Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Eighty – Feeling ill
Monday, January 29, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Seventy-Nine – The Bluebell Wood in the distance
My walk across the Woodland Park and back was lovely today. The weather was mild, sunny and felt quite spring-like. I still have lots of design work to do, so I was also rather pleased at how quickly I produced this little painting. I suppose after a couple of years of sketch-blogging I ought to be getting to grips with being quick and decisive. Practice really makes a difference.
200mm x 145mm sepia pen and watercolour in small cartridge sketchbook
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Seventy-Eight – Caps Cottages
200mm x 145mm pene and watercolour in small cartridge sketchbook
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Seventy-Seven – Grey day
All the men in the family, apart from Xavier, were off getting themselves a VHF radio operating licence today. Flo was doing homework and so to give her a bit of peace, Xavier and I went off for a walk and had fun clambering over the newly- fallen trees in the Bluebell Wood.
200mm x 145mm in pencil and watercolour in cartridge sketchbook
Friday, January 26, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Seventy-Six – Two fields
I was too busy with work to walk at lunch-time. Due to a client call I only had five minutes to make Xavier’s packed lunch of tuna-mayonnaise and cucumber sandwiches and natural yoghurt mixed with a little strawberry jam (together with the home-made strawberry yoghurt label that he likes me to draw and stick on the top!). We’ve re-arranged his timetable so he can take his lunchbox and go to lunch club once a week. So I was able to take a much shorter than usual lunch break, drop him off, get home, continue work and save my walk for the evening before making supper. Robin’s Auntie Di has been magnificent, helping out with driving broken-footed Hugo back and forth. Quite honestly I think this mile from home project has been great because the one way I can guarantee being able to draw without interruptions or demands from husband or one of the four children, is to get myself a mile away from home, out of earshot.
This was my second drawing en route to the bluebell wood. The first was a fairly dire attempt at one of the ‘pigs’ grazing in the fields.
200mm x 145mm pen in small cartridge sketchbook
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Seventy-Five – Rufus on the move
It was freezing cold today – after enjoying crunching through the layers of ice over the puddles in Pound Farm, Rufus and I had a quick walk up the track and round the Bluebell Wood while Robin picked up Xavier from nursery. Work pressures, time constraints and the extreme cold meant that these little sketches were done with a brushpen as we walked.
Brushpen in A5 sketchbook
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Seventy-Four – What Xavier does at nursery
Click on the picture if you want to see a bigger version. A real quickie as my workload this month is bigger than normal, and I’m having to do even more driving back and forth with my broken-footed son Hugo. I drew Xavier before the walk back home from the nursery. We woke up to a thin layer of snow this morning, which thrilled Xavier. He was very cross that he’d forgotten to take a carrot (for a nose) with him to nursery, but by lunch time the snow had disappeared so there were no snowmen to be seen.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Seventy-Three – Michelangelo couldn’t have done this
You may think I’m getting a little big-headed when you read the title of this post, however as I took five minutes (yes that’s right five minutes – oh OK maybe seven minutes) to draw this with a pen, a waterbrush and a tiny set of watercolours, I reflected on how fortunate we are nowadays with the fantastic portable colour media that we have nowadays. To think that the great masters could only use colour for the fresco or the final painting, whereas I produced this as I walked down the path from the nursery, with an impatient Xavier and a conveniently black pair of trousers that I could wipe my waterbrush on as I changed colour. Think about that the next time you feel miserable about some aspect of living in the 21st century!
200mm x 145mm pen and watercolour in small cartridge sketchbook
Monday, January 22, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Seventy-Two – Freezing night
Then up the farm track to beyond the Bluebell Wood. With the drawing out of the way I surprised myself by enjoying the walk. Alone in the dark, well wrapped up, looking at the stars. At the one mile point I looked back at the village lights and wondered how on earth my blogging friends Alison and Jana do such a good job of drawing night-time scenes, so for fun I blindly sketched and took notes of what I could see.
Then home, and as I walked through Pound Farm I saw out of the corner of my eye a zebra tethered up. A quick double-take and I realised it was a horse wearing a stripy coat. But I think I’m onto a great idea here. What do you think Penny? Wouldn’t it be a glorious sight to see a field of horses wearing zebra-striped coats rather than the dull green or brown ones they normally wear here.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Seventy-One – Chilly day
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Seventy – Lovely window
Friday, January 19, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Sixty-Nine – Aftermath of the storm
A very quick five minute drawing as I walked through the woods that fringe the Woodland Park. Fallen branches everywhere. Lots of work so no time to indulge in drawing.
