Monday, 31 December 2012

The End of the Year

The last day of the year.   It has been a high tide and a blustery day,  as I watched the estuary quickly  fill up with the  rough sea water.  The angry looking sky threatened rain but instead the clouds lifted and the hills glowed a red orange colour for a brief moment and then once again the heavy clouds sank low and the hills are gone from our view.   Looking out  from my window I like the way it highlights the shapes of the twisted branches and the dried seed heads against the pink sky.   Little sparrows fly in and out of these woven stems and I can quietly watch them from inside my living room.
I picked some of the seed heads to put in the drawing.  The bare trees, branches, plants  and hedgerows all  have this same skeletal feel.  It is what happens every year, the end of the cycle and  the seeds for a new year have been scattered.
The drawing is done with a black fine line pen and a paint brush and sepia ink .

As the new year approaches we look back and we look forward.  I have been looking back at my year and thinking,   I have been eagerly awaiting the new year and planning.  Having this blog and sharing my drawings has been such a wonderfully rewarding  part of my life,   by reading the lovely comments and knowing how much pleasure my drawings can give to other people.                        
Now I would like to have a published book of my work, a permanent record and another way for other people to share and enjoy my art work.   I have been thinking this could be my new year project.
Of course I do not  know how this is going to happen yet,  but I have the feeling that this is the next logical phase of drawings from nature.   Anyone with any  ideas or suggestions or experience or contacts, please feel free to comment, as I would be grateful  for any help or input on this subject of agents and publishers.
 The little sparrows play all day outside the window, singing and catching  insects and sometimes just resting and admiring the view.  In a couple of months in the springtime they will be building their nests  using bits of these dried plants.  I love watching them each day as they fly in and out of this adventure playground and chase each other around the garden.  So that just leaves me to send you all my best wishes for a
"Happy and Healthy and Creative  New Year"   to you all.                      Millyx

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas.
Thank you to everyone that visits " drawings from nature" and for all the lovely comments you write,  which  I really appreciate and love to read.  It seems to have been a busy time here. I made some presents and have been busy knitting, book making and sewing.
My daughter has been visiting and it was lovely to spent time with her, we celebrated Christmas and had our turkey dinner on Sunday.  Another lovely day with my friend and her family on Saturday. Today is a quiet relaxing day. I might even have some drawing time.
 So I hope you are all  enjoying  your day, where ever you are.

Best Wishes To Everyone,                                                        Millyx

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

December Days

Now that December has arrived it has brought with it some bitterly cold weather.  The birds are coming into the garden and feeding on the red berries. The ground was littered in the half eaten fruit.  A very tame  blackbird prefers to hop by the kitchen window,  it seems to know we will instantly throw some bread outside.  I would like to think this was a blackbird who was born and raised in our garden and he knows it is a safe place to be.  We had a nest in the ivy and it would be so nice if it was our blackbird.
We heard the birds singing early today,  as it was such a lovely morning and the sun was streaming into the back of the house.   Outside it  was cold and frosty but such a beautiful  bright day,  and as we drove up and over the moors we admired the sight of the snow covered Lakeland hills.  The view looked spectacular, huge white shapes and a clear blue sky.
 The December landscape is now stripped bare and it is easy to see the patterns of the stone walls and the dark linear shapes of the trees showing their structure of trunks and branches.  We passed lots of little woods where we could glance through the tall trees and see the dead and dry woodland floor, everywhere in pale shades of browns and  then the bright rusty coloured bracken which glows in the sunlight.
It was bitterly cold as we wandered around the market town, as the market traders blew into their hands and danced from foot to foot  trying desperately to keep warm.  Hats, scarves and gloves were essential and everyone seemed to move around quickly doing their business and avoiding staying out longer than needed.  Our journey home was so pretty in the sunlight, as the sun was so low in the sky it cast a pink glow and made the dark trees stand out even more.  As we reached home it was almost sunset and we witnessed a deep pink sky  on this clear frosty evening.  It was lovely to return to a warm fireside.
   My drawing is a simple collection of some of some of the  berries off the ground,  a red leaf found  alongside them and a twin sycamore seed.  I really liked the dark edges of the red leaf and the way the sycamore is also turning darker.  Six red berries in a line just felt right and completed the composition.
I chose red, yellow ochre, sepia and black  and all of the shades were mixed from the four inks.
 I used the thin brush and every tiny line was made slowly as I meticulously painted the objects.
I wanted to really capture the delicate qualities of these winter objects and their colours and shapes.
I used red and yellow ochre for the leaf, red and black for the darker shades at the edges. Sepia and yellow ochre and a little of the dark edge mix on the sycamore.
The finished drawing.

