Days in the garden

As I have been working a lot recently I have spent very little time outdoors, which seems a pity as it’s summer, and the weather has been good, not over heated, but pleasant. We do seem to be having an early start to autumn though, due to an early spring and not much rain all summer.

However, on Sunday and Monday I decided to have a couple of days off and started a sketchbook entitled ‘August’. The work in it will be used in my latest books, which are sort of based upon the seasons. I have started one, confusingly set later in the year, at the book and print course I went to a couple of weeks ago, but thought I would do some direct recording of the time of year rather than resort to photographs for everything. I will have to use some photographs [I use my own, unless it’s something I can’t possibly get to to record] as the year will move quicker than I can. I spent most of both days outside, it was wonderful. I must say though I was inspired by some students I have had in a recent class. I usually do work/design sheets, and keep sketchbooks full of quick black line drawings, but rather wanted one [some, now] of those sketchbooks crammed full of drawings and photos, layered like leaves on an autumn woodland floor. I can always photograph and print out relevant pages to make up design sheets, should I need to.

I will have several plants etc in the book but chose to concentrate on my ligularia, typically the sort of big, bold trouble free, vigorous plant I enjoy. I like delicate too, but big sculptural leaves are so uplifting.

Here it is.

And here’s another view with one of the flower spikes.

I managed to fill quite a few pages with leaf and stalk drawings. This is collage and inktense pencils.

Collage using an old map.

Print, paint, collage and drawing. This says a mysterious, hot, other worldly midsummer night to me.

Collage and inktense pencils.

Leaves in inktense pencils. I’ve only just bought them, they are very exciting to use, in both a very colourful way,

and just using Payne’s Grey.

A smaller less active drawing, useful for future reference when the plant has died back for winter.

Some flowers in pencil.

I love these leaf pockets, they are such characters.

A leaf scape.

I’ll do more work with the flowers and then some layout ideas in sketches and collage, so that there will be ideas to work with when I start the book.

6 thoughts on “Days in the garden

  1. iI’m jealous again – I can see you have had a wonderful couple of days, and the results just have to produce some very exciting work, as they are so alive themselves. Well done you – I think we are so bad at letting ourselves have this kind of time, as it almost seems like skiving (only because it is so pleasant – the nasty work ethic rears it’s ugly head) – and yet it so enriches not just our lives, but our work too. Think I might have to have some inktense pencils too! – Hxx

  2. Hi Hil, I know lots of people have been using inktense for ages, I’m a bit slow, but they are fun, and work on silk too apparently, and possibly other fabrics. It’s good to not work from photos all the time too, don’t you think? I’ve decided sketchbooks are definitely work…I’ll fill this one soon and get going with another. Go on, treat yourself and get in the garden. Not if it’s raining, of course.

  3. Hi Steph
    So much for lovely weather, its your fault that I have been holed up indoors finishing my book & large piece started in last weeks workshop. You really fired me up & I have also been working on another piece on teapots for my creative brain edges blog, maybe one day I will elarn to love shapes. I still want to do a really large piece, maybe one day. Love the sketch book, regards Shelagh

  4. Hi ladies – I love inktense and yes they do work on fabric. Steph, you put me to shame! I have a sketch book based rather loosely on Seville, which I started a year ago! I love it but find that there will be weeks between pages! Funnily enough I was adding to it last night (working from a photo), and using inktense! But I think I need to take a leaf out of your books (as it were) and try a bit more collage – it seems to do the trick.


    1. Hi Hilary, yes, collage really moves things along. It loosens you up, then creates a good flow of ideas and images because it’s not as worrying as drawing.
      I often use prints of my photographs as part of my collages, as well as a mix of papers. You can use whatever you like. I think I’ll get my store of tomato and toothpaste tubes out next. Then there’s all the nice bits of plastic, and leaves, bark and wood, train tickets, etc etc…Trouble is, you can spend as much time doing this as the actual work. Steph.

  5. Hi Shelagh, pleased you’re still working so hard, do you never stop! It’s your fault I started the sketchbook, aargh, there’s never enough time is there?
    I thought your shapes were looking great in the class. Get going with that large piece asap. A warning though; once you go large there’s no turning back…Steph
    ps send a link to your blog.

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