Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year

I can hardly believe it is the last day of 2010. Looking back I have achieved quite a lot of different creative projects. My square book that I started on the first of January has many pages filled with my drawings. It is a visual diary of my year and each page is a record of objects I found. One night when I couldn't sleep I got up in the early hours and to pass the time flicked through the pages of this book. Each page holds not only the objects but the place, the day and the memories are captured. In the future I know this will remain the same.
My zigzag Oak book holds little images of the life cycle of the oak tree as it yields its harvest of acorns and the changing colours of the leaves. It still thrills me t0 hold a tiny acorn and know that a huge oak tree can grow from it. My own little acorn continues to grow into a larger tree each year.
Red berries remain a favourite subject and many other seeds, insects, leaves, feathers and shells. All these things so familiar to me and yet each year I am drawn to them. I love collecting and recording my finds.
Tomorrow I want to begin a new project, as I struggle to pick a theme, maybe I do not need to choose, it will choose me.

A very big thank you to all the people who leave such lovely comments. I really do appreciate reading them. May I wish you all A Happy New Year for 2011.
And may your little acorns grow into giant oaks. Love Millyx

Monday, 6 December 2010

Another frosty day

The village looks very pretty with a light covering of snow. On Sunday we wrapped up warm and went for a long walk along the frosty roads. The photograph is the view taken off the railway bridge, just down the hill below my house. The shore was all frosty and glistening and twinkling in the sunshine.
After our uphill walk through the snowy lanes we enjoyed the lovely views of the lakeland hills on this beautiful crystal clear day. The hedgerows are all bare except for the holly bushes with lots of red berries. I picked lots of different seed heads to record when I get the time. My favourite images were of the frosted oak leaves scattered every where, they looked so beautiful against the snow. Lots of fallen red berries were trapped in the frosty ground. The Hawthorn branches were still laden, large droplets of water dangling and sparkling from their red berries.
The rose hips had suffered, all soft and squashy and blackened with the cold. I managed to pick the two for my picture.
When we returned home I wandered in my garden and found the two oak leaves fallen off my little oak tree which I planted as an acorn about three years ago. And finally the little branch with the bright red berries also picked from my garden.
I sketched it in pencil on Sunday evening. Today I painted it using the five colours of acrylic paint and my number one sable brush . Hope you like it.
I am using my new laptop for the first time, so hope this works out. Thank you for the lovely comments, we still have the mouse, nicknamed him Woody.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

The mouse in the house

Oh have we had some fun with this little fellow. An apple under the kitchen table was missing a huge portion and the ground surrounding it was covered in red mice confetti, he obviously doesn't like the skin. So we left the apple but placed our newly purchased humane mouse trap next to it. A peanut inside it, we know he eats them ....that is another tale, and we went to bed.
I happened to say to my husband that I might draw him if we manage to catch him. Next morning , excited husband rushes upstairs to say "we got him!". He had placed him in my tall glass vase with some apple pieces to keep him happy. The vase was my idea really, so I could see him and he could not escape. The mouse had leaped out of the trap as it was opened and into the kitchen sink so was a little wet ! I just loved him, grabbed a sketch book and set to recording him.
It is tricky sketching a moving subject but in the end he obliged and sat nicely with his pieces of apple.
We let him free outside in the coal and wood shed. Guess what......last night he had found his way back in, the trap is set ready for him. I think he likes it in our house best.
A big Thank you for all comments. Glad to hear others have had mice too. My laptop is serious, so maybe I might be lucky enough to get a new one for my birthday next week...hint hint to someone who might be reading this.
Hope you like our pet house mouse. He is actually a Long Tailed Field mouse or Woodmouse. He is very cute, I might knit him a jumper for Christmas.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Windy weather

