Tag Archives: the sap is rising

Painting exercise – An Iris, symbolising love a wisdo

Even though we are still in February, I am feeling the onset of Spring.     Everywhere I look, I see the signs.    So many bulbs shooting up through the soil and that tell tale sign of the sap beginning to rise.     Such an exciting time of the year.    These feelings are begging me to use vibrant colour…..and so I am using an Iris as my jumping off point for a watercolour/gouache painting exercise.

rapid watercolour with a little gouache here and there…….20-11-15-1-731I have learned that the Iris symbolises love and wisdom  – two elements that we can never have enough of…..

This is a playful exercise….a good way to warm up.

Using a big brush, I apply bold colourful marks to the paper….You can do this exercise on newspaper, inexpensive wallpaper lining, anything at hand.   The key is to go for it and enjoy. 

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I begin to establish the form of the Iris….important to note that all the whites you see thus far are dry white paper.     I am emphasising keeping dry white paper areas in this exercise, rather than wetting the whole sheet.    This will give more control and ultimately those dry white areas bring sparkle to a watercolour painting.

20-11-15-1-726I add paint to the background and pull out certain areas with a clean wet brush….all the white areas showing are dry white paper.

To avoid muddiness – a clean wet brush can do wonders in moving paint around.     20-11-15-1-727I then decide to give the image more drama and add a dark wash into the negative space surrounding the Iris.      I don’t use black…this dark is made up from  a Burnt sienna/ Prussian Blue mix plus some of the purple I have used in the Iris. 20-11-15-1-729While the surface is wet, I scrape out some areas with a knife.   I have also added a little Permanent White Gouache into the final frame….note how the gouache bleeds from the Irish into the surrounding paint.

Very important to move colour around the picture and to allow the paint to do its own thing….this is where watercolour mediums are quite magical20-11-15-1-731I have several short videos on YouTube which can be helpful.   They can be found by entering my name into the YouTube search engine.

Along with Podcasts I plan to do some longer videos during the coming year.

Remember love and wisdom are the words for today….two elements the Magical Hummingbirds understand well.

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A Bientôt.

The Garden

It’s that time of year when the sap has begun to rise and thoughts of Mother Nature’s bounty come to mind.

My little cottage garden in the Magical Town of Crickadoon (Crickhowell, Wales)  til August 10 1037

After having lived and worked in the States for twenty eight years, In 1993, I returned to Crickhowell, Wales to stay with my cousin and her family.

Crickhowell is a small market town which sits in the Usk Valley where the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains meet.

During the twelve years that I lived and worked there,  I designed a small cottage garden, which gave me immense pleasure and taught me a great deal.

I saw this picture in a magazine and used it as the template for my garden….

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The plot behind the cottage was small and had laid fallow for twenty years.    The first thing I did was to clear and dig the garden over….and then lay flag stones.

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Friends with established gardens gave me cuttings, and slowly but surely, the garden began to take shape.

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Before my eyes, I watched the transformation from uncared for patch to a place that welcomed birds, bees, butterflies, cats and humans.

Note Christeve the Cat climbing the ladder which took her into the neighbour’s garden:) Image

Growing a garden from scratch requires commitment and patience, however  the satisfaction gained is enormous…

As the garden began to mature, I was able to throw open the french doors and have all my senses fed, whether I inside or out.

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When I moved to London in 2005, I was very sad to say goodbye to the garden, but at the same time grateful for what it gave me.

Clearly the hummingbirds were weaving their magic.

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A Bientôt

When

A taste of spring…..

During the past few days, here in London and other parts of the UK, we have experienced a taste of spring….

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With warm temperatures, and lots of sunshine, It is clear to see that the sap is flowing and new life is bursting forth in every direction.

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This may well have influenced a dream I had a week ago, which showed my bedroom in a completely different configuration, and so over this past weekend I flung open the windows and got into a spring cleaning – reorganisation mode…..all of which I put down to the weather:)

The outcome is that my dream was right….everything about the changes made are positive…..however, I always forget that when I re-organise one area of my flat, it leads to another, and so for the remainder of this week, I will  be ‘spring cleaning’ throughout…

Spring is the time for plans and projects.   Leo Tolstoy. 

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Last year, winter stayed with us until the beginning of June.    Consequently, I felt none of this need to re-feather my nest.   Instead it felt as we were in a long hibernation… body clocks were confused – for humans, animals, birds, flora and fauna alike.

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All of this has reminded me of the importance of rhythm, structure and ritual in my life.

As a morning person, it is vital that I begin my day a certain way….with stretching and meditation.    With that in place, usually the rest of the day flows well.

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A Bientôt