Sunday, 30 August 2009


Birds gathering to leave the mudflats in the Wash and move over to the nearby lakes at the RSPB Snettisham Beach until the tide goes out again.

I was invited by Ruth and Tony, whom I met in Italy in June, to visit their seashore cottage over the weekend with the highest tide in August so that I could see the spectacle of the gathering birds leaving the mudflats at the Wash as the tide came in. It was a magical few days. For those who don't know our Norfolk landscape, the Wash is an area cutting into the Fens between Norfolk and Lincolnshire coasts. It used to have many a cargo ship ferrying goods to and from abroad but the Wash has silted up and is too shallow for this trading to continue into the inland harbours.

Not having permission from mine hosts, I have not posted images of their lovely little old fashioned cottage and moored boats on a spit of land with the Wash one side and the lakes the other, nor Tony going off in his sea going kayak...... but here are some images from our walk early Sunday morning going down the raised bank towards the RSPB.

walking down to the RSPB passed the remains of an old jetty

'twitchers' with their large interchangeable lenses

Twitchers is a local word for people who are fanatical about viewing birds and travel many miles just to have a sighting of one unusual species.

Here are the lakes where the Society builds 'hides' for visitors to view the birds after they've left the Wash because the tide has come right in.

As it turned out, we saw more and larger flocks of birds that evening from the shoreline immediately outside the cottage as can be seen from the first topmost image . Here is one of the many interesting sights during a long walk Saturday after passing the Sailing Club.
Searching for lunch on the mudflats

Finally (before I bore you to death) is a fond farewell on Sunday evening after a walk across the flats (part mud, part sand, part pebbles). We walked back to the raised bank outside the cottage and sat in deckchairs watching the sun go down before packing our cars to leave for home . Forgot to tell you we actually swam out here where the water was safe with firm sand beneath our feet and the sun was going down. I even swam up the wonderful bright sunbeam. Magical.
Hope you enjoyed my wonderful weekend communing with nature. By the way, well worth enlarging the images to get full detail.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009


Last week I went over to my daughters for three days so that we could take the girls to the Long Sutton wild Life Park for the day where they have a butterfly house, iguanas, snakes, terapins, spiders and ant houses, and birds of prey with flight demonstrations.

I enjoyed the butterfly house and tried to photo the butterflies flying all around us amongst the tropical foliage. I am quite proud of these 4 images I am posting which I took with my new Panasonic Lumex camera. Afraid I have no idea what any of them are called, as the children were in such a hurry to get on to see the tarantullas (!) and we never got back to see the information board naming all the butterflies as there is so much to do here!!
please click image to enlarge to see the sharp image of his feet
click to enlarge for detail

afraid this one is a bit blurred when you enlarge
amazing how many colours you see when you enlarge

We saw one of the flying displays with the American Bald Eagle, a rather fun looking Bush Baby owl and a falcon. Had a picnic lunch and then walked round the enclosures where there were llama, ostrich, water buffalo and domestic animals. It was a remarkably hot day and by 4 o'clock after a quick visit to the shop, made our way home in our very necessary air conditioned car.

Here are some other images, which you will recognise. I think I am getting used to my new camera now.

you can even see his eyelashes in detail when you enlarge
his sharp scaly skin is amazing on enlarging

well worth enlarging these two as well for detail
I waited ages for this little finch to show himself coming out of their little nest being encouraged by his mum. The bald Eagle flew round for ages up on the thermals before getting closer and coming in to land.
Hope you enjoyed this little trip with us and the excellence of this new camera for sharp detail.

Friday, 21 August 2009


please click image to enlarge
acrylic on 16" x 16" box canvas

Well, here it is completed. Although in time for hanging tomorrow morning , my friend Brian is not available until Tuesday morning and I need him as the painting has to be hung with mirror plates onto stone walls in the pub.

Clive (my husband) feels the shadow of the front boat bottom left is too dark, but I wanted to give a strong contrast to the boat and area where the two most dominant ducks are located. He also feels the other birds can hardly be seen and I advised him that not everything needs to be dominant and its good for the viewer to have to look around to find additional interest - I already have too many points of focus anyway. Let me have your opinion please.

Its a rather belated replacement for the following piece that sold a little while ago also about the Pub location and birds. (I'm having a problem downloading this image so will post and then edit).

It still won't let me download another image, so may I suggest you go via the river link on the left list of labels and scan down to 4th March . Then you will see the Pub building and lots of Egyptian geese with no boats, so I am pleased to say the works are completely different.

Monday, 17 August 2009


Having sold one of my river scenes at the local pub, I had to fit in painting a replacement but was so busy with other deadlines it has been a few weeks before I got round to it. I chose some images of boats moored up on the common with the Rising Sun and other buildings in the background.

