Sunday 24 May 2015

Holiday, what holiday?

It's a long weekend here in the UK and I guess lots of people are enjoying the opportunity to be out and about. We never go anywhere on a public holiday because we prefer to avoid the crowds. Instead of taking a break we probably work even harder than usual. The garden is calling quite seriously at the moment and I'm writing this post with a twinge in my back after too much bending and kneeling today. Never mind, it'll mend and it is so satisfying to see some new veggies in the ground.

Here we've got spinach, beetroot and chard. I know they don't look like much at the moment but the plants will soon fill out. Pity we have to resort to the protective wire but rabbits are a constant problem. Much as I love to encourage wildlife in the garden I'd rather eat the produce than let them have it all.

Our broad beans are looking promising but we've no idea where that rogue purple one came from. Wonder if the beans will be purple too?

He who gardens always grows hundreds of marigolds. I think they're a bit vulgar but they do provide a colour hit when we plant them in the blue glazed pots. Just have to wait a bit longer for the risk of frost to pass.

As soon as we've got all the vegetables planted we'll deal with this lovely geranium. After all the exertions of the morning I've been wandering round the garden this afternoon looking for a space for this new purchase.

Ironically, a lot of the colour we have at the moment comes from things we haven't planted at all. Even when they've spread like this we're too soft hearted to pull the Forget-me-nots out until they've finished flowering and the Honesty will stay put till the seedheads form even though that purply pink clash with the red Acer really offends my eye!

This beautiful clematis is doing well this year. Pity it's in the hedge where no one sees it unless they go round the back of my workroom to turn the hoses on.

These favourite giant alliums are just on the point of opening. They'll soon look gorgeous in front of the dark Ligularia and will happily be just colourless seed heads by the time the orange and rust day lilies appear!

To relax after gardening I've been doing a bit of sketching. The shells and crabs we found on the beach at Aberdovey recently were perfect subjects to try out my new watercolour  pencils.

Who knew crabs were such complicated creatures? I made the drawings using a waterproof artist's pen then coloured them in with the pencils before adding a wash of water to blend the colours.

The Faber Castell pencils are described as ideal for older children but I don't know why they should have all the fun - they worked well for me too!

Tomorrow means planting brassicas - if the back and knees cooperate. Wish me luck!

Thanks for dropping by - hope you're having a lovely weekend.
Linda x

Thursday 14 May 2015

Off to the seaside

We escaped the office at the weekend to make a flying visit to the seaside. Laura and I love nothing more than walking on a beach looking for treasure - seems it's a genetic trait. I've never seen Amelie so excited!

She loved the sand so much she didn't know whether to dig, paddle, collect shells or cycle - or try to do them all at the same time. Riding the bike into the sea was probably not her best idea yet!

I have enough shells and bits of driftwood at home but somehow couldn't resist adding to the collection.

Especially after seeing the watercolour paintings of Louise Young in the Moma gallery in Machynlleth. I love her formal arrangement of shells and feathers and came home very inspired to paint. Sorry about the jaunty angle of the photo but I was trying to avoid the reflective glare on the glass.

Moma is a beautiful exhibition space.

And C Alun Evans powerful acrylic landscapes were in complete contrast to Louise's delicate watercolours.

Philip Huckin's Welsh landscapes had a strong narrative quality.

And we appreciated how well he had observed the natural elements of the landscape when we spent a magical afternoon exploring the nearby RSPB reserve where slate walls with moss covered tops gave shelter to masses of unfurling ferns.

All in all a lovely three days. Rest, relaxation and a bit of culture - what more could anyone ask for? Just what we needed in the run up to our Through Our Hands exhibition opening next Saturday. Hope to see some of you there! 

Bye for now,
PS If you'd like to see more, Laura has posted lots more photos of the beach at Aberdovey on her blog. She's had a workshop since we got home so you'll need to scroll down past the student images  to find the pics!

Thursday 7 May 2015

Ready or not!

We've enjoyed a long weekend with family to celebrate May Day this week but pleasant as that was, there's now no time for day dreaming - it's time to get back to the priorities of the day! Our work is packaged and labelled for its trip to Bilston Craft Gallery tomorrow morning. The talisman pockets which we've called, 'This is Everything That We Are' don't look too impressive squeezed into their boxes but I'm sure they'll be fine when they are displayed on the gallery wall. The secret thoughts and wishes sent in by my blog readers and Laura's workshop students can just be seen peeping out of some of the pockets.

All the work is destined for 'The Liberated Quilt' a really international exhibit involving 24 artists. Organising the logistics has involved Annabel and Laura in a lot of work but I'm sure it will be worth all their efforts. You can check out the details of the exhibition on the Through Our Hands website.

Back in the studio - as soon as one deadline is met it's time to focus on the next. With a vague idea for a quilt, (yet to be tested!) my preliminary swallow studies are multiplying!

For what we have in mind we'll need a whole flock of birds. I'm trying out different media - the drawing above used water soluble Graphitint pencils made by Derwent.

This one is watercolour.

This one combines collage elements with watercolour on a gesso ground. We'll be able to combine all the different birds in Photoshop to create the final composition before we print to cotton fabric.

Although we've been busy as usual we did manage to fit in a visit to the local auction house again. Just because I loved them I came home with these silver thimbles.

I won't be using these for quilting you understand. None of them have the recessed top I like when I'm sewing so they will just have to sit looking pretty on my print tray!

Thanks for reading today. The Liberated Quilt exhibition will be on in Bilston until 25th July so there's loads of time to make a visit. If you can come and say hello on May 16th when several of us will be there we'd love to see you!

Bye for now!
Linda x