Saturday 19 September 2020

I am doing an exchange at the moment with another painter friend. I go to her house along through the most beautiful villages. I have joined her still life class. It's not really a taught course, more to encourage new thinking around our own practice. That's how I see it anyway. My Friend Jenny Makkinga has a wonderful way with colour. She has lots of boards covered in paint that she doesn't see as finished. They are mostly figurative with all kinds of motifs and have a dreamlike painterly quality combined with beautiful layered colours. She recently began studying colour mostly by buying books by Johannes Itten off the internet. Then she put away the books believing they made no sense to her but it has somehow seeped in.  It's the way really when doing anything creative you study and learn techniques then try and drop these things to free you from them. I realised that I have a little strategy for putting in too much detail. I use brushes that are extra thick or thick drawing materials. I began using tiny Rotring pens like needles with black constant ink.

Thursday 5 November 2015

It's been a long summer plenty of sunshine and now the sun comes out and I realise the heat will not last. I watch the sun arrive at different parts of the day in different parts of the sky. I know by 5.30 the sun is low in the sky and the forest will look like it's on fire. I love to take a walk witnessing this each day. Otherwise I feel I lost something.

Thursday 10 September 2015

This is, I think, old loo that the lady used before George bought the house. I don't mind tin in fact I think it's quite charming. However while I sat having a coffee under the tree I saw bright rays of sunshine beaming through from the back through little holes. I realised that I was missing an opportunity to give me a view to the garden below and improve the little shed too. I have removed one of the back panels and looking at fitting an old window I found at the tip.

I have seven young ducks who are very funny. These are perched on the roof. They can only just get up here and flying down is easier.

I have begun a new painting and it's going quite well.

I finally found a sewing machine that works. I have lots of old ticking so I am slowly covering some of the many feather cushions I have also been buying. This type of ticking is 1930s and used for mattress covers normally stuffed with wool rather than feathers. The cat is just 1 year old and rarely sleeps in here during the day. She is very small and very busy. I found her in the wood pile. No other cats around and she was a tiny kitten.

 I have been to loads of Brocantes this year. This one was Celle de Morvan in an Rose garden. I bought a really good easel and the print below here. The print was just 1 euro. It has been bent in half but I thought the design good. It's by a French artist.

Wednesday 8 July 2015

 Here you are. Sorry it's been sweltering here. The computer has been a no go. My ducks are growing although I lost one and another I discovered sadly dead after much searching. I take a few days losing a duck but my favourite one a big white bruiser is 'perdu' or lost. I made a little pond to attract animals and grow pond weed. The ducks have discovered it and gravitate towards it and are to be found either in it or near it. I have fruit bushes all around and they like gooseberries, blackcurrants redcurrants, strawberries. I have eaten loads too. I am off jam because I don't like too much sugar. I have given up trying to barricade the ducks from the fruit garden. They work out extraordinary complex ways of getting in...very tenacious creatures.
Every year is different here. This year I have really huge Hollyhocks. We have 3 weather systems here. This summer is like Provence. 

I am experimenting with planting things under the tree. It is the only place I can keep watered. 

This is the work of a friend at a small exhibition in a library.  It's quite a large painting perhaps a metre tall. 

I have been tipping stuff out of the barns. The stuff at the tip is always very interesting.

 I photographed this boat in autumn and now again I am impressed this time by the plants there are even trees.

I found this spiral iron support in the sheds. 

Brocantes. There have been a few but sometimes too hot and it's too much for people to sit outside all day. I bought this sign from a farmer.

This year Fete de la Musique in Luzy. Ths little caravan travels round the area and bands play in front of it.  

Thursday 11 June 2015

 Flaming June. It's been a wonderful month so far here. It's been hot and dry. I think there may be a bit of rain on it's way but it's just lurking at the edge of the village for now. Swallows are sat on the road, just fledged. They are practising their flying. I keep finding them in the house exploring, looking for new nesting spots.
Swaying grass verges.

My neighbour has this beautiful bi-coloured rose. Roses seem perfectly happy here, it can be freezing in winter and spring is short. Summer is long and hot. It's not like the South and we avoid mosquitoes being high up but it's quite tough on many plants. I am impressed by the rose. My Foxgloves didn't make it this year. I'm not sure if it's because they are bi annuals and I need to re seed.  Hollyhocks are doing well they like the dry weather they must do they are the flower of the south growing like weeds. It's always different in the garden usually surprising. I fancy some big grasses must look for some.

Ducks are terrorising me for food. I have trouble getting in and out of the house. These creatures are very shrewd; They quickly work out how to work their ways into parts of the garden I am trying to keep them out of. Very sweet too.

I am having to be a little bit watchful because these troublesome creatures can quickly disappear off. Apparently they go through phases and then settle down. My wireless just about reaches out here. 

I  was looking up the painter Elaine Pampilon, link her husband Christopher Marvell does lovely sculptures of creatures and the owls he does are wild. Link I want to do garden sculpture now. We do have plenty of interesting objects  around to make things, this is the seed of an idea above. 

Our pointy strawberries are arriving as fast as the ducks are to poke their ever expanding bodies. I just came across an article about these pointy French strawberries. apparently much prized among chefs. Not much comparison with those watery affairs you buy in shops. George says they taste like potatoes. 

My newest pile of plates they are stencilled again and the design Hublon is french for Hops, how lovely being that I used to live in Hoppy Herefordshire. 

My garden around George's shed is growing extra limbs, slightly raised using logs and breeze blocks I have also used some sheep manure. Monty Don was doing just this yesterday on his TV show stamping down the manure to produce hot beds. Now I feel vindicated; I need leaf mould too.

then compost from the heap. Trouble is all this for a space big enough to grow a couple of courgettes and tomatoes. The drawer is full of Chinese leaf seedlings, covered to stop cats.
I have a little pond as I wanted to save the tadpoles from the ducks. I have a few legs appearing on the tadpoles. Again protected from cats and in the shade; I would like to go a bit bigger but it's finding a liner. I do have a source filled pond but can't ban ducks from that.

Tuesday 19 May 2015

We had a tree chopped down in the sheep field as it was worrying a neighbour who has a house near to it. The logs cut into lengths are great to put around the potage I have. I was imagining rustic raised beds. Doubly good is when you roll them over the slugs have hidden there and then the enthusiastic duck forage them with gusto.
 My searches at the Brocantes have turned towards these plates recently. Digoin as they are known as here. The name comes from the place of production in the North East. Very simply decorated by stencils. The one's below date to the last quarter of the 19th Century. You can check online by the marks underneath. They can be bought very cheaply and I think they are charming.
Digoin Sarreguemines

 They are growing so fast now nearly outgrown there pretend pond and I shall be showing them the actual pond soon. I can't wait to see their reaction.

I am really in love with this cottage. It is on a road and there is a neighbour opposite but otherwise the cuteness of it is too much.

The countryside here is incredibly beautiful and the roads are empty.

I spotted this desk out in the rain the other day outside the old school where I was taking part in an exhibition. I now have it in my study. It's even better in situ. The Mairie was also throwing away another 'bureau' so I am going out this afternoon to collect that too. Free. 

This is the time of year we are out and about looking for Vides Greniers or Brocantes. The lovely old properties are all for sale. I love them all. It plays in my mind all these abandoned places.The one below is a farm and above a village house.