Windy weather, stormy weather is the forecast today. You can say that again, as we can hear the wind whistling through the house. We are cosy and warm with a wood burner. I am having a well deserved rest having just spent the morning helping to fill and carrying baskets full of wood to the coal shed with my husband. The truck load is now stacked high. We had the first snow on the hilltops during Monday night. So now I am now going to sit and draw and paint.
My laptop is poorly, gone to be looked at. I started moderating the comments as I was getting lots of spam in the comments and maybe have got a virus, anyway my screen is just a mass of wavy blue lines. I am using someone elses computer, had to load my photographs here too.
So that is why I have not posted for a while, crossing my fingers it is not too serious and can be fixed.
Back to the drawing. I was walking down a little lane and suddenly I hit a wind tunnel, debris was blowing through the hedge, and I had to protect my eyes from the branches and leaves and bits of dead plants crashing into me. Then as I passed all was calm again. This strange experience made me stop and look back and I realised the road was littered in the blown red berries, leaves and twigs and the hedgerow was stripped clean. I picked up rose hips and hawthorn berries, leaves and some rusty coloured fern. Here is some of my collection, painted in acrylic ink and my fine number one sable brush. It is becoming my favourite brush when I am in the mood to do things slow and carefully it is a delight to use.
Thank you for all the lovely comments and the interest in the mouse. We wonder how many we have? Latest news is a half eaten bun, so now all bread safely in the cupboards. Then I discovered they have eaten flower seed packets in a kitchen drawer and chewed at a new packet of toilet rolls upstairs in the bathroom. Now he/she is getting naughty, very naughty. I now have a drawer of mice paper confetti. But it makes me smile, I can't get cross but I would love to know where my golden acorns are.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

a little peep

I have collected many acorns this year, they are plentiful. So I thought I would let you have a little peep at my oak project. I started this zigzag book with found oak leaves way back in January. I planned to add anything I liked. The seasons brought different stages of growth and colours and of course the acorns.
I had quite a collection in my kitchen on a tray on the floor, dropped there as I empty my bag of found items after each walk. This morning when I entered the kitchen I noticed an acorn half way across the floor. It seems my resident mouse has helped himself to most of the acorns. Not only is he living in the house, had several sightings now, but he now thinks I am collecting acorns for his family.
The most amusing part of this story is that I have been painting some acorns gold for Christmas. My mouse has stolen some of my golden acorns, it would make a great story. It really is true, the mouse with the golden acorns.
Hope you like my acorn paint, pen, ink and whatever I felt like at the time. I really love some of the beautiful old brown leaves, they hold memories of a place and a day we went for a walk.
Thank you so much for the comments.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Fragile Beauty

I was out for a walk on Wednesday. The sky turned dark and a strong wind warned it was about to pour down. I rushed home and ran up the garden path. It started raining, Leaves were blowing off the trees and I caught sight of a brown jagged edged leaf on the ground. My hands were already full of finds. I picked it up to discover it was not a leaf but a butterfly. It resembled a leaf in both shape and colour. Inside the house I placed it on a plate and realised it was wet through and the wings were stuck together. It only had one antenna and it just fell over to one side.
This morning I went into the kitchen and the sun was streaming through the windows and my butterfly was sitting with its wings open in the sunlight. It was damaged and yet it looked so beautiful with the many colours glowing. It was very fragile and the wings are damaged but it made me stop and look. So of course I had to draw it, I found a box of crayons and sat and recorded my find.
Several hours later, here is my little drawing. It has been a long time since I used crayons, today I used mostly Derwent studio, around ten different shades consisting of browns, orange, yellow, blues, a black and a white. My model sat still and just closed and opened the wings once.
Hope you like my little butterfly. Press for close up.
I am having problems with my laptop, strange colours waving across my screen, so hope this works okay. I cannot see the colours accurately.
Press for close up.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Nature Walk

On Friday we had a really lovely sunny day and I went for a walk up through the lanes in my village. I love this time of year when the hedgerows are literally hanging with red berries. Also the blue berries of sloe, blackberries and elderberries. I collected little hanks of berries and ended up with a variety of the Autumn harvest.
The day was warm and sunny and just like me lots of wildlife were out and about enjoying the day. I saw sightings of dragonfly, beautiful speckled woodland butterflies, grasshoppers, Jays shouting high up in the trees and a little mouse. The acorns are green on the oak trees and after the stormy days the road was littered with the fallen ones. As I selected some acorns it was obvious many had already been in the hands of a squirrel as the insides were gone. The same with the hazel nuts, empty shells under the Hazel branches. Later we watched a grey squirrel running along the wall and off across the fields.
I arrived home with so many lovely finds. I knew the berries would soon be flagging and I needed to record them quickly. So all evening I sketched, the middle photograph shows my progress. On Saturday I continued to work quickly to try and record the different specimens using acrylic paints. So here is what I managed to complete, as the leaves are now dry and curling and the berries past their best. It makes a bright colourful double page entry in my book. Press for closer look. Hope you like it too.
Once again thank you for your comments and welcome to the new followers. Millyx

