Category Archives: garden

Unexpected intricacy – comment 22

It was wild in the night, the sound of wind and rain woke us more than once. The rain showed no sigh of stopping and I walked to the shop under trees tossing their branches in the blustery gusts. The lane was muddy and littered with twigs blown from the scots pines and many other trees around our house. A lot of the twigs were heavily covered with lichen, not normally so easily visible close up when the branches are still in the trees.

Lichens are not plants, (I discovered), have a variety of forms, and their complexity (and my ignorance) became increasingly apparent when I tried to find out more.

When I tried to draw the shapes from just one twig, they were so intricate that I had to resort to a very rough approximation. But I now realise I am looking at a whole new life form, very long lived and among the oldest living things. Wow, you never know what you’ll discover on a rainy day.


Look into another face – comment 20

At the beginning of the month I said I would allow myself to have a day off if I didn’t want to make a comment every day. Otherwise it becomes a duty, not a joy. Yesterday I didn’t comment. Sometimes, like the wet Sunday yesterday, we just need to keep ourselves to ourselves.

But this morning the rain has stopped and these little flowers, glistening in the wet garden, are a joy. Hiding amongst their dark green leaves their subtle flowers aren’t garish, but nonetheless colourful. They made me want to draw them and attempt to capture their colour. Once again the process was all absorbing, the result not so satisfying.

But I feel better for looking into their faces.

Listen in the garden – comment 19

It has been a busy couple of days, and I didn’t make any “comment” yesterday. Today there were no pressures and I could take my time. The morning was misty and grey and I stood at the window and watched a song thrush on the lawn. Stepping outside the first sound I could hear was the rain, but gradually I became aware of bird songs all around.

I am not good at identifying them all, but just listening was enough to connect with their underlying joy. So I made a little collage from pages from an old poetry book, and a drawing of a thrush. My comment on their songs…

Do the same again – comment 16

In a sunny moment between the rain showers I headed outside to gather some winter leaves to eat with our meal tonight. The Swiss chard provides a bright splash of colour on a grey day, and I thought I might draw the leaves before cooking them.

But then I discovered (thanks to a Facebook reminder!) that I drew Swiss chard exactly one year ago on this blog!!

I can’t do the same again, I thought to myself. But I did. Well I used the red Swiss chard leaf as inspiration, but this time I drew with my sewing machine on fabric. The same but not the same.

Do something different – comment 15

Perhaps the hardest time of any kind of January art/creative blog challenge is about now. This is when I begin to think “what can I do today?” and feel I am having to search for inspiration. This is the time energy wanes and I run out of steam. To renergise I wondered what I could do today that was a bit different.,

Just outside my window the winter jasmine is flowering with courageous little yellow trumpets undeterred by gloom and rain. I have drawn it before, but today I decided to brush up my free machining skills, and trying drawing it with thread instead of pencil. And I know that watercolours can dry very pale and insipid on fabric, so I thought I would try some new inktense colours I had been given as a present.

Result? Well my free machining needs some practise, the inktense colours are certainly bright, but they lack subtlety and weren’t the best for blending. But at least I tried something different!

Don’t take things for granted – comment 12

When I received these lovely pink lollipops from a friend earlier in the week, I was delighted and resolved to draw them.

Now that they have opened a little I sat down to really look at them and their apparent simplicity was revealed in all its complexity. Their shapes change every time I change my position. It makes me realise just how many assumptions we make about about things, perhaps friends too.

Don’t take them, friends and tulips, for granted…

What can I hear? – comment 7

Yesterday I managed to catch up on Judi Dench’s My Passion for Trees, which I missed over the Christmas period.

I was particularly fascinated by the way she listened to the trees, hearing the rumblings and the sounds of the water being sucked up, flowing along the trunk and throughout the tree. What strength is quietly at work within, usually entirely unnoticed by us. Similarly the networks of fungal threads, hidden underground and connecting a society of support and protection.

Today I walked in my garden looking at the trees and thinking about their networks of life giving energy. I don’t have a tree “stethoscope” like Judi but I could still pick up some beautiful wind blown pieces of bark and ask myself the question “What can I hear?”