Blog Archive

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Remembering who you are and looking forward to new things!

Somewhere between about 16 and 28 you forget you are. At least that was and is my experience.  The joy you found, as a child, looking into a rockpool or drawing, is somehow lost.  Other things get in the way. Like exams, work, college, sex and drugs and rock and roll. We've all been there.

I have mentioned many times the dried flowers that I found at my mums and how it set me off drawing flowers, researching flowers and learning a lot of things I found I sort of knew already.  I had forgotten, for instance, the collection of pressed flowers that I had made at the age of 13.  I found my spirograph that I had spent many hours drawing with (albeit in a mathematical kind of a way) and also found that I had written notes to go along side.  Not that different to the things I find myself writing now!!  We do and we don't change.  The wonder comes back.  The rock pools get more interesting again (although sadly more bereft of life, but that's for another day) and the spirograph remains fascinating!

The dried flowers are certainly still unsurpassed in their beauty.  I get them out every now and again to look at them, but I'm afraid they will fade even more and lose their loveliness.



These two monotypes below come directly from this discovery and I still love them.  I think I sold the second one. The first one is on my wall at home. I want to keep it because it reminds me of my mum and I like it!






All sounds a bit inward looking, but I was just thinking about book making again and how I have always wanted to make a book about these dried flowers.  I have been researching some very interesting artists who use collage or assemblage to make their works.  I have been cutting up old work and putting it together again and I have been contemplating how this might happen and where I go to next with my practice.  

Meanwhile, don't forget my exhibition next week.  Launching 1st November 7 p.m. at Deptford does Art.  Deptford High Street.  I will definitely be mentioning this again before the weekend is out!





Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Some things I have been working on over the last few weeks for exhibition starting November 1st.


Detail from larger piece. Sowthistle and Jack-by-the-Hedge.

And some roots, on collograph.  Come along to my exhibition at the beginning of November and you can see the real thing.  I will be doing a workshop on the 11th November so you will be able to do some of these things for yourself.  Much fun to be had down in Deptford on a Sunday afternoon.   More details about the workshop coming soon. 


Meanwhile, launch night on 1st November 7-10 pm.





 


Monday, 1 October 2018

Flower Stories

I am going to be having an exhibition at Deptford Does Art in Deptford High Street  http://www.deptforddoesart.com/

Opens Thursday 1st November at 7pm.  Put it in your diaries.

I have produced a little book that tells the stories that accompany the plants.   The exhibition will be:

"A collaboration with the plants that grow willfully or recklessly, against all odds."

I like to draw the flowers of the wayside. The tenacity of the flowers that pop up in the urban environment is to be celebrated.  I love the flowers that come up amongst the litter and the debris of life around a station or a bus stop.  Suddenly something jewel like catches your eye and you are cheered!  Each flower has a use. They are food to us, the bees, butterflies and insects, or have healing properties that have been used for centuries.

Ecology and stewardship are important to me, and since my research as an artist, I see that we do not exist in isolation, but as part of a whole. Without plants we wouldn’t survive.

Enjoy the stories.


A part of a print called Sowthistle. 


Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Adding some text.

Been playing around with some words. Tried monoprinting them  and have now printed onto tracing paper.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Work in progress

Open Studios is coming up again! Where does the year go?  So SEPTEMBER 2ND/23RD at Lewisham Arthouse.  140 Lewisham Way SE14 6PD. Put it in your diaries.   These are some things I am working on.  I am working on a little book too. 

Dandelions, Sowthistle, bee homes and a wildlife garden

Friday, 27 July 2018

Sowthistle

Sonchus oleraceus. 
Outside the arthouse SE14



common sowthistle, sowthistle, annual sowthistle, common milk sowthistle, milk thistle, milkweed, hares lettuce, soft thistle

Sonchus is a genus of the dandelion tribe.  Depending on your point of view, sow thistle is either troublesome or delicious.  Continuing with my examination of the maligned wildflowers in our universe, I have been drawing this plant.  It's really interesting to draw.  The leaves wrap around the stem with two auricles either side of the stem, and are grey-green.  The stems are hollow and if you break it, it exudes a milky sap. The stems can be green, purple or a lovely combination of both colours.  Depending on the age.  The flower heads are stripy. That's the botanical term, I'm sure.  The flower heads have a lovely shape when they are setting seed.

Sometimes the leaves have interesting white lines on them. Apparently this is due to miner flies.  They get into the leaf and much their way through, leaving tracks.
with a miner fly.

It grows happily in most places.  I have been drawing one that has grown up the side of the Arthouse, in between the paving stones.  Finding a little niche, where it can happily live out its life!