Sunday, 12 September 2010

You already know I love Red

I bought the red currants, they were at the supermarket and under the lights they just glowed so shiny like little fairy lights. It was a while before I got to draw them and paint them. On that same morning I was met by the spider sitting in my bath. It was placed in a jam jar and heading for the back door, until I decided I wouldn't throw him out just yet. You guessed he ended up in the drawing, then later free to go in the garden.
You know I love red berries. I sat in the sunlight in the kitchen and recorded them with red acrylic paint and a number one brush. It took hours but I like the result. Behind me is a lovely pot of three currant jam home made by my friend. She used red, white and black currants picked in her orchard in Wales. It is also a shiny red jam and I know it will taste so good.
As for the huge spider he went free to be replaced the same evening by an enormous one crawling up our stairs...didn't fancy that one..husband dealt with that. And last night we discovered we have a little mouse in the spare bedroom at 4 am...and still not been caught! Thank you for your lovely comments, it is always a pleasure to find them.
Hope you like the red currants. Press for large view. Millyx

Friday, 3 September 2010

Little things

I had just finished a drawing and had lots of acrylic ink left on my plate. Looking around for something small I could draw to quickly use it up. The tiny striped feather was sticking out of the pages of my square book, found on the beach walk and placed between the pages for safe keeping. I quickly recorded the delicate shape and pale coloured pattern. Still more ink to use I decided to find a few other objects. That was easy, small objects fill dishes all over my house after I empty my pockets of newly gleamed finds, and there they stay until maybe one day they are chosen.
And so a feather, an oak leaf, an acorn, a sycamore and that looks quite pretty. I walk around the garden to stretch my legs and collect a red berry, a blackberry and a piece of seaweed, just to use the ink up, but now I need some new red ink for the berry. My eyes are fixed on the jug full of striped feathers and I know I must draw some of them soon, they are so lovely. I collected each one because, well because I couldn't leave them, each one a different shape and colouring and to me so beautiful. It always seems so hard to choose between them and leave them behind and when I brought them home I promised to draw them.
So I chose one, added it to the little things that were just to use up the ink. How things lead to others. Well I like little things and the feather I chose. Hope you do too.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Spotty Leaves

I thought I would show you a series of drawings to show the development of the two spotty leaves. I used acrylic paints and wanted to capture the fresh greens of the sycamore leaves which I picked off the tree.
First my pencil sketch and using a mix of green, yellow and brown paint I added the colours. Then the progress as I painted to the end result with the shadows. Another page in my square book. This was completed in around 6 hours.
Yesterday we had a beach walk and I collected some pieces of freshly washed up seaweed and feathers and shells. I hope to find time today to record something as a reminder of the beautiful sunny day, because today is grey and stormy and very windy making the sea rough and angry looking. So I am off to sort out my salty sea smelling bag!
Hope you like the two spotty leaves. Press for close ups.
Thank you for your comments about the Butterfly Sheet. Millyx

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Festival of Quilts NEC ....My Butterfly Sheet

Photographed before I posted it.

I went to the Festival of Quilts at Birmingham NEC on Thursday. It was a lovely day, so much to see and be inspired by. The Quilts were amazing, so much variety and colour and skill.

Then there was my own quilt. I made it by hand printing the butterflies with rubber stamps and fabric paints. I used an old recycled white sheet, added the original label and kept the actual top and sides showing, see the fine yellowy woven stripe in the weave. This was the first time I had ever been to this huge show or entered a quilt. The quilt was pure fun to make, mixing up the fabric paints and printing the images and seeing the sea of butterflies appear on the huge white sheet. It was like starting a drawing, every mark and shape and colour was made by me. I had fun with my new sewing machine and used lots of coloured cottons to embroider the grass at the bottom and the tiny circles of colour. I spent hours hand quilting the grid pattern, which you can see on the back of the quilt. I loved the finished result, making it and achieving this beautiful coloured quilt.