Thought you'd like to see its progression:

This is the first blocking in layer after deciding on the main composition.
This shows me adding ducks on the common, adjusting the treeline, adding colour to the buildings and adjusting the shadow side of the nearest boat.
This is how it appeared after a session yesterday afternoon, when I added a lighter blue/white mix glaze to the water and worked on the grass, put last layer on the sky, windows to the buildings, reflection of the back of the second boat and added shadows for the two boats, posts and ducks. Seeing the lack of tonal contrast I need to brighten the sunny area of the grass.
I am hoping to work on it this afternoon and tomorrow morning before I go off to my daughters so that we can take the girls to the Wild Life park in Lincolnshire on Wednesday and I can use my new camera in the butterfly house. The children have promised not to push me into the ant house or the house that has - of all dreadful things - tarantullas! Its a wonderful place with flight demonstrations of their lovely birds from owls to eagles. I have often taken visitors as its a great day's outing, including tea rooms and childrens play area with fort and, yes those amazing zip wires again for the girls to enjoy.
Hoping to get painting completed so that my pal Brian can hang the finished work on Friday morning for me. Deadlines, deadlines thats all I seem to give myself, but it sure makes one get on with it!!!!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


In England we have a tradition of opening gardens to the public to raise funds for charity and also in East Anglia there seems to be a tradition of scarecrow festivals. Do you have these made from old clothes stuffed with straw in fields in your country? Smacks of Wizard of Oz!! This is all leading to me asking whether you remember I was preparing paintings for the forthcoming Church Roof Fund Sculpure Trail and Art Exhibition in the village of Trunch ( I already posted the two pieces I did of the church in Trunch village). I went along to the village to their combined Open Garden with Scarecrows event in July to get inspiration for two further paintings.

I fell in love with all the amazingly created scarecrows in the beautiful gardens, from which I chose two to create ink and watercolour paintings. Well, at long last here they are. Lots of fun to paint. I simplified the background gardens a little and adjusted the compositions slightly. The crows might look funny, but I copied the fact that they had been made with plastic drinks bottles!!!

Sleeping on the job with crows
Lady Scarecrow having tea in the garden
Weren't they clever ideas? Afraid I can't remember which gardens either of them were in or the people who created them, but I hope they come to the exhibition in the Rectory Gardens (paintings in a marquee) this coming weekend and see how they inspired me.

Sunday, 9 August 2009


On Coltishall Common by the river
Last Saturday afternoon a small group from my regular workshops met by the river in Coltishall to sketch together. It was a wonderful day with lots of family groups and dogs wandering around by the river , lots of boats mooring up at the common and owners/hirers making their way to the Rising Sun Pub over the little bridge. It was too warm to work too hard, so we sat around the little tree with a metal circular bench around its trunk, got out more comfy chairs we had brought, our sketchpads, pens and a bit of watercolour and nattered the afternoon away enjoying ourselves.
My result is the pen and wash above in one of my moleskins (thus the creamy background paper) as I loved the shapes the family and dog made sitting on the stump of the old oak tree that came down last year. We all had a good time and came back to my house 5 minutes walk away for tea and cakes afterwards.
The next morning my youngest two grandchildren arrived for a busy 5 days together. Besides a long day at Bewilderwood Adventure park (They even got this old nanny climbing up into the tree houses, along rope ladders and down shoots), we made two visits to our local water ammenity (the Old Mill pool) for them to have a swim and one day hired a boat out from Wroxham. Late nights, lots of picnics, and lovely dinners I drove them home Thursday afternoon and had a late night chatting with my daughter and my eldest grandchild with her friend who was staying. Drove home lunch time Friday stopping to do the food shopping in Dereham (about half way between us on my 45 mile trip). Then showered, washed my hair, had dinner and fell into bed exhausted.... ready for (wait for it)...
Up by 6 am Saturday to get down to Sandras to catch our Norwich Art Circle booked coach into London (just under 3 hrs journey) to be dropped on the embankment opposite the London Eye. We then strolled through Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Regent Street and into Piccadilly to Burlington House for the RA Summer Show. Some 10 galleries with 1200 paintings and sculptures from 10,000 entries from all over the world!!! Fantastic art - such variety and talent. Had a picnic half way through in Green Park and back again to finish off in time to walk back for the coach home.
Today I am resting in the garden!!!!!!

Saturday, 1 August 2009


Realised I have not posted any of the floral sketches from my garden of late. Then checking my sketchbook I did not do one in June, so here's Julys effort. I brought two hostas in pots with me when we moved and planted them in the garden. One is thriving and the other eaten by slugs, but recently found an organic slug pellet that does not harm pets, so I have hopes. Anyway, Here's my effort of the full clump and a rather enlarged version of one of the blooms.

My two youngest grand daughters arrive tomorrow morning to stay until Thursday afternoon - so I have my doubts I will be blogging for a few days to come!! Plan, weather permitting, to take them to an adventure park called Bewilderwood and have another day on the pier at Cromer catching crabs. As Laura (my daughter and their mum) said after we paid a fortune for food at the Sandringham Craft Fair recently, 'take picnics' mum. .. so went shopping yesterday for lots of goodies. Will be taking my new glorious Panasonic Lumex camera with me to both days, as you can create 15 mins of video as well as stills. What fun I shall have.