Thursday, 31 July 2008


Some time ago Anita (the famous Davies columnist we all know) sent me the above award. Meanwhile I went off air while I had a new computer system installed and have today tried to see if I can continue the chain of awards to blogs I admire. The problem with me is I am not adept at playing around with these blogs - but here goes:

I have some very regular visitors to my blog and would like to share some of their work with you:

Robert - a great story writer who also creates artwork - from the USA
Claudia - from Germany whose style I simply love
Robyn - an Australian who moved to Tuscany and paints beautiful local sketches
Joan - her blog address says it all

Then there is Sam - who doesnt visit my blog but is the Chairman of the Norfolk Organisation for Visual Artists and a wonderful artist of the female form

Then theres some amazing works of art from
Justin Taylor and
Sandy Maudlin

If you decide to participate, the rules of accepting are as follows:1) Put the logo on your blog.2) Add a link to the person who awarded you.3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs.4) Add links to those blogs on yours.5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008


These two images make my first double spread in the lovely handmade sketchbook I told you about a few posts ago. I purchased the unique fuchsia from a local nurseries and it has reached around 3 ft width in a big pot on one of our wooden benches by the front door. Its nicer to see it higher than at ground level. Its called SATELLITE and the 'skirt' separates into 4 individual petals as it develops.

I painted many layers to achieve a velvety feel to the main sketch using Winsor and Newton watercolours from scarlet lake to permanent rose and quinacridone magenta. I accidentally dropped a blob of the Winsor yellow on both pages (trust me!!), so decided to add something in the bottom left hand corner to try to bring the blob into the sketch. Hopefully it worked, as this was my first piece of work and I was cross I had spoiled the clean fresh first page double spread.
Well, at least I have at last started my wonderful book.

Sunday, 27 July 2008


This time I thought I'd post some of the scenery on our 3,000 mile trip. They are somewhat out of order though as the first one of Gariep Dam is on the Freestate and Eastern Cape border on our way back to Richard and Jenny's home on the south coast. The colours were so beautiful and soft as we came over the hill and this enormous dam came into our view.

The next double spread in my sketchbook is of our visit to the Kimberly Diamond mine. They still have the engines and gantry and a full village has been erected nearby including the restored buildings showing the times when the mine was hand dug in 1870s onwards. I got the view over the hole as they have erected a large extension off the tourist hall you can walk along - and it seems to sway!!!!

No 3 today is of my (I feel rather successful) sketch of Table Mountain. We had been up the cable car that morning and Richard drove us out of the city and round to the beach to look back across the water.

Thursday, 24 July 2008


Having my brother and wife here for a week and getting out and about, I have not created any new sketches or artwork, and as my new big big 250GB computer and 2GB RAM has been fitted today together with a wonderful scanner/printer 3in1, I can post some of my sketches I did when I went out to South Africa last October. I decided to use some of the animal sketches this time round.

My notes in the sketchbook remind me that this penguin colony are known as Jack Ass penguins because they bray like an ass and 2 pairs settled here in the Boulder Bay in 1984 and now there are over 3,500!! They were great fun to sit amongst and sketch.
This ostrict was wandering alongside the road on our way to Cango Wildlife Ranch. I actually picked up one of his feathers and stuck it in the sketchbook.

We spied this tortoise (slow enough to get some of the shell design and colour to finish later) amongst the flowers growing right down to the beach in Cape of Good Hope.
Number 4 today is a group of zebras in the Pumba Reserve who stood around for ages.

Now I have the scanner I will be able to post other sketches from my trip from landscapes, buildings, people and (of course they say) flowers.

Friday, 18 July 2008


Thanks Lottery Girl and Robert for asking for more floral work to be posted. Here is a collection of watercolour floral work from the past. I dont think I need to comment on them - just enjoy the wonderful colours of our lovely plant world - Im sure you will recognise the flowers.

Afraid had no time to create new pieces or use my sketchbook and now we have visitors until next Wed and hope to be getting out and about this lovely part of the world.
My computer has really been playing up lately so took the plunge and ordered a complete new system with much more RAM memory, harddrive and processor to handle all the images I use. and while I was at it purchased a 3 in 1 HP Photosmart C4280 for just £44 on Amazon- hopefully all this spending will make internet work quicker and less fraught.

Monday, 14 July 2008


I hope to manage a couple of flower studies in my beautiful new hand made sketch book (see last post) before we have visitors towards the end of the week. Big difficulty will be choosing which from the wonderful plants now blooming in the garden. Before I start I thought I'd show you some of my floral studies from pre-blog days.

