Thursday, 28 July 2011


Once I started walking around with my camera, I realised how many roses we actually have in our garden.

These yellow ones are miniatures.............

but when it came to this red one I just had to pick it to enjoy indoors for a while

although these I left in the garden

Ink & Watercolour : Cadmium Red
touches of  Sap Green
(shading Ultramarine Blue/Sepia/Violet mixed)

The red roses have the most wonderful scent
........ahhh....the scent of Summer

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Jungle !

We have something of a jungle in our back garden.....well, a Bamboo jungle anyway.  When we first moved here, some 7 years ago ! (oh how time flies)....we had to completely clear the back garden of very overgrown and very established hedges.

It took AGES to clear and a lot of hard work.  The trouble was that at the end of all that hard work we were left with no privacy....I have nothing against neighbours seeing into our garden, but everyone wants their own bit of space.  The decision then had to be what do we put in that would not only create privacy but also grow reasonably quickly...and above all be fairly easy to maintain.

Well, in the end we came up with BAMBOO !!

...and as you see it has been very successful.  

Grows quickly :  Yes

Creates privacy : Yes

Easy to maintain :  Yes

So basically a winner all round.  The easy to maintain bit for me is that husband does all the 'pruning', but so much easier than what was here origianlly.  At least bamboo doesn't have all those branches to contend with, you simply snip at the base - job done AND you can use the canes around the garden to support other plants.

The above specimen is a 'clump' forming variety, so stays more or less where it was planted.  It does, however, use its energy to grow Upwards.  As you see Very High!  This one must be approaching 20ft.

Another variety we have is a Yellow cane,  this one is my all time favourite

but Not clump Spreads!

and is gradually making its way amongst the other bamboo and heading off down the garden.....that's fine, it will just be trimmed as and when.  Another nice thing is that on a windy day the sound of it rustling in the breeze is really lovely.

Of course, if things get too overgrown we could always adopt a panda!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Friday already!

Another week gone by !!

now it's time for the WEEKEND

- enjoy -

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The old railway line

On the 21st June I did a post about the Cairn in Ilfracombe. I've linked it here to remind you.    I mentioned that at one time there had been a railway line on one side, this is now long gone, and I have now taken some photographs over there.  It makes for a good walk these days, with the old track now a tarmac path and forms part of the North Devon Cycle network.   On the day I took these photos we started by passing the Round House and through the 'kissing gate', then on up to what had been the old railway line....and yes it really is a round house!

have you spotted somebody bottom left (he always wants to know what's happening and after all mum has stopped to take a photo!)

Everything is much greener now.  I love the way the sunlight bounces through on to these paths

It makes a lovely walk through

and here we are at what was the old line...

you would never guess this had been a railway line

a map has been placed along the route to tell people a bit of its history

In various places there are picnic benches, which makes for a good place to stop and rest

Our journey finishes with some lovely views across the town

Monday, 18 July 2011

Climbing clematis

Our son, Pete, has an amazing clematis plant in his garden
which is growing up a piece of trellis.  I've taken a couple of photos of it

and it really is this amazing colour
(I promise I haven't used an outside source to enhance it).
Now, that really is an amazing colour, which I have tried to do a painting of.  Infact, 3 paintings each with a different style.  I know which version I prefer, so it will be interesting to get some feedback and see what others think.  They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.....and like so many things I would expect varying opinions on this, all down to personal preferences and styles.

So here's the first one:

Not exactly a botanical painting!, but an enjoyable exercise which made me look closely at the flower - it's shape, then the shape of each petal, the colour (difficult to get exactly right, but who does) and again waiting for the paint to dry before putting on a second wash of the same colour.   

Note: I have found that when putting on a second wash of colour you need to ensure the first wash is completely dry - or you get the inevitable 'bloom' as it dries.  To help combat this, (especially if you are not sure whether the first wash has totally dried throughout), if you make your second wash of colour less watery and with more intense pigment then 'most times' you can avoid the 'bloom'.  The reason this helps is because the second wash of paint is 'heavier' than the first.

As with all paintings, it is sometimes  just trial and error, influences such as room temperature, type of paper used, even  the make of paints can have differing results.  So I would say, try out some colours on different papers and also at different times of the year - it can all help to understanding 'your own work' and the 'way you personally want to work'......

and since I am going on about the paints these are the colours I have used in all 3 paintings:

SAA - Cadmium Orange
SAA - French Ultramarine
SAA - Sap Green
Cotman Winsor & Newton - Dioxazine Violet

I've set them out here plus the brushes I used:

and the second painting:

A little looser in this version and can you see the 'bloom' at the bottom of the painting (no pun intended!).  On this occasion I was quite happy for this to happen, as sometimes it helps with the overall effect.

and the third:

A much looser style - lots of water used here.  Again, I waited for the first layer to completely dry before adding to it, but dropped in extra shades of these colours to draw the eye to the top of the painting, where the viewer can journey their way around the painting : and 'work out' the story of this flower.

I hope you have enjoyed this and
look forward to your thoughts!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The wild apple tree

In the Spring I took some photographs of an apple tree we see on our walks.  Back then it looked very bare with only a few buds emerging.  Nonetheless I took some photographs of it

I think it is lovely to see these fresh new buds emerging

and before you know it
there are apples

the beauty of these is that they are growing wild where people walk by regularly

and they can help themselves.  

Of course it's no good having all this inspiration and not using it so
I've done a loose style watercolour of the above fruit

Aren't we lucky, each season brings something new


Monday, 11 July 2011

Garden birds

Some of our visitors have feathers!   Usually it's seagulls as we are at the sea, but we are very lucky to get all manner of birds including the thrush, wren, blue tit, green finch, sparrows, jackdaw, the list goes on!!

I have sketched one or two this morning, but from my photographs as they do not stay still long enough for me to sketch them in person. 


Green Finch

For each bird I loaded my No. 12 sable watercolour brush with lots of delicious paint - believe me it really is oozing paint

and with one stroke I make a preliminary shape

this example is just to show you what I initially do as obviously it is different for each bird (depending on colours and markings) but I'm sure you get the idea-

I then wait for the paint to dry and then go in with
more detail and colour, which usually is enough

I do find that this gives them a loose style which
adds to the impression of movement