It was exciting to see it hanging at the show, although it seemed to be a little crushed, hadn't travelled too well as a parcel. The backboard was white so my vintage white sheet appeared a little dull , even grey. It wasn't lit too well down the display aisles and the colours didn't glow like at home in my sunny room. But I saw so many people stop and look, go nearer for a closer inspection and many even took lots of photographs......already seen two on Flickr. It was my intention to share my quilt and to hopefully inspire others, so I hope it did. It was a simple idea inspired by collections of butterflies and colours. I like simple. Drawings from Nature is all about seeing beauty in nature in ordinary simple natural objects. Hope you enjoy looking more closely.

As this is my100th blog. Guess how many butterflies are printed on my quilt. The nearest will win a prize, something butterfly related. I don't know the answer myself yet as I will count them when the quilt arrives home, in a week or so. Millyx The answer after a double count is 777 and as Teresa guessed 778 she certainly deserves to win.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Beach collecting

Last Thursday we went for a walk on one of the local beaches. This one is fifteen minutes by car from my village. It has a long sandy beach and sand dunes, now owned by the National Trust. The tide was coming in and although the sky looks stormy it was a beautiful bright day. I love it here and take along a bag to collect beach treasures. We walked for over an hour and on our return this photograph shows the tide line on the right where the sea water reached, covering this huge sandy estuary.
The sea washes up hundreds of little shells and sea weed. It was like a "pick and mix" version of
the sweet shop, so many to choose. I arrived home with shells, seaweed, feathers, a mermaids purse, rope and a sycamore seed. On Sunday I sorted and washed them all. This is what I selected for my page. I decided to use my acrylic inks, exploring the colour mixes, as I sat on a cushion outside in the sunshine. After about four hours, a huge red insect bite, an overturned water, ink drying too quickly, a lovely ice cream.......this was the result. Hope you like it.
Thank you for your lovely comments. My next blog is my 100th.....a giveaway coming.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

So Delicate

I collected these little seeds after a very windy night. They were scattered across the road. As I picked them up I slipped them into my bag and I didn't think they would make it home in one piece. To my surprise they survived intact. They are very tiny and have such delicate stems, like young children not yet fully formed, and yet a miniature replicate of their adult. They will never grow any more but it means I can admire their beauty at this stage.
As I drew them I was influenced to make such fine lines, to use soft watery colours and paint with a slow and careful manner. I just wanted to capture the tiny fragile shapes exactly as I saw them scattered on the ground. It is a simple little page in my square book but to me a very beautiful page.
Hope you like it too.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

The paints are out again!

It seems to have rained and rained for days now. It was sunny yesterday so I grabbed the chance to go for a walk down on the shore. It was wonderful to see blue sky and the sunshine twinkling on the water. I collected some beautiful feathers and this twin sycamore seed in the tide line. I came home with a real urge to draw. I intended to draw some of the feathers but the berries in the jar with the slowly rotting stalk had to be first in the queue.
I picked it on Monday from my sisters garden. It had green berries then, which changed to orange during the week. Since yesterday, as you can see in the photograph, the stalk has turned to a soft slime!
It has been a while since I have had my paints out so it was lovely to sit and paint again. It took me five hours to complete this page in my square book. I chose a piece of china with orangey markings and added the new sycamore too. I used acrylic paints, two different yellows, green and red to mix the colours for the berries. Then I added blue and white with the other colours to paint the china and seed. Also a little touch of gold paint on the china, it must have been something beautiful in its day. Hope you like it. Press picture to see it larger.
My husband has just arrived home with a tiny Magpie moth he found on the road.....a gift for me I am about to draw it now. I will be back soon with the results.
Once again thank you all for your lovely comments which I do appreciate and love reading.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

