Friday, June 30, 2006

Walk Sixty-seven – Love in a mist


A lovely summer evening at about seven in the evening. I bemoan the darkness of winter and the cold, but it’s only when you’re in a tropical country that you’re reminded of what a gift these long light evenings are, for those of us in temperate regions. I really did lie down on the grass verge to be able to look up at the flower and see the sky behind. Later Robin caught up with me on his bike, with Xavier on the back, and they accompanied me for the rest of the walk.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Walk Sixty-six – Not quite a Nash terrace


This is the smaller inner crescent of formerly council-owned houses off House Lane. I’ve always thought that the council-employed planner and architect did a pretty good job here. The curve of the two concentric crescents makes for a very sociable looking environment and the story book style roofs (or is that rooves?) give the houses a rather attractive distinctiveness. The lines were drawn very quickly on the hoof (about ten minutes) and the colour and scanning was done in a much more leisurely way later.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Walk Sixty-five – Drawing in the dark

A busy day, so I only managed my walk after getting back from London at 10:30. I don’t know how the antipodean branch of ‘One Mile From Home’ manage all this night-time drawing. The colour was noted down and added in Photoshop.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Walk Sixty-four – Printmaking with Xavier

An evening walk around the bluebell wood with Xavier after an exhausting day. This was jointly produced by the two of us, sitting on the bench next to the scout hut.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Walk Sixty-three – Where Steve lived

I had a lovely e-mail the other day from someone called Steve, he said ‘I have just discovered your site and I would like you know that you have brought back so many happy memories for me. As a child I lived in Woodcock Hill for 2 or 3 years, a short time I know, but the place left a lasting impression on me’. Anyway Steve, if you’re looking at this, I will take some photos and send them to you when the sun is shining. Today however, it was overcast and drizzly so I sheltered in the woods to draw. The red smudge you can see through the trees is the new house that is being built next to the cottages that replaced the cottages you lived in.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Walk Sixty-two – The track back to the village

Oh dear I’m too old to take the wine flowing quite so freely the night before. Walk and illustration done with Xavier and a massive hangover. Thank goodness it’s only one mile from home.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Walk Sixty-one – Childwickbury arts fair





Oh what a lovely day. Fruit and veg market shopping and Robin came with me and carried all the heavy bags. Then I set off to Childwickbury arts fair with good friends Natalie and Katie. I drew, I ate, I bumped into more friends, I glazed raku pottery vases and had them fired, I bumped into more friends, I made a juggling ball from pure wool in Xavier's favorite colour, I bumped into more friends. I drew. I walked home and our dear friends Jenny, Guy and Octavia stayed for a barbecue supper. A special, lovely day.

The top picture was when the electricity generator failed for the hat fashion show and instead of using recorded music one of the live musicians stood in and was so good he must have surpassed any recorded music they may have planned .
The middle picture is Christiana Kubrick in the wonderful plein air studio that they’ve set up (decking and a marquee roof right next to the pastoral landscape of their grounds).
The bottom picture is the lovely clock over the arched entrance into the courtyard of the stable buildings that make the wonderful studio space for Christiana Kubrick, her daughter and friends and students .

Friday, June 23, 2006

Walk Sixty – Lyndon Mead


This is probably where I’ll end up when I’m past being able to look after myself. The village now has a choice of two retirement homes as a big new home has been built on the edge of the village, but I just think I’d be too embarrassed to say I lived in a place called ‘Tara‘s Retreat’, to even consider the other one. In any case this one is situated in the middle of all the action, behind the church, close to the village shop and very near to the Queen’s Head and the Ro e and C own (I’m sticking to this name for the pub until they fix the signage on the front!).

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Walk Fifty-nine – Cows not pigs

A quick walk and several sketches using my big sketchbook and a big water brush filled with black ink. After drawing the cows, I thought better of going along the path through the field by Sandridgebury stables. Several horses had been put to graze in the field that the footpath runs through and I always feel a bit helpless when these huge creatures crowd in on me looking for apples. I’m always terrified they’ll tread on Rufus and I don’t know how to shoo them away. So I retreated and ended up walking my favourite short walk round the woods.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Walk Fifty-eight – In search of puddles

This may look like a short walk, but in the company of the little Emperor it was in reality a very long walk and about twice the distance shown here. Despite the dry weather, Xavier is insistent on wearing wellington boots and there were numerous diversions off the main path in search of puddles to jump in. As you can imagine we returned home with the boots as dry as they were when we left home.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Walk Fifty-seven – A roll in the hay

A few moments to capture this fleeting sight, as sadly the farmer hires the machine that wraps the rolls of hay in black shiny plastic at the same time as he hires the machine that rolls up the hay, so a very quick watercolour before they all get encased in their very practical but unattractive raincoats. Minimum walk today around the woods and these were the fields right next to Pound Farm, just off the High Street.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Walk Fifty-six – My walking companion


Ladies, if like me it’s been a long time since a lorry driver or building worker acknowledged your existence, and, if you’re missing the attention, what you need is one of these. There is nothing like a handsome manly dog such as my Staffordshire Bull Terrier to turn heads as you set off down the street!

I attempted several quick sketches this evening - most of which were truly dire. A night with barely any sleep meant that I only walked the ‘minimum’ round Langley wood, so no map because you'll be sick to death of seeing the same route.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Walk Fifty-five – Harpenden Cricket Club

A long walk to Harpenden today and my brain is too frazzled to sort out a map. I may add to this tomorrow.


