Wednesday, 28 May 2008


This is Boardman's mill known as skeleton mill built in the 1890's as it is of open timber trestle design and has 8 bladed fantail and 4 double shuttered sails. In the distance is another mill rescued and restored from Ranworth and resited here on the marshes at How Hill.
This is Turf Fen mill built in the 1870's with brick tower and Norfolk boatshaped cap. It has the double scoop wheel used to drain the marshes for the development of farming.

Turf Fen mill again with one of the many boats for hire on the Broads.

Yesterday we went about 10 miles from home (if that) to Ludham bridge to walk alongside the river Ant to the 3 mills at How Hill. After 30 minutes (taking photos and the youngsters playing about) we still seemed to have the same to go seeing one of the mills on the horizon. Would not have minded but didnt fancy the walk back afterwards. So after returning to the bridge, visiting artists gallery located alongside, ice creams from the little shop (as the tea rooms were closed of all days Tues - the one and only day we visited!!!!).- got out the map and drove along little lanes around to How Hill. It was well worth it.

How Hill is a Trust which looks after Norfolk's heritage of windmills and has a lovely little cottage lived in by marshmen and their families called Toad Hole Cottage. Now used as a museum and Broads information centre. There are some 74 mills remaining in the Broads. Hope you enjoyed this little bit of history from Norfolk?? Sorry photos not better but it was a sultry damp misty day.

Saturday, 24 May 2008


I am a member of the West Norfolk Artists Association which has a summer show in St Nics Chapel in Kings Lynn to coincide with the town's festival. Entry forms are due soon, so I had to make some decisions as to what I was submitting. At one of my stewarding days last year I took photos of the font with a wonderful array of flowers. Here is the photo.

I initialliing created a light watercolour to help me understand it more and as you can see I made an error with the back of the last pew to the left of the font, as I was leaving out the panels used for hanging the paintings and the card stand. So it had been worthwhile.

Here are two stages of the oil to date using my lovely vibrant Michale Harding paints. I used Unbleached Titanium, raw sienna, yellow ochre, Napthol Red and King blue in the font steps and base.

Pity the rich colours of the pews and the designs at the top of each panel dont show well here. I mainly used Michael Hardings lovely Red Umber with Napthol red for this rich wood. (You might like to click on the image and get a larger more detailed version where you can also see the sketchy flowers I plan to add).

... but I've just edited this post and added a closeup of the back of the pew - please note more blending and work to be done on the reflected colour on the step.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

THIS WEEK'S LIFE SESSION with Derwent Wash pencils

All these sketches this week were drawn with a new set of Derwent sketching wash pencils. I have a lovely set in a silver metal tin, with two light wash, two medium and 2 dark wash. The tin comes supplied with a sharpener and I obtained all this for around £5 from a special offer I think from the SAA (been ordering lately from them and Ken Bromley so not sure). I used my waterbrush to bleed out the graphite for shading and as you can see the dark wash came in handy for Claire's beautiful hair. They were either 10 or 15 minute poses so although I spotted lines that needed correcting I did not have time to put right.
Oops I seem to have made her right foot rather large!
Ran out of paper on my pad with this lovely twist and legs look a bit narrow.
Shape of face not correct.
It was the feeling of leaning with this one I wanted to capture so not worried about not completing the legs.

Saturday, 17 May 2008


As the forecast for today was continuous rain, we changed our plans and will be visiting the open studios near Cromer and Sherringham tomorrow, so had time to get my White Knights watercolour box out.

This is the original quick watercolour sketch 6 x 6" from a visit to our son and family's French farmhouse in the Dordogne, which hangs on my kitchen wall. This is my new pencil sketch with extended made up areas either side to fit an 11 x 8" mount, as it is my daughter in laws birthday next weekend and they live abroad, I thought I would repeat it as a pen and wash but larger to send to her. As you stroll from the farmhouse to the river, you pass this derelect barn and farm property and there always seemed to be chickens around.

Here are the first layering of washes and the completed piece.
(afraid the photo has bowed it somewhat!!). Sold a painting at the gallery in Wells this week so should be able to get myself that new scanner thank goodness.

Friday, 16 May 2008


Had a lovely friend from Dorset staying with us for the past 3 days and never had a moment to get out my sketchbooks or work in the den/studio. We talked art most of the time, as Grace also paints and is currently working on portraits of family members. Sunny Wed we spent in the garden enjoying the afternoon sun. Thursday was very busy with visit to Wild Life Trust floating centre at Ranworth Broad. Also very interesting time as Grace is tracing her family of Cators (on her mother's side) and we found references in churches in Woodbastwick and Ranworth. In the afternoon we visited Hickling Broad and Wild Life Centre and walked for hours before coming home via the windmill at Sutton.

Today Grace followed me 35 miles across country up to Wells Next the Sea for a visit and we parted mid afternoon for her to carry on to Kings Lynn to her sons and me to get home after visiting The Big Blue Sky Gallery.

