Path through the Rhodies. watercolour and pencil

A visit to the garden in the lakedistrict here in the UK provided yet more inspiration last Friday when I went to work and sketch. I take photos too throughout the day. The colour in the garden itself was compelling this time not the lake so much. Just click on the images to enlarge. I enjoy the flowers in all their stages, whether in bud, full bloom or withering with petals falling.. The wind moved through the whole garden as we worked and the fragrances were intoxicating. Overload of the senses! It was great to be immersed in this place as well as painting and drawing it. So many perspectives, a happy place. A duck landed on the lawn and waddled towards us then flew off, something is always happening..

Bridge at Chollerford, Northumbria, watercolour and pencil

We went on a little trip to Northumbria and I drew this bridge from our hotel garden. The stone is a wonderful yellow ochre sandstone round there. The trip to Hadrian’s wall and Housteads fort was another highlight. A real atmosphere, and you could imagine the soldiers and community living and working there. The wall itself was imperfect in some places and was made by ordinary soldiers not master masons which added yet another dimension. I took a few shots with my digital SLR which I much prefer as what you see through the viewfinder is the image that is captured, which wasn’t the case with my other camera that broke.

Flower gift, watercolour and pencil

I painted and drew these yesterday. They are Japanese orchids and relate to the idea I think that children can be dandelions or orchids. Meaning that some will grow and thrive wherever and some will need a lot of TLC. This was said to me recently by a friend. Don’t know how true it is reckon we all need a lot of the latter!

Found Camelia and Purple Sprouting Brocoli

I found this beauty on the pavement in front of me yesterday afternoon. It had been knocked off a flowering bush nearby and would only have got squashed, so I decided to take it home and make a little study. I was so glad I did. These are some of my favourite flowers. I used pencil and watercolour for the observational study and pen and ink with watercolour for the broccoli. We get this vegetable from the market and I’ve wanted to make a little drawing of the bunches for a while now and it was only on Sunday that I got round to it! We ate it then with our Sunday dinner, delicious! These studies form a welcome break from the embroidery I have been concentrating on and gear me up towards moving back into drawing and painting. I have a feeling a painting will be coming next!

Neoartists artists statement

Am really pleased to see my most recent artistic statement on the Neoartists website ( I am an associate member with them) and link to this my personal website. They are a great bunch doing some challenging and impressive work. I hope to co-curate a show there next year for painters primarily with Richard Cross under the title ‘The Undiscovered Country’. Wish us luck! Here is the link to Neo, you can find me in the list of artists!


‘Dawn Cloth’ completed

Well I have finally completed my ‘Dawn Cloth’ this week. I used a strong Prussian Blue type thread for the final bit of background to the sky but didn’t quite have enough, so the pinks beckoned again! I am leaving it now and it is in situ on the wall in my little studio. Am still waiting to hear from the facility that offers counselling for sexual abuse survivors if they want me yet for my proposed workshops in embroidery and puppetry. I am well but had the idea if I asked a textiley young person if they would be interested in carrying on this work that might be a good idea with a view to looking forward to the future. I so believe in this work and just don’t want it to disappear down the proverbial rabbit hole. I have a couple of people in mind and will gradually put feelers out. They have to be folk I trust and who get what I am wanting to offer. Wish me luck everyone!

Birks Mere spring visit

We went to this special garden yesterday and had a good visit. The light moves across the lake throughout the day and into the garden itself in the afternoon. It highlights what I want to sketch and photograph through the light and how it moves. I am only just beginning to understand this! I used some soft pastels that I have and my trusty 5B pencil. I like how you can lay down colour really quickly with the pastel and use pencil for more definition mixed in. These sketches may be stand alone responses or become embroideries or paintings. Will just have to wait and see. Nature teaches and teaches and we see better through drawings.

Birks Mere revisited

Here are some drawings and photographs made the other week at the secret garden in the Lake District UK that I visit. The lake was like a mirror in the morning as the dawn broke and I saw ducks flying low over the lake with their reflections in perfect reverse. Mesmerising. Then two fighter planes split the sky. They often fly through the lakes and mountains to practice manoeuvres. It brought home how fragile peace is even in a beautiful place like this. Worrying in these times that we are going through. I find myself wondering how much these fighter planes cost and how much each flight! I understand it’s an official secret how low, high or fast they can fly. I went to the garden yesterday and had a very good day there before the weather broke. Will post some shots of that in my next missive. Meanwhile enjoy the sketches I made on the first visit. I also did some light pruning of shrubs and roses. I try to give back to the garden when I take from it by drawing…

‘Dawn Cloth’ nearing completion

Here is my dawn cloth with latest stitching efforts. It is more of a meditation really so it doesn’t matter how long it takes. It’s been months on and off. A friend brought me some more embroidery threads, especially the blues.  which I was grateful for. I hope to do such creative work with the sexual abuse survivor workshop participants which I have discussed on here. The touch of the cloth and threads really brings you into now. The stitching feels like breathing as the thread goes in and out. Someone even said I could frame it but then you wouldn’t be able to touch it and that is what I want even when it is ‘done’, Though I don’t know when that will be. The back is a mess but I quite like that and will share some shots soon. The lady who brought me the blue threads said the back should be as neat as the front! That is the old way, but I want these embroideries to be whatever you want them to be, there are no ‘shoulds’ or ‘ought toos’! That’s the whole point! There is real freedom here. No other peoples ideas for motifs or how to do it or approach it. This is truly personal…