size 4.5 in x 7.5 in 11cm x 19cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper
I don’t really know yet if the black cherries are a goer. They started out well, all to plan, nice and subtle in the background and then I kept going when I should have stopped and waited for things to dry out a bit. Loose painting is good until it gets so loose it falls apart.
The cherries came from the market stall in the next town .I went there after driving past the sixth form college with No.1 son and dropping him off round a corner where no-one would see me . It was a taster day when they were to do simulated A level lessons. He was clearly not looking forward to the whole thing as he was distinctly ratty.
So I did some food shopping, came home, made a nice lunch, dragged the umbrella back round to the table and opened a bottle with some allotment friends. This was looking good until I went back to lock the front door and there was No1 son back home in a foul mood…still don’t know why.
We mended the big swimming pool later; the last summer it was out a visitor poked holes in it with one of the cleaning tools. They weren’t caught red handed so it was impossible to do anything about it but I really felt for the kids who had clubbed together and spent a lot of their own money on the pool. I will be more vigilant in the future and make sure no-one gets a chance to be so destructive again.
We got one pound four ounces of strawberries in total early and late…the end is in sight. However there are currants and blueberries to come.
#89 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
Click here to purchase size 4 in x 6 in 11cm x 15cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper
It began with some rain on the velux window this morning. A promising start but the actual amount of rain hasn’t been enough to soak the soil. Therefore I still had to water lots of stuff. I even got over to the developing yew hedge which is slowly getting big enough that the neighbour won’t be snickering at it….well by next year he won’t I’m sure…. just ‘cos he’s got a ten foot high beech hedge! So far this year it has grown about six inches, a foot would be better, it grew a foot last year and I would like a foot this year.
The yew is a replacement for some of the boundary Leylandii and was bought when it was about 12inches high. It has got to 20 inches to 36 inches high now and most of them are interlaced with their neighbours.
That’s the trouble with malleable well behaved plants they can take ages to get established. I have a very beautiful single peony which once happy provides three things, red shoots in spring, huge floppy flowers in June and a bit of autumn colour. Once it is happy it should provide that every year without any real work or expense. It will never invade the whole garden, shed unwanted seed, or turn into an uninviting mouldy heap- but this particular peony is still sulking five years after being planted; one flower this year and one last is all it is prepared to commit to.
Talking of plants which do spread a little too readily the Geranium pyrenaicum which I chopped to the ground recently has already sprung back with new leaves and some flowers. I did not note when I did chop it down but it can only have been a week or two ago. I am composting the cut stuff as the compost is working fast and hot at the moment, it’s shrinking back very quickly every time I stuff more weeding and vegetable peel in there ;in other words I am confident the seeds will not ripen in the compost they will most likely get cooked.
No2 son has needed hosing down on the lawn after school the last two days he is so hot.
We forgot to go and pick the strawberries today.
Today’s painting is the opposite of yesterdays simple stark redcurrants, it’s summery and garish; I am trying to come to terms with it but there it is it is what I painted today. The roses are some I bought barerooted a couple of years ago. They are supposed to be decorating the holly bushes as they regrow to make one of the boundaries with the road, for once the plants are doing what was planned and the strings of coral buds look fantastic.
#88 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
http://www.lemonaday-shop.co.uk/gallery-shop size 4 in x 6 in 10cm x 15cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper
After doing the blog last night I drove to London in that lovely time of day when the skys’ blue deepens to a rich turquoise and then Prussian blue. The light from the set sun was still bleeding up from the horizon and the sodium lights were lit. Orange and blue are very dramatic, after such a hot day the driving reminded me of the end of a days drive in Botswana when you were glad that it had cooled down and could relax on that account, but anxious to get there before all the light went and the cows ambled onto the road and sat down. Black and white cows weren’t so bad you saw them in the headlights but all black Brahmins were invisible until it was too late. A friend Tabo swerved one night to avoid a black cow on the road, as he came off the road onto the dust he saw three more black cows next to the first just before he hit them and rolled the Landcruiser.
