Saturday, 23 August 2014

Finding Lords and Ladies

It is that time again. I have been out searching for the red berries of the Lords and Ladies which I love to draw. We have experienced some stormy and windy weather and lots of rain which made me wonder if there would be many still intact.

I knew where to look as I wandered through the lanes and was delighted to find several different clumps with some wonderful specimens. I left these alone and will go back later. I try to just take fallen plants, the ones that have collapsed when they have rotted at the base and fallen over from the weight of the berries. The snails also like to eat the stems and hedge cutting sees the end to many. Often all that is left at the place of some of my prized specimens are a heap of berries.


I was searching and thinking they would all be red berries, so I was quite surprised to see that there was still orangey colours and even some green ones. The one I am holding has lost some berries revealing the yellow pointed stalk they are attached to. In a few weeks they will all have disappeared as the hedgerows all start to die back. It feels very chilly here and The dark evenings seems to be creeping in with many signs of an early Autumn.

As we walked up a steep path the lane was sheltered by the stone walls and I needed to take off my hat and jacket and enjoy the sunshine. I loved the patterns on the ground as the sunlight shone through the trees and cast the shadows all the way up this lane. The strong wind swayed the branches and it felt like a mirror ball twinkling all around me. Leaves flew off branches and swirled around looking like butterflies in the air.

I collected my usual drawing subjects along the way. The ground was scattered in debris, branches and nuts and berries and sycamore seeds were everywhere blown from the trees. Broken empty shells were evidence that the squirrels were already eating the nuts, although they are obviously not yet ripe. I picked up the green hazel nuts which were still attached to a leaf. I gathered some of the tiny acorns cups from under the oak tree. My specimens were all damaged lords and ladies, you can see how quickly the stems rot changing from the bright green colour to yellow, then rusty brown and almost black as they start to perish. The jay was screeching high in the trees. My husband picked up a brown stripe feather he thought was a bird of prey, maybe a buzzard. I found a black feather which made the red berries seem to glow even brighter. Three different kinds of red berries with the Hawthorne and a little branch of Rowan collected off the ground.

Two blue empty snail shells came home too. I added them to the others which I found on on three different walks, I cannot resist them. The secret patterns hidden under the brown skins. When I wash them they look amazing as they take on darker blue shades.

A view from the lanes on our way home with the lovely old farm. The peat marshes in the distance and the shore to the left. I found another group of damaged specimens here, the berries lost but will hopefully seed and grow into more plants.

I have been working on this drawing of three specimens that I brought home in June. It has been a busy time for me, I have been away to the east coast at a family wedding and also attended a wedding the week before. The lords and ladies just had to wait patiently until I was able to draw them. On my return home two weeks ago I began sketching it out on this very tall sketchbook page.

Progress has been slow as I was working with a dip in pen and inks.

I have really enjoyed doing this as it was such a fascinating subject with all the lines and textures of the dried up skin and the bright shiny red berries. I have been observing the way they shrink and curl up into the contorted shapes since June and it certainly made it more interesting to draw.

I used my acrylic inks, the dip in pen and I also used a fine paintbrush. The colours I used were Red, yellow ochre, sepia, brown umber and green. It still needs a little work but I will leave it for a while and come back with fresh eyes. It has been hogging the kitchen table for two weeks!

I am holding it up so you can see just how big it is. I have only ever used this watercolour paper book once before to do a large fish.

I have been collecting so many things to draw. I have so many possible drawings it is hard to choose which to draw first. A shore walk after a huge tide was so exciting as I collected so many different seaweeds and three mermaids purses, crabs and so may beautiful feathers. The same things I always find, things that always inspire me. Because each and everyone is different. Just like the view I see each day.


Same view but always so different, always changing.

I went out and photographed it just before I started to write this post, so I will leave you with the sunset this evening with a clear sky and a few clouds floating above.

Thank you as always for the lovely comments. I hope you enjoyed the guest post, thank you to those of you who left a comment there too. Hope you are all enjoying your weekend and the sun is shining where you are. Hope to be back soon with something else to show you. I bought some new nibs yesterday so I am off to try them out with my inks. I have also bought some sock wool for a new pair of warm knitted socks as it starts to get chilly. A sewing project too in progress. Always busy !

What are you up to? I would love to hear.

See you soon. Millyx








Sunday, 20 July 2014

From a little acorn

I have been having a day carving and printing just for fun. I decided to carve a little acorn from a square rubber, the kind you buy for a child in a stationery shop. I quickly sketched out an acorn from memory and then carved it out with the Lino tool.

