Sunday, 26 June 2022

More stars of the garden in June

While the roses are always the stars of the June garden, here are some others which are bringing me joy at the moment.  Above is osteospermum Erato Purple Glow which is such a splash of colour.
Astrantia Burgundy Manor...
Clematis Perle D'Azur which has grown over the arch and is rapidly approaching the bathroom roof, in an attempt at garden domination. This clematis took a while to get going but is absolutely stunning this year.  
There is a rose under there too - New Dawn.
Here's the view from the other side.  The pink striped rose in the foreground is Ferdinand Pichard.
A 'new to me this year' salvia, Cerro Potosi, which has cerise flowers that are almost neon.  
This foxglove 'Apricot' was planted in the shadier border and has been beautiful.  I grew it from seed and am so pleased to see it looking so good.
I have enjoyed watching the flowers open and the bees have certainly liked it too. I need more of these in the garden next year...definitely.

Index Card a Day Challenge (ICAD) 2022 - Week 3

Week three of this challenge is done  - the time is going fast!  Above there is (from top left): Mix and Match (I did some paper weaving); Jukebox; Mango (with a gel print background) and Bitmap or Half Tone. 
Here is Selvedge (I scanned some of my material stash into the computer) ; Ouija Board and Solstice.  Again, all pretty literal interpretations, but enjoyable to do nonetheless.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Index-Card -A-Day (ICAD) Challenge 2022 - Week 2

Week two of the challenge and from the top there is Pictogram; Rubik's Cube and Found (in my case, I made some found poetry from my go-to book, which seems to have just what I need every time, The Trojan Horse by Hammond Innes).  I have been using distress inks, watercolours and acrylic paint this week.
Top left is Rainbow; Cyanotype or Blueprint (I chose to do a faux cyanotype using my gel plate and a fern leaf from the garden); Toy (layered Teddy stamp) and Mood Board (I used scraps from my collage box and was pleased to see all the different blues.)  I really enjoyed the found poetry, the cyanotype and mood board from Week two.  On I go!

Thursday, 9 June 2022

Index-Card-A-Day (ICAD) 2022 challenge - Week 1

The Index-Card-a-Day challenge is on again.  I have taken part for the last two years and have enjoyed creating a small piece of art every day during June and July.  There are daily prompts, but it is up to you whether to use them, or whether to go your own way.  There are also guides to materials you may like to use.  The challenge is run by Daisy Yellow Art.  Above from the top are Asterisk; Peony; Maze or Labyrinth; Key.
Above are Flamingo or Pink; Daydream and Root.  I often seem to be quite literal with my interpretation, but again, this is up to you.  The cards to work on are index cards or pieces of card 6x4 inches in size. So far I have used inks, watercolours, stamps, stencils, dies and images from the internet.  This challenge is also really good for making me use what I have.

 I will post weekly so that there aren't too many posts to wade through.  How about joining in?  It's not too late!

Sunday, 5 June 2022

Wanderlust 2022 - weeks fifteen to twenty-one - Artists' acrylics

The art journaling course continues and I am learning a lot about the different media.  This block was about artists' acrylics, which are highly pigmented, generally consistent with colours throughout different ranges and heavier bodied. We began by colour mixing with a limited palette and then focusing on a female artist who was overlooked during their lifetime (there are many to choose from!) I chose Camille Claudel, a pupil, muse and lover of the sculptor Rodin.  She had a terrible life, Rodin leaving her, her father dying, she had a breakdown and then her brother had her committed to an asylum for the remaining thirty years of her life.  She wrote to him to ask him to get her released, but he didn't.  She now has a museum in France dedicated to her work.  We had to paint three quick portraits of our chosen artist, choose the one we liked best and work on it, then create a page. 
Week sixteen where we created a gel plate printed book and made a stamp using foam letters which we incorporated into the pages in several places. We also made collage paper to add to the pages.
My stamp was 'enjoy the moment' and my book ended up being really grungy! 
Portraits for week seventeen was not a week I was particularly looking forward to as I find faces difficult.  However, we were given a step by step lesson and encouraged to use a 'Posterise' app or Photoshop effect to show the different areas of light, medium and dark.  While we were encouraged to use a self portrait, there was no way I was going to do that, so instead, I chose a face from a royalty free photo site.  It is probably the best portrait I have painted and I did enjoy painting it, but not an area I particularly want to explore. However, it is good to know that I am slightly better at it than I thought.  The paper we wiped our brushes on became part of the portrait, which was a nice touch.
I much preferred week eighteen where we layered colours with white or black.  My patterns went rather curvy and organic, but I went with it!
I loved week nineteen where we chose a song and added words and images. My song was 'Walking on Sunshine', a really happy song by Katrina and the Waves from the 1980s. 
We were encouraged to make a second page where we created a collage on the left and wrote out some of the song's lyrics on the right. This time, it was 'What a difference a Day makes' by Dinah Washington.
Week twenty was all about the layers - creating a patchwork of collage and adding acrylics to bring some of the pieces out and fade others into the background.  It took quite a while to build up as we had to let layers dry.  We were encouraged to add words and I wasn't going to, but noticed I had stuck a piece of collage paper with writing which said 'we watched the clouds...and listened to a lullaby' (it was from a digikit of diary pages) right in the middle off the page (serendipity in action once more), so they became my focal words. 
Abstract botanicals was the focus for week twenty-one, where we layered up petal shapes and knocked them back using layers of translucent acrylic. I added an image of a mushroom gill print which my colleague from work had been making and kindly sent to me for collage.
Again, I learnt a lot about acrylics and how they can be used. The next seven weeks are focusing on Craft acrylics - should be interesting! 

