Blog Archive

Monday, 5 October 2020

About my work. Pictures, packed and ready for Supernature


Most of the flowers I have drawn have been seen on various visits to lovely places around Britain. The lupins at the RSPB Minsmere were a sight to behold, the sanfoin from a little meadow (Hutchinson's Bank) I discovered near Croydon, of all places.  The blue geraniums are from the wildflower garden at work, the mallow, well from everywhere.  During August there wasn’t a place I visited that didn’t have mallow.  The Sweet William is a cheat.  I do have it in my garden, but I’ve also had it in a vase.  I’ve never seen White rosebay in the wild, but my friend Juliet has a marvellous display of it in her rather beautiful garden in Hampshire.  The crocuses come up every year in my garden.  The first bit of colour after the dark days.  They come up haphazardly all over the garden, I think the squirrels have replanted them and they are always a welcome sight. The promise of spring. 

 Each flower has a use and a story. They are food to us, the bees, butterflies and insects, or have healing properties that have been used for centuries.

 I cannot draw the plants without thinking about their survival.  They need pollinators. The solitary bee homes are there to remind us of this. 

 My work is a celebration of the relationship of the bees and the plants and of the sanctuary that gardens and meadows have provided to help these pollinators survive.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

This time I have included the useful website with phone number to book! 

Click on the above link to book tickets for this events.  Because of the boring apocalypse, you need a time slot.  No more the 'shall we just'..... or 'maybe we'll?'

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Supernature information. With a couple of pics of getting ready.

Click on the above link to find out about booking.  You know, the virus thing, everyone has to book a slot. 

Should be quite interesting.  I have only been able to invite 10 people to the private view. I have given them email addresses and it's first come first served.  If you do not get a complimentary ticket, then it's a tenner.  The good news is that if you wait and come on the Friday, Saturday or Sunday - it's a fiver.  I've only just realised it was on on Friday, so I won't be there.  They'll be cross, but it's been confusing since it was cancelled and re-scheduled because of the old boring apocalypse. 

Private View. This will be a ticketed event charged at £10 per person or £15 per person including a drink. Online booking is essential. The timings for this will be 6:30pm to 9pm. 

'From Friday 9th October, Super Nature will be live! Tickets are charged at £5 and must be bought online ahead of time. This ensures we are adhering to social distancing. All exhibitors, staff, volunteers and visitors must wear a face covering whilst inside the museum.'

So please come on Saturday or Sunday....... it will be lovely to see friendly faces at the Museum.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Common mallow - Joyfully and prettily pink!


One of the plants I have been drawing this summer is the Common Mallow Malva sylvestris.  I love this plant because it comes out in its pink best and adorns the road sides, verges, coastline, salt marshes, well any wild space, for the whole summer and keeps going into September.  I always notice it coming to the fore in late July and well into late August. 

This summer I have been noticing it all over the coastline of Kent and Essex, especially.  I suppose that is where we were going when it was at its best, when we were allowed to travel further than five miles, that is. It is also prolific in Burgess Park and that, along with the chicory, has made my morning walk to work very joyful!

 It is a pretty pink, stripy flower that provides food for insects  through the summer. It has big round leaves with five lobes and hairy stalks.  A little bit of interest here:  the french word for mallow is 'mauve' which is where we get that colour word from.

I knew this plant has long been used for food or medicinal purposes.  Some think it was introduced by the Romans because of it's usefulness for both food and medicine.  

My go to website on finding out these things is Robin Harford's  Full of fascinating information and some interesting podcasts.  In fact I think I will listen to a couple in my studio today!  Here is a quote from his website with the nutritional profile: 

"Common mallow is a highly nutritious green, containing (per 100 g of fresh weight) 4.6 g protein, 1.4 g fat, 24 mg vitamin C, as well as vitamin A and carotenoids.5,6 The fats contain important omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which could help to reduce the incidence of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.The leaves also contain health-giving antioxidants.8 Common mallow is also a good source of dietary fibre.9"

 I hope he doesn't mind me quoting him, I might email and ask. 

Meanwhile on the lovely website  there is a list of usefulness the common mallow has recently been to people with various problems (mainly with the eyes) and how you can eat the seeds, which are called 'cheeses' because they are shaped like a round cheese.  Might go out looking for some this weekend.