Now the fun begins. Three fabric paint colours of red yellow and brown and a paintbrush. I can mix different shades of paler browns that resemble an acorn. I tried it on paper and it worked fine, a little bit blurry on the linen fabric.

On the left side are the pieces of printed linen, which were later sewn into two pincushions. The oak leaf and the acorn is the prize pincushion for the giveaway.

This is the teatowel for the giveaway.

This is the messy side of printing with all the bits of rubber cut away, mixing colours and then painting it on the leaf stamp. My finger ends covered in fabric paint. What is more astonishing, it was all performed on the ironing board. I was really just going to iron the fabric here. If I am at the ironing board I can look out across the shore and watch the sea coming in and the birds flying around and watch the hills and the sky changing. I feel like I am outside, high up from this upstairs window my view looks for miles over the estuary. So I stayed and printed there!

I played all afternoon. I printed on tags and other pieces of fabrics and used different colours. I discovered some lovely patterns and ideas fill my head. So my message is just enjoy, play and be the child and take pleasure from being creative. Then after a lovely time I do all the tidying up, cleaning and washing up of all the mess. I so enjoyed my afternoon. The fabric needs to dry and then be ironed to fix the paint. The next day I sewed the teatowel and pincushion for my lucky winners. I will make myself something another time with my printed bits of fabric.

I guess if you entered the giveaway you are waiting to hear the winners. All comments on 14th July names were included. I put all the names in a draw, my husband picked out the winner of the teatowel........MELODY. The pincushion is.........PONDSIDE. And an extra name was Katherine Thomas who I will send a pack of my cards to.

Thank you for the 19 comments, all your names were in the draw. I will post the three winners their prize as soon as I have your address, if you can please send them by my contact email, thank you.

If anyone would like to read a guest post I have written for Lin please go over to her blog, Lin's Creative Journey.... press this title on her page as there will be three parts, 2nd Tuesday and 3rd Wednesday. She is a talented calligraphy artist and teacher.

And as we have been enjoying some glorious weather I have been a tourist, riding on the steam train, going on the boat to Lake Windermere and to The Beatrix Potter gallery. Spending a lovely day out with my little five year companion from Scotland, drawing, feeding the swans and having strawberry scones at the Beatrix Potter tea shop. We made a scrapbook of our day. I once did this same trip with a class of thirty as our end of year school trip, very relaxing with just one and her mum.

And then a day sitting in the garden. Watching the sunset.

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend. See you soon. Millyx


Sunday, 6 July 2014

At snail pace!

In my garden I have a collection of snail shells, pale blue empty shells that I pick up on my walks and bring home and drop them into a plant pot. The cheeky birds have been playing amongst them and scatter them all around. I keep telling them they are empty! I just want them to draw. I pick them up every morning! Perhaps the birds are telling me to get on with it then. So I did.

My life seems to be going along a little at a time, a stitch at a time, a little bit of painting and a little drawing here and there, nice and slowly does it. I am realising I can get things done as long as I take it slowly, it feels rather like I am working at snail pace.

I have been working on some small projects, finally drawing those snail shells.

I deliberately just challenged myself with something small, postcard size. I sketched all three in pencil. My aim was to complete one a day.

Slowly I painted each one, a little at a time on the kitchen table, whilst those cheeky blackbirds are now in my tray of seaside finds, flicking the mermaids purse into the air and dragging off the bits of seaweed. Attention seeking behaviour, you have already been fed. The three postcard snail shells, using acrylic inks.

We have had some lovely sunny days. Each night the windows are open, each morning a moth has been on the wall. I am keeping my eyes open for the lovely Magpie moth which I love to draw each year. It reminded me I had one I needed to finish. I started to paint it on the front cover of this black paper sketchbook but my eyes were so bad and it never got finished. I worked on the black paper, then got carried away and painted a new moth.

Wouldn't it be fun to paint one on fabric, my head loves to throw up ideas!

So I sat outside in the sunshine and just went for it, just painted straight onto the little piece of linen. It was a little tricky but I like a challenge.

So my Magpie moth is now on wood, black paper book cover, a new painting and a piece of linen. Now I have just the thing, an idea how to use that linen. A bowl of newly washed sheep wool collected off the fence on the shore.

I will make a pincushion. But Before I put the fabric paints away I had a play with the alphabet stamps, now this has great potential, my head is spitting up numerous ideas.

