The garden is burgeoning. All the views from the studio offer temptations to just go and wander and be amongst the plants that are pushing their fresh green growth higher and stronger day by day by day.
Each day I hear a cuckoo. It was singing (if that is what cuckoo’s do) for much of the morning. The air was warmed by a pale lemon sun and the scent of oil seed rape flowers combined well with crab apple, hawthorn blossom and bluebells hung heavy in the air. Drowsy bumble bees seemed to fly almost vertically and the sound of the cuckoo completed the bucolic scene. Heavy paynes grey clouds moved slowly across the sky from time to time making the oil seed rape change colour to a more acidic yellow. The cuckoo has now been singing for nearly two weeks
Paintings for the RHS Show at Malvern are completed now and preparation is in the final stages; framing, labeling and preparing prints and cards are well underway.
Write ups and CVs are the last remaining pieces and have now been done away from the distractions of the garden, hedgerows and wayside.
Six moorhen chicks have hatched and are bumbling around the garden as if they are clock work. Hopefully the parents will succeed in fighting off the magpies (they too have young at the moment) and the giant rooks.
The cow parsley is almost out and looks exquisite hovering across the conservation areas in the garden…..
I have been developing more of the work for a new series of paintings. These focus on the small objects that we pass by every day and which we usually don’t notice. They may be small furry buds, rose hips, feathers or silky pussy willow.
This painting shows a green woodpecker feather, found in the garden just lying on the grass where it looked insignificant. Held up to the light it glows and an iridescent chartreuse stripe gleams all down one side of it. The spots on the other side of the feather are a surprise and are usually hidden. The photograph cannot do justice either to feather or painting.
The magnolia buds are also green and have short green brown hairs – they are a lovely shape, like a candle bulb. The magnolia is the central focus for the painting and is necessarily quite sculptural; the other found objects pay homage to the central piece.
Started just a couple of weeks ago this work is nearing completion and the recent warm weather has meant the magnolia is now alight with large creamy blooms, buds no more. How the large flowers emerge so fat and lustrous out of the buds, once tightly furled and creased is almost beyond comprehension.
I am busy preparing card designs to take to my printers in readiness for the Society of Botanical Artists Exhibition in May. Everything must be handed in next month, so need to get everything ready.
The snowdrops are looking fantastic in our garden and I am desperate to paint them as part of a composition of early spring loveliness. I think that they will work well alongside the pussy willow, some dark hellebores and possibly a daffodil – although I might try and keep the colours more muted and stark, so redolent of this time of year, when you awake to thin silvery frosts.
This month has been all about pulling together work for forthcoming exhibitions. The Society of Botanical Artists exhibition takes place at Central Hall Westminster in May 2014. Hand in date is 17th March and so work has to be ready and framed etc before then. The theme is ‘The Botanical Garden’ and so choosing work to fit with that theme is the challenge. Ideally all the work will be hung on themed walls, to fit with different section in a botanical garden. The paintings I’m choosing are more likely to work best if hung together but may not fit into one section – an interesting dilemma……
I think these might be the five I submit. I will also put in cards and prints to the exhibition.