28 February 2013

goodbye, february

The sun has been a stranger this February, maybe we'll see more of it in March. I'd like that. Though I do like a good misty morning walk, even if it is freezy cold. This was taken a few days ago along the Lee Navigation canal in Hackney, my breathing space fifteen minutes walk away.

At our meeting earlier in the month, my illustrator friends could barely contain their mirth when I said I was painting cabbage leaves. Rude companions one and all!

Sprout tops not cabbage leaves, to be precise but still. To practice my greens you see. Laugh if you will, yes yes.

I learned a lot, not sure I totally love any of these, but it's nice to see development and progression from 1 - 4. I painted slowly, building up layers of translucent washes for precision. I do find it pretty damn tedious, this way of working, really, having to wait for each layer to dry properly and planning the colours. At least the greens and I are on speaking terms now - mixing them from scratch and adding a bit of cadmium red is the thing.

And just as well I got cosy with greens, since I was asked if I do planting plans recently. Well, I do now.

From that happy result to... a more um, digital looking sketch on my new drawing tablet below. Obviously still a long way to go, but I'm looking to integrating all of my working methods by experimenting, having fun and keeping an open mind.

Goodbye February, I'm a bit glad to see the back of you.

07 February 2013

pottery fragments

I seldom leave anywhere remotely historic without scratching around in the dirt, hoping for a shard of pottery of glass to add to my collection.

I love how these are tiny clues to stories of dinners and teas, arguments and celebrations. I wonder who washed them and who filled them with tea or hot food, lovingly cooked or otherwise. 

Did anyone take comfort and delight in the finely painted leaves embellishing their saucer as much as I loved discovering the remaining piece? 

I found the green leaf shard half buried under a thorn tree near a modest old farm ruin, once very remote, in what is now a rest camp in the Karoo National Park.

What thoughts did the bearer of the red feathery painted cup have over early morning tea in the Welsh mining village situated meters away from a blast furnace and a stinking ironworks? Did the delicacy of the porcelain offend them, or was it a relief to have something pretty in the hand?

I'll never know, but I love finding these fragments and wondering.