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This is the time of year to enjoy Euphorbia at it’s best.
And it looks extra special with all this gorgeous sunshine filtering through it.
When it puts out new growth it’s a lovely lime green colour.
I cut some to bring in and paint (beware it has a sticky sap running through it – yuk)
I thought it would die quickly so I kept the composition simple, but days later and it’s still quite happy in a vase.
What a gloriously sunny bank holiday weekend we have just enjoyed. A little bit of sunshine is good for the soul.
I am trying to keep a balance of things in my life by adopting ’a little and often’ approach.
I love gardening but find that this is the season where there is housework indoors and housework outdoors. So I have been trying to keep on top of it all by doing a little inside and a little outside.
Taking a little time out of working to see friends, take trips (Powis Castle above) and enjoy spring’s inspiration.
Having a little time to read (dream holiday booked for this summer!) and a little time to knit. I’m hoping this approach will stop me going a little crazy often!
I’ve said it once, twice, a million times… I loVe tulips!
Any colour, any pattern, in any state of decay.
I like them standing up, flopping down, insides showing or not.
My daughter remarked recently that I haven’t painted tulips much considering my strength of feeling for them. Hells Bells – she was right!
So that needed rectifying, trouble was the bunch I had been enjoying was already passed it’s finest, so the race was on.
I could remember the colours but after drawing it, as the petals fell, the shapes changed beyond recognition. Lucky I have an artistic licence.
Well I’m really stretching my artistic license painting spring flowers while there is snow on the ground!
It’s quite an antidote to the weather – I’d recommend it.
These flowers are so much fun to paint – all the bright colours, the sloshy watery paint bleeding colour into a nice heavy watercolour paper – yum!
I can feel a nice bright design coming along soon.
And once I completed that first painting, I still couldn’t stop and had to make a little line of flowers which would be nodding at me from the garden if all my plants weren’t decimated.
Hope you are surviving the snow where ever you are and that these remind you of what’s to come – eventually!
I have been working away in my own little greenhouse recently.
I spotted these Primula’s at a good price in an independent garden centre and had already seen an image online which had sparked the idea for plants in teacups.
It is such a joy to paint these bright, cheery spring flowers, not only are they relatively easy to paint but being surrounded by them all day is a lift to the spirits.
There was the difficult choice of which cup for which flower – I looked like a deranged gardener having an Alice in Wonderland-esque tea party!
I had to employ a unique ‘cup on cup on CD tower’ type arrangement to get the right view on it in order to paint it straight on. There were a few mis-haps but luckily Wedgwood bounces – ouch!
Here’s a little pic of my painting nest – note hot water bottle (saves having the heating on) and cup of tea dangerously close to water jug (wrong brush, in wrong liquid).
The finished piece is big (A1) cheery, bright and makes me smile. I hope you enjoy it too.
I promised I would show you close-up’s of some of my prized bird books, so here is the first Basil Ede’s Birds.
You know how it goes sometimes – I walked into a National Trust Property one summer and went into an unassuming second-hand book ‘shed’ and it was one of those occasions where it was a treasure trove of beautiful unwanted books at cheap second-hand prices.
My family will remind me that I bought two books – one very heavy – which we then had to carry on a walk around the lake which turned out to take 2-3 hours! Oops. Did you notice I said we carried… anyway I digress.
It turns out that this book, which I bought for £1.20 because I liked the bird pictures, was illustrated by the Basil Ede , one of the worlds best bird artists. And it is utterly beautiful as you can see.
Basil Ede became a professional artist bit by bit, working at first at sea and then in London, he gradually grew his painting career by working part-time and being supported by his family (always a story I like to hear).
In his sixties he suffered a stroke which left him paralysed down one side – the side he painted with. Amazingly he re-taught himself over a few years to paint with his left hand just as well as he had with his right.
Beautifully inspiring painting and an inspiring life story too.
There is nothing like a new year to bring about a sense of re-set even if a complete fresh start is not really needed.
Some years I don’t want to celebrate the passing of one year into another, some years I need the blank page/fresh start feeling that a new year can bring, some years I need to feel like I can write something new into existence.
This year I just wanted to spring clean and re-set my creative system.
So I spent two whole days last week removing all the old to-do lists, old inspiration material and old designs etc from my board and filing them away without a telling off from myself if they never came to anything – everything finds a time and place eventually, this I am learning.
Birds have been on my mind for a while now. I often find that I am percolating inspiration when I’m working on other things and collecting towards the beginning of a project.
And how! When I started filling up the board (which is huge) I found I didn’t have room for everything without taping stuff to the walls and hanging a mini-washing line up too.
I love it. It is a creative volcano of birdy inspiration.
My friend Dana had been painting birds just before Christmas. I was so taken with this Blue Jay and so delighted when he came to live with me here.
And what serendipity that he arrived in the mail on the day I was finishing my pinning up. She has such a talent – have a look in her shop if you’d like your own bird.
I also had a new teapot for Christmas and some new bird tiles and when I got out my collection of bird books I could see just how long I have been percolating this collection.
I’ll show the books on their own one day as this is already a photo heavy post and the books deserve to be seen close-up as the illustrations are beautiful.
And then as if to seal the deal, this weekend I opened my Country Living magazine to find even more inspiration in the form of this…
I could be here for some while!
I have a new-found love.
Kind of like a crush. Actually no, more like a squash!
And it began in our new Morrison superstore amongst the vast array of freshly spritzed vegetables.
No it wasn’t some young handsome retail assistant but the vegetables themselves!
I love the range of patterns and colours and all the inspiration that it brings for design opportunities and painted images. Then you can cook and eat it!
The mushroom section has about 10-15 varieties – who knew mushrooms were so interesting. I love photographing them because they look like mini landscapes from the moon under a macro lens.
Or a secret fairy kingdom.
One particular mushroom was so smelly that the only way I could paint it was like this…
I was inspired by vintage educational posters to paint something with a botanical look to it.
Sorry about all the watermarking of images but someone recently used a painted design of mine to jolly up their leaflet and although they told me they done it, they didn’t respond to my heavy hint that I made my living as an artist! So it has made me resolve to avoid it happening where possible. Sad really but that’s the down side of t’internet I suppose.