Thursday, 20 April 2017


Time to catch up on my sketchbook 41 nature journal with a few recent drawings of the nature in and around my garden.  These violets are growing in the lawn at the moment since I persuaded Bob to let them grow instead of spraying with weedkiller and what a picture the are, just imagine a green and purple carpet all over the garden.
And just in case you don't believe me, here's a photo!

The Forsythia doesn't last very long but what a delight it is when it's in bloom.

I have a couple of shrubs, one of which is in the shadier part of the garden next to the bank and it really lights up the corner with the bright yellow flowers.
I have interpreted a bunch in one of my needlepaintings too, such a pleasure to have the flowers on my worktable and study them as I stitched.

Many of the trees around here have lichen growing on them in such pretty shades of green.  Apparently it is a sign that the air is very clean, we say here in Brittany that it gets washed by the rain nearly every day!

It's surprising how dry and crispy the lichen feels when you touch it!

The ferns are beginning to unfurl in the garden and down the lane.
Well, that's it for a couple of weeks, we're off to England in the morning so I'll see you later, hopefully with a lot more drawings to share.

Saturday, 15 April 2017


This week's needlepainting is a magnolia inspired by the blooms in the garden at the moment.

The magnolia bush was already in the garden when we bought our house nearly 15 years ago.
We moved it to a sunnier spot when we realised it was in the shade of the bank and soon to disappear underneath it in fact as the ivy was growing across the lawn at quite a rate.

This set of drawings is in my nature journal from 2012 when I drew the same flower on the tree as it opened and died over 3 weeks.

I had wanted to draw the seeds as well but the birds got there first!

With the dark ivy covered bank behind the shrub and the flowers looking like lightbulbs shining in the sun, I couldn't resist drawing them again the following year.

This year again I've drawn the flowers but now as inspiration for my needlepainting.

I love the purple on the underside of the petals and for the picture I used some scraps of a cashmere cardigan that was no longer worn.
And finally here's a photo of one of those beautiful blooms.
Have a happy Easter!


Saturday, 8 April 2017


One of our favourite meals to have on Sunday is oysters and champagne.  Bob gets up early to go to the village where the local producer sets up her stall and he buys 18 size 2 oysters.  We can trust in their freshness as they are grown on the coast only a few kilometres from here in the river Jaudy where we used to sail when we had our boat.

It's a very simple meal, we have the oysters followed by some delicious French cheeses and a green salad washed down with a red wine from the Rhone villages.  We buy our champagne from the producer who comes to Perros every year at a very reasonable price, in fact we are off to the annual wine fair later this morning to get stuck into some serious tasting.

I have a Japonica bush just in front of the dining room window and I love the way the orange flowers bloom all along the stems, right into the centre of the shrub.

The branches have lethal spines which attack my fingers when I try to cut a few stems to draw so I have taken some photos as well because I think this would make an interesting subject for a needlepainting.  I can picture the layers building up and getting stronger in colour as they come nearer to the front.

I have an American friend called Starr who lives in a wonderful forest who posts beautiful photos of her environment which have inspired my drawings in the past.  The latest batch have also been interpreted in brush pen and diluted inks.

She has a lovely collection of silver birches with interesting barks which she has also painted in watercolours. 
The name of Starr's blog is wonderland woods and I'm sure you'll be delighted with her photos too.

Continuing with the woody theme, we have a few tree stumps in our garden where I noticed some interesting growths appearing.  On closer inspection I discovered these colourful fungi so I photographed them straight away as I thought they might get damaged when Bob set out to mow the lawn.  As this blue-green one was about 5 centimetres across I enlarged the photo so I could see the detail more clearly.

This orange-mauve one had been growing slowly through the winter and fortunately I caught it at it's peak as it's now dried up since the weather warmed up for spring.
Spring is warming up and there are lots more beautiful plants to draw in and around my garden so keep an eye out for the next instalment of Sketchbook no 41!