This evening Xavier made us struggle to keep our faces straight because of his inability and unwillingness to apologise to Hugo for a misdemeanour. He has always struggled to say sorry even if it could mean missing out on a treat. Amazing that even a year ago he couldn’t glibly say sorry – which I suppose at least means that he understands the power of admitting a wrongdoing. He desperately wanted his jelly dessert but couldn’t bring himself to apologise and so was resorting to threats. Finally, Flo and I were totally unable to stifle our giggles when after threatening to hide his school library toy/book bag he looked at us sternly and said ‘You have no choice!’. Funny that he worked out that I would suffer if the school bag disappeared.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Sixty-Eight – 80mph winds
Clouds scudding across the sky over Pound Farm. I walked up to and past the Bluebell Wood – I didn’t want to risk a branch falling on my head. Sadly Robin’s Christmas present of a mystery date tonight has been cancelled as the performer has been stuck somewhere because of the havoc caused by the gales. I worked out some time ago that he’d bought tickets for an Elvis impersonator and I wanted to see in the intervening time how many Elvis lyrics I could slip into conversation before he realised I’d guessed. I thought I was coming close to getting caught out last night when I left my shoes in front of the bedroom doorway and said as he came in – ‘Don’t tread on my blue suede shoes and would you mind moving them out of the way’.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Sixty-Seven – Xavier in the car
I didn’t have the excuse of rain for drawing in the car, but as time is at a premium I was trying to multitask, so I was drawing and telling Xavier a story as he ate his lunch in the car seat, parked next to nursery. Then I dropped him off and skated back and forth over the sea of mud, that is the Woodland Park.
The story I told him was prompted by Alison’s enquiry as to whether Rufus can swim.
Two or three years before Xavier was born I was walking Rufus in Verulamium Park, with Flo. The foot and mouth crisis meant that most of the countryside was out of bounds. It was February, there had been a lot of rain and the lake and River Ver were full to bursting point and some water was sloshing over the path between the two bodies of water. As we walked, Flo asked whether one should jump in and rescue anyone who fell into the lake. So I used this as an opportunity to explain the dangers of putting yourself in a dangerous situation. I pointed out the life rings and explained how much safer it was to try to rescue someone from the banks rather than risk drowning yourself. As I spoke, a moorhen flapped its way from the lake on the right, across our path, to the river on the left. The commotion was irresistible to Rufus who chased the flapping bird – and – you’ve guessed it – fell into the river. I peered into the water and could see Rufus walking along the bed of the river, no sign of floating whatsoever – and – you’ve guessed it – quick as a flash I jumped in and scooped up the solid lump of muscle that is our dog and heaved him onto the side. So Alison I think we can conclude that Rufus can’t swim. I then had the joy of having to walk to the other side of the park in completely soaked winter clothes and having to explain to Flo that just because I jumped in to rescue Rufus, that didn’t mean it was necessarily the most sensible thing to do.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Sixty-Six – Rufus in the car
Monday, January 15, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Sixty-Five – Tops of trees
This was my walk across Jersey Farm Woodland Park and back for the nursery pick-up and collection. Back-lit clouds and silhouetted trees near the nursery school. Over the next few days I’ll be trying to create images as quickly as possible as the usual bottleneck of paid design work has started.
200mm x 145mm ink and watercolour in cartridge sketchbook
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Sixty-Four – Ivy-covered tree
190mm x 120mm pen and watercolour in large watercolour Moleskine
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Sixty-Three – Daffodils in January!
100mm x 140mm ink and watercolour in small cartridge sketchbook
Friday, January 12, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Sixty-Two – Shire horse – I think
I know you probably think I’m au fait with the terminology for flora, fauna and anything else related to the English countryside but I’m not — I’m a complete idiot, but nevertheless prepared to learn if only it would stay in my head. Anyway having already been challenged ornithologically, I’m not going to stick my neck out when Penny one of the other one milers is an equine expert. Let’s just say it was fairly big, and it had big hairy feet, so the words ‘cart’ and ‘shire’ came to mind.
This was a very quick walk and sketch late in the day as the most of the day I was tending to a sick Xavier and washing vomit out of my hair and all the bedding on both his cot and our bed. After being unable to keep even water down for all of the morning, at about one o’ clock he announced that he was better and ready to eat breakfast. He had a tantrum when I reluctantly gave him a tiny portion of cereal, insisting he had to have the usual big bowl. I eventually caved in and wouldn’t you know it, he was quite right. The food revived him and a couple of hours later he was tucking into eggs on toast, followed by a supper a bit later on of sausages and the usual rejected vegetables.
100mm x 145mm brushpen in cartridge sketchbook
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Sixty-One – Abandoned mug
Sometimes you can have it up to your eyeballs drawing trees, fields, clouds and nature in all its glory. So whatever drove someone to bring their mug of tea or coffee into the woodland park and then leave it propped against a tree, I’m grateful for the change of subject matter.
