Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Colours of the Month - May

The extravagance of colour in May is always glorious! - here's my monthly selection of some of the best:

Rosa Rugosa - vivid pink in opposition to the intense green of the Stauntonia; had to include one of my favourite wild flowers Ribwort Plantain (and fire a few of its heads this month in passing); climbing around everything and smelling of vanilla is Clematis Montana (Elizabeth) and lastly the Rosa Maigold which is a sight for sore eyes outside my front door right now...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Colour from the season - Blue Tit blue

Running out of time this month, but decided that as we've had a beautiful pair of Blue Tits nesting in the wall in our garden again this year, who've been there all of this past month, these feathers (that I was given) should really be included in May's colours.
Very shy, and especially when nesting, just flashes of blue and yellow as they flit in and out of the rambling rose (just starting to flower).

Captured here in pencil and acrylic...

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Colour from the season - Geum pink

The pink of this Geum is set against the yellow of its anthers and red brown of the bud and stem, small but perfectly coloured. A friend gave me a clump of it last year - but I think I might have planted it in too shady a spot as so far its produced only two flower stems and now there's only one..!

Screen Printing in the studio at the moment - Today I'm printing my new cushion collection

this one's called Budgie Love !

Next weekend (1st - 5th June - 10am - 4pm) I'm taking part in a group exhibition at the studio of the talented ceramicist Jacqueline Leighton Boyce in Dulverton. Three of us are invading her studio for 5 days during the Dulverton Folk Festival and of course the Queen's Diamond Jubilee weekend!

More information visit or email me for directions.

Just printed these cushions for the Devon Guild who will be exhibiting my new Recipe cushions, table runners and napkins at the Dartington Food Festival.
Designing them was enlightening as it involved reading lots of recipes and bills of fare from 1685, around the time that Samuel Pepys was writing his diaries and just after the Great Fire of London. They ate pretty much everything in those days!

To make Umble Pies?  I didn't know it was a real recipe...

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

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Colour from the Season - Stauntonia pink

I missed these flowers last year, the cold winter nearly killed the one in our garden and it didn't flower, but this year it's making up for it. Stauntonia Hexaphylla - the plant that inspired my fabric design Twine in 2007. Dark glossy evergreen leaves and clusters of small flowers which have the most powerful scent. Somewhere I saw the pink described as dull, but I disagree - while the pink is subdued, as you see here the plant has subtle dusky colours, which aren't at all dull...

Twine design for fabric - Snail detail (black, white and raw colourway) 
...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Colours of the month - February

Late edition! - In February I had other things on my mind, so belatedly I'm adding my monthly colour selection from my favourite February notebook pages.

Old and new get together with the strong red sampled from Rosa Rugosa shoots and the faded shades from a Tea Rose, marking the edges of winter and hope of spring; The fragile off white from the shell of a Heart Urchin lit up by the spirited yellow of a Spiketail; Lastly to reflect some of that February chill, the blue of the little Muscari (Grape Hyacinth).

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Colour from the season - Goldcrest gold

My dad encouraged me to draw birds, but not dead things - so I did wonder as I drew this dead Goldcrest what he would have thought of this post.

Tragically this one was killed by a friend's cat and so he gave it to me. While I would far rather it hadn't died, it was a rare opportunity to draw one from life [sic] and to document the colours in its crest and feathers.

It's the UK's smallest bird, this one's a male and so has a brilliant yellow crest with an orange centre, (the females have just pure yellow). I documented the hue of the feathers as accurately as possible but it's impossible to translate the almost iridescent brilliance of the real thing into flat colour.

outline pencil sketch,

drawing at least twice lifesize -
used a magnifying glass to see detail...

ink wash and acrylic...

More info about the Goldcrest on the RSPB website here

(I realise that birds and feathers aren't necessarily seasonal but I include them here - just because...)

...from my seasonal colour sample notebook.

Thursday, 3 May 2012


Starting a little off shoot on the planet about Chrysanthemums.

I've wanted to grow them for years, always had a thing about them, but its easy to forget when you rarely see them as plug plants anymore.

So.. when I was in my favourite local garden centre (St Johns) a few weeks ago I was happy to come across some in their green house. I was closely examining them when a bloke came up and started chatting to me, he was very funny, an expert on Chrysanths and rather surprisingly! (he won't mind me saying that), he turned out to be the owner of the garden centre. Within 45 minutes I'd learnt a hell of a lot about growing and propagating Chrysanths, as well as a lot of other stuff (sailing, his 3 sons, the garden centre and a joke about a zebra). I left with 6 little plants and so totally fired up with enthusiasm that I've since ordered more plants from a specialist nursery!

Some a bit like these (I hope).

Fantastic name isn't it Chrysanthemum, in the language of flowers it means truth.
All I need now is a couple of sacks of fertiliser...