From this to this

Each year I pick one of the amazing shaped "Lords and Ladies ", the green specimen on the left. I want to record it but more often than not it just gets left and wilts and another year slips by. Well not this year, I picked it in May at the bluebell wood and managed to do this drawing. It was so large, I wanted to record it life size, so I placed it diagonal to fit my page in the square book. I then left it in a jar outside and to my surprise it kept alive and changed into the next stage of the plant.
It is always hard to imagine that it eventually ends up with bright red berries at the end of a green stalk. This I have recorded many times, so it was easy to show you that. What really amazed me is that the minute yellow seeds grew and formed the berries ....whilst outside in a jam jar.
When I returned home in June I discovered it still alive and was able to draw the green berries. Now in July it still lives and bears green and orange berries. The stem has rotted away to nothing but the berries are still changing from green to red. In the hedgerows the red berries usually appear late summer, August to September. I will be interested to see if they change to full red and see how long it lives. Hope this makes sense to you. I am fascinated by such things.
Thank you for lovely comments. I am stitching like crazy to finish my quilt for the dead line and the days are flying by, will soon have more time for reading and visiting blogs.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Lovely Memories

I am home after a really nice holiday in Madeira. It was so nice to return to the island as it triggered so many memories as we stayed here for ten weeks back in 2004. It was a time when I did many drawings and paintings, little objects each day. The picture shows many of the little shells I found on the sandy beach near us. The two lovely shells I bought in Madeira were later made into one of my art cards. This was part of a display of some of my shell collection from when I had my exhibition. They always remind me of Madeira.

Lots of beautiful things inspired me as we looked around the museums and galleries. The colours of fruit and vegetables and the flowers at the market. Tables piled high with freshly picked cherries and strawberries been sold on the corner of the street.

A tropical garden, incredibly beautiful churches, tiles, Mosaic patterned streets, to name a few of the images fixed in my memory. The Firework displays over the harbour, as young and old all joined in to watch, were magical. Everyone makes you feel so welcome, it is relaxing place and now back home I feel very refreshed and inspired.

I was pleased to read all the comments while I have been away. Thank you.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

A Picture and a Postcard

I picked this flower yesterday as they are almost finished. It is my snakehead fritillary, see my other posting below. I was given the dead wasp after my husband found it in the house, a perfect subject for me he said. So I decided to put them together.
I knew in my mind that they would feature together because I have this beautiful postcard. I bought it many many years ago, before I had any of the flowers in my garden. It is painted by Georg Flegel (1566-1638). It says it is called Iris, Narcissus, Chess-board Flower and Hornet.
After I painted it I found my card and placed it next to my work. We see things, images that stay with us. It is so lovely to think hundreds of years ago some one had these lovely flowers and painted them too.

Thank you for visiting and your comments, I love reading them. Life has been busy, but now after all the hard work the sun is streaming into my new creative room, it feels good. I am sewing making a beautiful quilt, hoping to enter it in a show. Out side the garden is full of bees and butterflies and I have seen two damsel flies. So many things to inspire me.
Just going for a walk to see the bluebells and breathe in that wonderful smell.
Hope you like the picture.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Nature does it better

I picked this green ivy leaf one day and added the drawing to my square book. It was the curling stem and the patterns of the veins that I wanted to capture. We have ivy growing on the walls in our garden and it attracts birds and insects alike. I like to cut long strands to decorate the house at Christmas, we have done this all my life.
When it has rained we get soaked as we brush past it on the path to our house but it has so many advantages. We had a Blackbirds nest amongst it and the birds love it. It seems to attract Moths and bees, spiders build their webs in it and the snails hide amongst it.
The other thing I love is the way the leaves age into these beautiful skeletons. They look like the most delicate pieces of lace, nature does it better than us.
My brown leaf is in pencil and Derwent artist coloured pencils, the green one is in acrylic inks. Hope you like them.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

My Favourite Flower

This is my favourite flower. Today as the sun shone the beautiful chequered flowers started to open and really show their colours and patterns. It is the Snakehead Fritillary.
Each Autumn I plant some more of the tiny white bulbs in my garden. I always feel excited as I wait each April to see them flower.
I think it is such a lovely shaped flower, so delicate, elegant and beautifully patterned. The tall slim stems with thin leaves which create elegant shapes too. I watch them as they grow and try to capture their beauty as I draw them. There is a black and white ink drawing in my side bar. This one is drawn using pencil. It is a life size drawing as the real specimen shows.
Watch this space as I expect there will be many more drawings of my favourite flower. I have planted hundreds and this is just one of the first to flower.
Hope you like it. You can press picture for close up, and then press anywhere on the image for a zoom up of image.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Beware, this can happen

