Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Autumn bounty

A Wayfarer tree at the start of my walk

I went for a walk with my camera on Sunday at my favourite spot for a breath of air and to 'stretch my eyes' (it is good to have a distant horizon to focus on rather that the end of the street). I thought I would see how many different kinds of berries I could collect. Popular belief would have it that a bountiful crop of berries indicates a bad winter ahead however naturalists would put it down to the previous seasons' weather. We had a mild and wet spring so this may be the reason for this year's berry laden trees. So here is my count.




Rose hips

There were also some sloes, but the bushes weren't accessable for close-up photography - perhaps next time

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Glorious September

I am feeling much better and this glorious weather is helping. I'm back to the land of the living after a few days of a cold and I have been enjoying sitting in the garden with my pen and water colours. This is what I was looking forward to when I retired, last year's miserable autumn was such a disappointment. So far we have had mostly blue skies for at least a couple of weeks. I feel obliged to make the most of every hour so I have been gardening and out with my camera, cleaning windows and doing plenty of laundry. The garden seems to be having a last flush of flowers and there are plenty of insects about. I want to plant bulbs and move some shrubs, but the ground is so dry I am postponing these jobs 'till we've had some rain. I'll share some of the photographs I have been taking later.

I'm a bit disappointed wth the way this has come out even though I adjusted the colours in photoshop they seem to be really unsubtle - I just need to experiment.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Fed up

To bed with a hot lemon  - say no more

Sunday, 20 September 2009


I created this for a challenge I saw here at the three muses. My interpretation is very different from the ones posted.  I was having a bit of a rumage after my visit to the Isle of Wight last week and turning out my pockets for beach-combings when I remembered my joy at finding a forgotten seashell in the bottom of a pocket months after a visit to the beach.  This was often the first chilly day of the autumn term when I had to wear my padded coat for the dreaded playground duty. I usually hadn't worn the coat since early summer. We have friends and family by the coast and visit throughout the year - and you should never come away from the beach without picking up a shell or a piece of beach glass or a pretty pebble so there was usually some treasure in my pocket.
So this is my inspiration. I started off by drawing round my hand a built up the image round that. I painted it in acrylic and added scanned images and magazine cuttings, adding details with ink coloured pencils and anything else that would give the effect I wanted.  I had to scour my photo magazines for a suitable urban background. I also like creating a 3D effect with the collage images. It has taken me ages to come up with suitable slogan, but I think this expresses how I feel. I hope it triggers some memories for you too.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Cone flower project

I've been working on images of echinacea or cone flowers. A flickr friend suggested this image would make a good place mat, something that had already crossed my mind. Something I must investigate. 
I drew these with fine pigment liner and scanned it into photoshop elements. I tinted it using elements editing which gives a great even coverage something I haven't managed to do with paint.  It printed out quite well.
Meanwhile here is another photograph which I have done some work on.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Life is a Trip Hazard!!!

I had a lovely 'trip' to the Isle of Wight last weekend with Mr T. Whilst there I expressed the urge to visit  Fresh Water Bay to get a little wind in my hair.
The weather was wonderful, and this spot an archetypal seaside scene - although away from the beach not very picturesque, but rather functional. Near the  rather unattractive boat house we spotted this sign.

I should have photographed it at the time, but it seemed a rather unlikely subject, but it left us chuckling as I have been known to trip over my own shadow - or turn my ankle on a sixpence (a small coin that was around in the 'olden days'.

I thought it might be a good idea if all children were issued with a Trip Hazard warning card before they took their first steps.  It might stop a lot of unnecessary legislation.  In the meantime I have designed this rather fetching tee-shirt for fellow trippers.  It may  help companions be aware and make sure that ice-packs and and compress bandages are packed before that walk to the paper shop in the morning.

Significant 'trips'
Age 7 - head first down stone steps triggering life long fear of stairs
Age 27 -  during engagement to Mr T skipping along arm in arm for joy ( he didn't save me from falling - but readers, I married him)
Age 37 - jumping down the last couple of steps at the local shopping centre in anticipation of pay-day spending and ending up at A&E in an ambulance, worrying as I had only paid for an hour in the car park.
Age 57 - when I thought a bit of power walking would be good for me and turning my ankle on a piece of gravel - as I headed for the deck I was worrying about making a hole in my new trousers, but just managed to  head-butt the pavement and acquire magnificent facial bruises - but saved my trousers.
Oh and last year I managed to forget we had two steps at the turn at the bottom of the stairs - well you can guess.
Luckily no broken bones.
(Ages subject to poetic licence)

