Posts Tagged ‘poppy’

A little bit of Africa in Sussex

July 29, 2014 2 comments


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 things 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.


Felting and making

December 16, 2010 Leave a comment

This is my hoard of finished corsages for people at Christmas except there are now two little roses that I finished after the photo was taken. Its a brilliant excuse to get some sofa time in front of the telly although I find that a lot of the programmes I recorded for myself  in frustration as I was getting interupted while trying to watch them have disappeared….funny that as all the episodes of the Simpsons seem to be alright…..

I am woefully behind with most stuff this year and need to make some birthday cake, Christmas cake , pudding and a selection from the traditional list of fourteen that No1 son put on the fridge a few years back. I fancy date slices and the chocolate shortbread stars, I might do the florentines as I have hidden adequate supplies of chocolate in a VERY SECRET PLACE as I am sick of having the cupboards raided. They didn’t dare do that when they were younger, its infuriating now.

Fresh peas – a painting a day

July 14, 2010 2 comments


   size 6 in x 8 in 15cm x 19cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper Fabriano

I really am quite surprised with myself, one hundred little paintings today, I should be celebrating but as I haven’t finished my picture yet and it’s really late I doubt I will. To put the icing on it a picture sold today, the tiny red poppy one. I do like it so I will send it on its way a little sadly. At least with modern technology everything is photographed and I have a record; in the distant past I once walked into a person’s house, admired a picture only to be told it was one of mine! I had forgotten all about once it left my care (Yes it was deeply embarrassing, in fact my stomach is curdling now thinking about it).

I picked the last of the currants today with help from No2 son, just over twelve ounces. While I was on the allotment I begged these lovely fresh peas from a neighbours plot. The tendrils are perfect. I put some plants in, late of course, but then theres a chance of rain so they might hack it.

It seems like there has been some rain today- until the rain gauge is checked and that shows we have been lightly sprinkled with water droplets- not rained on at all. The soil tells the same story, it’s rock hard.

I think my wash will be dry now, so I will finish there for the night.

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

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Shirley Poppy III – a painting a day

June 17, 2010 Leave a comment

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

The Geography is over there is no more to do on that. There remain two Science papers and Citizenship and Food Technology.

Not much of a idea on how to revise Citizenship as I don’t have a clue what it is.

I have continued with the Shirley poppy as it really is very beautiful and it has attracted a lot of attention on e-bay. Today’s version is done without any pencil drawing just freehand paint.

After his exam No1 son said it was the day to make a strawberry pie. There is a family recipe which is really quite special for making pies with the softest of the soft fruits i.e. strawberries and raspberries.

The recipe was taught to my mother by her eldest aunt, Florrie, she was a very keen cook who would turn her hand to everything from breadmaking and potato pie to whole salmon and jugged hare (which I have never eaten ). There is no way of knowing if the recipe comes from a book of the time or if it was handed down in the family. If it is a family recipe then it is a dish from the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Strawberries and raspberries lose a lot of liquid when mixed with sugar, liquid makes pastry soggy. So you make a rich sweet pastry with butter, roll out a bottom, cover with fruit and then place the top on without sealing it with water. Once the pie is cooked you gently( with fishslices and palette knives)loosen and lift the lid onto a clean plate, you scatter six teaspoons of sugar over the fruit and add five small knobs of butter unsalted is best. Slide the lid back into place and serve warm. This stands well on its own without the addition of either custard or cream and is blooming marvellous as Father Christmas would say.

I picked 10 oz of strawberries today but the boys picked 5lb 6oz, making six pounds…I think we need to make more jam. I also picked two ripe berries from the new strawberry plants which are supposed to be late crop. Ideally we will arrange it so that we have half and half of the two next year.

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

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Shirley Poppy II – a painting a day

June 16, 2010 Leave a comment

  Sold and on its way to Austria! size 7 in x 6 in 18cm x 15cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper

What a strange business, I was trying to help my son and his friend with their Geography revision. It seems that of the six questions on the exam paper they have only been taught enough in class to answer three, so if they get a particularly nasty question they are forced to answer it because they won’t have covered the alternative topic. For example they have learnt about rivers but not about volcanoes, they have covered Agriculture but not Development. Call me old-fashioned (no not all at once) but if someone has a GCSE in Geography I would expect them to know a bit about volcanoes. A knowledge of Development meshes with a knowledge of Agriculture; each informs the other.

