Friday, May 28, 2010

Isn't The Countryside Beautiful Now?

Back again after my little blog break. I didn't get as much done as I had hoped but you never do, do you? I will be racing around to catch up with everyones' postings tomorrow. Have been out and about walking and geocaching lately and taking lots of photos of gorgeous countryside. Everything is lush, green and beautiful.

I have lost touch a bit with giveaways, but if there is anyone that hasn't received what I promised them, then please let me know and I will put it right.

I was inspired to draw this rather sad portrait after chatting with friend Hannah about how much we liked quotes from poetry. The quote for this picture is part of a poem by Paul Verlaine called Autumn Song and if you cannot read the script it says: "when the hour sounds I remember days of once and I weep". I think she looks suitably triste.

This young lady is a WIP (work in progress). She is going to be in a garden with a background of flowers etc. She is pen and ink on watercolour paper so that I could use watercolour washes if I decided to. I like her smiley face.
I love this gorgeous ceramic hen by Elspeth Soper. You can see a selection of Elspeth's work here at the Shropshire Guild site.

Model Hen
This lovely little collection was received in the post from the lovely Robyn of Artpropelled. It was sent as a thank you for her winning giveaways that I have held. I love the little wooden carved goddess and also the tin spiral and the wire and bead fridge magnet. Definitely a taste of SA Robyn and thank you very much for thinking of it. For those of you who don't know Robyn's blog, she not only creates wonderful carved items in panels but also blogs about the talented artists and craftspeople that inspire her. I would definitely recommend popping over to her blog to say hello.

We have just returned from a lovely walk in the lush spring countryside where everything was refreshed by a day of rain yesterday. There are so many photo opportunities at the moment that I am quite spoiled for choice.

Cow Parsley

Dandelion Clock - I have never seen as many dandelions as there are at present. They are so perfectly designed for spreading their little feathery parasols to new areas of countryside.

Magnificent tree seen in the distance. I love the way solitary trees spread themselves out perfectly and symmetrically when they are untrammelled by other trees.

Mary Carter is a Devon artist whose beautiful paintings are collected all over the world. She works on a tiny scale but still achieves a wonderful delicacy of colour and detail. She prefers to paint interiors and people and her portraits of young girls are really lovely and have a very old fashioned look to them. You can find Mary's website here and more of her work half way down the page here at LlwellynAlexander.

At The Gate

The Taffeta Gown

Profile Of A Young Girl

Do you remember my post about geocaching where you log onto a website for GPS co-ordinates to little boxes hidden in the countryside (or towns). We have taken our geocaching to the next stage now and are looking for suitable hiding places for our own treasures for others to find. This is much harder than you think. Apart from trees with handy holes in there are not a lot of places to hide things in the countryside. We did have a few strokes of luck though and have picked up a few innovative ideas from other peoples caches.

We found a nice hiding place along this lane

Our hunt for hiding places was successful here too

Sunset on our way home

Do you ever hanker after beautifully tufted rugs with gorgeous designs? I found these lovely ones on the Green Culture eco friendly rug site here. They have lots of lovely rugs but these are my Wish List rugs if I had a large house to accommodate them all. Even though my artistic taste runs to colourful and decorative artwork, my taste in rugs is more contemporary and minimal. I am not one for traditional flowery rugs with borders.

Bari Rug

Almond Rug

Monte Rug

Seismic Rug

Rufio Rug

The Glasgow born artist Lesley McLaren is the creator of the lovely images below. There is something a little "other worldly" about Lesley's art. Her inspirations are the wonderful Scottish Border countryside where she has her studio. Her work is very contemporary and beautifully composed and I find the colours and light she gets into her paintings quite stunning. Lots of sheep and birch trees in her website gallery here.

The Watcher

Belties Under Snowy Pines


Friday, May 14, 2010

Next Post 30th May Or Thereabouts

An extra long blog post this week as I will not be blogging next week. My next post will be the weekend of the 30th or thereabouts.

