Monday 30 January 2012

Yesterday we woke to a white frosty world.  The views were amazing and it was a day not to be missed, so off we went for a walk.  It was a chance for me to try out my new camera, a surprise Christmas gift from my husband.  So all the photographs today are taken by me, as I take you along with us on our uphill route. A chance for me to share more of the views of my village as we take the footpaths through the fields.
It is a steep hill and we are heading to the top of the brown hill in the distance

You can see the snow on the top of Scafell, the Lakeland hills.
Next through the old stone stile

By this time I am puffing and panting as we have reached the old stile, realising how far we have come and looking up to where we are going.
The white building on the right is the village school, we came through the field next to it.
We are walking to the top of the brown hill, something white is just showing from behind the hill.
We leave the fields and walk up the lane with high banks and hedges. I found the rosehips and snail shell along here and I carried them with me for the rest of my journey.

You can see the estuary and the snake like tidal river where I did my walk for my shore  project.

 We are now on the Moors and the brown hill covered in the rusty coloured dead bracken. It is here that the Slate is quarried, evidence of the stone is everywhere in the village, especially the stone walls and buildings.  It was actually on the television this week,  as Michael Portillo arrived by train to our village and visited the quarry last year.

The quarry workings,  just across from where I am standing.
I needed a rest by now,  a time to catch my breath and eat my snacks and take in the views.  Then the steep path to our destination, the mystery objects behind the hill.
They look small.

THEY ARE HUGE.  The red speck is my husband.
It was worth the walk for the views down to the estuary and the open sea. We can see for miles.
And right on top of the moor in the heather we found the little oak leaf in my picture.  It took us one and a half  hours to reach the wind mill, there are twelve of them on this piece of moor.   This is a place we used to came to as children,  run and play in the bracken,  picnic, paddle in the clear waters in the streams and enjoy the views.  We followed the river as it too made its way back down to sea level.
Down the muddy cart track and through the gate and home down the steep country lane.  We called for a cup of tea on the way down, and later arrived home tired and hungry.  We had walked from our home at sea level to around 800 ft,  all uphill.  It was a beautiful day but chilly on the moors with  puddles of water iced over,  so it felt lovely to arrive home to a cosy fire.
So here is my little picture from the day.  Rose hips reflecting the time of year as they are frosted and blackened and split with the cold.  The little oak leaf that had blown on to the moor and the pale snail shell found on the lane and to finish a piece of blue pottery found in the mud.

Hope you enjoyed the walk and my picture.   And I was pleased with my first photographs with my new camera. Thank you for your comments.                                          Millyx

Monday 23 January 2012

I went for a walk across the shore on a beautiful bright sunny day and collected a bag full of objects. Since then the weather has really changed with a drop in the temperature and some stormy days.  I am preparing to work on a page of beach objects in brown inks.  On Sunday  I chose the oak leaf,  piece of fern and the two red berries from this collection and added the skeleton leaf for this little composition.  This beautiful leaf was in my garden and I picked it up as I walked down the path to my door and I knew instantly I had to draw it.   As I have been playing with my new "dip in" pen and ink I decided this was a perfect subject for the fine nib of the pen.
I drew the shape of the leaf with all the intricate lace patterns with a pencil and then started to fill in the lines with the pen and sepia calligraphy ink.  I loved the detail and tried to capture all the tiny lines,  and although it was a very slow process dipping in the pen and using the ink it felt really nice and relaxing.  I had my head down for many hours engrossed and eventually  I managed to complete it adding a little grey ink with a fine paintbrush.   
Then I used my acrylic inks to paint the oak leaf, a curling piece of fern and two berries. I used green, sepia, grey and red to mix my colours.  I used the ink pen to give outlines to them, and also on the veins of the oak leaf as I experiment with pen and ink.
It was quite a stormy day,  I could heard the wind whistling through the house and hailstones showers peppering  the glass at the windows, with a really dark threatening sky. I was content to draw all day.  Late into the afternoon, I realised the paper looked whiter and brighter, as I looked up I noticed the room seemed lighter too.  I thought the day must have improved and the sun was showing through the clouds.  To my surprise as I gazed out of the window I saw the most wonderful rainbow, a double one.  So I thought I would share it with you, the view from my garden.
I have now reached page three in my square book.  Meanwhile my other new book is home to many different pens and drawing pencils in brown and sepia tones, as I experiment with them. If you use inks or sepia, do you have any hints, a particular brand you could recommend? I will let you see how I progress with my sea objects in sepia as soon as it is completed. 
Hope you like the leaves.  

