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’.
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Painting using acrylic ink and indian ink.
Thumbnail size fungi, (depending on the size of your thumb), in wood chip mulch at RHS Hyde Hall Garden, Rettendon, Essex. At first I saw only the silvery empty cups and wondered what they were. Then on closer inspection I could see more but with ‘eggs’ that had not been dispersed. A fungi hunt in autumn led by an expert mycologist opened my eyes to the range of common fungi, but I still wonder how I have not noticed these until this year. Field Bird’s Nest – Cyathus olla.
I used silver acrylic ink for one thin wash before adding more layers of orange and blue. Silver ink can give a grey tinge but it worked well for this subject giving a subtle metallic sheen.
The plantain on the path grew flat where it had been walked on, or maybe it was a plant survival tactic to avoid being pulled up easily. Thinking about it now, it could still be there.
This is an old garden with generations of lost, broken and discarded items. When the ground is disturbed or rain washed, small objects can emerge.
Marina di Chioggia fantastic pumpkin, fleshy folds of dense nutty sweet orange flesh, originates from Chioggia, Italy. I use it for coconut and pumpkin soup or oven baked vegetables for pasta or rice.
Initially I added this to the list of regulars grown in the vegetable garden because of the connection to Italy and memories of a good holiday in Venice but I now know the value of the fruit and it is there on merit. (Just as I wrote ‘fruit’, I had to check to see if it was fruit or vegetable).
Definitions of fruit and vegetables –
This is an oil pastel sketch for development into an ink painting or print.
A traditional art supplies shop in Kyoto for Japanese painting. Look at the size of those brushes – they would take a lot of ink or paint.
A couple of days earlier I bought a brush from a temple market in Kyoto, which was just as well as it curbed the urge to buy at this shop without really knowing what I wanted.
I enjoy using this type of brush for my ink paintings as it can be loaded with ink, hold the colour without dripping but still flow smoothly when less saturated. And it makes a nice dry brush mark.
Colchester Art Society’s winter exhibition – Digby Gallery, Mercury Theatre, Colchester, Essex.
3rd December – 27th December. It’s pantomine season at the theatre – Sleeping Beauty.
Persimmon is one of my favourite fruits at this time of year and thankfully available in our local supermarkets. It brings back good memories of a late autumn visit to Japan and train journeys through suburban Kyoto and Tokyo. From a high up advantage in the train I could look down on Persimmon trees showing small splashes of orange in wintry gardens. We knew it as Kaki.
‘Persimmon no.1’ ink painting in the CAS winter exhibition.
When I am clearing the last of the summer produce from the vegetable patch I leave the french and runner beans hanging for a few weeks longer. The ripened seeds are dried off, so they do not go mouldy, and stored ready for sowing next spring. As the pod contracts and expands it takes on a different form, easy to overlook as often hidden behind curling leaves, but if noticed it is a good subject to add to the sketchbook.
‘Purple bean podding’ is an ink painting, acrylic and indian, worked up from an oil pastel sketch.
PS I do not know the true name of this bean but I call it Purplette.
The past few days have been taken up with making frames, cutting mounts, buying glass and putting it all together, making sure labels have the correct information. A short notice opportunity for exhibiting artwork at Dedham Vale Vineyard 30th November – 1st December, made me put aside creativity and focus on the presentation. It’s a distraction but in truth for me, it makes sense financially, time wise and patience, to do my framing a few at a time. To have work ready for small exhibitions is a bonus and also it gathers work long term for a solo exhibition Spring 2014, (lots of space, great! or could that be aargh! lots of space – more work to be done). Getting an idea as to how the paintings will look as a group instead of stored in the plan chest drawer is a reality check worth doing sooner than later.
Grey sky, gloomy light, rain, conspired to increase the vibrancy of the autumn leaf colour – a beautiful day if you do not have to work in the fields.
Information for Dedham Vale Vineyard, (Constable country) please visit
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.