DREAM IT THEN CREATE IT. The words I stamped on my new pincushion. Hand painted, then stuffed with wool I found and stitched by me. It is my favourite moth, really magical, going to help me sew beautiful things I dream up. Talking of sewing I have been working away at my initial E.

A stitch at a time. I printed this beautiful letter from a wooden block my sister gave me for a birthday present. Maybe another pincushion, a rather large one for all those sewing ideas that keep filling my head.

And just for fun, last year after I had eaten my cake I painted a moth on the cake box. Why not?
I think I am like a Magpie, always collecting. Please tell me I am not the only one, what do you collect? Leave me a comment telling me what you collect and I will pick a winner for a little Give away prize. Yes a hand printed tea towel and a pincushion....that is two names in a hat picked out Monday 14th July.
(Comments accepted by email if not a google account. drawingsfromnature at )
Thank you for the comments on last post, Anita lovely to hear from you.x
Just taken this photograph, 9pm, another lovely day here. Hope it is nice weather where you are too. And you have enjoyed your weekend. Millyx






Sunday, 15 June 2014

Having fun

All art work copyright Eileen Postlethwaite.

Inspired by a walk in the woods I decided to have some fun printing. It was a little area of an old ancient woodland which we entered as we followed one of the village footpaths. Once inside the wood we found lots of little well worn foot paths criss crossing through the trees to other parts of the village. As we followed several different paths we listened to the bird song and a loud screech of a Jay above us. There were lots of old oak trees, with trunks covered in moss. I picked up two green leaves off the ground and I found a beautiful brown feather possibly from a buzzard. I brought them home and decided to make a little block of the oak leaf to print with.

The new leaves were both green. I placed them next to one that has turned brown, a reminder of how many colours changes they have. I really love oak leaves and collect them on my walks throughout the year. I have so many drawings and paintings of my found leaves.
Art work copyright Eileen Postlethwaite
So I sketched an oak shape and carved it out of the Lino. Then I decided to try a hawthorne, so I chose a little leaf from the dish, do you remember this?They are still there, but of course the berries are looking very dull. So after I made A little Hawthorne leaf carved in the soft lino I couldn't resist a red berry. Yes I might just need to carve a red berry or two.
Art work copyright Eileen Postlethwaite
And as I take over the kitchen, I happily play with my newly carved leaves. I only had green and red printing ink, so I mixed them to make brown too.
It all looked fine so I wanted to try it with some fabric paint and a piece of natural linen. Everything from the printing needs washing and tidying first! Then I could move on to the printing on the fabric with a ready made brown fabric paint using the oak block.
Now for a couple of new tea-towels. So I sewed some new linen fabric and made two tea towels. I know I should have really washed the new fabric but I was so enthusiastic to print I just went for it. I will have to hope all is well. I dried it in the sunshine and then ironed it to fix the fabric paint.
I really love this, my values, simple, honest, authentic, and completely handmade. From me finding the leaf, carving the block and then hand printing it onto my hand made linen tea-towel.
And then I had to try my little Hawthorne leaf and berry too, inspired by my own drawings.
Art work copyright Eileen Postlethwaite
I have always loved these pretty little leaves and red berries. I saw a tree today and the little green berries are just forming. Here is one of my drawings I made several years ago, I have always like the simplicity of this composition. I have used these as my drawing subject so many times. Now I have a tea towel.
Art work copy right Eileen Postlethwaite.
Hope you enjoyed seeing my little fun project. Today i collected some pure white sheep wool off the shore all caught on the wire fence, I have it soaking in soap flakes and then a new pincushion project, maybe from the leaf prints. I do have a few other ideas to print and to try some different colours of oak leaves and an acorn to carve. It really is an enjoyable technique, In the past I have used a simple potato and a kitchen knife and made lovely prints.
Something else I have been doing was a few quick sketches of this little red and black Cinnabar moth. I found it on the ground and brought it home. A red and a black fine ink pen was grabbed and I had a few rough sketches as it moved around on my page.
Then a more detailed study in pencil.
It was a lovely moth, set free in my garden after I spent my hour doing this page. I will paint it soon. The real moth is pictured above and below, it just wandered around on my page, sometimes so still and quiet that I was able to do these little drawings of it.
I will leave you with the night sky, at 10pm on Friday. I love seeing the evening sky, so many beautiful colours.
The ash tree at the bottom of my garden, looking North west to the Lakeland hills.
The view from my window, looking west.
Thank you for your lovely comments. Hope you enjoyed seeing what I have been inspired with. What are you doing, have you made something handmade? i would love to hear. Hope you are all enjoying your weekend.