Monday, 31 December 2012

Colours of the month - December

On the eve of 2013, here are my selection of the month's colours (12/12), a Decemberry tree! and a favourite poem...

In Greece many years ago I was given a book of poetry because it contained this poem.


As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbours you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvellous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard


Wishing you an inspirational and happy New Year...xx

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...from my seasonal colour sample notebook. 

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Colour from the season - Christmas Box - red

My son Josse said to me a few days ago that Christmas is just an excuse for me to bring even more plant life into the house! I will admit there is rather a lot of Ivy twined around and about fairy lights to brighten these dark evenings, also branches of Cotoneaster and a little Christmas Box, but this year I would say that I've been incredibly restrained - (I reminded him it's the season of good will!)

Gorgeous glossy green leaves, the deepest red to black berries (they quickly turn black when you bring them indoors) and tiny white flowers with a powerful fragrance (a bit like Lily of the Valley), this is Christmas Box (Sarcococca confusa).

Lots of wonderful wreaths at this time of year - here's mine!

Merry Christmas! 

(Cotoneaster Red, Christmas Box Red and (font) Bodoni ornaments)...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Colour from the season - Cotoneaster red

I'm not fixed to tradition, therefore branches of this Himalayan Cotoneaster are adorning my dining room table and front door wreath in the lead up to Christmas this year. Holly, it always seems to me, is just too vicious, so last year I championed Hawthorn as a seasonal alternative and this year I'm trialling this Himalayan Cotoneaster for its festive December berries, also Box (more to come on that). I don't really think that this Cotoneaster will keep its leaves or berries long enough to be a serious contender! but it is the most fabulous colour palette for Christmas as you can see...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Colour from the season - Chrysanthemum red

Mostly I draw from life, but occasionally from photos if I can't study the subject easily (life model required with antlers!). Drawing can be a way of helping to generate creative ideas and this is especially the case I've noticed when I'm drawing more complex forms, which require not only complete visual concentration on the subject, but also more analytical thought(working out how elements/spaces etc interact). So I was interested to read this enlightening short research article about using both the right and left side of the brain to develop creativity, written by Annukka Lindell  'Monday's medical myth: the right side of your brain controls creativity'  which explains why this might be the case, and how training that interaction can increase creativity.

The red and yellow petals from this desperate little Spider Chrysanthemum caught my eye as it tried to flower on an icy December day, so I brought it in from the cold to note its energising colours and further develop the right/left creative interaction of my brain..!!

If you like this post - you can subscribe to Planet Sam by email :) here.

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Colour from the season - Rosehip red

Fabulous hips! They're a bit more frost-bitten than I'd thought at first glance, but just look at the extra colour that the frost has brought out in them, not just one glossy red but an entire passion of reds! I took the liberty of removing the stem green from the palette but decided to include it separately below just in case anyone's after a green to go with these reds - you might find this shade works rather well...

!..from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Colours of the month - November

Uh-oh, I'd fully intended to compose November's colours in November and now December has barged in and Christmas is only a few weeks away!

So here, tardily, are a select three of my November favourites - New Zealand Flax and its muted Art Nouveau palette; waving madly and adding vintage winter shades the pods and berries of the Stinking Iris, leading to a prickly end with the silver, grey and yellow ochre of the Carline Thistle...

I've had my eye on some pretty extra-ordinary hips for a few weeks now and was relieved to see when I got home after such an icy weekend that they are still looking just as colourful. It should be a fabulous red for December! Watch this space.

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.