Saturday, 24 October 2020

The autumn leaves...and other autumn images in the garden

Last Saturday afternoon I went in the garden to prune some of my Climbing Roses.  I noticed that my first ever successful cuttings (of Nemesia Confetti) were still flowering away happily.  The photo above reminds me a bit of this...

(Image from
Anybody else see that? No? Just me then...  moving swiftly on...

Leaves are changing quickly now and the clematis Wyevale is turning a lovely yellow.
Hydrangea leaves are also showing shades of red.
Ginkgo Mariken is starting to turn yellow too.
A little splash of fuchsia pink from a cyclamen hederifolium which is really welcome amongst all the autumnal shades
The blueberries are just starting to change too but will become more fiery as the temperature drops.
Autumn stalwarts such as this aster Little Carlow are still in bloom.
My autumn fruiting raspberries are giving me a few berries ever now and again which I eat as I wander round the garden.  I need to repot them next year and look after them a bit better.
There are the most lovely blue skies to enjoy sometimes too...
...autumn sunshine is always appreciated.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Artistic endeavours

Back in March 2020, before the world changed, the powers that be at work decided we should have 'Wellbeing Wednesdays' all through March.  Lots of different activities were on offer, for both students and staff and I signed up for ceramics/pottery, which was an open session over lunchtime.  I went with a colleague and we had a great time.  She made a vase, while I started off smaller with some decorations, using biscuit cutters.  We added any patterns we wanted and then returned the next week to glaze them.  The lovely art technician had fired them in the intervening time.  I decided on white or clear glaze for the hearts...
...and the most gorgeous blue/green glaze for the sun, stars and moon, (which is much nicer in real life than the photos would have us believe) which I had left unpatterned.  This was my first attempt at glazing and the gentle painting activity was very enjoyable.  
I made one sun into a sunflower, which had to be yellow, of course.  These were then fired and given back to me.  Buoyed with my success, I planned a more ambitious project of a ceramic running hare, with impressed patterns on it and glazed in white, blues and greens.  I had also planned to make some gemstone dangles to add to it. I worked diligently on the design and found the stamps to make the patterns.  I turned up to work, looking forward to that day...only to find the campus was being closed, we had to gather our things and go home.  I have been working from home ever since. My hare remains in plan form and one day I hope to make it, but not at the moment.  I could make it in polymer clay, so that may be a possibility.

However, I have now started some of the activities from my Wanderlust 2021 course.  Above is a loose watercolour mandala design, which started out as circles drawn with a compass and just developed as I went along, after having watched a video.  I really enjoyed creating this as it was so meditative and just gently grew. I started off with the watercolour sections and then added the pen drawing a circle at a time.
 I added some glitter to a few areas.  I am going to make some more of these, I think, using some of my metallic gouache.

Saturday, 10 October 2020

The last rose of Summer and welcome Autumn

It has become quite autumnal fairly quickly, but there are still lots of plants in flower.  Above is Ferdinard Pichard who has been wonderful this year and has a lovely scent too.
Rose William Shakespeare 2000, late to flower this year, but still producing blooms.
The more autumnal flowering plants are always welcome - japanese anemone Bowles' Pink, 
Symphyotrichum (Aster) novae-angliae Mrs S T Wright, 
Symphyotrichum (Aster) Little Carlow.
A new plant - Clematis 'Little Lemons'. I thought a small clematis I could grow in a pot with little lemon flowers would be a great addition to the garden, so here it is.  
There are seedheads and flowers on this plant, so I hope it will do well for me and be happy.
The buddleia is still flowering for those insects who are still flying to collect nectar.
Miscanthus is looking elegant and dramatic, as it does every year.  If I had a bigger garden, I would have more of these plants.  Welcome to Autumn, with its changing leaf colours and gradual slowing down of the garden in readiness for Winter.  There is still a lot to enjoy.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Artists' Trading Card (ATC) - October

The first of another month and here is my ATC for October.  I used gel prints which I tore up for the collage background in shades of reds, oranges and yellows.  I then stamped pumpkins over the background.  I decided to go with a vintage pumpkin image for the main focal point (which I found at The Graphics Fairy  - a wonderful resource with free images although you can pay and subscribe for more options, should you wish to).
The gemstones have a suitably autumnal feel too, with dyed shell, garnet, red agate, mookite, smoky quartz, tiger's eye and more mookite.  The gemstone for October is opal, so that is added as the charm.
On the back of the card is another image from The Graphics Fairy, of a pheasant, with some stamped and watercoloured acorns and a conker.  This card does suggest autumn to me.

