Evolution of a garden

Gosh, I last posted here is May. Apart from art trail 2018 has seen the creation of a new bigger garden in front of our house. Someone asked me why at our age we are making the garden bigger. The first practical reason is drainage, as there was far too much hard landscaping and  concrete  for a narrow  road with hardly any drains. The second is simply, I like gardens, but after digging the exposed patch over several times taking out at least half a ton of rocks and concrete that the digger missed, then doing it all over again to incorporate 7 bags of compost I was beginning to ask myself the same question,

The easiest way from there would have been to lay a lawn  which would give the drainage but I wanted a colourful patch buzzing with butterflies and bees so as well as the plants I had taken out last year I sent for more with the bee friendly label.

I ordered some in the depths of winter when the first spring catalogues came out and when the tiny things arrived I was assured they didn’t need pampering and could remain outside even in snowy weather. Humph! ‘The Beast from the East’ had other ideas so against  advice, I brought the poor things into our cool utility area.

We visited a garden centre in February for quite another reason but I couldn’t resist having a quick look at the plants outside. If you have never visited a garden centre in the depths of winter let me tell you its like a cross between the Marie Celeste and a pub with no beer. There was nobody there but the two of us wandering round an arctic waste with a few heavily discounted plants dotted here and there. In a recent gardening program someone said  he was a great fan of the “Half price half dead” way of buying plants. He would have approved of the four specimens I brought home, to be fair they were dormant. I put them outside too but took pity on them when the bad weather came, the result was an obstacle course to get to the washing machine but then who needs to wash in  winter?

Against  the odds all the plants have survived even after being planted out the day before ‘The Beast’ came back for a second rampage.

It has not been the best year for establishing a new garden  with severe frost and snow, then a cold wet spring followed by a Bank Holiday cloud burst which tested the new drainage system to the limit with several inches of water flowing onto the garden from the road and overflowing gutters, and finally a two month drought and heatwave but I LOVE it,

The new  buzzing garden has given both of us enormous pleasure and we often have breakfast and lunch out there with the bees. I like to think our neighbours love it too and judging by the passers by stopping to admire and compliment  I think they do.

Thats quite a ramble, now for the picture show.

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Art Trail time again!

It doesn’t seem long since I started this blog over a year ago and its time for my annual Marathon, not running, but getting ready for the trail. ‘It can’t be too difficult to hang a few pictures up’ I hear you say. Weeeell, you would be surprised how much there is to do:

Cleaning the windows, we live near the sea and get salt blown on them during storms and there is no point hanging pictures if folks can’t see them. Then there is the matter of my very dirty house, as cleaning seems to come at the bottom of my list of interesting things to do. Mounting and framing mono-prints and pastels, labelling them, making sure I have an up to date inventory as there is nothing worse than having to make up prices and details on the spot. All that is before I take down all our paintings ready to hang mine.  Unpacking the paintings from my studio which is a log cabin the garden and turning four rooms in our house into temporary galleries. On top of all that I need to get my studio tidied at least so that folks can get into it. Not much to do really!

Well its a painting

Having trouble getting going with fresh work but have managed to finish this today. It started life as a quick demonstration on the theme of ‘Storm’ for my little art class. As its on a good sheet of heavy acrylic paper primed with gesso I felt I had to at least finish it off. Managed to do it without getting too fussy which pleases me. Below is the quick pencil sketch the painting was taken from. I like working from sketches if I can.

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Starting with a cold engine

I haven’t posted here for ages. I finished the Marathon that was ” The Mavis Diary” book illustrations, then Christmas and New year – the result I haven’t touched a paintbrush for months. I always find starting from a cold dead stop really hard. I think I need to do some serious messing and sloshing paint around not worrying too much about the result until I get creatively warmed up again. In the meantime I have some paintings of Hotham Park where I am Artist in Residence in a mixed exhibition at The Oxmarket Centre of Arts in Chichester until Feb. 12 2017.