Monday 22 May 2017

Painting again today

I thought I'd better crack on and do a second painting of the Amaryllis today. I only had an hour to spare this afternoon but watercolour is so quick.

Even if you need to wait for one wash to dry before you can add the second, it only takes a few minutes when the weather is warm like today.

I'm breaking my own rules with this one - usually I say to use big brushes so you don't fiddle about too much but this painting is only small so I have resorted to finding out the tiny brushes I rarely use.
Even with tiny brushes, I can't get the fine detail of the pattern on the petals so the final lines were added with Inktense pencils before softening them slightly with a bit of clean water.

If I have any free time tomorrow I might tackle the fully opened blooms before they die on me. The plant is so top heavy now that all four flowers are open we've had to prop the stalk up against the arm of a chair!

Linda x

Sunday 21 May 2017


I've been photographing this Amaryllis ever since the first bud appeared.

They are such huge plants -you can almost watch them growing.

I thought the flower would make a good subject for my printed sketchbook pages and it would be fun to record the daily changes as the buds opened. This is the first study. the paint is still wet as you can see! I thought it might be a good idea to continue the printed lines across to the righthand page to connect the print to the painting. I've just ruled them in place using a permanent pen.

This was one of the patchiest looking printed pages in the whole book so I thought I'd make more of the splodgy printed circles by enclosing them with more pen lines and giving them stalks to connect with the 'ground'. Not sure what they are meant to be but they do seem to balance the pages better I think.

Today the flowers are fully open but I've got lots of photos to remind me of the stages in between as I start the next study!

Linda x

Saturday 20 May 2017

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew?

When you are used to working into small-scale sketchbooks like this one..........

it's easy to make a start and even to finish in a short session. This is still a work in progress. I'm using permanent pen together with Inktense pencils and wash - the wash is still wet so I've called for a coffee break. Once it's dry I can work back into the drawing to add some shadows and pattern. The reason I'm tackling a small page like this is probably because of what's facing me below!

I've had this enormous canvas since the Christmas before last. He Who Gardens thought it was an amusing gift! It's difficult to show the size in a photo but believe me when I tell you it's taller than I am. Until today it has lurked in its cardboard box BUT it will never get painted unless I get the wrapper off will it? Today was the day. We had to rearrange the furniture to even get it on the easel! It's a start at least - now all I have to do is summon up the courage to get the paints out!

Bye for now - Linda x
PS - I've only just posted and already I've had enquiries about the brush roll you can see in the picture above - It's made by my daughter Frances and available to buy at Max&Rosie 

Tuesday 16 May 2017

Evelyn De Morgan

Rain kept us from outdoor chores this afternoon so we took advantage of the uncooperative weather for a quick visit to our closest National Trust property, Wightwick Manor.

We know the house well as it's only a ten minute drive from home but we'd read that, since our last visit, the Trust had converted the Malthouse into a gallery space. The inaugural exhibition features the paintings of Evelyn De Morgan and the ceramics of her husband William.

The exhibits are on loan from the De Morgan Collection and most of the paintings I've never seen before. Evelyn was one of the first women to attend the Slade School of Art but it seems the greatest influence on her work was that of her uncle, John Spencer Stanhope and of course Edward Burne-Jones of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The Grey Sisters was painted around 1880.

The Grey Sisters - detail.

The Grey Sisters - detail.
Like Burne-Jones, the artist certainly loved a bit of drapery!

Many of the paintings displayed were concerned with sleep and death. This one is indeed called, Sleep and Death: children of the night. 1883.

Venus and Cupid painted in 1878.

I'm sure I've posted this image before when I saw it in exhibition a few years ago. Evelyn's Flora is reminiscent of Botticelli's The Birth of Venus and his Primavera and it shows her love of Italian art - she made many trips to Florence where her uncle lived.

Here's a detail of Flora which I thought was exquisite!

But, perhaps surprisingly, my favourite piece was this study in charcoal and pencil on a humble sheet of brown paper. Drawn in 1906 it really shows what a brilliant draftswoman she was.

I have lots more photos and I suppose I should show some of the ceramics but this is in danger of becoming a lecture so I'll post them another time!

The visit was definitely a lovely way to pass a couple of hours - I'd encourage you to go and see the paintings for yourself if you can!

Linda x

Saturday 13 May 2017


We spotted a bright green moth in the conservatory yesterday and assumed it was something very special and rare. Turns out it's actually common and can be found all over the UK.

I have it on good authority that it's only green for a short while when it first emerges - it turns pale and dull as it ages. That's my excuse for never have noticed one before now!

He was so beautifully patterned that I thought he'd be a perfect subject for my printed sketchbook. The print on this spread was fairly minimal - just the vertical black lines, some orange squares and a partial circle on the right hand page. The left page was blank. I've tried to match the colours using watercolour and oil pastel and I've added extra lines as well as drawing on three more circular shapes.

I've discovered he's called a Green Carpet Moth and I've recorded that fact, together with details of when and where we found him, by writing between two of the arcs.

Coincidentally we spotted another beautiful moth this morning. I should confess, it was 'He Who Gardens' who actually pointed him out to me. We were walking back from the market and I must have been in a dream. I'm sorry about the useless photo but he was perched so low down on somebody's car tyre and my old knees wouldn't let me get any closer to take the photo. I was bent double in the middle of a busy road and I was also nervous that the car owner might appear and question why I was paying his vehicle so much attention!

Moths aren't the easiest subjects to draw or paint but I enjoyed giving it a go this afternoon. He is, by the way, an Angle Shades Moth. Isn't that a peculiar name? I must do some more research!

Bye for now - Linda x

Friday 12 May 2017

Still Stitching

I never complain about how long it takes to stitch something by hand.

It's such a peaceful occupation - especially when the weather is kind and I can sit out in the garden and listen to the birds all around me as I sew.

This felted piece will be familiar to DMTV viewers as it featured in a recent video called 'Inspired by Boro'. It's going to be a bag and the finished thing will be available to subscribers just as soon as I can get it done. Although I'm working to a deadline this is too enjoyable to be called work!

I've also been having fun with more little canvasses destined for the Portrait Shuffle in the summer. This one's an appliqué. There's still time to join in if you fancy being part of the exhibition in August and know you'll be helping to raise money for Save the Children at the same time.

We're always busy prepping ideas for DMTV.  Here I've been doing a little of my favourite strip piecing. It's amazing what you can create from next to nothing in no time at all - very satisfying to create something attractive and useful from little scraps and I can't wait to start the quilting!
Down in Cheltenham my daughter Frances has been very busy refreshing the stock in her online shop Max&Rosie. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit her website and we hope you love your purchases! It's great to have a family collaboration like Fran's new venture. She designs and makes everything by hand using digitally printed fabrics produced by her sister Laura and brother in law Jamie at Fingerprint. How lucky I am to have such a talented family!

Must get back to some stitching now or that bag will never be ready in time!

Thanks for dropping by today - Love Linda x