I had a little helper.
I have been knitting a tiny cardigan and some warm blankets this week for a little birthday girl. And of course the mouse wanted to help paint!                                                              

Thank you for your comments. Hope you enjoy seeing what I have been drawing and knitting for my little friends birthday. Hope you are all keeping warm and cosy.                  
Best wishes to everyone.    Millyx

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Colours of Autumn.

It has gone cold here.  The day started with a frosty morning and I have been happy to stay indoors and finish my drawing of the little branches that I collected from the garden.  The birds have eaten many of the berries but there are still many hanks left.  As I selected the branch it was the three coloured leaves which caught my eye, three leaves in three colours, green, orange and yellow.  A  lovely example of Autumn colour and how nature loves to surprise.
  I decided to record this branch and the berries. So I sketched them in pencil
And then I thought for a change I would use acrylic paints. I squeezed some brown, yellow, red, and green onto my saucer.  It felt strange using the thick acrylic paint after using the inks.
 I started with the leaves,
                                         and then the browns on the branches,
Then the red berries, as I carefully painted the red making sure the paint is put on and leaving the white paper for the shine. Then the little branch of cotoneaster added to the page, such tiny leaves and the red berries that the birds love. And we are finished.
I hope you enjoyed seeing the work in progress, and the finished drawing is here.

 Give away Winners. Thank you for the 24 comments , including the four emails and you were all entered into the give away. All names folded and placed in a bowl.

I asked my husband to pick the winner from the names in the bowl.  The winner was ALISSA DUKE who will receive the copy of the drawing and goody bag.  Two others will also receive a folder of my artcards, they are Gill and R H Carpenter, also drawn out by my husband.  Please can you leave me a postal address and I will post them to you.
Thank you all, it was really nice to read all your comments, and useful to hear your thoughts.          Millyx
The photographs were taken after dark, sorry for the quality, it is dark at 4pm.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Hares and Red berries

I have been collecting some branches of red berries.  You know they are a favourite subject for me and they look so bright and shiny on the gloomy grey days.  We have had our first little shower of snow and it brought the frosty mornings and a drop in the temperature.  This is when I love to sew and knit and I have been making some little lavender cushions. I picked the lavender and dried it by the fire and then had the job of sorting out the seeds from all the other bits of stalk. The whole house had the smell of lavender drifting in every room and so I decided to use my lovely Hares again. I made one for me and then one for my friend and it is hanging in her house in Wales.
This hare is now in Wales
   I am a huge fan of handmade things, baskets, knitting, sewing, patchwork and cross stitch are some of my favourites. I have made many special gifts over the years using these crafts and  wish I had more time to sew.    The stash of fabric is ready and waiting for some lovely patchworks. In the meantime I can start and finish little projects like the lavender cushions and  I so enjoyed using the fabric knowing it is my drawings of the hares, makes it even more special.
My hare drawings on the lovely "peony and sage" linen  which I sewed into a lavender cushion

I came home with the branches of red berries and some dried seed heads. I felt they were a reflection of my walk as I kept seeing images of the tall sculptural plants along the hedgerows.
They are here pictured in my hand. I tried to capture that feeling of the dried cow parsley seed heads and the branch of  bright red berries.
 I used a dip in pen and sepia ink for the seed heads and then painted the red berries with a paint brush and acrylic inks.  It feels rather like a lino print and a little different from my usual work but I enjoyed doing it and had fun.  Red berries tells me it is getting near to the festive seasons, and i will let them dry and use them for decoration later in the year.
Hope you like the picture.  I bet you all like the Hares more!  Thank you for your lovely comments. Next time it will be  my 200th post so  I will be having a  little give away, so please join in and some one will win a prize by me.                Millyx
The fabric with my hare drawings, made into lavender cushions by me.

They are lovely and smell wonderful  around the house.  

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Seashore, Butterfly and Hare.

