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crown ducal striping

This is the vintage teacup that I began as my demo on patterned watercolours last Saturday with The Spotted Dog art group.

crown ducal in progress

As usual it’s a brightly coloured painting – a typical Claire Leggett painting! but maybe a little more so because it wasn’t an especially well lit room and I may have over compensated with my choice of orange hue!

Crown Ducal

I’ll let you be the judge of that – I have spent a couple of hours finishing it off in my studio and am happy enough to say “ta daaah….”

I have had such fun putting these illustrations together using my paintings and copyright-free vintage ephemera. Something to cheer me up while the rain beats against the window !

So day 2 of this painting began with the roses blocked in with colour in a race against time to capture the colours and shapes.
I love to use the wet-in-wet technique when I first block in the colour. I mix up and main three of four colours I see and then paint them in  simultaneously and let them bleed and run into each other. The beauty of gouache over acrylic is that I can ‘wake’ up that dried paint at any stage which is what I tend to do once it’s dried and I’m giving the petals a further wash of colour and some detailing.
It took me along time to paint around the roses and put in such a complicated background – thank heavens for audible!
I made the blue paler than it actually is, purposefully as I didn’t want to over-power the pink flower heads.
Finally on day 3 I painted in the leaves, vase and china bird. After 3 solid days it was exciting to be on the home run now and adding that pop of bright leaf-green got me excited to see the finished piece.
I think this painting has an old world quality about it mainly due to the style and colour of the rose which reminds me of 1950’s greetings cards. 

© Claire Leggett Roses

On our recent trip to Pembrokeshire I became the junk shop equivalent of David Dickenson (without the perm-a-tan though!)

It would seem that Wales has lots of vintage goodness ready to sell and at good prices.

We found one cold, warren of a place piled high with everything you could think of and not being staffed by the owner. This opened up the opportunity for some cheeky bargaining (I still don’t know what came over me.)

I came away with 3 old wooden storage boxes, two blue and white jugs, a tiny floral jug, a lace work cloth, two embroidered chair-backs and an enamel pan for £15. I quick-stepped it out before the owner came back. I mean when is anything ever as cheap as 50 pence! My gall is a disgrace!!

The next day I spotted two lovely white and blue enamel pieces sitting outside an antiques shop and bartered them down just a little bit.

I have a plan to fill the oval tub with lettuce seeds so that we can grow our own salad this summer and keep it by the back door.

 So now the garden is ready for it’s thrifted, vintage makeover (as soon as it stops raining).

We had also been very lucky on a recent family trip to Manchester to come across an antiques arcade. There was beautiful crockery, coloured glass wear, old books, crocheted loveliness and a super wicker basket to carry it all home in.

The teacups are finished. Over the last few weeks I have been working backwards putting in backgrounds behind the cups that I painted.

I can’t remember now why I did it that way around? I never normally do! I have also painted complete, extra backgrounds to fiddle around with in Photoshop. Maybe that’s why I painted and scanned the cups first…

Everyone whose been up to the studio has a different favourite. I love the top pink and gold one (on right.) There are clearer photo’s in Flickr.  Have a lovely Monday:)

More teacups!

Am I boring you with all these teacups? I’m not sure.

I’m having great fun but do you still want to see them?

These are the last for now (although I must warn you that I’ve put a Wedgwood teacup on my Christmas wish list.)

The thing is that I’ve painted backgrounds since, been Photo-shopping elements and playing around.

I could still be showing you teacups into 2011!

Thanks so much for all your lovely comments about the blanket box. Here is the finished room which of course looks as tidy as this everyday! Not.

The wallpaper is Antique Rose by Cath Kidson and that’s my Nan’s eider-down – not just vintage but heirloom.

We’ve had this pine furniture set since the early years of our marriage. At the time it was the most enormous amount of money to us and the only things which matched in our house. So for many years we’ve been a little precious about it. Until now when we decided it would suit the room better white and that pine furniture is ‘so last season’. We took a deep breath and slapped on a whitewash and it looks much the better for it.

Our local junk shop came up trumps with this lovely oval mirror. It’s so deep and heavy and finely finished and was only £35.

This photo hides the as- yet unhemmed curtains!

I love this piece of furniture and the whole mirror, dressing table set up. I saw this at the same junk shop months before we even began redecorating but knew, from what Lu had said about her vision for her new bedroom, that this would be perfect. I nearly drove up onto the pavement to snatch before anyone else did!