The usual charge across the woodland park from nursey to home, but as I was literally dragged through a hedge backwards as I slipped on the mud slalom that constitutes a path, I decided to return for the pick up by walking around the park using the road.
200mm x 145mm ink in cartridge sketchbook
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Sixty – The start of the walk
This is the view down the road as I head off on most of my walks. Hopkins Crescent opposite running parallel to the High Street, the village hall, car park, phone box and zebra crossing further down the road. The day started with pouring rain, so the minute it stopped I dashed up to the Bluebell wood and back. There was no time to draw as I had to rush off straight away to pick up Xavier, but I drew this when I got back. Click on the picture to see a bigger version.
410mm x 130mm ink and watercolour in large watercolour Moleskine
410mm x 130mm ink and watercolour in large watercolour Moleskine
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Fifty-Nine – Tantrum
Once again it was a constant drizzle of rain outside and I’m getting tired of ruining good sketchbook pages trying to draw in the wet. So before I dropped Xavier at nursery and setting off over the woodland park I drew my sweet-tempered darling child inside the car. I had his lunch in his new Superman birthday lunchbox which I was sure would delight him. However it turns out that he’s been badgering me for a lunchbox because he thinks having a lunchbox means joining the lunch club (which we can’t do because logistically we can’t get there at the start and the school understandably won’t let you join if you are always going to be twenty minutes late because it’s disruptive to the other children). The one on the top right was the first one I drew and really captures his fury.
Thank you for all the good wishes on my health – I feel a lot better, my throat still hurts but that fluey muscle-aching feeling has gone.
Monday, January 08, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Fifty-Eight – Log, the woodland park
145mm x 210mm sepia ink in cream cartridge sketchbook
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Fifty-Seven – Stable at Pound Farm
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Fifty-Six – ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty’
The truth of the matter is that when I tried to draw the hut in the woods (mentioned in the previous post) this was the best I could manage. The constant rain all day has meant that walking up to the woods was like walking in a river bed (though my feet were dry and warm as toast in my new fur-lined boots) and when I attempted to draw on the increasingly sodden paper I had to abandon each drawing tool in my pencil case until at last some of the marks from the inkpen stuck to the page.
Note to self: How about a bus-shelter series?
200mm x 145mm, pencil, sepia pen, ink pen and rain in small cartridge sketchbook
Friday, January 05, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Fifty-Five – Coat of many colours
Xavier brightened up the otherwise dull day, in this lovely coat that was given to him about a year ago. This is one of those items of clothing that I’m sure will always remind me of Xavier’s toddlerhood, much like a little knitted waistcoat that I’ll always associate with Tom when he was a little chubby chap tending to his woodlouse farm at the bottom of the garden.
En route to the bluebell wood we bumped into a fellow dog-walker, Tim, who I had last exchanged words with about the same time four years ago just before I was about to go into hospital to have Xavier. It turns out Tim is also a self-employed graphic designer and I was extolling the joys of daily sketching and blogging to him, however I think I probably put him off when I said how low my tax bill was this year! The walk took a long time because with Xavier we had to explore every little bit of the woods. We ran up and down the ‘dip’. We sat astride the big ‘horse’ and the little ‘horse’. We found a rather magnificent log and leaf-covered shelter that had been built by the scouts so we went inside for Xavier to make me cups of tea and pasta and pesto. We finally clambered over fallen trees that made the ‘climbing frame’ in the ‘garden’ of our house in the woods.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Fifty-Four – Morning shadows
SAD sufferers as it would be a bright sunny day. I’m grateful for and pleased by the pollen count being included in the weather forecast, but I’m not sure that it helps enormously to say that a day is going to be good or bad for SAD sufferers. I mean you feel depressed, you can’t face getting out of bed, and the weather forecaster has told you that it’s going to be dark and miserable outside, so why bother. Surely it’s even more important to get out and soak up whatever light there is on a dark, overcast day?
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Fifty-Three – Shop Repair
Work has started today on the repairs to the village shop*. I stood on the side of the road and quickly documented this before going up the hill to beyond the Bluebell Wood and back. Sadly the day work calls so little time to indulge in painting, drawing and blogging.
* See this post if you want to know why it needs repairing.
295mm x 180mm ink and water in cartridge sketchbook
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Fifty-Two – Dismal day
Monday, January 01, 2007
Walk Two Hundred and Fifty-One – First painting of the year
What a beautiful morning to start 2007! It’s overcast now but it was wonderful to get out before the clouds covered the sky. I did choose what must have been the windiest spot possible (a completely unprotected top of the hill) on my walk, so a couple of passing walkers probably thought I’d taken leave of my sanity. And dear Rufus was as patient as ever while I painted.
255mm x 170mm watercolour on Arches HP paper