Last year a friend took down lengths of vine that she had used in an installation of contemporary floral design and paintings at Chelmsford Central Library. At the end of the exhibition and no sales, I had a very large canvas painting to wrap and pack in my car, parked on a busy road, traffic wardens around to give parking fines if they thought you were taking too long. But the bag of discarded vine cuttings came with me. All rooted, grew rapidly, (bit rampant), and this one fruited. Small grapes even when ripe but the birds liked them. ‘Brant’ is a decorative vine , grown for it autumn colour.
‘Vine – small fruit’ is an ink painting worked up from an oil pastel sketch.
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.
On the heathland there are wooded areas and clearings where gorse and heather grow. It was out, away from the oak and birch trees, I found the hat shaped fungi, looped over with low growing bramble.
“Fungi with bramble and heather”, acrylic ink and india ink on watercolour paper. One in a series of paintings of plant forms, fruit and seed heads. I prefer to work on groups of paintings, each connected to the other by subject matter or ideas and from my own experience.
My seasonal studies continue after I went on a fungi hunt at Tiptree Heath organized by the Essex Wildlife Trust and supervised by a Mycologist from Colchester Natural History Museum. Approximately twenty people searched the heathland and in two hours collected 50 different fungi. Of these only a handful are good to eat, a few more are edible (would not make you ill), but some are highly toxic.
With very little time to draw I took photographs for reference. I find working from a print out of the photograph restricts my preferred way of working so I make quick sketches from the image on my computer, using pens or oil pastels. This approximates to drawings made outside and is my starting point for further development into an ink painting.
Essex Wildlife Trust
Colchester and Ipswich Museums
Continuing my seasonal studies through sketching or photographs, I look most days for any changes in the garden, something that has done its thing, a fling of colour or shape, maturing into another form or the promise of a new happening. This is the fat flower bud of an Agapanthus still tightly closed against the unstoppable spilling out of the individual flower heads.
Agapanthus bud no.1 is an acrylic ink and indian ink painting developed from an oil pastel sketch.
Seen this week in Hayletts Gallery art shop, a striking sculpture, “Yemanya” – African & Brazilian Goddess, mixed media mosaic by Anne Schwegmann-Fielding.
The main gallery exhibition has paintings by Anthony Atkinson ARCA and Pam Dan ARCA and runs until 13th November. The two artists present distinct individual approaches to their subject matter but are unified in this show by the colour they use – subtle ranges of blues and greens lifted by the light seen in the yellow and ochre.
For more information and images visit
Continuing my current series of ink work this is the second plant form study of Honesty (Lunaria), seed head ripening. These self seed around the garden and I feel are a useful addition in the early summer with the white or purple flowers. The tender green seed pod discs evolve picking up purples, pinks and reds as it matures to its end of season form. The silver translucent remains now stand, having shed the brown seeds.
Wikipedia has interesting information for the origin of both names – Lunaria and Honesty but there many other names this plant is also known by.