This will be available to look at or purchase at Supernature 9/10 October Garden Museum.  Publicity to follow.

Friday, 28 August 2020

Update : Art Fair coming up in October 8 - 11th Garden Museum Super Nature

Work in progress from my studio wall!  I have taken my interest in plants to the coastline and will write more about this I am sure.  Meanwhile some news about forthcoming events:

The postponed Art Fair - Super Nature - that should have happened in March, is now due to take place from October 8th - 11th.  I can only invite 10 to the private view and emails will be sent from the Garden Museum inviting you.  If you want to come to the art fair then it is £5.00 to get in, which is great value, as it is usually 10 quid to get into the Garden Museum.  It's a great little museum in my opinion.  

Please don't ask about boring Covid measures.  It is a professional place and of course, these things will be taken into consideration.


Monday, 29 June 2020

Female cuckoos and hares and a change of direction.

As soon as we could, I wanted to leave Lewisham and go and see some big sky and some water.  So we went to Tollesbury, which is in Essex,  at the mouth of the River Blackwater.  So much space and a very hot day.  There are lots of channels and creeks where samphire was growing.  There was a lot of marsh lavender there and many, many different grasses.   Being by the briny estuary means there were different sorts of plants than the ones I had been seeing in Ladywell Fields for instance. We walked along the little paths at the edge of the muddy creeks and ended up at the RSPB site.   I heard cuckoos (something I rarely hear these days) and heard and saw a female cuckoo flying over.  The female has a very different call, which I hadn't heard before.  (Here is David Attenborough on Tweet of the Day on Radio 4  introducing a female cuckoo).  

We stood at a gate, watching a hare in the field.  It came so close and made the day. 


Back in the studio I started thinking about these marshy areas.  I have made work about this before, but I am always fascinated by the edges, where the river shapes the land. 

I have been experimenting with making watery backgrounds, which I have also done before, but it was a long time ago and I've forgotten how I did it almost.  I have been having fun playing with gelli plates, printing ink and watercolours to some success, I think.  Early days though, but I feel that I am working towards something and with a bit more pushing and researching, I will make some new work that I am pleased with. 

Over the period when I couldn't get into my studio, I couldn't work properly or think about which direction I wanted to go, but I knew I had to move on to something new. 

Here are some of the things I have been making. I started printing on some long strips of paper that I picked up last time I was at Purcells.  They have a meandering quality to them and so this of course, made me think about rivers.  They have a 'sinuosity' which is a lovely new word for me! 

Always in my work, I hope to demonstrate a relationship with the natural world and the importance of realising we have a responsibility to look after it.  It's a dispiriting time we live in, I'm afraid. 

I leave with words from Joy Harjo: 'Be respectful of the small insects, birds and animal people who accompany you.  Ask their forgiveness for the harm we humans have brought down upon them'. 

(This is from her lovely poem - For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in its Human Feet). 


Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Sketchbooks and afternoon zoom

I thought that being at home would mean that I would be constantly drawing.  Sketchbook in my hand at all times.  The first few weeks were taken up with gardening. The weather has been beautiful and my garden needed a lot of attention.  It now looks very good and I am pleased.  It's lovely to sit up there in the sunshine before work starts.  How different life is for all of us.  If you are reading this from the other side of the world, you still know what I am talking about. That is just weird.

Back to the sketchbook, it has been a struggle, frankly. The motivation hasn't really been there.  I find it really hard not being in my studio and trying to work from the dining room table, and I think that has contributed to my lack of interest.

What has really helped is our Wednesday afternoon art sessions on Zoom. 😀 It has been great actually.  It means I have started drawing again.  The garden is a major inspiration and so are my local parks.  Yesterday I went for a walk in Ladywell Fields just after the rain had stopped for a while.  It smelt lovely, everywhere looked lush and green.  I took my camera and took a few pictures of trees and noticed how this is the time of the year the trees start setting their seeds.  I have a new book called Seeds by Thor Hansen too, so it was a bit of synchronicity, I suppose.  I have only just started the book. I expect I will come back to it soon.   

