled for recipes) there are savoury recipes out there for rhubarb but mostly it looks like they are using it to replace orange or apple or plum as a combination to offset the fattiness of mackerell,duck or pork. Wikipedia also points out that it was not used as fruit until sugar became cheap enough to cook with on an everyday basis. In the middle ages it was exported along the silk road and very valuable as a medicine ( they must have set great store by its laxative properties apparently- it was more valuable than opium or cinnamon).
This is the sketch I completed yesterday at Oakleigh Cottage near Heathfield. Well I almost completed it in situ. I filled in some of the gaps when I got home.
The garden is one acre and in several different parts. It has a new highly impressive irrigation system run from a borehole, DIY Dad was in his element. He likes drills of the handheld and the lorry load variety and boreholes are modest sized drilling projects. The horticultural interest is varied; pretty drifts of daffodils and frittillaries , startling yellow marsh marigolds and some giant bamboo which is competing on almost equal terms with an oak tree.
I have had to go onto my third file for the blog as this picture is 201 (100 paintings per file). It is also about two years since I started blogging so I have obviously not managed a painting a day more like one every four days on average. Still, to stop would seem wrong.
size 6″ x 6″ 15cm x 15cm approx
There, I finally did another painting, I started it yesterday evening and luckily got straight back onto it after breakfast this morning which would not usually be possible. The rest of the day has been swallowed up in other peoples trips and visits and unexpected double bookings. Then just as I was actually doing something useful getting stuck into a bramble root, the new neighbours walked through to the back of the house and stood there calling me over as though we actually knew each other. I say the new neighbours, they could be the developers who wish to double the next door house in size taking masses of our sunlight. There was rather a lot of emphasis on their neighbourly status which has made me wonder why they feel the need to stress it. They have not moved in and tell me they will not do so until after the summer……he presented a card and tells me he is a builder. As most of the builders I have met since we moved here have lied to me in an accomplished and persistant way I am feeling very nervous indeed.
Spots on a spherical object are a challenge. I feel they are too prominant in this picture but the idea was to get both the spots and the bloom, which dark plums so often have, on the page. Its a bit technicolour, I am having a really bad run of not liking my paintings. I did one in oils and, while I enjoyed the smell, I was outraged by the result- too horrific for the blog.
I do think this is a painting which is flattered by the scan and the screen. Honestly it is worse in real life.
The garden is on a roll, the Daphne bhuloa is nearly finished, the D. odora is opening, the small daffodils are all out and some big ones too. There are hyacinth, the honey smelling Osmanthus blooms , and even the first forget-me-not. The little camellia which I bought is still tiny but this year it is covered in blooms…single small white blooms with a whiff of pink. There are flower buds on a tree paeony which has never managed a flower yet, I can live in hope on some fronts. Dogstooth violet and foxtail lilies are poking through the ground so its possible they will reflower and flower respectively and establish themselves in the shady part of the garden.
The corner of the garden planted up two years ago( I think )is now a tangled mass of self sown Verbena bonariensis, Geum and bronze fennel; but look inbetween and underneath…. there are brambles germinating, twitch grass lacing and ivy creeping. There are also masses of Hypericum seedlings which I pull out on sight but am losing the battle with at the moment.
Talking of lacy effects I was passing a municipal bed on a slightly misty but bright day and there was a bed with wonderful spires of creamy lace erupting everywhere…winter ornamental cabbage going to seed – it looks fantastic.
Click here to bid size 12in x 7in approx
The winter seems gone; today there was an air of spring about …everything really. Even Clapham Junction felt as though something had lifted. So of course the weather man tonight after the news has to smirk and offer colder weather later in the week and beyond that a possibility of more snow. Hmm I dislike turning into the sort of old person who bewails the snow rather than enjoys it…but I feel we have had quite sufficient for now thank you. It was only yesterday I was congratulating myself on the amount of wood left in the store; there might be as much as a third left to help with next winters supplies if it stays as mild as it has been. It is midnight now and I am sitting up typing wearing just a T-shirt and it’s not unbearably cold.
This painting, strictly speaking, was a two day painting, however as I was out of the house almost all day today collecting lovely aunt from her holiday in Suffolk and calling on mother as a bonus I have justification in calling it a daily painting, well a days painting. I am not at all sure I like it…I like bits of it. It would normally at this point be put away for me to think about but as there is a big gap on the blog where the paintings should be, it is going public.
Using the same sort of warped logic that applies to “Embarrassing Bodies” on TV, here’s a picture I would cheerfully hide from myself -now watch me put it where anybody can see it . DIY Dad, who is having something of a Revival in DIY enthusiasm at the moment, thinks I am a pathetic perfectionist , he can’t see anything wrong with it, No1 son says its “OK really, no really I do like it” No 2 just reminds me that anything I do ( at all ) is crap. Not in so many words or those exact words ( he’d be fined if he tried that-again). Which averages out at “ No Comment” pretty much. As the person who has the casting vote I come round to sticking it on the blog but pretending it’s in a cupboard and ignoring it for a safe period after which, by magic, I will be able to tell if its good or not or at least spot the mendable parts and then reassess. Hopefully.
#196 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
4″ x 2″ 10cm x 5cm approx
Another in the leaf series. Took a walk today inthe woods , wonderful sunshine cutting across the landscape and reaching right into the woodland. It was warm enough to lift the scent of the Daphne bhuloa allowing it to drift along paths and avenues from where it called me like a siren might a sailor. Silly to plant it next to the wintersweet with its less exotic smell I thought, a mistake I have also made -I realised as I got home.
detail of ” Lemon yellow and pink, leaves.”
These are the leaves of one of the lacecap hydrangeas , there is something quite surreal about their pink flush on lemon yellow. A painting which is larger than most of those in this blog, it measures :
22cm x 30cm 9″ x 12″ approx.
These are the best blueberries I have ever grown. The secret is to keep the perishing birds off without netting the birds and perishing them.
this painting can be bought from ( apologies for photo on ETSY page there is a glitch):
Beetroot in a bunch
22cm x 15cm, 9″ x 6″
There is very little time in the day when there are so many plants to water and crops to pick, I do not try and grow beetroot as I am the only person besides lovely aunt who really likes it, so these are bought and no less pretty for it.
The allotment has peas and beans in astonishing variety at the moment, diy dad has dug out his early carrots and the maincrop carrots are coming up. I have a forest of flat leaved parsley in the salad bed and the first tomatoes are ripening. The first autumn cyclamen is out as well….excuse me but the proms are only just begun, cyclamen???