I will say first that there is something very irritating about these …..too stiff or something, too scratchy?
Size 6″ x 6″
The peppers came from a market in Shoreham, I bought them from the grower and they were the prettiest thing to be had. This picture (above) is quite recent the next one is a pen and ink with wash of some fresh chillies selected from the box, it actually should come shortly after a similar sort of sketch done last autumn (#211, October 2013).
6″ x 6″ approx
This one is recent; rambutans- I bought them on a whim because they looked so bonkers.They are the weirdest of weird tropical fruit as well as coming up on “Pointless” as quite a good answer. The only exotic fruit that beat them was akee which you pretty much have to be Caribbean to know. Akee also looks and tastes a little like scrambled egg when it is cooked which is why it is served with salt cod, not entirely fruity really.
For those as yet unhooked by Pointless, it is a BBC quiz where you have to try and get the answers that are least known in the general population. That’s why I love it when food and plants come up because I know those subjects. If, as is normal, there is a question on cricket, football or F1 I am stumped. I get a lot of pleasure from wondering who would be the ideal partner for this quiz, someone whose knowledge filled in the gaps in mine.
Going back to the rambutans they tasted a little like muscat grapes or a cross between that and lychee.
size 15cm x 30cm, 6″ x 12″ approx.
There was to be a mornings painting of fruit with lovely aunt but she, not being able to concentrate as well as before, ate the still life!!
This painting has been framed and is for sale at Burgess Hill Open Houses see blog for June 4th
This is a more pleasing composition …but not right…I feel like I need to deconstruct all my equipment , clean it , buy some new brushes, get new glasses or something …not sure what.
Collected a large quantity of silver chard from the allotment today and rhubarb again, there were two little shoots of asparagus. last weekend I cleared the bed of all shoots small and large so that it could be cultivated. I made a vat of asparagus soup as they were mostly short or misshapen.
I was very put out to find that the planning officer does not consider the loss of sunlight to our house and garden important…if the new neighbour builds what he wants we will lose so much light and warmth from the winter sun and our view will be decimated. We will literally be overshadowed by their monster extension front and back. getting sun into this garden has been the biggest challenge as it was circled with overgrown trees and hedges when we moved here now something permanant and ugly may sit between us and the sun. Worse the people who want to take the light say they intend to be our new neighbours…how will that work in practice? I prefer to get on with neighbours even ones who are different to us but what does one do when the new people have taken something precious and beautiful about ones home before they even move in? It is always best to avoid neighbourhood disputes but it is very easy to see how they can take hold.
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).
size 8in x 6in 20cm x 15cm
Wonders will never cease to flow across the barren landscape of my existence…lovely aunt has a good report from the doctor, DIY dad has done a tip run, the town councillors don’t like the sound of new neighbours monster house development, and the thin practice nurse’s dire predictions for me turn out to be unfounded as yet, in other words I am not particually unhealthy just rather tubby.
6in x 6in 15cm x 15cm approx.
Now I seem to have lost my bloom and gained definition on the spots or is that just the natural aging process…of the plums,dear, of the plums, I can hear Frankie Howerd saying this.
The difference between these two pictures is that the first painted the spots in negative ie by painting a dark background round them and in this one I used masking fluid to keep the pale spots pale. Or you could say I painted them in positive with masking fluid which is removed later.
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.
This painting has been framed and is for sale at Burgess Hill Open Houses see blog for June 4th
size h 7″ x 6″ 17cm x 15cm
There has been a long gap when I have written and painted nothing. In my defence it was Christmas and then I was ill.
Christmas approached and as always the creative life was swamped by the mundane. There were presents to make, cakes to make, cards to send, lovely aunts social life to mend and her medical needs to be addressed, husbands dumped friend to console, and then there were the floors, the loos and the bedrooms which all needed my attention-in addition there was still the shopping and ordering.
I have a major difficulty with being ill in this household and it’s to do with timing; ideally being ill should be a solitary activity much attended by concerned (healthy and vigorous) loved ones, that is in my dreams. Now my husband seems able to time his occasional bouts of man flu so that he is able to announce to the world, work, and his closest relatives that he is really ill as he collapses sideways onto the red settee with the remote control. He varies his illness by retiring to bed with a book on Greek Naval Warfare or the Odyssey and calls for his basic needs, conversation and fussing whenever he feels like it. This continues until he is fit enough to get up and go back to work….protesting that he is not yet fully recovered ….he then comes home and collapses sideways onto the red settee with the remote and is exhausted. He is of course excused household duties until he is at least a little better i.e. well enough not to want to come home from work and collapse sideways onto the red settee. I may be imagining this but it is possible that his episodes of ill health tend to finish when he has exhausted the recorded episodes of Startrek, Frost and Lewis. This Christmas holiday he must have been truly unwell as I found him watching a recording of a Harry Potter film followed by two of the Narnia films. I am quite worried however as we were given a swanky new set top box at Christmas which is much more effective in recording whole series of programmes and has a HUGE memory; thus we will soon have every single broadcast episode of Frost etc .
I got ill first this year for a change and by rights should have been able to collapse gracefully onto the red settee etc. etc. But I mistimed it badly, I started to get ill on Christmas Day and having found out on that morning that we were to have 13 at lunch the next day I was forced to battle on. There were arrangements in place for the day after Boxing Day as well -eight for lunch. Note to self , do not volunteer to entertain three days in a row at Christmas or at any other time. The last day was fine as there was woodpigeon pie ready to go in the fridge which we had with bubble and squeak made from left over mash and sprouts with chestnuts. Once all people had gone home and I felt able to actually be ill as opposed to falling asleep in the middle of things, I was overtaken by diy dad who, having done enough diy to empty all the cupboards in the house, caught my chest infection. Of course he was worse than me and needed attention, as he recovered No2 son came back from a days shopping with the winter vomiting. We have managed to contain his personal pandemic this time ( his best being 11 people infected)and the only person who has succumbed this time is …well of course its me.
This is a very rough idea of the colours at Sheffield park last weekend, the little sketch is a pencil sketch of the central interest. Possibly the information here and from the snapshot taken at the same time can produce a finished picture…..watch this space ( don’t hold your breath however ).
The strangest thing about this year so far in the foraging department are the wild mushrooms, the best pickings we have had this year of ceps and parasols has been this week, its nothing like last year but there have been enough to eat some and dry some.
It is a fine view and the question is will the picture end up reflecting(!) this?