Tuesday, 28 April 2009

New growth

As usual, as soon as Monday comes around the week takes wings again. I did manage to do a little bit of artwork this w\e, but spent a lot of useless time once again trying to load things onto my web site, but as iweb is designed as a fun piece of software the code is inaccessible, so it won't let you put anything on it , like a paypal button.
However I have got my site republished and rejigged, so for anyone who hasn't seen it, it's been down for a about 9 months, you can see my 'other work' here.

I finally finished my bluebell sketch, which turned into a log sketch, as I became totally facinated by it's shape and lost interest in the bluebells.

I was going to work on the cowslip sketch but every time I looked at it I decided that maybe it was enough as it was and I might kill it if I fiddled with it, as that's sooo........ easy to do.

It's been so nice to get back to a bit of sketching practice, but I would like to spend more time on it and gain a bit more skill and confidence.

Over the w\e we went to a local heath that suffered a terrible fire about 2 years ago so I was delighted to see how much eveything had recovered in the meantime, but the scars are still there.

But even in their blackened state the trees make wonderful natural sculptures.

I deliberately underexposed this shot, very daring for me, to try and capture how dramatic this tree looked as we rouded the bend and saw it.

And I had a little help post processing from the 'master' for this one as the sky was really burnt out, but I loved the markings on the bark.

I'm off to my Alice Kettle master class on Saturday, so I'm very excited, I don't know if we'll be discussing our progress with our 'Freedom' project, but it'll be nice to meet half of the other finalists.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Spring fever

As I mentioned in the previous post I had time to do a small sketch of the lake after dinner and have since worked on it. I should have photographed it first to show it just in pen, will do that next time. I'm exploring different media to use in the field at the moment and am trying out some very nice watercolour dual brush pens by Tombow. This web site sells them individually which seems to be unusual. They have a great range of colours and blend really well with a little water. They also work brilliantly with traditional pan watercolours, which is what I've used in this sketch.

Now to the Spring fever bit:
We decided to have breakfast out on Sunday, just for a change, and were lucky enough to pick up some lovely croissants at a local shop on the way to the river. It felt just like being on holiday in France.

We went for a long walk along the river and came across lots of these Kingcups, which I hadn't seen in such profusion since I was a child.

After the river walk we drove around a bit looking for a lake my OH knew of but didn't know where it was, so we had a rather enjoyable magical mystery tour and ended up in this glorious bluebell wood above the elusive lake.

I spent a very happy half hour here sketching some of the bluebells growing by a lovely log, which I shall put up later when I've had time to work on it a bit.

We also managed to steal away on Saturday afternoon to a nature reserve near Winchester which was coverd in cowslips, again a wonderful come back for a flower that was everywhere when I was a child. I sat for an amazing 2 hours on the hill sketching the flowers and working on the lake sketch.

So all in in all it was a pretty good weekend. I hope yours was a good one too.

BYW thank you all for your sympathy re my computer problems, I have to own up that the fault wasn't with Mobile me but with me. My OH discovered that I hadn't sorted out my settings properly oops!!!!!!!

Monday, 13 April 2009

We stayed local

The Easter weekend didn't start well for me, what with the rain on Friday and Saturday. I made the mistake of thinking I would spend the time sorting out my web site on Friday, and subsequently spent a wasted day trying to get to grips with my OH's favoured software, big mistake. It's very male orientated and completely non user friendly. So on Saturday I downloaded a Mac trial of another web building software, this was better but didn't have a great help manual. By Saturday afternoon I was so fed up that I decided to hang the expense and reinstate my .Mac account to host my original site, only to find that's changed to the 'all singing all dancing" Mobile me, only problem is it seems to be completely incompatible with my operating system which is only 1 away from the latest one. So I'm no further forward :-( computers, don't you just hate them!!!!!

Fortunately we were having one of our GS's (Ben) over for a sleepover and a bit of magic playtime on Sunday.

We had so much fun making these ramps, (I know that's not the technical term, sorry Ben) for his mini skateboards, called Tech Decks, (hope that's right). It certainly got my ancient brain buzzing and we came up with 2 versions by the end of the day. We had such a laugh making them, sawing gluing and testing them out, I totally forgot about my irritating computer issues.

Ben also added a bit to his graffiti wall in my studio as I'd finally remembered to get the spray paints.

Thank goodness the sun came out today and we were able to leave the house at last. We decided to stay local as the traffic reports had predicted huge delays for the Easter break, so we headed for a local NT house Hatchlands park. We did the 1 1/2 mile parkland walk and were rewarded with the following treats:

Theses drifts of newly opened bluebells, I don't think I've ever seen so many.

And then we came across these beautiful anemones.

I was rather pleased with my next discovery, apparently it's called a Jew's ear fungus and when you touch it you know why. I just love the translucency of them.

And when they start to die off the get these lovely folds.

Just at the end of our walk I saw this tree with it's amazing textural growths, they look like cauliflowers.

And the last pic I took on the walk was this lovely big tree silhouetted against the fluffy clouds.

We ended the day in our usual fashion, dinner out, courtesy of Rosie by a local lake.
It would appear that the computer gremlins are still here as Blogger has decided, enough is enough, and I can't publish the lake pic.

Oh yes I can!!!

I even managed a couple of sketches today, which I'll publish later when I've reviewed them, I'm trying to do a sketch a day, starting today.

I hope everyone had a great Easter break and is refreshed for new exciting , creative adventures.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

It's not my birthday....... yet

It's not my birthday till next month, but my lovely OH decided to start early with these beautiful flowers, the lilies are enormous!!! I really would like to sketch them, maybe they'll last till the w/e and I'll have a bit of time .

Speaking of sketching, I was having a moan the other day that I hadn't been able to buy cloth backed sketch books since I was at college, 13 years ago, as the price has been going up and up. After much sourcing my OH found a company who was offering them at a sensible price and bought me enough to keep well into retirement, including some jumbo square ones which are gorgeous. Of courses it would have been rude not to use one so I started with the small sketches I'd done at the hat exhibition and created a double spread in one of the A3's. It was lovely, felt like 'coming home'. Inspired by Stephen Jones's Mohikan hats I found a lino print from my college days that I'd never used and had a go with that too. It was so nice to get back in my garden studio after the winter and make some mess.

We had a lovely afternoon out on Sunday enjoying the sunshine at Motttisfont Abbey. Everyone was really enjoying the Spring weather, having picnics and walking by the river. But true to form I was looking for the little things and found this wonderful pot with it's beautiful handle detail.

And then I spotted this amazing mosaic, I think it must have been a relic of the original Abbey, but I'd never noticed it on previous visits.

Lastly a bit of inspiration. We went to a lecture the other weekend given by a very well know landscape photographer, Jo Cornish. Now, as I've said many times in the past, I'm no photographer and don't aspire to be one, but Jo's approach to his photography really resonated with me, maybe it had something to do with the fact that he was an artist before he bacame a photographer, and as such I think he sees things in a different way.
I was particularly delighted to find that he had produced a book on Northumberland, which I've recently become very attached to, so of coures my lovely OH had to buy be the book (another early b-day present?) as like the Queen I never carry money :-)
Oh! and I insisted he had it signed by the author of course.