This morning I woke up in my old bed at my mother’s house with the sun pounding on the window. We needed to go and choose wallpaper. There are so many truly disgusting kinds out there it beggars belief.
The design briefs must read something like:
See if you can work an oriental theme into a seventies dirty beige look with some of this shiny gloopy plastic finish the chemists have just come up with.
It’s got to be big and swirly, we need four colour ways and they must all contain a browny beige, never mind about the drawing just trace it from a tablecloth or something. Work some teal in there it’s on trend.
I took mother some strawberries ,and when I was home this evening we had the summer pudding made yesterday with the help of No1 son. I should mention he has a bit of a pudding thing, one Christmas I was presented with a handwritten list of essential cakes and puddings to make it a memorable holiday-about sixteen.
The only surviving person to have lived in one of these houses ever since it was built went off today in a taxi to try out a nursing home. Both sad and difficult, but being cared for at home gets very complicated sometimes and there can be too many services needed to co-ordinate effectively. It goes without saying that they do not co-ordinate with each other it falls to the person arranging the care.
#87 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
size 6 in x 8 in 15cm x 19cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper
It was so quiet this afternoon as I painted, a deafening hush, traffic silent, barbeques on hold. England had begun to lose badly and you could hear it.
I painted the bed with the cotton lavender and the lavender in.
It was very hot too hot for the studio or the house the house went up to 26 degrees Celsius unheard of since we insulated the roof properly.
I picked 3lb 14oz Strawberries today with No1 son who also let me cut his mop of lank hair. I can see him again.
#86 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
This was the hottest day of the year so far for me. No1 son and I went to West Dean Gardens in Sussex to meet a friend of mine. He grumbled all the way there and all the way back but I felt it was worth it to see him get a bit of fresh air and slight exercise.
The gardens were (and still are) resplendently worth it. Anything my friend or I had grown they had grown better, bigger and with more flowers. The borders in the fruit tree garden are just dripping with clematis and rose and fantastic herbaceous perennials. Needless to say I did not remember a camera.
I did do a big wet watercolour sketch of one of the lodge houses. I found a daisy from the lawn made a good paint applicator for the flint walls!
The walled vegetable garden is a model of its kind as good or better than the one at Heligan in Cornwall.
The attention to detail there is phenomenal; the clematis on the tall and dramatic pergola has been persuaded to climb upwards in such a way that its stems form a regular mesh on the stone pillars. The pear trees are in neat drum shapes or trained in the shape of lemon squeezers.
We picked over two pounds of strawberries today but I started weighing for jam before working out exactly what today’s haul was. Actually I have to mention the one plant I have anything to do with that was better than West Dean…our strawberries…bigger and more leaves.
I have also done a quick painting of some lovely Sweet Williams a classic allotment flower if ever there was one. And you can’t go wrong with the mixtures with this as they are such a limited palate that they’ll all go.
#85 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
Sold size 3 in x 8 in 8cm x 20cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper
There are some pretty carrots to be drawn today…they are not home grown but they were picked by my mother in law.
Today was one long extended watering session.
The lavender is coming out and so are the Gazenias, I have yellow ones in a pot and pink ones in a bed, I have a pet hate of many mixtures that are sold either as seed or plants. Gazenia mixtures set my teeth on edge. I’m iffy about mixed antirrhinums and wallflowers too. I think it’s the combination of bright clear yellows with deep pinky reds and brick reds. Especially lemon yellow with a deep red, shudder it’s the visual equivalent of someone scraping a nail down the blackboard.
To get back to Gazenias the yellow and white mixture that I had is good and I have saved some of the plants over winter, they are bigger than the bought pink ones and opened flowers just before the pink. So because they are good plants and free for this year, overwintered Gazenia win. I need to do it better next year and save them all. They were outside but wedged in between the wood store and the house wall.
My new rose opened out, Mrs Oakley Fisher; she is a starlet of some potential. Single apricot with stamens stained scarlet at the base, five big curvaceous petals.
#84 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