12 May 2008

Sketches from the garden

I've been so busy lately that I've fallen behind with my Every Day in May posting, though I have been keeping up with doing some art every day...honest! Today, I'm catching up a little bit by posting some sketches of things growing in our garden. One is of dandelions; unfortunately, I don't know what the others are called (my DW is the gardener in this family), though I've a feeling one of them might be called aquilegia.

One of the things I'm busy with is getting ready for the Oxford ArtWeeks exhibition that I'm taking part in next week. Here's an invitation, for anyone who happens to be in the Oxford area. You can find directions to the club here: http://www.medleysailingclub.co.uk/maps.html

07 May 2008


It's a bit early for strawberries really. I never buy the imported ones, because they don't really taste of anything, but the English ones seem to start earlier these days; I guess they are grown under glass or plastic. Anyway, this one was on the lunch table today, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to draw it -- before I ate it, of course. I only had a black pen, so that's what I drew it with. Although the colour is the most striking thing about strawberries, I find their texture very attractive too, and pen and ink is good for rendering that.

Winsor & Newton Artists Journal

It's a bit difficult to find time to keep up with the Every Day in May challenge at the moment! Work is busy with exams just around the corner and I'm still getting ready for the 10k race, now only 11 days away (eek!), which means going out running most nights. So, here is a very quick sketch of my Winsor & Newton artists journal, a present from my DW and a very nice thing to carry about and sketch in. Just for a change, this is done using Noodlers ink and graphitint pencils.

05 May 2008


Today is a public holiday in England (not sure about Scotland), but not for the hard-working staff of the University of Oxford. :( Never mind, it rained so much I wasn't really missing much. Unfortunately, that also meant I was confined to indoor sketching, so turned to the trusty manequin. I also wanted to try using my Noodlers ink with water, having been alerted to the fact that it isn't waterproof by Anita, who uses this medium (as so many others) so beautifully.

04 May 2008


I was at my sailing club today, not sailing, unfortunately, as it was my turn to be in charge of the racing. The club (called Medley Sailing Club) is not far from Binsey, where the poplars that Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote about in his famous poem. This is a quick sketch that I was able to do between races of a poplar on the banks of the Thames, just coming in to leaf. This is just pen and ink; I might add some colour tomorrow...the green of trees at this time of year is so lovely.

If anyone happens to be in the area, the sailing club is having an open day on 10th May. Come and have a sail!

Here is the poem.

Binsey Poplars, felled 1879

My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,
All felled, felled, are all felled;
Of a fresh and following folded rank
Not spared, not one
That dandled a sandalled
Shadow that swam or sank
On meadow and river and wind-wandering weed-winding bank.

O if we but knew what we do
When we delve or hew—
Hack and rack the growing green!
Since country is so tender
To touch, her being so slender,
That, like this sleek and seeing ball
But a prick will make no eye at all,
Where we, even where we mean
To mend her we end her,
When we hew or delve:
After-comers cannot guess the beauty been.
Ten or twelve, only ten or twelve
Strokes of havoc unselve
The sweet especial scene,
Rural scene, a rural scene,
Sweet especial rural scene.

03 May 2008


It's been a lovely day for being in the garden. In between mowing, cleaning, weeding, etc. I found time to do a couple of quick sketches, including some of the forgetmenots which absolutely cover the garden at this time of the year. I suppose we should try to control them, but they're my daughter's favourite flower, so I haven't got the heart! I also did a quick sketch of a tulip, though I don't think that really worked very well. Still, in the spirit of EDM, I'm going to post it anyway.

02 May 2008

Apple blossom

A busy day at work today, so not much time for drawing, but I'm not going to give up on EDM on the second day, so I found time to do a quick sketch of the apple blossom that is out in our garden at the moment. Actually, this is growing on a small tree that has a lot of meaning for my DW. It is a graft taken from a tree planted by her father not long before he died. It's still only large enough to get a handful of fruit, but it's growing well and has lovely blossom at this time of year. This was done using Inktense pencils.

01 May 2008

Lizzie, WIP part 5

This being the first day of May, I'm starting the annual Every Day in May challenge. Which means doing some sort of art work every day. Today's work was to continue with my portrait of my niece, Lizzie. I've made a few adjustments to the left eye and the mouth (I always find the mouth the hardest part to get right, for some reason) and done a bit more work on the hair. I'm still not completely satisfied with the likeness, but it's better than it was. I don't think I'll do much more work on the hair; I like portraits that are more and more "unfinished" the further away you get from the face. This time I've also posted my reference photograph in case anyone can spot any glaring problems that I could easily correct!