I had a better session today painting the same poppy which had not dropped its petals; when the weather is hot these poppies barely last a day. It reminds me of the wall paper my grandparents had in their bedroom, which was lush with poppies, there were stripes in the design in a bluish grey and like almost everything in their house, I loved it.

I also made five jars of strawberry jam. My grandmother would have been proud of me (actually she would have quietly approved, she was not given to hyperbole)

I am dissatisfied with the look of yesterdays picture and will re-crop it tomorrow.

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

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First Shirley Poppy – a painting a day

June 15, 2010 Leave a comment

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

Today we picked four and a half pounds of strawberries…i.e. over two pounds a day as we didn’t pick yesterday. I also picked a handful of red currants so need to start thinking about some jam.

I ate one of the white peaches today and it was just lovely. The flesh was not white more the colour of pistachio ice cream.

There were two Shirley poppies out today self sown from some I grew last year. I have tried to get the prettiest one down on paper but am in two minds about it. In fact I have finished last night’s unpublished picture today and am not at all happy with that either.

I talked to an old friend whose husband is very ill, he has been ill for some time, she is a fantastic painter but she shocked me when she said she had not painted for a year ; she finds she cannot look after George and think enough to paint. I am not sure there is too much thinking involved in these paintings, except that they show what presents itself to my mind on a daily basis.

So the poppy in the painting has been picked and is filling the studio with its bitter smell. The one in the photo is growing and has yet to be picked.


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

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Iris and bud –a painting a day

June 1, 2010 Leave a comment   size 6 in x 6 in 15cm x 15cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper

This is me being a tag tart.

I was so surprised to find that my rapidly put down on paper picture of an Iris got more hits on e-bay than anything else I have offered for sale on its first night that I am inclined to experiment and discover which is the most popular flower image wise. My guess is it will be either a poppy or a sunflower but it could be a lily of some sort.

 There is a sort of freedom attached to the daily blog thing as you do a picture and move on to the next thing. It seems worth not getting too repetitive in order to reflect the seasons and to entertain the readers /viewers. Ordinarily I might not choose to do sunflowers for example as they can look just a bit clichéd. Having said that, I did put them in the background of my picture of pumpkins that won the prize at the Summer Exhibition in Botswana, and it was a picture I was happy with. Irises I could paint until the cows come home as they are so interesting . There are three triangular arrangements of three petals, three standing up, three falling downwards and three reaching out. Then to make it even more complicated there is the beard which could be a tiny upturned scrubbing brush if it weren’t for its clean gold colour. There are also the spiralling buds in a colour so dark I always think I’ve got a black one until they unfurl.

I include here photo of one of the best garden Alliums for floral display…the star of the backdoor bed …I give you the humble and very useful Chive!

Also a picture taken, on a sunny day, of the half moon border; the pansies are a proper purple yet they look an inky blue in this shot (and all the others I took) Today’s painting, an Iris given longer to develop on paper, is actually rather bluer than it has photographed. That is most likely a problem with the artificial lighting but the pansies were taken in daylight so should come out closer to true hue.

The other thing I did today was to go to the gym to get some help with my knee problems. Not really my natural environment, I said I’d never been before which the instructor found hard to believe.” What not even when you were younger …at school?” she said, I looked at the rows of grey and black torture apparatus and had to say “I don’t think any of this had been invented when I was at school”. I mean we had a dusty old leather horse that you could be asked to jump over, but it was definitely not cool to do so with any sort of skill. If the Gym Mistress did not roll her eyes in despair, you had failed dismally. I tried not to be too gloomy and did my practice five minutes on everything but I really can’t imagine how people manage to go to the gym for pleasure. Afterwards my knee hurt and I don’t think it is supposed to.


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

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