Friday, 24 April 2009


I realised I had not posted my March entry in my handmade floral garden sketchbook, so opened it up to find I had not in fact completed it! So I added the reds on the left hand page where the tulips had not opened up in the shade of the morning, as I remembered they were much redder looking than the fully open blooms on the right hand page. Then had fun adding some splashes and a few softer blooms to merge the two pages across the double spread.

As you will see on the right hand page, when the sun came round onto this flower bed, it not only opened the blooms right up but changed the bluish leaves to much brighter greens.

April is nearly over and as yet not painted this month's sketchbook entry... but I have been busy preparing some 8 x 20 ins floral acrylics for a weekend show. Here's the one I called MIDNIGHT MAGNOLIAS.

Sunday, 19 April 2009


As I felt the need to have a break from actual painting, with all the work I created for the Rising Sun, I decided to spend the weekend going through my wooden chest of older unframed works and paintings in acrylic and watercolour pads. Two of the pieces I came up with belong to a series called THE TEA TIME SERIES but created in very different media.

I have a favourite water colour artist, Shirley Trevena, who does floral and interior still life work that is truly stunning and a style all her own. This first piece I found was when I decided to create my work combining my love or floral and still life, but without copying Sheila's lose style. I allowed the paints to run in places and even 'printed' patterns from embroidered/embossed ribbons I have in my collage box. I simply made it all up as I went along with hardly any drawing . The window effect came last - and eventually became a series in its own right.

This second one is completely different with lots of collaged ribbons, gold, linen strips from the edge of old cushions and acrylic paint. I think this was inspired by a visit to John Lewis furnishing department to see what colours were fashionable for the home - and it turned out this soft blue mixed with creams and browns. Sorry photo is a bit crooked, but I've packed it away now for the show.
The show is mid May at a little town/village in Norfolk near the Queen's Estate at Sandringham and they are having a weekend open garden event combined with arts and crafts. Most of my pieces I'm taking are garden and floral pieces I have mounted and put into sleeves, so I can keep them quite reasonable.... as framing really shoots the price up when you choose something to go with the work. Both paintings are 16 x 12 ins.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


If you click to enlarge you will see the wonderful texture of these lovely cotton Gerstaecker canvases.

I've been working on my second little 7 x 9 ins acrylic and - as planned - its from a couple of summer photos I took of people eating out on the riverside in front of the Granary restaurant attached to the Rising Sun Pub.

I'm having lots of fun adding little people and tables with umbrellas. It's not finished yet, needing to add lettering (ugh I'm so bad at this!) and a few highlights - maybe even some more people - not sure what else it needs.

I'm off to bed now - night night everyone, pleasant dreams.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009


Half an hour before Laura and the girls came for an Easter visit, I remembered I had not put together their clues for finding their chocolate bunnies hidden in the garden ( an annual event).. .. so excuse the poor verse and rhymn.

For Elisha I said
'Lots of Statues you 'll see around
search each one so I'll be found
some are standing, some just sit
pick us up to find your rabbit!!
Here she is looking behind the two stone teddy bears, after trying behind a statue of a cat, eagle, frog, lady and the lovers.

This is Leyonie elated at long last she had found her chocolate rabbit .... and her verse clue was
'OK Lili here we go!
look in the garden high and low
I'm your bunny waiting here
up the steps you'll see my rear!!'

There are steps up to the front garden gate, steps down to the gate into the back garden, steps down to the pond and steps up to the little 'summer house' - so she had a lot to search.

Channais, the eldest, would not appreciate a photo of her searching the garden for a chocolate rabbit!!! but this was her verse and she joined in the hunt with her younger sisters
'Your's is different - full of eggs
you might need to stretch those lovely long legs
to find a birdless box or nest
before those chocs fall and all go west!'

What a daft nanna they have!! but they sure enjoyed the result of their search. While they munched, we discussed why we have eggs and chocolate and bunnies at Easter and the little ones knew more than we did!!

Saturday, 11 April 2009


When Brian and I had finished hanging my works at the Rising Sun on Wednesday, I saw there was an area available where 3 sets of rawplugs were available for small 7 ins wide paintings. As the walls of the pub are old thick strong stone, I have had to use holes already drilled, so its been great fun fitting works to size and for Brian to fix the mirror plates in the exact spot on the back of each frame or canvas. So I decided to use the new little canvases I had recently purchased to create some interesting aspects of the pub area in acrylic.

Here I have used photos of the sign and separate images of the geese that congregate at the riverside, plus the addition of the little boat houses in the distance and some references to all the little white birds (I think Terns) that arrive every winter. I think it makes quite an interesting little view.

blocked in shapes and the finished work 7 x 9 ins canvas

As the sign on the arm advertises the Granary restaurant attached to the pub, I thought the next one would be of the Granary itself, as I plan to hang them as a pair. Fortunately, no hurry, as I will just get Brian to hang them when they are ready.

Friday, 10 April 2009


My art friend Sandra from Norwich city came over the other day for old fashioned sandwich and cake tea before going on up to Mundesley for the NOVA monthly meeting. To my surprise she brought me a gift of an Indian hand made sketchbook with hand made paper for my doodles. The cover front and back as above - aren't they scrumptious colours.???

So my first thought was bright and beautiful own designed butterflies ( not a patch on nature) to send you all wishes for A HAPPY EASTER, as we have been seeing our usual English peacocks, cabbage white (yellow) and red admirals already - and an enormous, noisy bumble bee flew into the sunroom the other day... so summer's here ... well beautfiul Spring anyway.

Here are left and right double spread pages - all very childlike but that's how I am feeling on this sunny Good Friday

pen, inktense pencils and a little water
If you click to enlarge you will see a caterpillar and a dragonfly in more detail.

Silly aren't they but hope they cheer your day until the real ones come to your garden.

Sunday, 5 April 2009


sorry this first image is blurred but gives you the full range of subjects
Sorry long time since I posted anything - many reasons. We had our pastel workshop yesterday in the village and the above shows the many colourful subjects I brought in for the members to choose from for their main work in the afternoon. In the morning we did our usual thing of practicing different techniques and ways to use the media from lovely Unison and Sminke soft pastels to the harder squared edge sticks and pastel pencils. We discussed the various types of pastel and grounds one can purchase and the application of blocking in with varied pressure, layering, blending, mixing colours and fine detail.
Here you can see some exceptional competent work for first timers to pastel and the main words I heard throughout the day were 'immediacy' and 'messy'. Everyone shared what they had brought in and the search for the right colour was contrasted with the mixing of colours by layering to create tone. Finally we discussed the need to 'fix' but leave the last touch of highlights until afterwards to ensure they stayed bright.
This is the early stages on a coloured pastel paper ground, which was finally covered in a very light blue using the side of a soft pastel to enhance the finished colours and tones of the subjects. Note this artist was brave enough to add the copper jug still to be blocked in here.
The high colours of the fruit bowl seemed to attract most of the members and here you can see the early blocking in stages on cream pastel paper. Helen kept her colours very pure and the background very light in application and colour.
Here are two other pieces of artwork at the end of the day
one with a very different viewpoint including the bronze cat, where a deeper blue was added to the soft blue pastel paper at the end of the day:

This is the end of day's work of our only gentleman, with its vibrancy and strong shapes.
Since last Spring we have covered drawing and tonal skills in both graphite and ink, composition and perspective, colour theory and water colour techniques, pen and wash, watercolour pencil, acrylic and now pastel. Not bad in just over a year. Such a pity my numbers are dwiddling, but I have had to move venues to the village hall and now have a web page advertising my workshops on the parish council website, so hopefully may improve.