Medlar fruit – ink – Jenny Hill

Medlar fruit - ink - Jenny Hill

Unripe Medlar fruit seen last October at RHS Hyde Hall Garden, Essex. The fruit is usually bletted, softened by rot, before it can be eaten. As I was painting this from a pen sketch I realised the fruit reminded me of something else. I have since discovered Medlar, (Mespilus germanica), was known in medieval times as the ‘dog bottom tree’.
For more gardening information and recipes visit—/Nigel-Slater-on—-medlars
Painting using acrylic ink and indian ink.

Fungi – Fly Agaric – Jenny Hill

Fungi - Fly Agaric - Jenny Hill

Fungi – Fly Agaric – Amanita muscaria, found on Tiptree Heath in a clearing between Birch and Oak trees. Heavy rain can wash off the white fluffy spots, (veil), leaving a red fungi surrounded by white fluff dots on the grass. Before the mature fungi collapses, no longer red, it flattens out, curling upward.
My ink painting “Fungi – Fly Agaric” presented a challenge – how to show the fluff dots sitting on the surface and not as flat white marks.

Plant form – Honesty seed head ripening

Plant form - Honesty seed head ripening

Before the seed head ripens to brown and silver it goes through a range of pink, red and green. This year was good, not a lot of rain in the summer, hot and dry, so very little black mould to discolour the drying seed head. I used indian and acrylic ink for this painting, reworking an oil pastel sketch from early summer. Throughout the year I fill sketch books with drawings, initially to record my idea of the transformation of plants but always with a focus that this is a resource for future artwork.
I use photographs when the weather is too cold or wet, or I am rushed for time but my preference is to work from my first impression recorded by drawing.

Rose Hip Ripening no.1 – RHS Garden Hyde Hall

Rose Hip Ripening no.1 -  RHS Garden Hyde Hall

A painting using acrylic ink and indian ink, developed from a sketch made on a hot, late summers day visit to RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Essex, UK. At this time some rose hips had turned scarlet red, (see earlier blog post), but this was still in the process of ripening. The smaller size of the paper directs me to paint and draw in a tighter style instead of the looser line I use on larger art works. It’s all in the arm movement. I believe you can identify, without me telling you, which paintings are small and which are large.

Sarah Cawkwell – Millinary Works gallery October 2013

Sarah Cawkwell - Millinary Works gallery October 2013

Seen last week – Sarah Cawkwell at the Millinary Works gallery, sculpture, drawings. Sarah explains her art practice with more images and conversations – visit

I believe Sarah sees the drawings of textiles as sculptural artworks, meditative in process. There are physical interventions in the drawings – buttons, hooks, thread, and I feel there is tension in the drawn edges. My favourite artworks in this exhibition – “Shrinkage” and “Hooked”.
The Millinary Works gallery has a discreet front, easy to walk past, and I imagine little more developed than when it was a large millinary workshop. The main part of the workshop is used for the antique furniture business but the gallery space is the updated section of this building. Definitely worth a visit.

Art trails – through a window

Art trails - through a window

This image follows on from my previous blog post and shows the front window of my venue in the Maldon Art Trail 2013. Community organised art trails in geographically recognisable defined areas, work to get art and crafts shown in public space outside the traditional commercial art gallery. These events can be very beneficial as an opportunity to share creativity and skills in public workshops, for artists to meet other artists, who often work in isolation, to develop partnerships with business, and to present another view or perspective of a town or place. As art trails have blossomed across Essex, the County Council promotes these independent initiatives under the umbrella of the Summer of Art.
If you collaborate with other artists where you live, what initiatives do you have to take to get your artwork exhibited or is it all online?

Maldon Art Trail Venue 2013

Maldon Art Trail Venue 2013

I installed my paintings last week in the Maldon Cookshop, for the Maldon Art Trail 2013. This photograph has been cropped but I wanted to give you an idea of the venue, (this image taken in the doorway), and of this Essex riverside town. There is a lot of information you can pick out, first my artwork, some you will recognise from previous blog posts, shop products, then posters of local activities, carnival, shop local campaign and art trail plus there are the reflections in the windows. It is a good venue with excellent window space, helpful staff, in a busy High Street location.
Maldon Art Trail is advertised from 28th September – 5th October but most artists work can be seen until Sunday 6th.
More information

Sketch Zakynthos Town

Sketch Zakynthos Town

Holiday sketch from hotel room balcony while adjusting to the heat of Zakynthos (Zante), an Ionian island off mainland Greece.
This year I took a different sketchbook – Moleskine, a present waiting to be used. I found this a very useful size and format to carry around and my Faber-Castell ink brush pens pulled nicely over the paper surface without bleeding through to the other side. As I am left handed I use sketchbooks by working my way through the back pages to the front (or sometimes upside down), but this sketchbook opens up quite flat if you are drawing across both pages. Initially I was not sure about the yellow tinted paper but now find it a friendly tone to work with especially if you have time to develop drawings tonally.
The little human figures are residents inspecting their water tanks and t.v. aerials plus having a chat and catching the breeze.