Saturday, 28 May 2011


Here is the last flower sketch in my garden sketchbook I started way back in July 2008 a year after we moved to Coltishall. I have sketched some 32 double spreads of plants growing throughout the season over the past 3 years. It seems my plan of a sketch per month has not been far off but with some months more prolific than others.

I ordered a second book from Karen Jenkins in the same format of 7" square with Sanders Waterford paper and coptic binding but this time chose the COLUMBINE (what we know as Aqualegia) fabric for the cover. So saying farewell to my old book I added these pen sketches at the very back as an introduction to what was to come.

Here is the lovely new book, all pristine and fresh awaiting my bravery of starting anew. Afraid all our aqualegia plants have gone over now, but may still use photos to sketch them on the first page. It somehow seems appropriate.

Saturday, 21 May 2011


An earlier post told you I went to Blickling Hall with Anita for a sketching day. Since then I have created a full size (12" x 8") watercolour to add to my local collection of low priced works for the Worstead Festival later in the summer.

I decided these sketches and photos of the dark purple tulip borders with Blickling Hall and its towers and windows peeping through just asked for another interpretation, so I am doing an oil on canvas 16" x 16".

Here are some images of the work in progress. Using the watercolour as my base, I decided to home in for a more close up feel, so there is not so much architecture behind the flowers and less flowers of course.

Here's an early stage with the shapes drawn in with brown stabilo fineliner as it hit and missed on the weave of the canvas.

A later stage with colour going on from Michael Hardings Aureolin, Napthol red, Manganese and Ultra violets plus Red Umber and Prussian blue to strengthen the darks for the building and as for the greens used a mix of Bright Green Lake, Phthalocyanine Green and Sap.

The windows have soft green blinds, with varying tones depending on how the sun hit the glazed windows. Oops! in this close up cropped image I can see the angle below the tower dome has been changed when I added some darks. Probably because I stretched across to the easel while seated and didn't quite make it straight. Should get my trusty mahl stick out more often. Never mind with oils its easy to correct at a later stage.

Oh! yes, almost forgot to tell you after creating the backdrop, I added thick gesso to the tulip shapes to help them stand out before adding colour - soft King Blue, the two violets and Prussian with touches of one of the reds.

Hope to spend a good bit of tomorrow finishing off the tulip stalks and leaves in the foreground, then leave the whole painting to settle before adding highlights and any little touches of dark. Maybe go over the tulip blooms with a glaze of Ultra Violet to warm them up.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Anita came for the weekend arriving lunch time Friday and we spent the whole day Saturday at Blickling Hall just 10 miles from home. Altogether I did 6 sketches despite visit to the coffee shop as we arrived, and a good break for lunch at the Bucks Arms nearby. If I remember correctly we even had a teatime stop for latte and cake. Stunningly different architecture with all these corner towers and lots of bay windows. The grounds were beautifully kept and there were lots of walks down to the lake and up through the woods.

Here's the first sketch on arrival in the gardens - immediately getting the tower wrong, so redrew it alongside in more detail.

We were lucky enough on walking through the woodland pathways to get to the temple just as a wedding ceremony was taking place. So we sat on the rather damp grass to sketch the temple and beautiful azaleas surrounding it. You might just spot the bride and groom inside the temple!! I added the wedding bells when I got home.

This was the last effort of the day as we were leaving around 6 pm. I took the car up to the main gates and we sat in comfort to sketch the whole of the front of the building viewed down the long main drive.

A wonderful day with loads of sunshine, goodies to eat, great company and lots of laughs.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Every year The Rev. William Howard organises a CELEBRATION OF ART at his church in Grimston near Kings Lynn in West Norfolk. Many times in the earlier days I used to prepare what I call 'spiritual' works and have often been asked when I am going to do some again. This year I planned to find time to do just that. Here are the results of two pieces created with acrylic inks 12" x 12" on Lana Vanguard.

Number one is called THE BORN LEADER. Trust you prefer the changes to the figure on the right hand side. I do!!

... as an earlier stage I decided the figure on the right handside was too big and I did not need the complexity of two heads together.

This is number two THE TAX COLLECTOR. Inspired by the eagle lectern at Oxborough - one of the many pre-reformation lecterns created with slits to take household taxes for Rome.

This is an early stage of planning.

... and after many adjustments and colour changes following yet another visit to the Oxborough church, came to this final piece.

Hope they will be well received at the exhibition starting 24th May through to the end of the month.