Friday 25 December 2020

Merry Christmas 2020

 Merry Christmas to all blog readers and commenters (who celebrate this festive season).

(One of our rather quirky angel decorations)

As has become my Christmas tradition, I quote from on of my favourite Christmas carols, "It came upon the midnight clear", written by Edmund Sears in 1849.

"Yet with the woes of sin and strife

The world has suffered long

Beneath the angel-strain have rolled 

Two thousand years of wrong;

And man, at war with man, hears not

The love song which they bring;

O hush the noise, ye men of strife,

And hear the angels sing."

To end on a positive, I again quote from Desiderata (a 1927 prose poem by Max Ehrmann):
"...And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.  With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.  Be cheerful, Strive to be happy."

Stay safe and here's to a better 2021.

Sunday 20 December 2020

December in the garden

So far, December has been pretty wet, mild and dull, although we have had a few sunny days.  One of these was yesterday, so I headed into the garden with my camera.  Above is a new winter flowering hellebore called Winter Princess 'Victoria'.   I found her at B&Q - a DIY store - and was intrigued that the label said she would flower through December.  I have several hellebores in the garden, but these are all late Winter/early Spring flowerers.  I can report that she has been in flower since we bought her, in November, I think.
This nemesia 'Confetti' is also still going and this was one of the cuttings I took in the summer, which were my first ever successful cuttings.  
Irises in pots and snowdrops are starting to grow.
Camellia buds are plumping up.
A self-seeded primula is flowering on the patio.  I haven't had any coloured primulas for years so am not sure where this one has come from.  Perhaps it has just been waiting for the right time.
One of my autumn fruiting raspberries is still fruiting too and I ate a raspberry as I wandered round the garden. It still tasted fine.
My small winter flowering jasmine is flowering, but that is more to be expected at this time of year.  It is still a young plant, but is brightening up this part of the border.
Camellia Yoimachi has flowered once this winter, but there are more buds.
This is hydrangeas 'The Bride' which has one flower still looking good.
Snowdrops in a tub.
Camassia starting to grow - I think this is much too early, but they have been enjoying the rain.
Snowdrops in the border.
Another hydrangea, giving really good value for money is Coco - lovely white flowers in summer and then a range of colours as the flowers fade.
More Coco...
...and again.
Winter flowering honeysuckle is in flower and on a sunny day, the scent is lily of the valley.  Again, this is flowering quite early for me - it is usually in January or February.
Small, insignificant flowers, but the scent is wonderful!
To finish, here is a flower from the new hellebore - Victoria.  She is giving me a lot of pleasure, as are all the featured plants.  

Sunday 13 December 2020

Advent Calendar Journal

I have been busy taking part in a free online course by the organiser of Wanderlust 2021, Kasia Avery.  Although it is described as an Advent Calendar, it doesn't really have anything to do with Christmas but is more about making a piece of art everyday for fourteen days.  There are prompts and there is also a video each day.  The first prompt was 'Wasting Time' and you can see my page above.

The next page I am sharing was 'Art is Freedom' where we had to choose a piece of art and then create something inspired by it.  I chose the 'Wilton Diptych' - images are from the National Gallery website.  I have seen this in the National Gallery and have always been struck by the colour.
Here's my piece, based on it - patterned gold which is in the background, the blue, roses which are in the angels' hair and a sort of feather pattern.
This prompt was 'Don't complain' - where we had to think about something we have found out this this year.  Having taken part in another course, I was encouraged to think of myself as an artist - someone who creates art - so I thought I should do something based on this.  The image is a gel press print, using soft pastels and a stencil.
Here is 'Bring some colour' where we had to have one colour we liked and then create different colour palettes around it.  The top one is the colours I would naturally be drawn to. I used a colour wheel to help me find split complementaries and triad colours.  
These are colours I would not naturally put together, so some experimentation is needed now, I think.  The course is certainly giving me some challenges.

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Artists' Trading Card (ATC) - December

Here is the final ATC in my monthly project.  I am sad to have finished this project as it has been really enjoyable, but I have my year long mixed media course to look forward to and that starts in January 2021.  I used paint and stencils to give the tree branch effect and then added clear texture paste with glitter added to give the effect of sleet.  I think it has a suitably wintry feel.
The back shows a Christmas star and some presents, to echo the verse, "Chill December brings the sleet, Blazing fire and Christmas treat".  I think after the year we have all been through, a Christmas treat will be very welcome.
The gemstones also echo the wintry tones, with rutile quartz, white moonstone, rainbow moonstone, amazonite, sky blue apatite, tanzanite (also a birthstone for December) and black snowflake obsidian.  The charm is a piece of turquoise.
Here is a photo of all the cards together - not the best quality photo, but you can just about see them all.
Here's the backs of the cards.  It was a lovely project to do and I now have a set of decorations for my seasonal tree which I shall use every year, with great pleasure.
Edited to add:
Amanda asked whether I will display the ATCs and so, for her and any other interested parties, here is how they are displayed.
Here is my seasonal tree with its winter decorations, with the December ATC in the middle.  The tree will get Christmas decorations on it briefly, but will then return to winter.