Thank you for the lovely comments.                             Millyx

Sunday 15 January 2012

More exercise on a sunny day

I have started the year off well with lots of exercise.  My Tai chi class and then a yoga evening class and now a long walk around the village with the up hill section that always gets me puffing and results in a red healthy looking complexion.  It was a lovely day and so we set off in the sunshine and I thought it was a chance to find something for my next page.  It seemed quite strange hunting in the hedgerows as I spent last year on the shore collecting my objects.  I saw so many snail shells, lots of  different colours from pale blues to dark brown and many fragile broken cases with holes pecked  by the birds.  One made its way into my drawing.  The hedgerows were all very neat and tidy, someone had given the whole village a good cut and so I didn't find many red berries.  I did snap off the little branches with the green lichen from a favourite tree near the shore and you can see the berries are now suffering, no more bright red glossy berries on this tree.  I was amazed to see some pretty pink campion flowers still flowering through the winter.  One of my favourite plants, Lords and Ladies, was growing fresh green healthy leaves and as it is a plant  I love to draw when they reach the red berry stage I will try to   remember where I have seen them.  I passed the big oak tree which spreads its branches across the road, and resisted collecting the leaves as most were stuck in the muddy verges.  I found the sycamore leaf in one of the muddy banks by the road,  the minute I saw it I knew it was going in my page.  It was so interesting with all the torn and eaten areas and I immediately picked it up along with other remnants of leaves attached to it.  It was very fragile and it lost little pieces onto my mitten as I carried it home. I have always loved drawing aged and worn leaves.
Along the way we passed the old flattened ruins of homes,  this is where my parents first lived when they were married,  this is another place we can find pieces of china as I saw several in the field by the muddy gateway.  Our village is made up of many different little hamlets, clusters of houses,  and in days gone by I guess everyone just discarded their old broken pots in the fields or rivers or at the bottom of their garden.  There were village rubbish tips where people took the household and garden rubbish but no collections at this time.  It seems we have china in our little rivers, in fields near the houses and on the shore.  We actually have one little river that runs downhill past cottages and eventually to the shore that my husband and I have nick named China River.  I think England has many similar villages and towns where china can be found.  I must photograph my collection to show you!
So here is my finished page.  The leaf was so lovely to draw and paint and I am really pleased with it and the shapes and  patterns it contains. The berries were added next and the snail shell to finish the page. I have added the colours of ink I used for you to see.  I have bought some dip in pens and a variety of nib sizes, so hoping to have something in sepia ink to post next week after I have experimented with them.
Yesterday was such a beautiful day that we  could not resist a long walk on the shore, even more excerise,  and  of course I collected  lots of objects so I might try them in sepia.  Watch this space.  Hope you like the page for this week.

Thank you for all the lovely comments on Week 52.  The winner of my give away is Martinealison. Please can you send me your address.
Due to my lack of technology ...I am sorry to say I did not receive the emails that were sent via the contact!  if you did sent me an email please could you  send it again.  (the link is not live,  so using your own provider.)   Thank you.                                                Millyx

Tuesday 10 January 2012

A walk around my village

Happy New Year to everyone.  I have been thinking about what I might do this year and then decided to not make huge plans and just have fun and enjoy.  Last year I bought lots of new colours in the acrylic inks which I want to try, colours I am not familiar with and so that will be something new for me.  I also really love the concertina books and have plans to work in one of them again. The most exciting plan I have is to work in sepia and brown inks, fill a book with only brown drawings, using dip in pens with different sized nibs and  paint brushes. I love old drawings in browns and after drawing the dead crow I was reminded how I love using ink pens.  It will enable me to draw  and record greater detail in my work. So who knows what it will bring, what I will draw and where  that will lead me.  I have been looking up and reading about different sepia inks, which is made from Cuttle fish,  now there is a link from my shore project.  I hope to try out different kinds of browns and experiment.
I have bought two new Sketch books, one for the ink which is the same size as the one I used last year and the other is a square book which is the same as I used in 2010.  So here is the first page for my new square book.  We went for a walk around the village last Saturday.  I have to admit I was glad I did not have to venture on the wet grey and gloomy looking shore.  It was drizzling and there was low grey mist hiding the view of the hills.  Instead we walked a loop around the village which included a footpath through the beck fields,( a beck being a small river).  It was wet and muddy but I love this walk as you follow the beck as it winds its way from the hills to the sea.  I spent a lot of my childhood here happily paddling and fishing about collected bits of china from the beck and learning about  wildflowers and insects.  Today it felt damp and dreary with empty hedgerows and we slipped along the muddy ground with places like a mire.
I picked up the oak leaf and then the red berries on the little branch with a single leaf.  This piece did not make the grade for Christmas but I will have it.  A new section of footpath looked neat and tidy, it was the first time I have walked on it and then I spotted the pile of earth dug up and the little pieces of china poking through the soil.  Several blue and white pieces went into my pocket.  The hedgerows yielded the blue snail shells and I knew that was to be my first page in my square book.
I painted it with my acrylic inks and a number 3 sable brush.  It felt strange changing the size of my page.  So whatever catches my eye will be recorded throughout  the year in this book.  Now off to start having fun with the sepia drawings. Watch this space.

Thank you for the really lovely comments about my Shore project.  I will eventually answer you all if you have a link.  I did not realise just how many people were following along until I have had over a thousand views since I posted week 52,  from all around world, so thank you again.
Please join in the Give away...leave a comment  on Week 52.....I will pick the winner on Saturday 14 th January  from the comments on the post Week 52.  The winner announced on Sunday 15th January.