Joni from Colorado sharing her sketchbook work

In response to my latest post asking people to share their creativity, my wonderful friend Joni from Colorado sent this:-

Joni – “Being quite new to my sketchbook, drawing, pastels and oils. I’m loving just drawing a page.  I still have to allow myself to make mistakes with perspective and colours.  
But I’m learning and growing and enjoying the process. 
Here is a National Park building I was looking at, and my drawing. 
And I just learned that I can draw on both sides of the sketchbook!” 
Joni’s sketchbook work

Unleashing Creativity & Sharing the Journey

“We do not credit ourselves with what it is we can – and often do – accomplish. We are blind to our gifts; we are deaf to our voice. We do not see or hear our magnitude. Why is this?”.  Quote from Julia Cameron’s book – The Right to Write

Author of The Artist’s Way and many other excellent books, ‘The Right to Write – an Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life’ is my current inspiration.   Her Chapter on Bad Writing explains that ‘in order to be a good writer, I have to be willing to be a bad writer’ and that ‘If only we could give ourselves permission to write “badly”, so many of us would write very well indeed”.  

Taking the context into my own work, I realise it is easier to sit in the desert rather than trying to produce only work that others will like, that is most likely to sell and may not allow me to be free to try new ideas.  

Exercise to try:-  My adaptation of the exercise from this chapter 

  1. Find ten examples of artwork that you like (postcards, magazine cutouts etc.) and pin them onto a board.  Did you notice any common denominators that interested you?  Style, Colour, Subject etc.  
  2. Spend half an hour working in your Sketchbook –  paint, draw, collage etc., based on the inspiration from the artwork. Just for the sake of it!  

Share your results with friends, on your own blog or email to me and I will share them here.  

Sharing my Sketchbook work 

On a recent picnic with family at the annual commemoration of the battle of Flodden in the Scottish Borders, I took out my sketchbook and started to paint the view.  I enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the surroundings so much that I returned a few days later to sit quietly on my own and finish my picture.  I had no intention of sharing this with anyone. After all, it is unlike most of my work and not polished, considered, professional ………. excuses, excuses!  But, in the spirit of sharing and, in the light of Julia’s teachings, here is my result and a photo of the view.

View of Flodden Fields over the Borders

 

Ten Weeks to go! So little time, So much to do!

Ten weeks until NGS Open Gardens weekend at Weston and the list of jobs gets longer. Have you noticed that the more time you spend on the garden, the more there seems to do? Certainly, over the last four weeks I have spent a goodly amount of time on the list – Studio is painted; Trellis nearly all painted; lawns had their first cut of the year; roses pruned and fed; lots of shrubs moved around…. But many more jobs loom – the dreaded weeding and jet washing paths has become the ‘ironing pile’ of the garden, if you get my drift?! But I’m not complaining as the weather has been fairly kind, the plants are growing, birds are nesting and there are tadpoles in the pond a week earlier than last year – can I dare to predict we will have a nice Summer?

Today’s pictures are of my newly painted and positioned bird boxes and an insect hotel -the ‘duplex’ has a lower storey with entrance on the side, upper as you can see on the front and was hand-made by a friend’s father. This originally designed house has already attracted blue tits .  

 

‘Plant Zookeeper’ – a new name for gardener?

Good design should reflect the wishes, likes and dislikes of the garden owner – regardless of country or climate’ – RHS Encyclopaedia of Gardens – good advice and certainly one of the best books on my shelf for planning, building and planting ‘your perfect space’.

This week, with 19 weeks until Open Gardens, I am tidying borders, thinking about changes to the layout and considering the design advice in my gardening books.  I don’t have any horticultural training but have learned how to tend my garden through trial and error, friends and books.

‘Think of yourself as a kind of ‘plant zookeeper’ and learn about your plants’ natural habitats’  writes Carol Bruce who also opens for the NGS, her three acres at The Old Bladbean Stud, near Canterbury, and was featured in an excellent article in The English Garden magazine (May 2015).  

‘Never act on impulse – instead, plan on impulse then act on the plan’ advises Carol.  Great advice and I mean to take it on board but I have already bought ‘on impulse’ several ferns, two Leycestria formosa ‘Golden Lantern’ shrubs and a full grown Acer ‘Little Princess’.  This is a great time to trawl the garden centres for last year’s stock at a fraction of their usual price and, with a bit of care and good mulch, these bargains will reward you when the warmer weather comes.

I’ve been working my plot for fifteen years now,  and had the back garden professionally designed five years ago. It was worth every penny and I was completely involved at every stage from planning to planting. The design books helped a great deal in making me aware of the questions I needed to consider.

Looking through other design books on my shelf, I can see that there is a lot of duplication of information and usually the second half of a design book is a directory of plants to use. A different approach is ‘Rejuvenating a Garden’ by Stephen Anderson, in how to deal with a neglected existing plot.   The plant directory focus on the practical aspects of pruning the index of shrubs. 

I am keen to redesign some of the planting in the borders around the garden, so, over the next few weeks I will be reviewing my border planting planning books.  I’ll be taking pictures of each border, spending time reviewing the contents and then draw up a plan for moving some shrubs and perennials to better positions where they will have more space and to create harmony.

Have a good week in the garden or armchair planning, whatever the weather!

NGS Open Gardens – 20 Weeks until opening!

Yes, It is only January and it is very, very cold here in Warwickshire but I am already in gardening mode, having spent a full couple of days last week tidying up and pondering over what needs to be done between now and 10-11 June when I open my garden for the National Garden Scheme alongside Weston Village Group.

Some changes have been made since I last opened in 2015, and I will post photos and explain my reasoning behind ideas as I start to share my vision for this year’s event. Right now, my thoughts are on what the garden could look like, how I might achieve changes on a shoestring budget, and what could be moved where in order to gain best results with the space I have.  All will be revealed on this weekly gardening blog, together with a sprinkling of life at the allotment and my creative endeavours in the Studio.

Please stop by to see my progress and feel free to comment, advise or generally rally me along towards Open Gardens which is the second weekend of June this year.

Plant Labels are essential!