Friday, 3 June 2022

Platinum Jubilee celebration

(photo from here)
I couldn't let the opportunity pass without offering congratulations to Queen Elizabeth II on her Platinum Jubilee.  She is the longest serving monarch we have had in the UK (seventy years) and she has been dedicated to her duty all that time. 
(photos from here)
If you are celebrating with a street party or some other party, have a lovely time.  If not, enjoy the extra bank holiday and the weekend.

Monday, 30 May 2022

Welcome to Gertrude, Susan, Olivia, Geoff, Charles, Emily...

My favourite time of year and some of my roses. Top row left to right: Gertrude Jekyll, Susan Williams-Ellis, Emily Bronte; Middle row: Geoff Hamilton, For Your Eyes Only, Olivia Rose Austin; Bottom Row: Mary Rose, Eyes for You, Charles De Mills.

Emily Bronte is my latest acquisition and she has an apricot centre with pale pink outer petals and a lovely scent.  
Earlier in the month, all my roses had aphids on them, but I have noticed a lot of ladybird larvae helpfully getting rid of them.  
Here is Constance Spry, who only flowers once but looks wonderful while she does.  I have a few others which are not in flower yet - Jacques Cartier, Ferdinand Pichard, Blush Noisette, Cottage Rose, William Shakespeare 2000, so their time will come.  Lots more to enjoy.

Saturday, 28 May 2022

Favourite Chelsea gardens, foxgloves and alliums

It is RHS Chelsea week again and it has returned to its normal time of year.  I have never visited in person and I don't think I probably will - I am not someone who enjoys being in large crowds of people. However, I do watch all the TV coverage and enjoy looking at the gardens and plants.
This was the People's Choice winner - 'The Perennial Garden - With Love'.  I like the relaxing green and white planting with touches of plum.
This was the RNLI garden designed by Chris Beardshaw, which came second in the People's Choice awards. He always has beautiful planting.
This was the Morris and Co Garden (designed by Ruth Wilmott).  Two of William Morris' patterns, Trellis and Willow Bough, were included in various ways. This was third in the People's Choice awards.
 All the photos above are from the RHS Chelsea website (information on the medals is here).  These gardens all have more traditional planting.
Judging from what I have seen on TV, more natural planting styles are very much the trend, which is a good thing for wildlife.
Back in my garden, the roses are starting to bloom, (but they deserve a post to themselves),  together with foxgloves (my latest favourite - I need many more of these and will sow some more seeds soon).
Two foxgloves in a pot just outside the window.
This foxglove was plonked rather unceremoniously into a pot last year but is looking lovely.
The alliums are still looking good too...
...with their vibrant colours of purple and green.

Monday, 23 May 2022

Some of the 'A's

It's that time of year when the aquilegias and alliums start to flower.  I think the aquilegia above is a seedling from the original plant.
The alliums are also starting to make their presence known.
The way the raindrops were sitting on the miscanthus leaves stopped me in my tracks one morning.  
We had some much needed rain as it has been really dry through most of April and into May.  I like the way the drops of rain are just sitting there.
Aquilegia Navy and White, I think.  
They are pretty flowers.
Rhododendron Tinkerbird is in flower again and the lovely jasmine perfume is wafting around the enclosed patio space when the sun shines.  I potted this poor plant on recently as it was in a small tub and this may also have shocked it somewhat.  It isn't looking too healthy at the moment as the leaves are mottled, which after some research, seems to be due to the Pieris lacebug/Rhododendron lacebug. I shall give it a feed and possibly a spray with some invigorator once the flowers are over.  The roses are just starting and there will definitely be photos to follow.  

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Early May in the garden and buying some plants

I have one clump of English bluebells which have grown at the base of a potted box bush.  
One of my camellias is in flower and looks beautiful.
I visited a local garden centre last weekend and just had a couple of things on my list - a salvia and some compost.  Well, you know what it is like - I came back with an osteospermum, a dianthus, lemon thyme...  
...a nemesia...
...three ferns, a salvia, some compost, some grit and some slow release fertiliser!  It was lovely to have a trip out and indulge in some garden retail therapy (even if I spent more than I planned!)

Monday, 9 May 2022

Recent stamp carving

I have been trying some different materials for stamp carving, such as soft cut, which worked OK but was a little tough to cut with my basic lino blades.  I also tried EssDee Mastercut, which is a white material, a bit like eraser material and that cuts much more easily.  I saw some designs which I liked, so set about cutting my own stamps.  I used some mop up sheets from my acrylic paint experiments and I think they will make very nice collage papers.  Even though they haven't all printed perfectly, I like the result.  
I then had a go at a different design and after a little refining, am pleased with the second one.  I used black acrylic paint to print them and kept the paint wet until I cleaned them up properly.  I really like the way they look hand made.