Monday, 14 September 2009

Attention grabbing

I've been away for an extra long weekend with family. Although I love the company I do miss my access to blog land and my journal 'stuff''. I did take my sketch book and a fat pencil case, but it is my camera that comes into it's own when I am away from home. I need to down load them and do some editing. I will have plenty of material to keep my flickr pages active.  But I am looking forward to getting down to some 'concrete' picture making. Meanwhile here are some echinacea which have had a bit of 'virtual' treatment. Thanks to all those who have commented on my blog so far, it's much appreciated.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


I felt a bit grim yesterday with a sinus head, but when the sun came out in the afternoon took myself down to our local park for some fresh air and a stroll. I hadn't taken the camera out for a while so it was a good opportunity. The sun was beautiful and it was just the sort of afternoon that I gave up work to enjoy.  The flowerbed are just at the point of 'going over' and there were some gardeners discussing which beds they were going to clear first, but these rudbeckia and nepeta were so striking I had to get down on my hands and knees for some close-ups,  my back does not appreciate me bending down to home in on my subjects.  I should have done some sketches as the form of these flowers cry out for a bit of pen work - was tempted to pluck a couple to bring home, especially as they are soon to be dug up - but I don't approve of vandalism. We are very lucky in Luton to have a brilliant parks department. Although some parts of the town are pretty grim, we have some excellent parks and many roundabouts are beautifully planted out.
By  the time I got home my headache was nearly gone and I had a good crop of photos.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Splatter patterns

Since starting to keeping an art journal and making lots of collages on a regular basis my clothes, incuding all this year's tee shirts have aquired interesting spatter patterns mainly from opening bottles of gesso and acrylic paint that have got a bit gummed up - sooooo ....
I promised myself I would always wear an apron when doing my art work - so now my clothes have a more exclusive spatter pattern- ( Pics inspired by Cathy's - hope you don't mind)
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Sunday, 6 September 2009

Trying something new

I have finished my photography course and now have time to give rein to all my other art projects. I try to do something everyday, but I still feel as if I am indulging myself and should be carrying out a domestic task so I try to do something worthy round the house or garden before allowing myself an art session.
I have been fascinated by the collages, art journals, art cards and so on which abound on flickr and numerous blogs, so determined to have a go myself. This little picture is made in a cheap 6"x4" photography frame with the glass removed. I covered the whole thing, frame and backing with torn news print and layered it with gesso, acrylic colour washes and neocrayon. The collage consist of some leaves I have collected from the garden, magazine and paper bits. The little girl comes from the suzie que flickr free download pages. Flourishes were added with felt paints and a bit of stamping ink. I wasn't sure it worked until I photographed it, but looking at this it I am quite pleased. I pressed the leaves by ironing them between cartridge paper and them leaving them under a weight for a couple of days. Traditionally pressing flowers takes several weeks, but this seems to have worked - only time will tell if they last. I have a nice selection to use.
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Thursday, 3 September 2009


September is an emotive time of year especially for those involved with schools all their lives like me. It has always associated with new beginnings for me, even more than January. Seeing the school children making their way for the new term this morning made me think of new books and sharp pencils and new resolutions for the term ahead.
I conveniently forget the weeks of planning, sorting, ordering stock, relining pinboards for displays and staff-meetings and records, records, records to read and start to fill in.
In the 'old' days I also enjoyed starting the new class register with its red zig-zags and blue 'O' s. I always joked that I only wanted to be a teacher so I could keep a register. I used to make my own from my dad's spare football pool coupons - something else only fellow uk readers of my generation will know (Do they have them any more?). Now the register is computerised and far less romantic.
When I was a school-girl myself, I loved walking to school on September mornings when there was a morning dew.The cobwebs on the front garden shrubs would be magically transformed to diamond necklaces and the air would be scented with chrysanthemums and damp leaves. There was often a early morning chill with the promise of warm sunshine. The leaves would be starting to turn and the pavements were often slippery with berries and ripe fruits shed from overhanging trees. As I generally walked to school by myself I was able to keep in touch with my nature-loving self - not too cool for a young teenager if in the company of her classmates.
This is my second September since retiring - I was looking forward to a glorious Sepember last year, but it did nothing but rain and was gloomy most of the time, so may be this year will be glorious. The leaves seem to be turning early and the blustery weather is putting paid to the apples. They are being blown down before we can pick them and then they get bruised and won't keep.
I found the quote from Alexander Theroux on the internet, and although it does not quite match my sentiments voiced above - there is that whistful feel of summer's done.
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