Monday, 25 August 2014

Catching up!

I have really been enjoying this sketchbook exchange- the thrill of a new sketchbook arriving, the challenge of finding a suitable subject to paint, and above all, the friendships that have formed. It’s been such a rewarding experience, and it’s fantastic to see our project inspiring others to set up their own similar sketchbook exchanges.

However I have been very very bad at keeping up with this blog. I’ve no excuse really, it’s just been right at the bottom of my “to do” list and I’ve been feeling very guilty about allowing the blogposts to pile up like this.

Hence this “catch up” post. I have blogged about each one on my own blog, so will also include a link.

First of all is Aislinn’s sketchbook which I painted in May. 
My garden was rich with the scent of the beautiful laburnum tree which was in full bloom, and the bees came out to enjoy the nectar. A small study of senna pods completed the page. 
You can read more about this here

Laburnum and the Bee 

Debbie’s sketchbook was a summery sweet feast of fruit and berries. I enjoyed painting this… an edible subject is always a bonus! You can read more about this painting here

Finally there is Giovanni’s sketchbook,which I painted whilst in Egypt. Giovanni is such a charming character- the only man in our little group, and he regularly entertains us with his fantastic sketches and funny stories. I decided to paint him a Flamboyant tree, or Royal Poinciana tree, which I felt was just right for his colourful personality. There is more about this tree and painting here

Right, I’m almost up to date! I’ll be back soon with Sigrid’s sketchbook.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Time Flies

The time flies past so quickly and summer is passing into autumn already. It is my favourite time of the year though with plenty of things to draw and paint. I have 2 books now to catch up on here, Ida's and Julie's. They are both filling up with beautiful studies, each page different and unique; they are all going to be treasured.
For Ida's book I did a few Tregaron bog sketches as I went there rather a lot in early summer. I also painted a dandelion clock in white gouache on black paper.

Then for Julie's book I painted cow parsley in white gouache again on black paper. I also added a few items that I'd found on walks and in gardens over July and August. 
And to fill the gap I stuck in a skeletal Magnolia leaf.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Summer's Distractions, Escapes Through the Sketchbook Exchange, and a Little Surprise Revealed

The summer is nearly over and I've had three sketchbooks in the works for quite awhile.  Finally they will be in the mail tomorrow to Aislinn with my sincere apologies for the holdup.  I am grateful for your patience.

The past year has been a bit of a rollercoaster of stressful events.  Some very serious issues with my husband's health, a very demanding day job, etc. have had me looking everywhere possible for desperately needed distractions.  And I found them.  Spending time quality time with my husband, the joys of my garden, and some happy family events have kept me feeling grateful for the good things in life.

But the escape for me has been being a part of this Sketchbook Exchange.  With many doctors, hospitals and mounds of medical paperwork, and my full time job, I've had very little time to focus on my art.  I must add that the medical forms were the worst, really.  I have severe "form phobia" and panic and procrastinate everytime there is a form to fill out.  Being a part of this exchange and being committed to deadlines (that have long passed) has forced me to "escape" and paint.  I've been using this painting time to do the best work possible as it's the only painting time I really have.  And I've been seeing improvement in my work.  So I am grateful for that.  It's allowed me to continue to hold on to my dream that sometimes seems so far away amidst life's ups and downs.

I so much enjoy planning for the next sketchbook.  I sit in my garden in early mornings and take in with complete joy, every flower, plant, butterfly and all of nature's gifts and think of what I will paint and for who.

Some Inspiration from my garden:

Dianne's Sketchbook
Terri's Sketchbook
Lorraine's Sketchbook
Since I've not contributed to the blog for awhile,  I'll also add the sketchbooks that have been mailed earlier in the year:

Giovanni's Sketchbook

Sigrid's Sketchbook
At the beginning of this exchange, I asked Shevaun if I could add a little something with each of my sketchbooks.  Before I began my journey into botanical art, I spent alot of time sewing.  I have a great love of beautiful fabrics and have built up quite a collection over the years.  I thought I would like to sew a sketchbook case as my gift to each member.  I've had the best time selecting fabrics for each sketchbooker - trying to choose which fabric would be the most fitting.  So I hope you will enjoy my little gift when you all get your book at the end.

A few examples of the sketchbook cases that have been mailed.
So for now, I am up to date and already beginning a painting for when the next book arrives.  Hopefully, I will be able to stay caught up and have my much needed escape spending time painting for all of my lovely friends.

Monday, 11 August 2014


Well, the heat was certainly on with the next sketchbook. There were some truly gorgeous pages and I had a theme running around in my head that wouldn't go away. After Summertime there came A Midsummer Night's Dream, and I was quite literally, away with the fairies. Shakespeare's play gave me plenty of inspiration, and along with a quote and some honeysuckle sprigs, the pages started to come together. 

Fresh greens, summery pink and sunshine yellow

After the quotation, title and other calligraphy was in place and the sketches of the flower, buds and berries, it was time to decide on presentation. I love to use a mix of elements in sketchbooks, with bits stuck in, pen and pencil here and there, some unfinished bits and of course, painted things.

Purple bud with greens 

Mixing it up a bit 

And keeping it classic
 So how did it go? Well, I was pleased with the result. let's just hope the recipient is.

Nearly there.
  And what's the quote?

I know where the wild thyme blows,
where the oxlip and the nodding violet grows,
quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine
With sweet musk roses and with eglantine.
There sleeps sweet Titania sometime of the night,
lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight.
William Shakespeare 

There is a link here. Eglantine is an old word for honeysuckle, (also used for briar rose which is confusing).