These are two of my latest scraperboard pictures. I just wanted them both to be very simple and graphic.

Remember the Miss Read Pass The Book Blog Giveaway...well it is on its travels again. This time it is Gina of Fan My Flame who is hosting the giveaway and she is drawing the winner on the 18th May so if you want another chance to win the book and a few other goodies from Gina then go here and post your comment.

Aren't Mary Pickering's paintings wonderful? Mary was born in Dublin, Ireland and has been painting in various media for many years but has finally settled on acrylics. Her work is very colourful and contemporary with little narrative cameos of everyday life as she sees it. Quirky and delightful. You can see more of Mary's work here at The Street Gallery and here at Irishartpaintings.

Catching Up

Time To Go

There is an excellent article about the extremely talented Mark Hearld in the June edition of Homes & Antiques. I have mentioned Mark's work in previous posts and for those who don't know of him, go here to St. Jude's and have a browse.

I found this exquisite etching in a charity shop for £3. The frame was very tatty but once out of the frame it look beautiful. It must have taken someone hours of work as there is so much detail in it. I cannot read the name unfortunately but if anyone recognises whose work it is let me know please. Charity shops usually put fairly high prices on original etchings and it has a very deep plate mark so it is easily distinguishable from an ordinary print.
I had a lovely blog giveaway prize from Anne the other day. She had held a giveaway for her first blog birthday and the prize was a stained glass tealight holder of either a robin or a boat. In the comments I said I would prefer the robin and lo and behold the robin has come to roost at my home. He is a gorgeous and beautifully made item and I am very impressed indeed with Anne's craftsmanship and attention to detail. After watching Masterclass on stained glass I know that any stained glass work is not easy The picture below (which is Anne's) shows the robin beautifully lit.

Here you can see that the robin did not fly in unaccompanied. There was also a lovely bracelet and two fridge magnets in dainty bags, a really pretty card and is that some half eaten chocolate you see there. It is indeed and it is absolutely yummy. There were other tea lights too and they smell deliciously spicey. A huge thank you to Anne for sending the goodies. I will treasure them. You can find here Anne's wonderful blog Andamento . She lives in a beautiful part of Scotland and regularly treats us to views she finds on her bike travels, as well as everyday family life in a busy household. Pop over and say hello..

These wonderfully symbolic and mystical etchings are by Ontario born artist and printmaker Doreen Foster. They are gorgeous in detail, design and colour. Doreen says on her website resume, "my painting is about the journey of the soul in search of a mythology and the way home". I think they are fabulous. You can see lots more like these on her webpages here which are on The Studio Gallery website.

Solstice Hare

Moon Dancer


As promised in my last post here is a very small selection of the trees I photographed in Hatfield Forest when visiting the Hatfield Craft Fair. Hatfield Forest is the only remaining Royal Hunting Forest since the times of the Norman kings in the 1200's. It is probably the only woodland in England which can take you back to how they looked in medieval times. It is very famous for its huge number of ancient trees - around 800 of them. These ones are probably around 400 years old but there are much older trees there. There is reputed to be an oak which is 1200 years old and also the largest maple tree in Britain. I would like to have come across those. You can click on the pictures to enlarge them and see the details.

Hatfield Forest Ancient Trees

I was browsing in a local John Lewis store on Saturday and was very impressed with their range of ceramic tableware. I know the Secret Garden design is very popular and has been around for a while but the Polly's Pantry range is new to me. I think they are both gorgeous and make me think of afternoon tea in an English garden in the summer.

John Lewis Portmeirion's Secret Garden Tableware

John Lewis Polly's Pantry Tableware

I bought this book of David Weidman's fabulous graphic artwork about a year ago and have dipped into it many times since then. The images are so gorgeous and composed of complex layers of shape and colours and you can always find something new to appreciate. David is an octogenarian American illustrator and printmaker who was best known for the work he produced in the fifties and sixties in silkscreen printing. His graphic style is unmistakeable and very highly collected. It is just up my artistic street being quirky and whimsical and all those things I love. Bird Tree is my absolute favourite of his work. You can find stacks of sites featuring his work on Google but this is his main site here.

