Lords and Ladies – acrylic and indian ink painting reworked from an oil pastel sketch. The Arum Lily berries were ripening to a brilliant red on the purple and green stems, bare of their own leaves but surrounded by the tangled undergrowth.
The mostly disused station building, (apart from a nice cafe and a part time ticket office), is almost derelict. The windows have been boarded up with chipboard and the peeling paint tells you how long they have been there. It was a sad state of a building and when travelling by rail, is the first impression arriving in Burnham on Crouch, Essex. Beyond the platform and out to the car park and Station Road, are thriving gardens, planted and developed by volunteers who have already made this a more beautiful place.
The 10th anniversary of the Burnham Art Trail and 125 years of the railway to the town, became a celebratory community art project and refurbishment of the station.
Young people age 6-18 were asked to put forward a design they would like to see on the boarded windows on the theme of Travel – past, present and future. Winning designs could be painted by the designer or if very young, the painting was done by a volunteer artist.
I painted this board from a design drawn by a six year old girl. The expressions on the faces were a delight and I was conscious not to change essential elements so it could remain as close as possible to her original idea.
If you would like to see more images of painted window boards visit http://www.burnhamarttrail.co.uk
Spring is here and the promise of a warm weekend this early in March makes it easy to forget how cold it will still be over the next couple of months. In past years there has been freezing blasts of weather just when the apple tree blossoms.
Ink painting Apple blossom no.2 is in my exhibition ‘Anticipation and Recognition’ at Colchester Library’s Les Livres Gallery, 2nd March – 31st March.
Online catalogue visit
It has been so wet this winter, the wind twisted poppy seed heads stayed whole. In previous years the freezing weather skeletonised the seed heads, leaving open basket structures. This month the soggy plants evolved into their own aerial sprouting seed pot.
The painting “Sprouting poppies’ is more subdued than my usual expressive use of colour. It could be a reflection of the weeks of rain, or the raw umber in the mix.
I had passed this Agapanthus a number of times, noting the yellow and lime green stems and seed heads almost glowing on grey days. I resolved to draw it before the black seeds dropped or the stems pushed over, but it was the forecast of more heavy rain that made me get on with sketching. Drawing in a winter garden for the sake of not missing something sounds dedicated? Fortunately the plant is in a large pot, (a cropped copper water cylinder), just outside my studio window.
‘Agapanthus winter seed head’ will be exhibited at Colchester Library Gallery, Les Livres, March 2nd-31st.
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
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.
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.