Saturday, 7 March 2015

Sunshine and Salvage

With the weather warming up and the sun finally making an appearance, it was time to head out into the garden. Yes, I know that bramble won't paint itself and I am actually really pleased with the composition, but it was just too tempting to head out into the sunshine and get my hands very dirty.

First up was some seed sowing. Echinacea, lupins, echinops and allium in glorious shades of purple and deep maroon have been planted up to encourage lots of wildlife and pollinators into our patch and give it a much needed oomph of colour. Of course, they will also provide more subjects for me to paint and with these ones, you can't go wrong. Easy to grow and with the promise of a lengthy flowering season, I should have plenty to keep me going for the summer. My students will enjoy selecting their class subjects from this lot too.

Just a few samples of the seeds I am planting for a wildlife friendly scheme this year.

Would love to paint that Echinacea when it's in flower 

Elsewhere, I finally cleaned up the beautiful old terracotta pots we found hidden away in the old shed when we started the renovation. I think they are French, and each has a lovely look and feel to them. They have been well used and cared for, but like much we have discovered, neglected. They are far too fragile to use for planting, so they have gone right back where I found them. I love the history of old houses. The people who have gone before, the bumps and knocks in the skirting boards, original door handles and locks without keys, secret, childish things hidden under floorboards and forgotten about. It's not all about original fireplaces and architectural features, it just feels good to put something back that belongs.

A collection of old terracotta pots originally found in the shed, now being put back

'Mr. Squirrel' was a gift from a lovely and very dear friend.  

“It was a mistake to think of houses, old houses, as being empty. They were filled with memories, with the faded echoes of voices. Drops of tears, drops of blood, the ring of laughter, the edge of tempers that had ebbed and flowed between the walls, into the walls, over the years. Wasn't it, after all, a kind of life? 

And there were houses... that breathed. They carried in their wood and stone, their brick and mortar a kind of ego that was nearly, very nearly human"

 -Nora Roberts, Key of Knowledge

Next up, I have been buying paints again. Can an artist really have too many. Well, in my book, no! And besides these are my new favourite M. Graham honey based watercolours. A little while back, I gave these a try with their Maroon Perylene and was immediately smitten. Daniel Smith might have been in with a fleeting chance, but 'MG' has quite taken my breath away. Smooth, silky and velvety texture mixed with a saturation of rich colour that is almost good enough to put on my nails, I cannot get enough of these colour, and am already eyeing up my next batch.

The collection so far.
Must get some more yellows

The colour card showing a graded wash

Just to check how the white paint compares to the white of the paper, there's a square for that too.

I think I will use these ones on the bramble, just to see how they go.   

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