26 Aug 2010

Salad Days

This is a bowlful of my last remaining salad leaves from the garden. We've been eating home-grown salad for about three months now and there is something deeply satisfying about walking outside with a salad bowl and picking the leaves straight into it. We're totally organic so don't have to wash the leaves - just straight from garden to mouth!

I still have tomatoes growing - they've been much better this year as it's been such a dry year. I don't have a greenhouse so they have to be outside and in past years they've got so wet that they've begun rotting on the vine before ripening and I've had to rush out and rescue them in their under-ripe state. Great for green tomato chutney but no good in a salad. There are some plants (the ones with the bigger variety of fruit) that don't seem to be getting past the green stage still, so there may well be a chutney making session looming.

The leaves in the bowl include 'Cocarde', 'Lollo Biondi' and 'Red Salad Bowl'. There is also some wild Rocket in there and I'm still picking this despite the fact that it's flowered.

19 Aug 2010

Huge Mushrooms

I found these mushrooms in the fields where I walk Misty every morning. There were two pairs, one of which had been dug up by an animal but this pair was still intact. I had to wait until later in the day to go back with my camera to photograph them and luckily nothing had dug them up in the meantime.

They were absolutely huge (my use of the past tense confirms that they have since been destroyed and have rotted) - I've seen nothing like them before. They must have stood 8 inches high and their caps were as much across. I have no idea whether they would be edible and I don't think I'd be interested in finding out!

I sketched them from one of my photos and watercoloured them and then spent hours trying to find an appropriate verse to add. Have you any idea how few quotations there are containing 'mushroom'?

13 Aug 2010

Zuni Fetishes

These are mountain lion and bear, my Zuni fetishes. And believe me, they're not bright orange and yellow really! I love them and really want to add wolf but haven't been able to find one yet.

This was a classic case of fiddling. I started out on a blank page and decided, instead of using pen and ink and then painting, I'd draw the little sculptures in watercolour pencils and have no outline. Well, that didn't work because I still had an outline which I couldn't get rid of even after using water over the pencils. And they also looked really dull colour-wise! That's fine in the flesh but no good for a drawing I decided. So I went over the watercolour pencil with some liquid watercolours I have. That's where the bright got in there! Then I thought I'd outline them with pen & ink. Then I decided they needed shadows which ended up looking a little clunky. And then (!!) I recalled reading in a book on art journals about making a background on a page by sponging acrylic paint through plastic tapestry canvas. SO I DID THAT TOO!

There can't be many people who put in the background after the foreground surely? Anyway, I left it on my desk for a while and visited it every now and then to have another look and then I decided, to hell with it - I'll post it. It's been too many days since I had something to post and I've been feeling a little out of sorts about that.

So here it is folks. Another PC mess! Or maybe I'll call it 'quirky' which is probably the same thing.

PS. As I'm writing this I'm listening to the most fabulous operatic compilation CD - truly inspiring.

5 Aug 2010

Fly Like the Wind

I was looking through some old pads of paintings and sketches and such like the other day and I found some of my practice pieces for a calligraphy course I did with a couple of friends some years ago.

I remember really enjoying the course and doing quite a bit of lettering afterwards. I made 'Thank You' cards and birthday cards and one Christmas I made all my Christmas cards.

So I thought I'd see if I could remember some of it. I found all my old dip pens (I must have about every size anyone ever made!) I did this trial in my new journal book, but I prefer how the lettering looks on rough watercolour paper so will try something else. It doesn't really work over two pages of my journal either and my scanner doesn't seem to be the best in the world but I'm sure I can overcome all of that.

Half the fun of calligraphy is finding a quotation that lends itself to being presented in a visual way - it's also the challenge! Looking at work that professional calligraphers have produced is both inspirational and depressing, but I think I'm over worrying about that. EDM group has helped a lot to give me confidence to post some of my trials!

3 Aug 2010

First day of Journaling

I started a new sketchbook which I'm going to try and keep for journaling as opposed to just sketching (with a few comments!). I've begun to read Gwen Diehn's book, The Decorated Page, and decided to try and work through it.

This is my first attempt and is based around some ears of wheat I collected on my walk with Misty yesterday. I'm a little unsure of exactly what a journal is supposed to include, but think it's probably just anything and everything that grabs my mind or reflects my day. Whether I'll be able to keep this up every day is very doubtful, but a few times a week would be good. And especially those days which have a real impact on me for some reason - sad days, or happy days or just grrrrr days (like today has been so far!).

This entry was drawn in pen & ink and coloured with acrylic inks. The journal is a Fabriano one with really heavyweight watercolour pages and a snazzy red and white patterned cover. Very yummy and it took a lot of courage to make the first mark!

Still working on the 'backgrounds'. So far lots of mess plus one rather nice one that I have no idea what to do with!

I also did a quick sketch for one of the EDM subjects. Pen and ink and watercolour this time and in the old sketch book.