Tuesday, 4 December 2018

The Apple Weaver

Some of you may already know I am writing a novel based on farming life in Worcestershire. As part of the process, I am producing a small, very limited edition booklet of nature/farming observations, short stories and illustrations inspired by some of my research. The ‘stories’ are more like teasers for longer pieces of writing - just like rough sketches are made before a final painting. They combine elements of natural history, farming, fictional characters, weddings, cabbages, magic and mysterious happenings in the countryside. The booklet is a mix of real life observations blending into quirky fictional writing.
If you would like a copy it is called 'The Apple Weaver' and it is an A5, 44 page professionally digitally printed and bound booklet. Pre-orders by Sunday this week, 9 December, to me. Cost is £5 a copy, payable on delivery, expected the week before Christmas.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Pallet Christmas Tree

We wanted a less tinsley, glittery Christmas this year so we gave away our 6ft inmitation Christmas tree to a local community project and decided to do something different. Instead, I made a 'tree' from old timber palettes. I found some pallets at work, broke them up, pressure washed, cut and then roughly sanded strips of wood. These were then screwed to a simple wooden frame and small shelves added. The tree was then placed on my father's old painting easel which has finally found a good use.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Urban Sketching, Bedford

Today I visited Bedford to sketch. The first two pictures are pen and ink sketches from my sketchpad and the third is an iPad illustration made whilst visiting my favourite cafe, Cafe with Art.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Stotfold Mill Working Steam Weekend

Pen and ink sketch of a threshing machine at the Stotfold Mill Working Steam Weekend, Bedfordshire, a couple of weeks ago. I had a very enjoyable day there on a warm, sunny autumn day surrounded by lots of people and vintage machinery. The sketch below is of a man cleaning out a stationary steam engine powering a large steam saw.

Fungi on Woodchip

I was surprised to see these colourful fungi growing in the garden last weekend. Earlier in the year I obtained some woodchip from a local tree surgeon and used it to make a garden path. Now it is covered with fungi. What was interesting was that on a pile of woodchip on the front drive some ink caps grew, whereas on the path these completely different fungi appeared.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Man with Dog

This sketch appeared at lunchtime whilst I was wondering whether to write or draw people and I wasn't expecting a picture to appear. I am trying to make some of my characters more contemporary looking for when I go out sketching in towns. I was going to post some sketches this evening I scanned from my sketchbook. Unfortunately I deleted the files off my memeory stick so will try again another night.

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Wrest Park

A convenient local walk takes me through the fields and woods surrounding Wrest Park in Bedfordshire. This morning it took me an hour and a half to complete the circuit. It was cloudy and pleasantly warm with the touch of a cool breeze. Many of my long walks this year have been up in Worcestershire exploring a particular landscape for my book. Today, as I set out, I found myself looking at all the trees and plants in a similar vain and had to rein myself back from needing to look at everything and take notes. For my book I need to look for things, to know what is growing where, to identify plants and build up a knowledge base of how the landscape works. Unfortunately, I keep thinking of things I wish I had looked for when I was up there. However, I can’t be there all the time so I will have to see how the writing progresses and answer any left over questions next year.
So this morning it was good to just get get out and just walk without having the need to stop every few steps to make notes or photograph something.

Nature is different in both of these places. The geology, climate and farming environments are both very different. My place in Worcestershire feels so much more alive with a greater variety of plants and bird life than around here. It is more of an immersive experience rather than a superficial glance.