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Star and Hare mixed media picture

I have been working through the bonus videos from Wanderlust 2021 and one was a workshop with Laly Mille called True North Star.  I watched the videos and then created my own version of the image.  I used a piece of cardboard packing for the base and then used collage, patterned papers, texture paste, embossed paper, tissue paper, die cuts, acrylic paint, watercolour pencils, stamps, glitter and words.  I learnt that by mixing acrylic paint with matt medium, you can create glazes of paint and then layer them up.  This is a technique I shall be using again.  For my text, I thought of 'Vincent' by Don Maclean, (which is one of my favourite songs, with such beautiful words), wrote it on tissue paper and applied it backwards onto the top hill.  The other words are from a little French Christmas song which came back into my memory from a previous job as a teaching assistant.  It just seemed to fit well.

I added my own touches, such as this little hare.
My star was a small glittery one, set within a swirling star die cut.
Above is the piece by Lally Mille which she created in the workshop. I did try not to look at it again until I had finished my piece.  Hers has a more dreamlike quality I think, where as mine is much more solid-looking.
Here's another look at mine.
I really enjoyed creating this piece and it is something quite different for me.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Late summer into Autumn in the garden

There is a definite change in the air now.  Apart from the unusually hot days this week, the overall feeling has been cooling.  There is still lots to enjoy in the garden, but watering has to be done before 7.30 pm as it starts to get too dark to see by then.  Above is Penstemon Garnet which is in a pot and has come through quite a few winters.
Clematis Alpina Rosy Pagoda still brings interest with the fluffy seedheads.
They are so tactile.
Rose Shakespeare 2000, which took a while to decide to flower but kept on going once it was.
Crocosmis Emily Mackenzie bringing some scorching hot orange to the mix.
Geranium sanguineum striatum leaves starting to colour up.
Hydrangea Sundae Fraise (I think).
This was my newest Hydrangea (paniculata Little Spooky)  a few weeks ago... it is now, looking gorgeous!
Creamy lime green flowers.
Good old Liriope Muscari which gets completely neglected but which flowers through the autumn.
Rose Olivia Rose Austin (who has featured many times since she was purchased), giving us another flush of roses to enjoy.
Dwarf cosmos adding fuchsia pink to the pastels.
Asters starting to come into flower. 
Clematis New Love in the border. It has a pleasant fragrance which reminds me a bit of soap.
Anemone Bressingham Glow which has been in flower for weeks and is a joy to see.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

A Creative 2021 - Wanderlust 2021

 I was in need of a creative project for 2021 and I have found one that looks perfect for me.  I am very excited to say that I have signed up to 'Wanderlust 2021'.

"What is this?", I hear you ask.  Well, it is a year long online course about art journaling using mixed media.  It is made up of weekly lessons by art practitioners and each lesson will bring something different.  I already follow several of the teachers on their blogs or on Youtube, so I know a little bit of what to expect. 

As I have signed up early, I also have access to bonus videos and handouts and downloads, which I have been working my way through.  The cost for the year is $99, until 9th September, which worked out to £72.00 and I think this is very good value.  After 9th September, the price goes up to $175.00, but people can still join until 31st December 2020.  I am hoping that the course will help me to develop my own style and 'voice' as well as show me lots of mixed media ideas and techniques.

I will also be given bonus videos on 'Braving the Blank Page' which will appear on 14th September, again, because I signed up in good time.   The other good thing is that I have pretty much all the supplies suggested and I have just bought a new and rather nice art journal to work in.  I also have a journal for notes, sketches and other bits and pieces - more of a working document.

Here is a link to the website, in case you are interested/curious - Wanderlust 2021.  I have enjoyed the videos so far and am working on a mixed media piece with a star theme which I will share when it is finished.

I am hoping that 2021 will be my most creative year yet and I am looking forward to getting started in January.