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Posts Tagged ‘diy’

Mandraki

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

Carnation picotee – a painting a day

February 25, 2011 3 comments

 

Day One hundred and sixty four  –  NFS   size 6 in x 7 in, 15cm x 17cm

I am seriously out of order here, where is the point of a content free blog? My one fan has noticed the absence of content. I have apologised.

 I have spent the last month and more trying to sift through all the complicated bits and pieces that are necessary to make life as an octogenarian passable, no it’s not me ,I am not secretly eighty, but the lovely aunt is. Without effective glasses, using an unmaintained hearing aid and with unpredictable holes in her memory my aunt has struggled. This is made worse by stress and stress she has had by the bucket load, that and quite a lot of isolation in a nice bungalow with snotty next door neighbours on the edge of a smart cathedral city. Give me a grotty location with some sparky neighbours every time; culture is great but feeling comfortable is a lot more important.

However lovely aunt enjoys a bit of classical music, used to go to the Proms in the fifties and sixties before it was ever televised, we have started to find the culture that is available in deepest Sussex. Surprisingly there is quite a lot. We have been to a recital in a church with the most wonderful cello playing.

DIY Dad sank to new depths last night, as I did a dreadful sloppy painting, he took the combination microwave apart on the kitchen table. He found the faulty component and triumphantly waved the circuit board at me. He thinks he may be able to mend it….by the way the general advice is don’t do this at home children and certainly not on the kitchen table because there are parts of the circuit on a microwave that store 4000 volts of power…I think that would kill you, or him. You would not believe the complications of circuit and component inside a microwave…but then it can cook a chicken and brown it in twenty minutes which is more than I can do with any normal oven.

No2 son has a number of projects on the go, one involves the new curvaceous beauty in his life whose pneumatic curves disport themselves across his bedroom floor, I look in last thing at night and have found them entwined sleeping happily…sorry I did say it’s an inflatable canoe didn’t I?  He is planning trips to explore several local waterways once his sprain is healed. He badly damaged an arm in the school gym…the teacher still wants a note to tell him about the injury that happened under his nose and resulted in No2 being sent home for a trip to casualty ( I had my story ready as it was the second arm injury I had taken there in a month). The other project involves building a laser “gun” from laser pens…….this seems creative but dangerous beyond my childhood experience. I mean I knew someone whose older brothers made gunpowder and blasted holes in the bottom of their garden, but I never did it myself.

Lovely aunts friend C. invited us to Battersea for paella, I only ever had indifferent paella I discover, hers was fantastic I ate till I could eat no more and then we got stuck into the coffee and brandy. This little carnation is for her as I think carnations are one of her favourite flowers.

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

Coffee cup – a painting a day

November 16, 2010 Leave a comment

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

Red grapes on a plate -painting a day

October 3, 2010 Leave a comment

 size 6 in x 7 in 15cm x 17cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper

Today and yesterday were wet on and off, wind and rain, horrid inside and out. It would have been fine inside as the house is warm without being heated due to the insulation being so very good. However we were engaged in a mammoth circulation of our possessions to clear space for a plasterer to mend the hole where Matt, the builder’s labourer, fell through the ceiling. Having established that he didn’t need an ambulance I considered finishing the job and kicking him through to down stairs but relented. After all there’s nothing about a load of fibreglass, muck, plaster and sawdust on your bed to make one upset, is there? The problem with bad builders is they are bad in so many different ways. By the time Matt went through the ceiling I was ready to believe he had done it deliberately. I was aware by this stage that the owner of the company was not asking us for money in a sensible systematic way and then panicking that he didn’t have money to cover wages and asking for it at short notice and then if it wasn’t obtainable in time blaming us for the short wages that I am sure the men suffered from time to time.

We also need the new cupboards plastering so nothing can be stored there, the hall and landing need painting shortly so nothing can stay there, our new bedroom needs the floor sanding so…sorry where is all this going …in the studio?…and you think I will be able to use a press in there and work round it all?…ah yes I could throw it all away but….I don’t really want to. There is a view upheld by tutors at college that an artist collects and that this somehow vindicates their body of work. They were encouraging collection in other words, I cannot imagine being in a position where I needed encouraging hoarding, sorry collecting things, it is a great failing of mine, but I am not sure that it makes one artistic.

At one point I came to the baskets where my best jumpers were stored and the woolly walking socks for Christmas stockings. These had been fine at Christmas but since then some devastating American form of clothes moth had got in and gone through a shawl that was so fine I had not known it was wool and all the jumpers were full of gaping holes. I thought the socks looked rescueable and microwaved them to kill any living creature…how was I to know they weren’t 100% ? After less than two minutes small patches were turning into melted black ooze and smelling utterly dreadful. I am not popular with anyone. After extensive airing and cleaning the smell is still lingering in draws and cupboards.

The community orchard apples have been to West Dean (with someone else) and back and some of the identifications agree with ones we got by using an online key…Carlyle Codlin and Laxtons Reward. One each to DIY Dad and I. We are in disagreement with the experts on a number of other apples but I think I have one of the pears; Packhams Triumph is an Australian pear but was planted in the UK. It makes a decent crumble and I suspect it would juice rather well and eat well later on.

The grapes came from the market and once the boys had recovered from the shock of” PIPS!?” they disappeared very fast.

I also insisted that we picked the cooking apple tree today as the wind was starting to knock the apples off in bulk. No1 and No2 son refused to put on their shoes for a long time until harsh words and threats got them outside. Before we had finished it began to rain and still we picked. In the end No2 was enjoying the rain and being up a tree until me on the ladder and him in the branches were getting along famously. We have nearly cleared the tree and have a giant stack of apples which now need sorting and wrapping for storage in the shed. I think I will get about five trays of top quality apples and plenty for now and then some for juicing.