I have had a busy time enjoying a lovely walk along one of my favourite sandy beaches.  I collected lots of beautiful shells and some seaweed and feathers.  I always try not to gather too much but it never works because as soon as I see a pretty shell, well how can I resist it when it looks so small and so lovely.  The trouble is I feel like this about so many of the found objects and so I end up with all of this.
I went for all the lovely blue shells, see how gorgeous they look  as I washed them and arranged them on a plate.  Then I washed my feathers so I could include some in a drawing.
Now to choose,  I take a few shells and the delicate seaweed and make a start sketching them on my paper.
 Then off to my Tai Chi class and back home to sit and paint  for the rest of the afternoon and all evening. Inks, water and paintbrush ready.  It is dark so quickly now we have changed the clocks,  so this is how I spent my evening cosy by the fire with my drawing board balancing on my knee and listening to the radio.
Just enough for one evening and looking nice.
 Next day I  chose some feathers and some more lovely shells and added them to the page.
All finished and a record of my beach walk.  My photograph shows  how the view out to sea is now changing as more and more windmills appear on the horizon.
I really wanted this amazing piece of seaweed in the water,  it was just fascinating and I played with it and arranged the leaves and then photographed it.  The tide had been up and left it stranded in a little pool.  I would have loved to draw it,  but as I always draw from the real object it was a little on the large size to bring home!  You can see some of my tiny shells in the water.
The other day I found something else I would have loved to keep, a perfect butterfly in our garden.  It just sat for so long,  long enough to take some photographs. It sat on my husband's hand,  so well behaved and then off she went, up, up and away.
Now for the Hares.  Last March I went on a book making course and made two different handmade books.  So have I used my new skills?   I knew that I would make a book with my hare drawing on the front.  On Saturday with a whole day to myself  I finally got around to making it.  I was afraid that I would not be able to remember all the instructions but me being me, I had made lots of notes and it all went well and hours later I had my book glued and finished.  I  was adventurous and made my own style with three tapes and larger than the one we made at the course with two tapes.   I am thrilled with my hand stitched "Hare book".
The pages are stitched and ready to glue the front and back in place.

My first ever photo collage.

My beautiful handmade Book with my hare drawings.
 You can buy this Hare Linen fabric at "Peony and Sage".
So there you have my week.  Hope you enjoyed seeing what I have been doing .

Thank you for your comments which I always enjoy reading.
Please do not take my drawings,  Please respect my copyright and ownership.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Sunny October Days

 It was love at first sight with this wonderfully coloured Gourd.  I saw it outside a shop and immediately  went inside and bought it.  Sadly it has taken me a while to find the time to draw it but I think I have given it the respect it deserves.  My Dad used to grow these for me, all kinds of fascinating shaped specimens which I could then choose from to draw.

 I sketched it in pencil and then painted it with three colours of my acrylic ink.....Flame red, Yellow ochre and Sap Green.   The red and yellow created all the orange tones.  I used the red to darken the green.   Look at all the different shades on the plate, created by mixing the three colours.
 I used a new brush, Aquafine by Daler Rowney, it was a script liner number 3, it was very nice to use , if not a little hard on my eyes but made lovely fine lines. I also used a sable 3. It was painted in little pockets of time over four days, about twelve hours work. I really enjoyed  drawing this gourd with all the lumps  and bumps, and I loved recording all the detail and texture.
We have been enjoying some beautiful sunny days and each day I have managed to get out and take a walk. For a change we headed up hill and around the lanes in our village. The view above shows our estuary and the railway line which loops right around the shore in a horse shoe shape and then travels up the west coast.
 I like this gate,  it is the entrance to a very steep field.  When we were children we would run down it and it was so steep we could not stop until we reached the bottom.  We used to scream as we ran down, then laugh when we safely reached the bottom.  Sometimes there was a herd of cows and their young calves which chased us! The frisky young calves would  join in  and run after us, we ran even faster, our hearts beating so fast and we screamed louder with fear. So very relieved to climb the next gate and into another safer field where we then laughed louder.  We were great at running on sports day!
 The views to the North of the Lake land hills.
 There were lots of seed heads standing so tall above the stone walls.
 The red berries on the hawthorn trees, once a thick hedgerow now twisted and bent with the elements.
 All the walls are getting old and wobbly,  ferns growing on the top.  All hand built from the local stone which is still quarried in the village.
 The view to the west, showing the opening to the estuary and the open sea where the hundreds of windmills are being erected. The tide is just coming in and will cover all the sand with sea water.  This is where I was last week, see my last post.
Every where looked so fresh and green after lots of rainfall. The rain water drains off the higher ground and the moors, last week this road had water running down each side and it caused some flooding in the village.  Many homes were sand bagged to protect the water from getting into their houses,  lots of stones and debris was carried downhill as the water gathered speed and scattered it along the roads.  The drains struggled to take the volume of water as many rivers swelled and burst their banks and many local roads were flooded.
It has been lovely having the blue sky and sunshine, fine days with  crisp views and now the frosty mornings.  The shore was covered in a blanket of white frost and  looked so pretty.  Hope you are having some nice days. Glad  you visited and  enjoyed the walk with me.  Thank you for the lovely comments which I really appreciate. Photographs of the village by my husband.
See you soon.                                                            Millyx