Monday, 13 April 2015

Dig for Victory

Well, after four days of digging and hacking at the 'Bramble Paradise' that is my back garden, it certainly feels like something of a victory, (although I broke the handle of my favourite fork). Working on just little areas at a time is easier to handle, and gives me a feeling of great satisfaction when I can finally get the plants I want back in. So, instead of ground elder, brambles and ivy in this little corner, I now have a lovely spot for my big camellia, a couple of  David Austin roses, peonies and euphorbias alongside marguerites and knapweed. Should make for a pretty display. Now onto the next bit.

Planting time.
Lots of things for bees and butterflies.
I have been collecting the dead wood from the trees to make a wood pile.
Just behind the camellia for this feature methinks.

Not just a workshop space and place for me to sit with my morning tea.
The conservatory also becomes a greenhouse for me to get my seeds, cuttings and dahlias going

Plastic carrier bags are a great alternative if you have no room left in your propagator.
Just fit snugly over the pot and tie the handles together.
Check regularly for watering and take off once the seedlings have got going.

For cuttings, I make sure the bag doesn't touch the leaves by using three sticks stuck into the pot

Of course, taking time away from painting, (and blogging) is a nice diversion, especially when the weather is as gorgeous as it has been, but it's time to get going again, and fill you in on what's been happening at Squirrel HQ. So, back to the three leaves I started with. Working a bit more on the detail of leaves is always great fun as there are plenty of highlights, shadows, veins and imperfections that make each one unique and every part a piece of the whole. perhaps that's why i find myself painting brambles as often as I have been.

Using the blues, yellows and reds of the palette, I mixed up a good range of rusty reds and murky browns, ready to give the crispy bits and nibble holes their characteristic edges. By using just six main colours and a couple for glazing, the whole piece has a good uniformity, even though I am mixing more as I go. 

Using a dryish brush and strong mixes is the best way to work up plenty of detail.You can see that the right side of the leaf on the far right is not as worked as the others.
What a difference.

These ones will get darker and more tonal, but I'm happy so far. 

First watery washes going onto the next set of leaves.
Even at this early stage I remove some of the colour to give a good, strong highlight.
With the paleness of the first washes, you can see how much more colour goes on in stages.



Debbie Nolan said...

Jarnie- just catching up with your posts. Your brambles are really looking wonderful. The garden as well. Sounds like you will have more subject matter growing close by. Have a wonderful day.

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Hi Debbie, great to hear from you again. Yes, I have been hard at it and enjoying being amongst nature. ha ha, here's hoping my efforts bear fruit. x