Archive for November, 2011

Dried cep- a painting a day

November 24, 2011 Leave a comment


size 4″ x 6″ 12cm x 15cm approx.

These are the little slices of dried cep which make the most fantastic soups, sauces and scrambled egg possible. They are such good quality, being home made , that a slice can be crumbled into scrambled egg just before serving or even just eaten as it is. They have none of the stringy dirty look of the commercial dried cep you see in the supermarket and elsewhere. I like their shape too – an angular folded version of the slices which went into the dessicator.

We have collected about eight kilos of cep in the last ten days, most has been dried as the crop can never be guaranteed and I would hate to run out.



Cep with child – a painting a day

November 23, 2011 2 comments

SOLD to another mushroom hunter!

size 5in x 5 in, 12cm x 12cm approx

I went with no1 son, who is very fond of mushrooms for breakfast, to see if anything had come up…There was, as the day before, nothing… but on the way out of the woods I nearly trod on this little beauty. The little side one is often pictured in German and Polish illustrations, not to be outdone I painted it.

No2 son has cooked his goose over a stuffed chicken thigh recipe for food DT (that is what they call lessons in cookery at school in the UK now). Having made all the effort to buy his raw ingredients I then spent the evening reminding him to get it all prepared for the morning.” Don’t leave it to eleven o’clock!”, I said, not thinking that he would leave it until 8.15 the following morning…I was out of sorts for everything , late, furious and forgetful. Boning out chicken thighs in the morning hustle when I could have BOUGHT ready boned had I not been told to get them bone in is so far from my idea of fun there will be consequences for this.

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


Sheffield Park the rough draft

November 17, 2011 Leave a comment



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… 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?


Lemon yellow and pink, leaves.

November 13, 2011 Leave a comment



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.


Hazelnut cluster

November 11, 2011 1 comment



8cm x 8cm 4in x4in

There it is, a tiny picture was all I managed today. It’s an intriguing
cluster of hazelnuts with extra length outer sepals (?) Cobnuts are a
horticultural crop so I do not know that much technically about them, I did
Agricultural Botany. I found it on the pavement, faraway from any obvious source
of cob-nuts. I do wonder if it might be better explained by a line drawing in
spidery black ink.

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


November 7, 2011 Leave a comment

size 12 in x 6in, 30cm x 15cm

Coming back to planet normal after a week on the Aegean was a bit
of a gentle letdown, the trees had coloured up, the leaves had dropped damply
onto every surface but there had been no major frosts; I could have left all
those hastily gathered tender plants to carry on blooming. Lobelia is still doing
well in a pot, it loves the damp of course, there is something very similar to
our annual blue lobelia growing in the rock crevices which sit in the permanent
spray from Victoria Falls.

The fox has started chewing up a pair of gardening gauntlets left
out by mistake. The cider is still bubbling away happily…Ah yes I have been
blogless for months but that does not mean nothing has happened, quite the
reverse. DIY dad has constructed an apple press from my collection of old oak
gateposts and a large car jack. Using this and a gang of family members we
pressed some 180 litres of juice. There were apples from a neighbour’s tree,
apples from relative’s trees and community orchard apples harvested in proper
cider fashion using a panking pole to shake apples onto a tarpaulin. Endless
fun of the“ Let soandso have a go with the pole he’s a proper panker” sort was
had, we do a lot of boy humour round here. We also had some of our own Ellisons
Orange which we had stored outdoors they had lost some of their zip but
produced a very sweet juice.

Todays painting is a worked up sketch from the holiday; it is a
view down one of the narrow passages in Mandraki , Nisyros. A very elderly
woman came and sat beside me to watch saying “Jasas corrie” (Bless you
daughter”, it felt like decades since someone said that to me. The polite reply
is “Jasas yaya” ( Bless you granny). The overhanging tree is a giant rubber
plant or Ficus. I could literally have spent the whole day finding places to sketch there and the same applies to
Simi town where we also went. The problem with that idea is that there were
three people who needed a wife, mother and skipper to make their holiday work.
It’s boring waiting for someone to finish their painting.