Sorry no photos even to show you yet and tomorrow meeting up with friends in Cromer to visit some of the local Norfolk Open Studios - this being the first weekend. Hope to get back to normal next week.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008


Had a lazy day in the garden under my lovely new parasole on Sunday - so took opportunity to sketch a couple of views of my garden showing some of the newly planted pots and half water barrel. The little tree like bird bath is not used mainly because we have two cats and secondly because we have a much larger bird bath - ( which I must sketch one day with a little boy and girl hugging each other under an umbrella and when we switch on the power water spouts out the top of the brollie and pours down all around them).

The half barrel is on wooden steps leading down to a small pond with these large lights leading down from the patio among rocks and plants. This double spread sketch gives an idea. In the barrel are 3 different fuschia, a geranium, some nasturtiums and dark blue lobelia. Ive pack it quite tight and added a few other little hanging plants I cant remember the name of!!! What a gardener???

Saturday, 10 May 2008


Its been such a wonderful week here in East Anglia (England) with a heat wave well up into the high 70's for May and not a cloud in the sky. Clive nipped out in the week to get me a large parasole (as I cant stay in the sun long) and came back with a huge orange and wood version. Lying under it and seeing the rich colour against the blue blue sky has been an artists (specially colourist) dream. You can see how huge it is by the size of the lounger in my sketch!!!

What a way to enjoy our garden - just a little taster next of three full blown pink peonies with reddish leaves. Despite my back I potted up lots of baskets and pots and half a wooden barrel
today and look forward to seeing all the summer plants grow from strength to strength to give me lots of subjects to paint. Although I have not had time to paint the peonies from life, I definitely will use the photo for something one day. Arent they gorgeous - must be nearly 7 inches across each bloom.

Friday, 9 May 2008


On the way home from Laura's I stopped off at Oxborough and visited the church, which although a ruin is still partly used as the village church. The early spire of this perpendicular church was destroyed by lightening and replaced - only to last 70 years to 1948 when it brought down the tower and roof. The surviving chancel is the current church.
The 6 foot brass lectern inscribed with the donor's name (John Kypping who died in 1498.)
This double spread is of the north aisel on the left still roofed but the arcading open - leading down to the doorway into the chancel which is big enough to now use as the village church.
Oxborough, south of Swaffham, is well worth a visit not only for the church but the fort like Oxborough Hall.

Thursday, 8 May 2008


OOPS I'VE MADE A TYPICAL JOANNIE ERROR HERE - I've posted all the images and text re my last life drawing session in MY GALLERY BLOG because I was working on this earlier. Dont know how to move it across to here so ...... would you mind clicking on the LINK on the RIGHT and taking a peep in THE GALLERY - thats if you want. !!!!!! I just know the kind of comments I'm going to get this time - 'what a twerp' 'how can she be so useless' and for those kindly souls ' well Joannie this is how you transfer it all... ' ... but heres a little taster

Sunday, 4 May 2008


As this months workshop coincided with one of our many Bank Holiday weekends in England, we werent expecting many to come so the ladies who were planning to attend asked if we could do flowers . Right up my street. Before leaving home I walked round the garden and collected a selection of leaves and flowers to go with a bunch of yellow lilies I had bought when shopping on Friday. So I'll post a few examples of work that went on during the day.
As our previous workshops had been basically on drawing skills, we needed to spend most of the morning learning more about watercolour techniques. These colour squares were the first exercise to show how colours re-acted layed on top of each other on the page rather than mixing the three primaries they chose in the palette which creates a neutral. It was a great exercise in colour mixing using the three chosen primaries layered in different order.
We then moved onto putting these skills into practice with selected leaves. First they tried wet on wet and then added detail once dried. Then tried various other ways to interpret the leaf.

Before breaking for lunch we had some playschool fun by wetting a full sheet of watercolour and dropping in three chosen colours, splattering and tipping, then adding salt. They were left to dry during our break with the idea of looking for floral and leaf shapes in the blended colours and painting negatively around them. But it never happened as they were all keen to get on with a full flower study - so that became their 'homework'!

I only took photos of the drawing stage, as we all got so involved and committed to preparing the correct colours for the layers and searching for the various tones. .. I forgot to photo the finished pieces. Sorry. I think they went home realising that floral painting is not so easy - a genre all its own and much to be admired.

Thursday, 1 May 2008


Last week I visited the Hoveton Hall Gardens just 3 miles from my home. It has a wonderful peaceful relaxing atmosphere with walks through a woodland carpeted in daffodils when I visited, walks around a beautiful 4 acre lake with stone bridge and currently bright yellow giant marsh marigolds. The magnolias were out - as you can see from my two quick watercolours here.

There is also an enclosed flower garden, approached through a wrought iron circular gate in the shape of a spiders web with the garden cottage beyond. Here is my double spread pen and wash sketch of it - although the wall is rather darker in real life.

Cant wait to visit again later in this month (May) to see all the azaleas and rhododendrons out in full bloom that were in bud when I was there.