Garden sketches, pencil and watercolour

These sketches were made a couple of weeks ago at the garden I visit to draw and help with the plants and trees a little. I can’t go today as I was hoping because of the weather. I’m finding nature and especially the oak trees really help just being with them and watching the wind in the leaves during these Covid times. The seasons flow on despite what is happening to us. I was raking the little acorns from around the trees and finding saplings everywhere. You really appreciate the cycle of these beauties. There are a few oaks that have established and I can understand how they do it. Click sketches to enlarge for detail folks!

‘Plant’ pencil and watercolour study

I made this study of a plant given to me by a dear friend. It was the first stand alone drawing that I have lost myself in recently because of the Covid situation. Nature reaches me still through everything. I also made a little silk painted mini-quilt from it, a kind of tactile gift to myself. I will probably use it as a book mark. I got the idea from a stitch practice sampler that I am also showing here. I loved the texture of the silk with the fleece raised in ridges underneath and decided to use the idea more deliberately in this little gift to myself. The tactile nature of it is comforting and the achievable scale worked for me in moving responses along. I have also stretched and gessoed a giant canvas for a more ambitious idea so watch this space!

‘Sycamore’ oil on canvas

I made this little oil study after visiting my son Patrick and his wife Sarah at their home near London over two weekends. I made a pencil and watercolour study of the wonderful sycamore in their garden, and used that to make this little oil study back in the studio. I am finding nature is the greatest comfort in these difficult Covid times. Our movement and freedom is curtailed and anxiety is never far away. However, I really do find drawing from the motif outside helps me personally. Revisiting the experience back in the studio through what I make also helps. Rituals of stretching, rabbit-skin sizing and gessoing canvases also ground me in the present moment. These are very strange times and moving forward through being creative and responding to the natural world is a way of coping I have always turned to.

‘Gift’ oil on gessoed board

I have recently been making a little oil painting based on honeysuckle studies from a garden I have been visiting. I have also looked at an old charcoal drawing and painting from a long time ago which also inspired and am including them here. Watch this space for more little paintings or for more added to this- not sure yet.

Garden sketches

Here are a couple more sketches from the wonderful garden I have been going to that has so inspired me after lockdown. This has truly been a liberation, it is so beautiful like the secret garden. This time I was in a different location in this large space. The trees and planting captivated me. I am making a small oval painting inspired by some flowers there which I will share soon once it tells me it is done. Watch this space!

‘Girl with Sofa’ oil on canvas board, June 2020

Have begun painting again! I made this small oil after a long time not painting because of my reaction to the lockdown. I have been sewing small patchwork pictures as shared on here, but not had the will to paint. It gradually returned after making a small canvas board and framing it with bits and pieces I had in the studio. I properly sized it with rabbitskin glue, and gessoed it. All this process was healing in itself.

A visit to a beautiful garden next to a lake was a real turning point for me. I made watercolours in my sketchbook and added pen marks. Nature enveloped me in this wonderful place and made the creative embers glow once more. Little studies in a sketchbook were not overwhelming, and I just gave myself permission to respond.

An old drawing of a sofa from our first house also inspired the new little painting as it seemed to resonate with all we are going through now. My recent skirt studies also formed a starting point. Click to enlarge images as usual folks.

Dovetail Box fabric picture

I’m still casting around the house and yard for motifs in this lock-down. The box we use in the living room has dovetail joints which have always fascinated me.  The are wider at the inner edge for strength and notoriously difficult to make. You can even see the pencil marks where the person who made the box lined the joints up. You couldn’t see them originally as the box was covered in black leather which I removed and varnished the wood.These little embedded shapes are all around us if we take the trouble to look. I then created the fabric picture after the little sketch with offcuts from a dresss and furnishing fabric, Dresses hold memories and meaning which add yet more dimensions to the pieces/ painted marks on the frame are first forays into brush work in the middle of this pandemic. I have ideas for a new painting which I will approach very slowly so watch this space! I can be slow now though, more than ever.

Square on Table fabric pic

Still seeing what emerges as inspiration around the house and back yard in this lock-down situation. It can be the simplest little tactile thing, like the squares of wood securing our plank table on the surface. On I go with choosing fabrics, creating a little pic, and even letting colour back in through choice of fabric and painting the sanded frame. Still have lots of ideas, some work some don’t. Will keep posting them on here. Locked out of Facebook again, hey ho!

Fern Fronds

I made this little fabric patchwork pic and drawn/dyed elements last week to go in one of the small frames I have. Am still finding it hard to approach painting and more ambitious drawing but am taking the pressure right off myself. I know this is because of the corona virus situation. I keep fretting about everyone suffering in hospital, but am able to sew and make stuff still.

I noticed these little fern fronds beginning to sprout in the pots in our back yard. I took some photos last Thursday which you can see just after it rained. I remembered a drawing of fern spirals I made a couple of years back which you can see too.They start to unfurl at exactly this time of year every year, and there is a comfort in that. The patterns of nature that are imprinted in the makeup of these plants goes on despite what is happening to us. They seem to be so symbolic of hope and potential. I incorporated sneaky drawn and painted elements into my patchwork as a low key way of getting back into drawing and colour. It seems to be working a tiny bit! Ideas are coming as I focus on my lock-down world of the house and back yard. So I will keep seeing what comes up next,and go with the flow in this micro rather than macro way of making and doing.

Patchwork Diamond

Here is my latest effort in the patchwork picture department made over the last two weeks. A little bit more tricky because of the diamond pattern which I borrowed off Angel from ‘Escape to the Chateaux’, where she covered the walls of the turret that was to take the lift they installed with a patchwork of diamonds made of vintage wallpapers. I just used my fabric offcuts (which are running out now). I pinned the fabric over card diamonds, pinned fabric on back, slip stitched the diamonds in place on front and glued on back (PVA). I then removed the pins when dry and mounted in frame. The making and stitching brings me into the present through repeated actions of cutting and stitching. I will gradually approach drawing and painting again but am not pressuring myself. Covid 19 has made it difficult for me to respond creatively as I would normally, but it is all percolating away! Watch this space folks and have a go at patchwork pics, they are fun!