We didn’t quite get a good photo of the day bed because the truth is that I moved a pile of junk out of every shot and it all ended up under the bed! That’s life.

Last week I achieved a long-wished for visit to this amazing house in Norfolk. Voewood is an Art’s and Craft’s house which has been brought back to life by the current owner in the most artistic, eclectic, vintage styled manner thinkable. Every square inch is gorgeous and inspiring and I have a lot of photo’s to share with you!

I’ve been umm’ing and ahh’ing abut whether to split all the photo’s I took (210!) into two posts or not but have decided to bombard you with them all at once so that you get the full feeling of the house in one go. If you like china, vintage thrift’s, hand painted decoration etc then I think you’ll be as excited as I was!

All good house tours should start in the kitchen me thinks…so here we are.

One of the characteristics of the decor was little groupings of objects everywhere, be it colour grouped china on shelves or themed objects on window sills. There was a still life to be painted where ever I looked.

The Music Room had an exotic, hot country feel to it – lots of fur, Ikat fabric and objects from foreign travels in places such as Africa. There was a lot of texture and attention to pattern through ordinary, natural objects.

The owner put to work the talents of his friend, the artist Annabel Grey who has had a hand in other rooms too. These are her screen printed curtains but have  a look here to see just how wonderful the design is spread out over a large area.

The Games Room (above) is a real boys den but look at that fabulous butterfly collection. I wished I’d been carrying a bag big enough..

The Dining Room boasts these awesome hand appliqued curtains by Annabel Grey and Kirsten Hecktermann. How long these took to make is anyone’s guess but these were only two of several more curtains. It was these artistic labours of love that were so inspiring.

The Conservatory had this beautiful mosaic floor where tea and cakes were served following the house tour.

On the first floor was our favourite area. This little landing looked like the perfect, tranquil place to sit and read a book. The whole corner was themed a greeny, peachy, taupe from the stripes painted on the wall to the vintage artefacts on the window sill.

There are enough bathrooms for you to use a different one everyday. Simon Finch, the owner, deals in antique books and obviously loves to collect other treasures from the past such as these trays of labelled shells and tiny bugs.

These photo’s don’t do this room justice. It is hand-painted in vivid green with birds and flowers swirled everywhere like a meadow scene – you feel like you’re in an Impressionist painting. Then to make the whole scheme sing, the bed is topped with a bright pink embroidered bedspread.

But this had to be the best most impressive bedroom because of the scale and ambition. This took Annabel four months to hand-paint in a patchwork style.

Then it’s been thoughtfully furnished to pick out the colour’s of the walls including the gold leaf that was used.

It made me wonder, having just paid for wallpaper, what stops me from doing similarly.

For every room that is chock full and all-singing, all-dancing, there are quiet peaceful places. This room was simply grey and white but still full of charming embroidered hangings from India and little vignettes of re-found objects and antiques. I loved these simple box frames with rows of buttons glued into them. Just a simple idea showing off the lovely colours and patterns of the buttons.

We absolutely loved these mosaic flowers by Annabel, and as our own family bathroom is next on the list for decorating, this room gave us pause for thought. We were all ready to pull it all out and buy new but this has given us another idea.

It really was such an inspiring place.

Inspiring me to use my creative talents to make our home a little bit more individual.

I think in all there are seventeen bedrooms and some have more than one or two beds in them. But all the rooms are chock full of lovely art and textiles.

The owner has such an eye for colour and the photo below really illustrates this.

Finally, back downstairs, is the room that will probably have the most impact on us. On the left it is bright white and showcases china. On the right it is more masculine with an old typewriter and leather chair. Very Mr and Mrs L. So I think that the old table I bought recently on a junk shop whim will be coming in very handy.

If you ever get the chance to go (book ahead) it really is the most inspiring place and you get home-made cake. What else could you want? And if my rather dark photo’s aren’t enough, have a watch of these…enjoy 🙂

Part One…

Part Two…

The other day, on a trip to sunny Norfolk to visit my parents, I happened to be up unusually early for me walking the dog. I love car boot sales but am not easily persuaded out of bed to get to them. However as I was already dressed I popped in and came away with some little lovelies.

These vintage thread spools which are in such yummy colours and named so evocatively. Those four colours are a very inspiring palate.

A handful of vintage cutlery for 10 pence an item. I mean when has anything ever been 10 pence! The stall holder said these were his best seller.

And these two cute cats which I can’t wait to put into a still life and capture those faces!

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