The best part of today was visiting a lovely open studio in a village with old friends. There were paintings, sculptures/cabinets and quilts which were really restoring, the artist Heather told me she had planned for a year to make it all work well. Her studio looks over their garden to the Downs.

 Alison

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

Amanita – a painting a day

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

   size 6 in x 4.5 in 15cm x 12cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper

The day started groggy and foggy, the fog was outside the groggy was in me.

I don’t think the smell of plumbing solder agrees with me for one thing.

The installation of a better radiator in this room has meant that some of the junk has been moved out the way which is nice and I have a better view into the side garden. This is the time of year for that patch as it had masses of Sedum ‘Autumn Glory’, which is a very simple undemanding plant but it peaks quietly now when lots of other stuff is heading for Tatty Town. There is also a large shaggy white dahlia which survived the winter in the ground; it’s remarkable what did survive, in fact I am almost sure that I have lost more things to the drought this year than to the hard frost in January.

I spent the morning collecting apples from the trees in the community orchard to identify. There are an awful lot more trees there than seemed possible when the undergrowth of nettles and brambles was untamed. An old pear is dripping with hard green fruit and there are some trees that have shed their crop. We found what we thought must be there, a Cox, almost hidden under ash trees which have grown up in the area since the orchard was abandoned, it has barely fruited. I think there is a D’Arcy Spice apple and a Reverend Wilkes (named for the horticultural stalwart who bred the Shirley poppy, see earlier blogs). There is also honey fungus fruiting on the roots of several trees which is very bad news indeed.

We went for a different walk today, if we had been there a couple of days ago there had been some very fine ceps, as it was they were huge and home to millions of tiny maggots.. In fact on the way back from the community orchard I saw a cep by the pavement only a few minutes walk from here. They really are everywhere. Instead of edible fungi we picked paintable fungi and here is my first effort. I don’t think I have drawn one of these since I was at school. Amanita’s are classics of the fungi world, tall, well formed and successful they are in the main poisonous or very dubious, some will kill you, this could make you pretty ill with the possibility of some hallucinations depending on the weather…..the suggestion is that the toxin/hallucinogen varies in strength according to the type of year it has been.

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

Fly Agarics in Ashdown Forest

The monastery from Babine Kuce, reworked#2 – a painting a day

August 28, 2010 1 comment

 

   size 6 in x 6 in 15cm x 15cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper

There are several things report today DIY Dad has started again in earnest and has told me firmly that I must expect to listen to rambling useless diatribes about plumbing and so on. I thought I was just here to cook the food and do the washing.

Given the weather was actually rather nice I was finding it very hard spending time indoors looking at depressing breezeblock walls with remnants of 1960’s decor peeling in an unromantic fashion.

The solution I came up with was good. I suggested a walk to look at some of my favourite fungus sites. The boys were promised ice cream and a bag of crisps. They complained bitterly but under sufferance they did come, muttering and threatening retribution. In the woods we found that there were no chanterelles or ceps but that the hedgehog mushrooms were beginning to fruit and we found two nice birch boletes and two very small beefsteak fungi. I photographed them before stir frying them.

The boys got their ice creams in a village shop and I got my Saturday paper, their humour improved on the walk until they had got back to being the boys we had on holiday.

On the way home we stopped for a drink in a pub overlooking the village green and then went on to the DIY store . Husband was in seventh heaven, fungi, beer, and a DIY browse all crowned by catching the car getting to 90,000 miles on the way back……and it still keeps going.

I had another go at reworking the picture of the beautiful Benedictine monastery in Mljet this time I put in the boat which takes people out to the island.

No2 son has been very informed and pretty clever, he has found and set up a new web-site on which I can sell work without a time limit. Its being called the lemonaday shop and will feature old pictures from the blog and other work that looks like it fits in.

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

Alison

Trogir view reworked – a painting a day

August 19, 2010 Leave a comment

    size 6 in x 6 in 15cm x 15cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper

Eyelashes, as of today there are fewer than ever; that is because I woke up this morning with a clump of plastic lashes missing in the bedclothes, others were diving off in odd directions and some were bent out of shape. The overall effect was completely insane, I can be a heavy sleeper but I did not know I was heavy on the eyelashes as well. Sadly, I decided to have a bath and remove them, sadly because from certain angles they were really rather jaunty and sweetly curved. Removing with solvent them took a while and made me realise just how difficult it must have been to stick the blighters on. They need to be stuck to your own lashes but in my case the lashes are both short and very pale so hard to find in the first place. In the business of removing the fakes I dislodged a few real eye lashes….damn it they are an endangered species. Incidentally in case you think I am exaggerating, the falsies are the shortest in the box and they are about three to four times longer than my lashes. The next time I feel the need to remind the children that life is not fair I will be doing so with a slight self pitying catch in my voice.

I have been a very poor blogger this month, there have been days when I been busy with school holiday type things, days when there was no option but to be ill or look after the sick and I have also wanted to sort my pictures out. The second file needed organising for the second hundred pictures, it’s astonishing how long it takes to number a load of plastic sleeves and get them all in a lever arch file ready for the paintings. I could easily have done a painting with that slot.

The space where the door into the downstairs loo used to be, has now been mostly plasterboarded, a cupboard will fill the space where the short corridor once was and I am very excited, any increase in storage space is a bonus in this house which has a real lack of built in cupboards. Well for a pair of china, tool and equipment  hoarders with children it is inadequate. It might have been fine for the previous occupant. Our last house had three built in wardrobes and they were well used.

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