Friday, 29 April 2011

Colour from the season - Mountain Cornflower blue

This looks like a thistle but it's a perennial Mountain Cornflower. In parts of Europe it's been used by herbalists to make an eyewash for tired (blue) eyes. The form and colour of this flower are a bit special, forked blue petals sheltering pink centres and black lashes on the buds...

..from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

the little things - Ladybird landing

The little things in life that make the difference...

...Just as I finished my notebook drawing (in the garden) of the Arum for my last colour post

the tiniest 2 spotted ladybird landed on it to check it out.

(no Aphids here!)

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Colour from the season - willy lily red

Arum maculatum is known as Cuckoo-Pint, Lords and Ladies, Starchwort and Willy Lily amongst it's other numerous names, it's also one of our more toxic wild plants - luckily I guessed that about it (looks poisonous doesn't it?), and so was quite careful with it.

At one time it was grown in Britain on an industrial scale for starch production, not only to stiffen cuffs and collars and (earlier) Elizabethan ruffs, but it's also very similar to Cassava flour for culinary uses. In which case it might very well make a good flour paste for resist printing before indigo dyeing.

Countrylovers website tells you how to prepare the flour from the root - experiment at your own risk!
It has quite a strange smell and these colours...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Colour from the season - Fern brown

Occasionally drawing is more difficult. Hard to know why - whether it's the British weather (erratic!) or just my mood (erratic?). If I don't rate a drawing, then I don't like looking at it - so I just rip it up and start again. I haven't yet given up on a plant. Six rhododendron leaf drawings bit the dust before I finally arrived at the one on my (March) post, and today this hairy unfurling fern gave me a lot of trouble. So, while not the best drawing I've ever done - it's the first which survived the re-cycling bin. Luckily this doesn't happen too often, just after I drew a Clematis which was no trouble at all...


(a Good Friday in the garden).

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Colour from the season - Tulip orange

These tulips were a surprise discovery - I do love tulips, sometimes outrageous and always spectacular. Happily I was able to liberate this one for my notebook..!

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Colour from the Season - Rosemary Russet (apple blossom) pink

I've had a notion that the blossom is paler this year. First I noticed it on the cherry tree next door, white this year - but I'm convinced it's normally pale pink blossom. Now the apple blossom is also white fully opened. I painted it pink in 2006, (when I designed Rosemary Russet fabric shortlisted for the British Design awards, 2007), as you see below in one of my original drawings added to this notebook page...but I can't be certain!

Josef Albers states  "First it is hard, if not impossible, to remember distinct colors. This underscores the important fact that the visual memory is very poor in comparison with our auditory memory"...  "Second, the nomenclature of color is most inadequate. Though there are innumerable colors – shades and tones – in daily vocabulary, there are only about 30 color names." Interaction of Color - Yale University Press (2006).

Perhaps Rosemary Russet pink will make no. 31!

(These were most of its colours on Sunday - it also had deep red buds and white petals).

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Colour from the Season - Elm green

Many people still remember the Elm when it was one of the most dominant trees in the landscape before around 25 million were wiped out by Dutch Elm disease in the 70's and 80's.  I just came across a project called The Great British Elm Experiment  by The Conservation Foundation. If you're an organisation or individual who would like to plant a tree from a cutting taken from trees resistant to Dutch Elm disease for over 60 years, please contact them and help to re-populate the Elm into Britain!

Wafer thin papery seed pods and these fresh colours...

Snowdonia earlier this week.

Chip at Aber falls.

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Colour from the Season - bluebell blue

Enchanted fairy flowers, bluebells are two weeks early this year and the woodlands here are already scattered with their shades of blue. These are our native wild variety, delicate long tubular bells with curling petals...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Colour from the Season - Tulip blue

Loud and in your face red tulips. It's not often I don't like what I'm doing for this colour research, but I did find it hard severing the heads of these two tulips to draw, photograph and then dissect. I 've been looking for greeny blues for months... there's been nothing (except firmly attached to a peacock at the Hunters Inn), so I was ecstatic to find this blue in the centre of a red tulip, what a brilliant combination! - and a smudge of deep purple in it's anthers to boot...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Colour from the Season - Euphorbia green

More and more Euphorbia, I can't get enough of it - feathery fronds and bright green bracts. This unusual one has the tiniest vivid pink flowers. Black ink line (dip pen), no pencil sketching, just putting my trust in the pen (and the hand) - its a great way to draw, very immediate and satisfying. A touch of digital colour added to my sketch for my (slightly busy?) notebook page...

It's the sunniest Spring day today - and I'm feeling a bit euphorbic!

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Colour from the season - Japanese Rose yellow

Raggedy pompoms of golden flowers and leaves which are zigzagged with almost concertina'd folding. This study combines a scan of the leaves with drawn flowers, I love the sunshine glow of the yellow...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Colour from the Season - Viccy park Cherry blossom pink

This Cherry blossom is a bit special to me. The branch was broken off on the ground (looking dead), a while ago when I was in Victoria park in Bath. We grew up 2 minutes from the park and to my sister and me, it was our fact we thought we owned it. Today is mother's day, and I sketched the blossom (which miraculously - magically even, came into flower kept outside in a jug of water) for my mum...

 thank her for yanking me out of the duck pond when I was drowning, holding our hands tight and keeping us safe, turning a blind eye when she saw me smoking on the dodgems and my name sprayed on the back of the shelter, and loving us whatever. Perfect colours for her...

the day I found that branch - not a blossom in sight.

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Colour from the Season - Honesty pink

Honesty - best known for it's papery flat seed pods, I just discovered this is what it looks like in flower. The name refers to the frankness of the plant showing it's seeds through the transparent pods. Saturated magenta and purple in the petals and heart shaped leaves - butterflies love it...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Colour from the Season - Buzzard feather brown

Buzzard feathers! So many of these beautiful birds circling in the sky around here - this is the first time that I've ever seen their feathers up close. This exquisite primary or wing feather is 17" long (small quill pen?) was interesting to draw. Here are the sampled colours from all the feathers. If you want to learn how to make a quill pen, this English Heritage video gives a simple and informative description...

no birds were harmed in the collecting of these feathers - thanks Trev

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.