Most livestock will readily devour sow thistle in preference to grass (sows and hares), and this lettuce-relative is edible and nutritious to humans—in fact this is the meaning of the second part of the Latin name of the common sow thistle, oleraceus (From holeraceus meaning vegetable).

Aphids like this plant and they are often planted as "sacrificial plants" i.e. to guide the bad things away from the vegetables.

I think I will have to find a specimen that isn't growing amongst the rubbish of S.E. London before I try it with pasta, which is apparently a thing.

In Greek mythology, Theseus is said to have eaten sowthistle to gain power to help him slay the Minotaur in its Cretan labyrinth. 



Wednesday, 4 July 2018

267. TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY SEVEN!!

 I cannot draw the plants without thinking about their survival.  They need pollinators. In the wildlife garden at work, we have a bee hotel and I have been amazed by what I have learned and as a result have become very interested in the solitary bees.   

There are 267 species of bee in the UK.  Everybody knows about the honeybee and the bumblebee, but most bees are solitary. That is, they don't live in social groups. In the case of the Red Mason bee, the males hatch first then hover around waiting for the females to hatch.  As soon as they do, they mate and then go.  The female then looks for somewhere to lay her eggs.  This is where bee hotels come in.  She crawls into one of these tubes and leaves a little ball of pollen, then lays an egg on top and blocks of the compartment with mud or leaves. She repeats this until the tube is full.  As the males emerge first, she lays these eggs last.  It's completely fascinating!  A female will lay 20-30 eggs in her lifetime.  They will stay in these tubes until next summer when the cycle will start all over again. 

Solitary bees are much more efficient pollinators than honey bees, as they drop pollen more easily.  Red Mason bees are one of the first to emerge and they are good for pollinating fruit trees, whose blossom appears in early spring.  Blue Mason bees come next and Leaf cutter bees (yes, they cut up leaves for their nest compartments) emerge later.   I haven't found out about anyone else yet!  I'm waiting for the wildlife gardener to come back. He knows everything. 

I do know that some of the bees make nests underground (Mining bees, of course) and some of the bees are really tiny and don't look like bees at all.  Well they do look like bees, but not bees as most people imagine. 

Life is great in a wildlife garden. It changes all the time.  There is always something new to learn. Pay attention next time you spot a bee "hotel" in your local park or nature reserve.  It's really interesting!

I have drawn a dandelion, one of the first spring flowers, giving us brilliant yellow after the grey of winter and providing early pollen for the bees that come early. 



Here is a red mason bee going into her nest.

Some of the holes are blocked off with mud, that she has got from the pond.  (See how it's all linked). 

Right I'm off to draw bees.  Hopefully I will have something to show you very soon.  I have exhibitions in September and November, so I need to look as busy as a bee.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Roots and bees

 We dug up dandelions. For two reasons, one I wanted them to draw and two, he needed to get them out of the allotment before they turned into a ball of seeds.  I've been drawing them ever since.  First of all they did turn into clocks.  Even when they are out of water and all dried up, the flowers turn into seeds.  The roots lost their flowers to seeds and the leaves died down and I put the roots in water.  They have now grown new leaves.

The roots are interesting.  I have drawn roots before.  I love the twisting and turning of them, as they find their way deeper into the ground.

Working through some ideas here, with monotypes and mixed media.  Crayons, water colours, pencil.


The circles on the drawing are inspired by the bee hotels we have at work.  The solitary bees are absolutely fascinating.  All together there are 267 species of bees in the UK.  267!  I am going to continue with research into the bees and drawing bee homes, but meanwhile thought I would catch up with quick post as it's been a while.








Monday, 9 April 2018

Fossils and prints.


 I've been making some prints, using colographs and plants, layering up the colours to see what happens; they remind me of fossils. Something to do with the hidden showing through.   I just love fossils, they are always fascinating.   I can't comprehend the billions of years that life has continued for and how I am looking at an ancient life form.  I have a few fossils, collected over the years, at Robin Hood's bay, mainly.  Awe.... really doesn't do it justice!   This is a rock I found on a beach in Cleveland.  There were loads like this, just full of fossils.  That North East coast is great and everyone goes to Dorset. Long may it continue!!


I found a poem by Lindley Williams Hubbell.  I hope it's ok to post an excerpt of it here.  Rather a lovely poem about fossils.  Captures the wonder.

.............. But these
Exquisite fern-like forms
Printed on the rock,
these fragile plants that have 
survived the storms
Of some odd billion years
Move me almost to tears

So I come here often 
to see these delicate stems
Breathed on rock like frost
crystals on a window,
But permanently
But forever.
This rock is my favourite book,
my favourite picture,
my dependable scripture,
My sense of wholeness, a 
billion years at my elbow.










Who you calling common?

Who you calling common?
Monoprint

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