The marsh marigolds are in my pond.  I started the sketch when they first came out in all their sunshiny glory and only finished it today.  They have gone over now but the leaves still look great.
There are so many Water Avens flowers at the moment.  This year they have done brilliantly.  When I did this sketch they had only just started.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Giving thanks for my garden and other stories.

So here we are then, in the middle of this pandemic.   I am at home, and so I have been gardening.  How grateful I am for this luxury.  I can sit in the spring sunshine, watch my plants coming back to life and see the birds on the feeders.  I think we have long tailed tits nesting in the conifer in the garden next door.  I also think there are blackbirds in the ivy.  Such a lovely time of the year and so sad that we can't go out and enjoy this lovely spring weather in the countryside. 

 I have been for a few local walks, making sure that I don't get too close to people.  It's very odd talking to people from a distance of 2 metres.  Slightly unnerving.  The buds are just bursting on the trees on Hilly Fields and the blossom starting to appear.  In about three weeks the hawthorn will start to blossom and I don't suppose I will be able to go up there to see it.  I wonder how we will cope with being cooped up?  I hate the thought of not being able to go outside.  We are, after all, social animals.
Of course, the art fair I was supposed to be  taking part in at the weekend is cancelled.  Postponed until October.  Hopefully we will have pulled through this time and will be there to celebrate. 

So many lovely things cancelled over the coming months. 

Oh well, time now to do some drawing and reading and all that cleaning I never have time for........ 😁
 The blossom and the horse chestnut are coming to life again. 

At Roots and Shoots, the bee hotel has been updated.  We have our very own Shard now!
I am so sorry not to be at work at this time of year.  It all starts to get exciting now. Some beautiful plants and the solitary bees will be starting to come out now.  At first I thought it would be great to be at home for a while, with time on my hands, but I think I will miss my job, the students, who often make me laugh and constantly surprise me.  I will miss my colleagues too, who also often make me laugh and constantly surprise me!!!!

Oh well, as everybody is saying ...... stay healthy everyone. Look after yourselves as best you can and I'll see you on the other side. Hopefully 😳😧

Monday, 2 March 2020

Waiting for illumination, the incubation has been going on for too long!

I've been working hard in my studio. Feels like 3 steps forward and 3 steps back half the time.  Sometimes it feels like hard work and as if I'm getting nowhere.  This is the creative process I suppose. 

I have just 'googled' The Creative Process.  Blimey. There are videos, graphs, websites, keynote speakers, life coaches you can pay to help your through it, it's endless.  Some talk about the five stages, some the four stages.  I'm exhausted just thinking about it now!  I'm waiting for the Illumination stage.

I am working on a few pieces in the studio.  This is normal, while I'm waiting for one to dry, I can get on with something else.  I am hoping to produce another collage, similar to the Bee Home one in my last show.  I sold one of them so am hoping to replace it.   I have also been cutting up old prints.  I find cutting out very therapeutic and listen to podcasts whilst I am doing it. 

Hope to see people at Super Nature art fair at the Garden Museum at the end of March.  Link in last blog entry. 


Sunday, 9 February 2020

There's a storm outside but Spring is on the way!

I am sitting here in the house, looking at Storm Ciara outside.  Last week was Imbolc, which I have never heard of until this year.  It is the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. The days are definitely getting longer and I am always cheered when I notice that there is light in the sky before I leave for work and after I come home.  Such a relief.

This spring I am part of an art fair at the Garden Museum called Super Nature.  It is a curated art fair and all the artists are inspired by the joy of plants.

I am making some new work for the art fair.  As always plants are at the heart of my work.  Working through the winter, I have been remembering last summer, which was very hot.  Funny how you can't quite recall what it was like, that heat.

So here is the link:

And here is the link to the exhibition that will be on at the same time.  Looks great.

Hostas  and white willowherb.  Inspired by a visit to Juliet's garden last June on a very hot day.  We could barely move and had to wait until sunset before going for a walk.

Who you calling common?

Who you calling common?

starling sketches

starling sketches
Ongoing work...waiting for a breakthrough!

The Waters of March

The Waters of March

It's the joy in my heart.

It's the joy in my heart.

Collected Items

Collected Items
the broken, the wrinkled and the uneven