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Last Autumn, on a whim, I bought a bag of mixed daffodils and a bag of mixed tulip bulbs while shopping in Costco. It wasn’t planned or researched and I paid for quantity over quality.
But I seemed to have struck lucky with them; they are gorgeous.
I had thought they were relatively cheap but in amongst the standard bulbs are some stunning varieties of double-headed daffodils and huge headed tulip blooms.
I had planted them in every spare place in the garden and in every empty pot or vessel that I could find. There were 350 bulbs in all. I even had to squeeze them into pots with other things in already them. But the result is a garden bursting with colour from front to back, left to right.
I would love to repeat this Spring display again next year without re-planting and my research so far says I might be lucky/I might not. So my green-fingered friends my question to you is: Is there anything I can do to encourage a repeat flowering next year?
- Coloured Wools 1919 Harold Harvey
- Apparently the film focuses on the wild and bohemian Lamorna Group (which included Alfred Munnings and Laura and Harold Knight, not sure if that includes Harold) and a love triangle involving aspiring artist Florence Carter-Wood.
- This is a period drama set in the beauty of the Cornish coast; a good old tale of love, liberty, and scandal amongst the Edwardian artists’ colony (as only the Brits can do!) Looking forward to it already (not sure when its released) but might get started on the book first.
Back in January you may remember this post where I had been working on some drawings of vintage cutlery.
As part of the Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design course (now on the last Module) we were tasked to create a collection of designs.
This was huge learning curve for me. Firstly it became quickly apparent that I didn’t have the computer equipment to do this (15 mins spent waiting for an image to move 1cm across the page!) so we upgraded to a beautiful, big, fast monster of a Mac.
Then I had a lot to learn about Adobe Photoshop (BTW did you know that BIG discounts were available if you are a student or teacher?) I can now use lots of the tools thanks to Rachael’s brilliant tutorials and I’ve remembered stuff from my college degree that I’d forgotten I’d forgotten!
As with all learning curves I would already handle designing these in a different way (nicer colours for a start) and I’m now trying to stay truer to my painters hand when I design.
But I think they have some merit especially because I came across these a few weeks after I’d completed my designs. So maybe I’m on the right track after all!
The back garden of the cottage we stayed in, in Wales, was full of primroses – pale yellow, pink, cerise and magenta.
The hedgerows were also full of them on every side. Such a beautiful display made all the more charming by their natural re-population.
Hard to catch a picture of in the blustery wind but of the zillion photo’s at least few aren’t blurred.
I particularly love the star-shaped centre and sweet-heart petals.
And up close you can see natures cleaver drainage hole in the centre of the flower – just like a sink without a plug!
I happen to find this little jug for 50 pence whilst thrifting one day (loads to be had in Wales and I bartered hard, but more of that some other time). And then in a moment of serendipity the flowers went with the jug, the scale was just right and it rained so hard we stayed in and I found time to paint them.
A must do trip for the earnest crafter loose in Pembrokeshire, is a trip to the mill of Melin Tregwynt.
This has been a working mill for the last 100 years and is still owned and run by the same family – no small feat in this day and age.
It was fascinating to see behind the scenes..
…especially watching the loom being prepped and threaded with yarn ready for it’s turn on the automatic loom. The girls had a pattern sheet to refer to (much like a knitting pattern repeat ) but what a responsibilitly!
The Twisting and Cone winding room was full of yummy boxes of yarn, named in the most evocative colours.
Best of all, you could buy a bag of off-cuts in the shop.
These worked out to be £1 a piece which I think is excellent value.
They are made with colours which reflect the natural environment.
Now I must ruminate on what to make with these gorgeous woven pieces.
We are just back from a lovely break in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
This is a place where you can really see the sky (I live in a city and hardly ever see the horizon.)
And the skies here are really worth looking at constantly because they change all day..
They are even worth braving the cold on the beach to capture,
and worth getting up early to dog walk, be inspired by and come home and paint.
I can see why the landscape has, and continues to inspire artists, with its patchwork colours and textured furrows.
Nature always seems closer at hand when you’re on holiday, maybe it’s because we slow down and observe more…
or maybe it’s because it pokes its head over the gate to say hello!
Back in early 2009 I began to hear a small voice of mine asking me a question about the future. I hadn’t heard that voice for some years as bringing up small children didn’t leave much time to hear it. And I wasn’t brave enough. And I wasn’t ready.
Typography © Susan Black - used with permission
But something about turning 40 galvanised me. For a couple of years I have been living the questions and gradually finding the answers as I was only just beginning on a road to the here and now. Today is the first day of my being primarily an artist (I say primarily because I do still have a one-day-a-week commitment to finish at school until the end of July.) But to me, today is my first day of self-employment. Today is the answer to the question I began asking myself when I began art college. Today is the first day of feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
And what better way than to spend today housekeeping my beautiful website (thanks i.e.) and re-loading my photographs properly (no more blurred images) and putting images in the correct places (nice little close-ups.)
Spring is proving to be full of my favourite-to-paint flowers but sadly not when I have time to paint them.
This beautiful Auricula is a case in point.
Bought at the garden centre, tightly in bud, I thought I’d have a week or so as a head start but Mother Nature (and central heating) had other ideas.
I was very excited recently to have the opportunity to hear my favourite painter, Jean B. Martin, talk about her work and processes.
It was fascinating and inspiring.
One thing she said which had me nodding along, was how hard it is to keep up with painting certain flowers while they are in season. Her daughter had given her a bunch of anemones for Mothers Day and she had promptly scheduled out the next day to paint them before they died. I totally understand that as this plant keeps reminding me!
A couple of Christmases ago I saw that Helen had made a decoration which was a reindeer in a glass jar with sugar for fallen snow. It was gorgeous and so simple but effective and the idea has stayed with me.
When I was in Paris (did I say that enough lately!) at the flower market I was overjoyed to find these little mushrooms and one thing led to another and I recreated Helen’s idea but with an Easter theme instead.
Even Mr L (not prone to sentimentality) said it was sweet !
Happy Easter to you!
This season has wishes of new life in a spiritual way and through nature as it blossoms all around us.
As I already said before… I love Easter,
and this year I went to town on decorating the house to celebrate it.
I love all the imagery for Easter and have collected lots of little pieces over the years (super excited when we happened upon an empty fallen nest some years ago!)
So Happy Easter from me to you. Claire x