Map added – and for anyone who has spotted the break - it’s because hubby picked me up in the car to drive a few miles further on to visit his dad and then dropped me off to walk the last couple of miles home

Further pictures from yesterday and why not to buy a moleskine


The moleskine has only just hit the St Albans shop (yes that was supposed to be singular!) and I stupidly bought the only blank paged one they sold. Whatever you do, don’t buy the same one for drawing in, (the thinner pages) it’s rubbish as it needs tons of Photoshop trickery to hide the show-through from page to page as you can see from the before picture here.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Walk Fifty-four – Three minute drawing

Lots of walking and drawing today around St Albans, however in addition, when I eventually got back home I did the ‘minimum’ mile walk around Langley woods. This is the view fom Pound Farm at the bottom of the hill looking up the track. I really want to try to learn how to draw well but in a very short space of time – much of the time I’m far too slow. I also did a few sketches of the two hot air ballooons, that went past. I’ll post the rest of the pictures on this blog and my other blog when I feel less exhausted. Good night!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Walk Fifty-three – Nature walk with Xavier


A long rambling walk this evening with Xavier where we discussed all sorts of things from where you must pick up your dog’s poo (the park, the garden) and where it’s not necessary to pick it up (muddy countryside miles away from anywhere and anywhere that you can see elephant poo already on the ground). We identified flowers, we picked flowering grasses which we used as tickling sticks, we talked about whether Fran (Xavier’s part time childminder ) is going to have a girl baby or a boy baby. So with all our important discussions I could only manage a few moments to draw each of the items in this composite.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Walk Fifty-two – Oooh-er bit of a shock!


When I was a child I recall being quite disdainful of some Australian children who were on holiday at the same place as us in Fiji. The reason for this was that as they left their holiday ‘bure’ (Fijian syle house) to go down to the beach they ran like the clappers through the coconut trees that fringed the beach, just in case a coconut fell on their heads and killed them. Obviously coconuts fall off trees but in all the years I’d lived in Fiji I’d never witnessed a coconut falling off a tree, let alone falling on someone’s head. Similarly here in England, you can see the evidence of branches and even entire trees that have fallen onto the woodland floor, but you never witness the event – until today. As I was emerging from the first little spinney on my walk, there was the most God almighty crash behind me, birds flapping and squawking and flying out into the open together with what seemed to be bits of debris flying through the trees. I was too nervous of the first tree destabilising more trees to go back and look so I stopped at the first stile and calmed my nerves with this soothing watercolour. And yes that slice of field in the background is the formerly bright yellow oil seed rape field that I painted in a previous post.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Walk Fifty-one – Ssshhhhh



You don’t have to live in Sandridge for very long before one of the locals will tell you conspiratorily, as he sips his pint in the ‘Green Man’, that there is a secret tunnel that runs directly from Downing Street to the ‘Wireless Listening Station’ at the top of Woodcock Hill in Sandridge. Though why the Prime Minister of the day should want to rush to Sandridge from any threat in London mystifies me. Oops now I’ve let the cat out of the bag. We’ll just have to see whether this post mysteriously disappears...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Walk Fifty – A poppy before breakfast



You forget how small children completely restrict your movements (well I did until I had Xavier) so it was a luxury to be able to set out first thing, leaving Xavier in the care of Flo (who is on study leave). I had intended to paint a tree but this solitary poppy on the edge of the wheat field caught my eye.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Walk Forty-nine – Xavier on his ‘like bike’


A few scribbles of Robin and Xavier coming up the lane to the woods. Xavier did the whole two miles! The bike is a novel design – no pedals, but two wheels, and supposedly much better than stabilisers at getting children to ride a proper two wheeler bike.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Walk Forty-eight – Round the wood with Flo


The only way that I could sneak a very quick line drawing of Flo was to let her play the game on my mobile telephone. Dabs of colour added later in ‘Painter’.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Walk Forty-seven – Hedge


Our wonderful independent parish councillor, Natalie, has singlehandedly worked tirelessly to raise money and get as much support as possible to have our decrepit, unusable village tennis and basketball courts completely restored so that we have a fantastic sports resource for the community. So I spent most of a lovely sunny day in front of the computer helping her sort out the marketing material, timetable and booking forms for when they are up and running. However it was a small price to pay compared to all her work, and with four children I know we’ll get the use out of it. This drawing therefore was a quickie looking out over the fields near the bluebell wood.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Walk Forty-six – Log, seat, whatever


I have been asked whether I take a seat with me when drawing outside. I don’t at the moment as I find the more bulky the drawing kit the less inclined I am to set off, so it’s standing, sitting on the ground or using whatever is available. Fortunately there are a few places where farmers have put logs like these where there are gaps in the hedges – I think to prevent fly-tipping.
The rabbit really did appear while I was drawing and my dear dog, who would have loved to chase the bejasus out of the creature, had to put up with ‘staying’ and looking on longingly while I drew the rabbit in the picture.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Walk Forty-five – Clouds over Pudler’s Wood


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Walk Forty-four - Backlit clouds and trees


Still busy but I made myself walk a bit further this evening. Pen and ink really demonstrate the madness of this activity of drawing. You look at a view that comprises all the colours of the rainbow, that includes solid tree trunks and insubstantial wispy clouds, where you can see every single blade of grass in front of you and you try to distill that all down to a few black lines. And then even more amazingly when we look at black marks of a line drawing our imagination can fill in the gaps.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Walk Forty-three – Scribbling what I can

Another quick walk around Langley Wood with Xavier in tow. As you can see he's like his Mummy, and doesn’t like to wear shoes unless it's absolutely essential.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Walk Forty-two – Lonely tree

A lovely evening. This is the view over the wheatfield from the small mixed development of council housing in Langley Grove. Isn’t it great that the law protects trees like this one?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Walk Forty-one - That cloud again


After a lovely morning on the sea cadets’ motor boat and the long drive home it was just a quick walk around the bluebell wood and a few hurried sketches. I thought I’d try the ‘lightning struck’ tree from the other side but I seem doomed to catch whatever rain there is when I try to draw it.