David Weidman's Book

Bird Tree



Thursday, May 6, 2010

Last Of The Bluebell Photo's

My email problems are sorted out now so I have gone back to my original and preferred email address although the alternative will reach me just as well.

I have had very little time for art this week but I did manage this pen and ink cat drawing. I found it very difficult due to the large amount of white on its face and chest. It does look a little better enlarged but I am not too happy with it. It would probably have looked good in scraperboard but I don't think I am au fait with the technique enough to do it justice. Perhaps when I have practiced a bit more I may try it again.
Do you remember my post about the stunning etchings of Flora McLachlan a while back? Well I heard from a lady, Neile, who read my blog that she is exhibiting as part of the Oxford Art Week event this week. She will be at St.Giles Church in Oxford if anyone is in the area. Unfortunately I cannot go but I am sure she will be very successful. Her work is really beautiful. You can read about Flora on this Art Weeks page here.

Aren't these two paintings by artist Dawn Stacey gorgeous? Such a beautiful use of colour and detail. Dawn is a very successful artist who originally studied for a textile degree but then went into painting. Her artwork is composed of various layers and decorative surfaces and collage. You can check out the rest of Dawn's work on her website here.

Lilies In The Royal Pavilion

Heron On A Quiet Spring Afternoon

I visited Hatfield Craft Fair on Friday and it was cold... very cold. They have moved the fair from just outside the main house to a very draughty spot on a hilltop nearby. The original Palace of Hatfield was the childhood home of Elizabeth I but there is only a tiny remnant of that now. I spent quite a while photographing the ancient trees (there are over 800 ancient trees in the forest) and I will put some of them on the blog next week. The craft fair used to spill over into the lovely old outbuildings and stables of the house and it was wonderful to walk around but I think the atmosphere has gone now. Not a wise move in my opinion. Still, the fair itself is enormous with many huge marquees cramed full of lovely goodies and handmades. There were lots of things I would have loved to have brought home with me but I restrained myself and bought only cards and a lovely silver engraved heart necklace. The marquees below represent only a tiny fraction of the fair.

These are the last of my bluebell posts for this spring. These are from three different areas. I have a huge collection of bluebell photos now from quite a few local areas where they grow in large numbers. You can click on them to make them larger if you like.

Tony Foard is an English potter who creates beautifully delicate raku figures of African women. He produces other ceramics as well but is best known for his tall, slim ladies. He pays great attention to detailing the faces and figures and gives them gorgeous gowns to wear. They are really stunning to see grouped together like in the images below. His work can be found in galleries in the UK. You can see more of Tony's work on his website here.

We came across this fascinating old garden door on the Earl Howe estate at Penn Manor when out walking one day. You will have to click on the photo to enlarge it as it is partly in shade. It is a composite door with three different panels, one of which is extremely beautifully carved. The middle part is completely plain and the other side panel is very rusty and old looking. The very decorative part was obviously never meant to be in a garden door but was probably an interior feature. Judging by the border it must have been a huge thing originally. Amazing what you can find in the countryside.

Valerie Armstrong is a multi-talented artist who creates work in the form of paintings, drawings, collage, monoprints, collographs, illustrations and folding screens. She also trained and worked as an art therapist. My favourite of her work is defintely her collographs though. The three images below are all collographs and they have a lovely narrative and contemporary feel to them. I never can resist birds of course. You can find lots of Valerie's work on here website here.


Watching The Weather

The Message

I have added a few new images to my large collection of greetings cards. The paintings are by artist Alex Egan who produces really lovely fresh and spontaneous watercolours of animals and birds and lots of other things too. She has some delicious chicken and geese artwork. The cards are produced by greetings card company Wildcard and you can find Alex's page on their site here. You can find Alex's own website here.

Mother Hen

Hare Study

Gwendolin And Brenda