Today I went to a blog to say thank you for visiting and leaving me a comment. This is what I saw, the picture below. There was absolutely no doubt in my mind, this was my dragonfly. I know my own work. I knew this was my dragonfly even though it has glittery bits sprinkled over it and with this background. I think it has probably been cut out, then stuck onto the background.
So I left a comment. I said did she think I would not recognise my own work. Then I said how I shared my work and was happy it inspired others but I trusted other people not to steal it.
I told her it made me sad to have to write this.
Yes I do post my work here for the whole world to see.
I will continue to post my work here.
It is a beautiful dragonfly BUT it isn't so beautiful when it is just taken.
So what more is there to say, she knows she did it, passed it off as her own.
At least she has me in her side bar, under inspirational blogs !
There I got that off my chest, thanks for listening.

Thursday, 8 April 2010


I couldn't resist collecting some oak leaves from under the old oak tree in the village. It is probably the last, as they are now very thin and brittle, most of them were broken and crumbling. Soon the new buds will burst and new green oak leaves will appear. When I reached home I was too busy to even look at this leaf until late evening, it had then started to curl up in the heat. I sketched it and painted over two days. I have been wanting to draw the honesty seed heads for weeks so I decided to add them to the oak leaf. I found this lovely brown and cream piece of china in the stream and thought it would go well with the leaf too.
I have been busy as we are decorating, and it will be worth it as I am changing my daughters old bedroom into a room for me. A room to be creative in, sew and draw and paint. I usually just sit in the living room by the window. I draw with my book on a board resting on my knee. My clutter close to hand, pencils, paints, sketch books and of course specimens. It will be good to have the new room and my things all together and tidy. And a table by the window.
I am always busy, but lately I really haven't had much time for blogging, reading and visiting others. I am always thrilled to find your comments, so I do want to thank you for giving your time to visit and leave me comments.
Hope you like today's new page in the square book, I have left the honesty and china for you to see. Painted in acrylic paint, press for close up.

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Little Shoots

We went for a ride out and ended up at Kendal. I didn't feel like shops so we walked the footpath by the river. A sandwich and cup of tea from the kiosk and we sat by the river watching the seagulls fly around hoping for some scraps. Ducks swam around on the river, pigeons and starlings walk around the seats looking for any left overs. It was good to sit in the fresh air and watch. We wandered along to a little park and enjoyed the little stroll looking at the allotments just over the fence, some gardening activity and chatting by the owners. The trees were bare and the grass looked wet and muddy, the park seats looked damp. So we just wandered until I stopped to look up at a really large tree with huge spreading branches. It was a beautiful old tree, no leaves to give a clue of what it was. Then I saw the seeds on the grass, so went to collect some. They were a really large version of the "helicopter" seeds, with a flattish end. They all seemed to be standing up right, then as I picked them up I realised why. Tiny green shoots were rooting into the soil and making them all stand up. I collected lots to bring home and draw. I examined them at home, realising the end was split open to allow the green shoot to grow. As I tugged at the shoot, out fell the seed. Two seeds from one of the largest, shaped to fit the middle of the page. It is really fascinating to think this huge tree started off as one of these little seeds. I will check back when the leaves appear to try and identify it, seems to belong to the Maples looking at my tree book.

Thank you for the lovely comments, I am feeling better. I have been painting the seeds with acrylic paint and my trusty number 6 sable brush, another page in my square book. Hope you like them. It snowed today, lightning and hail yesterday, poor spring flowers are getting a battering.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Slow Pace

Life has been rather slow lately. I have had a really rotten cold and my head has felt like it didn't belong to me. I have been forced to slow down and just let it run its course. I haven't been feeling myself all week and not able to draw or even read blogs.
I felt like I was a snail, slowly moving around feeling very delicate, curling up on the sofa with my pounding head. I will spare you all the details ! When I finally woke up Friday morning and I could breath, didn't need the box of tissues, could bend my head felt like bliss.
I really missed not drawing. I sat and looked through a few of my sketchbooks and old drawings. Then I found this snail I did with black ink pens and thought that is how I feel. It was done a while ago. As the temperature warms up the snails that are hibernating in the cracks in the wall, in plantpots and in the hedges will all wake up. I like seeing them in the garden, watching them move around, walking up the walls, hanging over the edges of the plantpots and even creeping into my kitchen. As you know I like collecting and drawing their empty shells.
Hope you like it.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Whats Yours?