We went to Mandraki
for lunch after being taken up to the crater of the volcano. The caldera is
vast and contains both agricultural land and a heath complete with flowering
heather like a patch of the New Forest dropped into a volcano. Very odd indeed,
from the heathery plain you drop down a rough cliff path into a wide crater
which has a flat mud floor with pits of boiling mud in its centre. Around the
edge there are vents where steam , so thick with sulphur that it crystallises
on the sides of the vent in delicate yellow needles, streams out to pollute the
atmosphere with the worst rotten egg smell possible. Afterwards the smell of
sulphur clings to ones skin. There are also active cones within the caldera
crater which look very new and raw.

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

Day One hundred and eighty one  Mandraki

Click here to bid   size 12 in x 6in, 30cm x 15cm

The fresh ploughed field Norfolk

November 4, 2011 2 comments

size 15cm x 30cm 6″ x 12″ approx

This picture was finished today after being started on holiday in Norfolk in August. Today I took the detail of the hedgerow from my sketchbook and put it onto the paper which held the loose washes for the field and the sky. I am ( at the moment) quite pleased with it. I may yet come to loath it or rather see its’ faults in an uncomfortable way. It is quite satisfying to meld two sketches together like this. In other words the background and the forground were done outdoors and the hedgerow and houses were added from notes in my sketchbook.

The last week has been very hectic but really exiting, I took the family sailing offshore which we have never tried before. This involved chartering ( or hiring really) a small yacht and just taking off. It was interesting to find that the things I used to do most  came back most readily…I am still a competent navigator and not reliant on GPS and other assorted gizmos, I am fairly rubbish at mooring stern onto a jetty with an unfamiliar boat, I can helm in a near gale and enjoy most of it. I can cook at sea without being sick. Getting into a marina does make me feel queasy especially when I can hear the marina staff saying ” Oh my god there’s a woman at the helm!!”; next time I must tell them I understand them and polish up some fitting  riposte in greek, a satisfying language in which to swear.

The high points were waking up the morning after a stressy anchoring episode in failing light, looking up and seeing an ancient Greek city complete with amphitheatre laid out on the slopes either side of the harbour. Ancient Knidos even has stone breakwaters which are 2000 years old and still functioning, the remains of the stone quays are still there from the days when it was an important trading city. There is a second harbour which was for the triremes or warships now only used by little fishing boats. Visiting the volcano crater on Nisyros was smelly but fascinating and seeing dolphins always makes my week. The best food was at Oguns Place and if he offers you an assortment of his mezethes say yes and cancel any thoughts of coping with a main course as well.

The Greek economic crisis felt like the elephant in the room..almost never mentioned.

How did the sons and DIY dad cope you may ask? DIY had to be dissuaded from opening  a hole in the bottom of the boat to replace the impeler, yes I do know it is possible to fit the bung into the hole quickly but it’s not essential and frankly I have a serious aversion to holes in the bottoms of boats. The boys thought it was alright to carry on arguing about who taken whose t-shirt – as skipper I felt it was my duty to give the crew hell if they forgot that the boat comes before clothes and all other petty quarrels. I have been brought up to understand that in a boat you will get shouted at and its important to jump to and not take it personally and definitely avoid sulking, it is rather unendearingly old-fashioned but there it is, it was the first thing I was ever told about sailing. Once I reminded them that they needed to say,” yes chef “,to indicate that they had got their orders they got the idea- good old reality TV.

I think there are ten loads of washing to be done, I am only onto the fourth or fifth. Holidays are good things…but how to recover from them seems to be the problem. Lovely aunt coped well while I was away- apart from an invitation to travel 60 miles on a train ( which she is scared to do) for a pub lunch ,  she also hates to say no and disappoint people and ends up in a spin as a result.

Below is my first anchorage in the Aegean….found by serendipity, it wasn’t where we had first intended to go, the yacht in the middle of the frame is the one we were on.