Sunday, 1 February 2009


My first snowdrops are out in the back sheltered garden and it gave me the last day of January to sketch them into my handmade garden flower sketchbook I am trying to use monthly.

To save the size of file I have split the double spread into left and right pages so they can be enlarged.

Originally I put pale blue behind the white snowdrop shapes, but it made them look too tall against a clear sky. So I decided to create the colours of the dried leaves and mud in the flower bed instead. Bit 'muddy' (appropriate!) on adding the warm colours over the blue first wash. Anyway I think it gives the effect I was after. Finally I added more penwork to define the flower shapes.

David, the owner of the Swallowertail Gallery in the village , gave me a squirrel and synthetic size 6 brush to try out and report back. It kept a lovely sharp point and held a lot of paint and was very smooth to use. Brushes with only squirrel hair have always been too floppy for me to use, but this is a treat and very reasonable at £3.75.
Ooops! forgot to show you my lovely little forsythia tree in full bloom - and its going to snow from today for the next few days, so they say. Hope it copes with the cold. We have such mixed weather from day to day in England.


RHCarpenter said...

Love the sketchbook entry and the forsythia, Joan. And Happy Birthday to you!!!! I hope your day is very special, and lots of fun.

Sherry said...

Joan, your snowdrops are fine, and I like the brown background. They are close to the earth, the mud, aren't they? We're no where near the time for snowdrops or forsythia, but I'm happy that they're foretelling spring for you.

Robert A Vollrath said...

I always like sketchbook art in a blog and then you give a little bit of England in the text.

Just two reasons why this is my favorite blog.

Anita said...

Lovely snowdrops. Just remember not to bring any inside - very bad luck. Its my one of the few superstitions I follow.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Thanks for the tip Anita - I think its a shame to pick them anyway.
Rhonda - thanks for remembering my birthday. Has started really well with gifts/cards in post, visit from neighbours with malteser cake baked this morning, phone calls and my lovely daughter and girls arriving and staying tonight. Oh yes, and Clive cooking meat balls in goulash sauce with tagliatelli or jacket potatoes for our dinner. Lucky me.
Sherry - I dont think spring is really here but more likely the forsythia early as it is snowing today.
Robert - glad you like my little snippets of dear old England.

Anita Davies said...

Love the depth achieved in this spread Joannie.
Hope you had a wonderful birthday. I watched Caravaggio again yesterday after talking to you...I could get lost in those DVD's.

caseytoussaint said...

You do flowers beautifully, Joan. I love the way that forsythia pops right off the page.
Thanks for the tip about the brush too - what brand was that?

Margaret Ann said...

OOOOh MY! Happy belated birthday wishes from across the seas and right into your heart! Those cakes sounded scrumptious! I am heading straight to google to find out about the malteser cake...:0

Nice snowdrops! I saw on the weather channel this morning that you had the heaviest snowfall in 18years for this time of the year...Hope you are able to enjoy it a bit...:)

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Anita - I saw Rembrandt this afternoon but it wasnt so exciting as the first two but what stunning portraits. I've started my first acrylic piece for the Eastern Open - thanks for the encouragement and idea.
Cassey - the brush is a Stratford & York
Margaret - Netti (nextdoor neighbour who baked me the cake) says it was a Nigella Lawson recipe. It was so delicious all 6 of us practically demolished it in one day finding excuses to make pots of tea from time to time!!!

Claudia said...

Hello Joan,
I like your snowdrop painting! We still don't have snowdrops here and we don't have snow, either (but I know y o u have;-))
-The texture in my acrylic painting is -indeed- made with some gesso and a stiff brush...

Claudia said...

...oh, and I forgot something: Happy Birthday to you and all the best and many creative hours!

Robyn said...

Belated birthday greetings, Joan, sounds like you had a lovely day.

Another winning sketchbook spread. I adore your snowdrops. And I thought your yupo magnolia beautiful as well.

Can't believe your forsythia is out. I've had one tiny flower and nothing to follow and we don't even have snow!

Sandy Maudlin said...

Belated Happy Birhtday, Joan. I'm just playing blog catch up and enjoy your blog entries so much. Snowdrops already? Mine won't be up for at least a month. And I had no idea not to bring them inside..have always cut them to enjoy, making sure to leave the leaves so they can replenish. Wonder where the superstition came from?

Anonymous said...

Oops, but late here! Happy Birthday for Sunday - hope you had fun! Love this - I haven't seen a single snowdrop yet, but now I feel like I have, so thank you. :)

I love the texture of the earth - wonderful.

(by the way - my spare room has the hot water tank in it, so it never gets cold! Which is nice when you're staring at snow at 4am. :) )