Something different today, just a little piece of nature and some of my found treasures. Everywhere I go I scan the ground, noticing things, picking up objects and bringing them home. I call them my treasures. The other day I was balancing on large stones in a stream fishing out pieces of china from the freezing cold water, for the thrill of finding a lovely blue and white piece, or some other intricate pattern. I always seem to arrive home with a pocket full of my finds.
A treasured possession is an old rusty key that I found many years ago. This similar one was found in a second hand shop. I am definitely one of life's collectors, and keys are one of my favourite things.
Then the dresser in my kitchen is covered in old china, items collected over thirty years, second hand pieces chosen for their pattern or shape. I don't mind if they are chipped or cracked. I fill an old chipped jug with flowers and to me it looks beautiful. I love old china, so finding old pieces of sea washed, river washed or buried broken pottery gives me a thrill. Just last week I found lots of pieces in the garden at an old derelict house in the village.
This little blue and white piece painted on the tag was one of them, a great find, as it has a pattern on both sides.
They are little fragments of a time gone by, each one unique. I like to include them as part of a painting with natural objects. You will find examples in the side bar.
I painted on the tag and the larger key is on dark brown card.
Would you like the tag.....I am going to give it away.
Tell me what is your idea of "a treasure".
Leave a comment and I will give the tag to the winner.
I will pick the winner next Sunday 21st March 2010.
The WINNER is Pomona. She will receive the painted tag.
Thank you for your lovely comments, I enjoyed reading them all.
I will have another give away soon.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Mystery tracks

We have been lucky to have experienced some lovely bright sunny days. The sky so blue and the perfect days for walking. It is still cold and things seem to be on hold, nothing much is growing along the hedgerows. The snowdrops are everywhere and the village churchyard is beautiful with a carpet of snowdrops and blue crocus.
I have been out walking most days. I find a few sycamore seeds and oak leaves to add to my on going projects. Then I see lots of empty snail shells in the bare hedges. I like the lovely pale blue shades, as they have changed from their brown colour over the winter. How many other people have a bowl of snail shells on their kitchen sink that have just been washed!
I saw this branch, on the long thorny briers of the Blackberry brambles. It has the white tracks of some insect, I am not sure what makes it. It caught my eye and so It came home with me. Just as we were near home I stopped to look at my favourite Hawthorn. This tree is where I collect most of my red berries. It was bare, no leaves but the new tiny red buds are appearing. Green lichen is growing on lots of the branches and it is interesting to see the twisted shapes of the bare tree. Then I spotted some berries, they now appear in my drawing with the three leaves.
Another page in my square book, painted in Acrylic paint. I even managed to pick a little of the green lichen. Hope you like it.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

February Tideline

Yesterday I went for a walk on the shore. It was the most beautiful day with sunshine and a blue sky. So I decided rather than explain it I have posted a photograph. I cross the railway bridge, through the gate and step on to this shore. I look out of my bedroom window every morning at this wonderful view. Some days it is grey and stormy and I can't see the hills. Today a large tide is due and all the grass will be covered in sea water, the shore flooded until the tide turns and reveals the land again. It is always changing with the different weather.
Yesterday was so cold with a biting wind, the snow clinging to the hills in the distance. I walked for over an hour, felt the sun but mostly the wind on my face. Along the tide line I collected some oak leaves, the salty water turns them a bluey black colour. There was a lot of seaweed brought up with the high tide. A great find was the Mermaids purse with its long tangled threads, it deserves a more detailed drawing all by itself. I found a few duck feathers with lovely markings blowing about.
It was the little fat bubbly strands of seaweed that ended up in my drawing with a strange greeny grey holly leaf, a feather and the mermaids purse. I sat for hours last night painting them in acrylic paints, using yellow ochre, red, blue, brown and white to mix the colours. I love being down on the shore, the estuary surrounded by the hills, seeing the birds and collecting bits and pieces to draw. Another page in my square book. Hope you like it.
Press the photograph of the shore, see what I see.