Agapanthus winter seed head – ink – Jenny Hill

Agapanthus winter seed head - ink - Jenny Hill

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.

Winter vine arch – Dedham Vale Vineyard – Jenny Hill

Winter vine arch - Dedham Vale Vineyard - Jenny Hill

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

RHS Hyde Hall, Essex, UK – Rose hip sketch with ink colour test

RHS Hyde Hall, Essex, UK - Rose hip sketch with ink colour test

I visited RHS Hyde Hall Garden, Creephedge Lane, Rettendon, Essex last week with my sketchbook. This extract is a pen sketch of rose hips with an acrylic ink test strip. The test paper is used to work out the colours I want ready for use when I start on another artwork. There are always adjustments to the ink mixes as I proceed but to have approximate colours means I can work more fluidly.
RHS Hyde Hall Garden is one of my regular haunts, even in winter, but one of my favourite times is now, when plants and trees are fruiting or seeding with the late blast of summer flowers. But if visiting in June for the roses you have to remember to breathe out as all you want to do is take in all the different rose scents.

Cocklespit beach, shingle and saltmarsh plants

Cocklespit beach, shingle and saltmarsh plants

This is a detail of thumbnail sketches when I reworked my visual references for composition and colour tryouts. If you look at an earlier image posted, you may possibly recognise one of the plants sketched at Cocklespit beach.
I regularly use the technique of ‘thumbnails’, as they are small, (for me approximately 5.0cm x 6-8.0cm), and take very little time. This helps me to generate and make visual, a number of ideas on the same page ready for reworking, in this instance, with acrylic and indian ink.