Sunday, 25 March 2012

Vegetable patch (before and after)

Despite the clocks going forward and British Summer Time starting, I am a fair weather gardener and today was not warm enough for me. Over the past two days (today not included) I have made a little progress at the allotment. I always think that I'm going to get prepared in the Autumn, put tools away, tidy up and do a bit of digging during the winter but I never get around to it because it just a bit too cold.

The Before Photo

A great deal of weeds, some cabbages that didn't quite make it to the correct size and some spring greens that I left there because they are actually doing fairly well.

The After Photo

Weeded, dug over and planted with the onions that I bought in the autumn but didn't get around to planting in the allotment so I stuck them in a seed tray over winter. Oh well fingers crossed.

The ladybirds like them

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mothering Sunday

When I was little, Mothering Sunday was quite a traditional affair. My Grandmother was very much involved in the local village church and the Mother's Day service was dedicated to children. We would dress in our best clothes and go with our small posies of hand tied flowers which would inevitably involve daffodils.

This memory did get me wondering why we celebrate Mother's Day in March or to be more precise on the fourth Sunday of Lent. I did imagine that it would have some religious history and after just doing a little bit of reading, I discovered quite an endearing story. It dates back to the days when lots of children, often as young as 10 years old were sent away from home to work in service. The church felt that people should be allowed to visit their 'mother' church once a year and visit their families. As they headed home, they picked wild flowers from the hedgerows to give to their mothers as gifts on the way.

I was lucky enough to get flowers, beautiful handmade cards, a trip to London to my favourite  park and was spoiled all weekend. I didn't get to see my own mother but I did see my mother-in-law and had a rather lovely day.

Charlie in the Hot House

Josie in Squirrel Alley

I do love this tree

My sketch in the car on the way home

Friday, 16 March 2012

Off to New York

I would really love to go to New York. There are so many places I would like to go to:
I think I had better just stop at four otherwise I'll get completely side tracked not write anything about my 5" x  5" piece of art that is off to New York.

The Internet, blogs and social networking have opened up a world of opportunities for sharing ideas and knowledge. Earlier this week, Seth Apter, artist and author of  The Pulse of Mixed Media: Secrets and Passions of 100 Artists Revealed put out an open call to be part of an online project relating to the book. The part that was really encouraging was..

There is no jury. All submissions that meet the requirements of the open call will be accepted*. So scratch that off as a reason for not submitting. (*The fine print says that I do have the right to pass on any entry if given reason to but I am assuming and hoping that this will not happen)

Seriously, how exciting!! I had to enter so I have been putting together a little something all week and it's ready to get on the aeroplane and head for New York.

The piece had to answer one or all of the following questions.

1. The Artistic Ingredient: If your artwork could talk, what would it say?

If my art could talk it would ask for more glitter.

2. Passion in Action: Who has had the most impact on your creative life?
My family and life are my greatest inspiration.
3. Secrets Revealed: What is one thing you have never shared with the creative community?
Art is my ticket to freedom from the piles and piles of laundry.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Mixing things up and shaking stuff about

First it was a return to ballet and now it's my fingers that are ink and paint stained. There are little pieces of artistic expression drying all over the place and my head is full to exploding with inspirational ideas. It feels like the start of a new era and as I am on a one month rest from the repetitive action of crochet and knitting, paints and brushes are taking over for a while. I can't believe I have repetitive strain injury and it really is painful so on the advice of the GP, I'm resting it in my usual 'replace one obsessional activity with another' and learning to create left handed.

In the spirit of spring cleaning and the awakening of new season, I am shaking things up on the side line of my blog and bringing in a bit of new inspiration. Some people don't like change and have the approach of thinking if something isn't broken don't fix it. I like things to be different and quite enjoy moving stuff about, mixing things up and quite often making a whole lot of mess under the proviso of tidying up. Life is nothing, if you don't take a few little risks.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Mastering leeks

I have been growing leeks for a while now and although I am far from being a professional, I feel I have finally mastered the whole seeds, leeks , seeds cycle. Just as with runner beans, I am now self sufficient with my leeks. I grow them, we harvest most of them and let some go to seed. The seed heads are some strickingky beautiful that I did pick some last year and kept them in an old enamel coffee pot looking truly spectacular before disguarding them on a spare patch of ground in December. I left a few seeds heads at the allotment and some went in a hanging basket.

The tiny green shoots are loads of minuture leek plants. They look a little like grass but in a few weeks, I will be able to thin them and they grow into leeks which will last through the winter and go to seed next year ready to produce more leeks in 2014.

These ones are a few weeks further on and in a hanging basket. I'm waiting for them to be the size of small paintbrushes before I plant them in rows at the allotment. Today a brought back three leeks from last season for lunch. I love leeks, they survive the winter and sit there happily waiting to be dug up. There blueish green leafs and pale steams are one of my favourite colour palette combinations, so after wearing myself out gardening, I drew some leeks completely from memory.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Dandelion clocks

My latest pieces of work are based on dandelion clocks and their delicate fragility. How is it that such a delightfully light, umbrella shaped seed can produce a plant with such ludicrously ferocious tap roots that take over my vegetable plot, produce flowers and disperse their gentle seeds before I manage to get them under control? (That sentence was almost as long as my battle against them) Despite their aggressive nature, I am still fascinated by the grace of their seed heads. The magical appeal of a dandelion clock ready to be blown by a small child is something that I am fortunate enough to still see through the eyes of my own little ones. To make a wish and then watch each tiny seed with its own parachute of fluff drift away on a breeze, is a beautiful gift from nature.
This is a photo collage I'm working on in preparation for some mixed media extravaganza.