Here is a selection of water colour or acrylic works: (dont forget to click on images to enlarge)
The rose is Ruby Wedding and was hung at the Society of Floral Painters exhibition at the Ventnor Botanic Garden show in the Isle of Wight and sold a few years ago.
This little 8 x 20 inch acrylic on canvas was commissioned following the sale of poppies in similar format sold at a gallery in Holt, Norfolk. The client wanted to hang a pair together and cornflowers were her choice for the second piece.

Another watercolour but I cant remember why I painted this one except the lovely lanterns were growing in my garden when we lived in a Cambridge village and I added teasel to the design. I sold it during a Cambridge Open Studios event.... I think!.

I'll add another post with different floral work another time - if you are not too bored!!??

Wednesday, 9 July 2008


Here is the front cover of my wonderful sketchbook created by Karen Jinks of Cambridgeshire. I selected the cover fabric via her website link she sent me by email . I was also able to choose the type of watercolour paper I wanted and size. As you can see I chose pink butterflies, as this book is going to be used for botanical studies of a selection of the flowers in my garden throughout the growing season.
This is the clever binding called coptic stitch and it binds groups of 7 x 7 inches Sanders Waterford HP 300 lb watercolour creating 36 pages in all making a lovely chunky personalized sketchbook.
Just to show you the inside back cover and how very very professional the workmanship is. Lain on top for the photo is her business card and you can contact her via her website or by email
By the way the whole job including postage (which the stamps show was nearly £3) and the lovely packaging came to £15. Its a joy to look at and going to be a challenge to even put my first mark!!!

Sunday, 6 July 2008


We had our fifth monthly workshop yesterday since I started them in March and, such are the vagaries of running public classes and workshops, four had to cancel at the last moment for most legitimate reasons - a car accident, falling ill, having to stand in for the bossman at the gallery he works in and as normal one just did not turn up.
Anyway, here are the subjects I prepared for our day. The violin for those who have attended regularly and the flower pot and jewellery box for those who had only studied geometric shapes and tones to date.

Below is a watercolour in progress - albeit this lady had accidentally purchased gouache paint tubes - but was able to use plenty of water to get fresh clean washes. This work was redrawn into watercolour pad after some time spent getting to know her subject with pencil sketches and planning the composition in her skektchbook.

One of the members chose to leave out the flowers and concentrate on the basic shapes of the flowerpot, box, pot pourri container and curves of the lace table mat. After a few thumbnail pencil sketches this was the composition she worked on in her watercolour pad with blue tonal washes.
Our gentleman of the day, who turns out to be an avid gardener, sketched various designs from the subject and finally decided on cropping and going in very close to concentrate on the flower shapes and pot with the jewellery box and pearls .
One of the major subjects I feel most members need help on is understanding colour theory - so there's homework this time round. I handed out samples of my colour wheels and discussed cool and warm colours, complimentary colours and neutrals. Look forward to seeing what they achieve with primary colours from their own paint boxes or sets of tubes.

Thursday, 3 July 2008


Dont forget to click on the images to get to the detail. For instance that white bindweed in front of the drum is a nightmare round here winding round and choking up our beautiful plants if you dont do a regular check and good hearty tug. Just a bit of English fun to share with you today.

Those of you who have been following my blog will remember we have an allotment area at the end of our lane. I walked through there today to visit our local surgery for some blood tests (just trying to get to the root of some 'funny turns' Ive had lately!?) . Its always a treat to see what every one is doing with their small patch of land. For those of you overseas who dont know this term, its land belonging to the local parish council for letting to people to grow their own vegetables and fruit. I think it stems from the 1940's when dear old UK was under seige and we were asked to DIG FOR VICTORY due to the shortage of imported foods. It has continued ever since in many towns and villages.

In my sketchbook above are two entries that made me see modern 'installations' art. The drum was a fantastic colour due to owner (met him up there today) cleaning the rusty metal and the elements turned it these fabulous torquoise and bronzy shades. The tap is connected to a cylinderical concrete and stone post and there was a lot of teasel about.

These sketches are to show the various ways the allotment gardeners use to scare away the birds - especially a lot of pigeons around here. Liked the idea of a 'naked' umbrella frame being used to hang plastic bottles to blow in the wind. We are such an ingeneous nation of gardeners!!! This particular gardener told me they all use such items as cassette tape strung on poles, old shiny computer discs, and as you can see from the scarecrow named Worzle strips of silver paper.