Monday, 26 June 2017

Balcony Update

As I was super busy this weekend, here is a filler post until I paint something. I am very pleased with my balcony at the mo, with this Provence style flower group of sunflowers, lavender and 'misc climbers'. It didn't specify on the seed packet but they look like weeds to me.
My tomato plants are fruiting, one fruit is turning red, and I have basil seedlings. The formerly bleak, claustrophobic, concretey, balcony is now summery and lovely and you can sit out on it with a drink while nervously watching for ants and spiders.
Once these flowers are over I might need to pop out to the teeny garden centre by the station for some more colourful things...

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Artists at Home

Today we went to the Artists at Home in Chiswick. It is worth looking out for these fantastic free events where you can visit artists homes or studios and chat to them about their work. Highly recommended for art enthusuasts or just if you like seeing other people's homes and gardens. 
The one I enjoyed most was the sculptor and life drawing artist Michael French. He lives on the ground floor of this fascinating old house in a wonderfully bohemian studio of tatty decor, antique furniture and life sculpture overlooking a jungly garden. Such a lovely bloke he talked to us for ages about his work, his inspirations and even where to find good art classes.
The homes of artists are always really interesting and full of inspiration. 

Monday, 12 June 2017


An experimental work here, with coloured ink. Trying to go bolder with colour and line. These nasturtiums are growing in a pot on my balcony. I am obsessed with their round leaves and vivid orange flowers and wibbly stems. They are also so easy to grow from seed, an ideal plant.
Balcony is looking good at the mo with these, sunflowers, bright blue borage flowers and my tomato and strawberry plants are doing well.
I am giving up on the back garden in that just when it was getting better two handymen came along and ripped out all the plants, good and bad, and then just left the bits strewn everywhere. Let's just say they won't be appearing on Gardener's World any time soon.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Van Gogh ish

I grew a tiny sunflower on my balcony. It's rather wibbly and shrivelled appearance looked fun to draw. I used my new bamboo dip pen I bought from my favourite art shop when we were in Paris. It makes a lovely variable, flowing, chaotic line. Really fun to draw with. This is also from life which I think always improves the results. My aim is to get the personality of what I am painting rather than the accuracy. 

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Hammersmith Rooftops

Another for the backs of houses series. I enjoy seeing the massing of building, extensions, alterations, and gardens from the tube train. London is a densely packed city and every inch from basement to sttic is used. Balconies jut out almost to the thundering trains themselves and drilling and hammering announces yet more 'improvement in square footage'.
This view though could almost be Victorian with its red brick, chimney pots and laburnum tree.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Balcony Garden

A brief update on my balcony garden and back garden projects.

On the balcony the fern looks fantastic and grew a new batch of fronds. The sunflowers are budding although they are only a foot high and the borage and nasturtiums are growing fast. The strawberry plants look good and are flowering. The herbs, apart from the sage which went mouldy, are growing strongly. The succulents love the heat and I never water them.

On the minus side the mini salads are feeble, it may be too warm for them. I may replace them with some more strawberries or something.  The tomato is growing well but the flowers keep falling off. Generally I can see greenery and am enjoying the project so that's all good. Pots need lots of watering.

In the back garden the giant boston ivy vine is coming back rampantly and will subsume everything. Two shrubs are doing well, the one in the planter is weak and something seems to be eating anything I put in there. I am amazed any slugs or whatever survive back there it is so dry and concretey. So a mixed success in a very difficult area.

Gardening is both easier and more difficult than you think. Growing vigorous plants from seed or buying and growing small plants in a good area is fine. Trying to grow food or plant an unpromising area is difficult. 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Pen Portraits

This week I went to an exhibition of modern portraits at the Mall Gallery. Aside from the usual smug families and bloated plutocrats there were some great pictures which really captured personality. So I thought I would try a portrait based on a photo of a girl in interestingly huge glasses I took on the tube.
I was really pleased with the graphic look of this.