In the garden

A garden sketch today. As I looked around for a suitable subject, these Squash leaves caught my eye. They look as though they are making a bid for freedom from the vegetable patch. If only they could get over that wall ! Of course there are a lot of other things growing near by including some broad beans supported by canes in the background, but I made the rest of the background into a very simple pale wash in the hope it would keep the interest focused on the squash leaves.

07-03 Squash leaves

Before the rain

Wanting to paint outside today, the only chance I had was just as a large black cloud rolled up, looking most threatening. I knew I only had a small amount of time before it began to rain. A quick drawing in my sketchbook would have to do. I wanted to show the dark clouds and the bit of brighter sky on the horizon behind the trees. I would have liked to have had a bit more time to make a better job of the clouds but I only just finished before the rain reached me.

Rain on the way

Ready Wrapped

The hot weather continues despite warnings of thunder to come. It is always a welcome surprise to come across a field which has recently been cut. Even when you suffer from hay fever the sight of bales standing in a field draws me like a magnet and is something I look forward to every year. Even these ready wrapped ones are enticing and I wanted to sketch them before they are collected and taken off to a barn somewhere.

Ready wrapped


In the corner of a field

Since the lock-down in March, a great deal has been said and written about mental health and ‘well-being’, and what we can do to help ourselves, and others, from becoming depressed and unable to cope with a lot of issues which isolation has brought out into the open. Some find solace in jogging, others in gardening – whether tending a large acreage of perennial borders or nurturing a hanging basket or a window box for the first time.

I am fortunate in having an interest (obsession) in filling a sketchbook, trying, but not always succeeding, in doing something on one page every day. Some days, nothing. Others, a burst of activity flows over a number of pages. I also consider myself fortunate in living in the countryside where a short walk will take me into rich pastures, where life is generally led at a gentler pace. I find myself grounded by being surrounded by what some people may consider to be nothing. But give me a corner of a meadow where I may perch and contemplate. The smell of grass, the buzz of insects and on days like today, the warmth of the sun on my back. Add to this an old barn, not much used now perhaps for being  too small for modern farming machinery, a sprinkling of bales of silage or hay, the sounds of birds going about their business, the munching of sheep or cattle in an adjacent field, and I can feel my batteries recharging, my cares lifting and being wafted away by the breeze. It doesn’t matter how the sketch turns out; It’s not important if no-one else ever sees it. It will have been worth it as it will have captured a moment in time which will take me right back to that meadow every time I flip through my sketchbook however many years from now.

Not everybody has access to a meadow. Not everybody will need one. It is possible to find fulfillment in a view from a window or a collection of favourite objects on a table. Sketching is a way of finding that special place where you can lose yourself in the moment and forget the worries that take you away from your inner core. Sketching is a way of recognizing that which is truly important to you. A way of life away from the merciless insistence of modern technology.

I hope you have found  your own corner of a field where you go whenever you need to recharge your batteries and boost your own well-being.

In the corner of a field

A Peaceful place

It has been one of those beautiful hot and sunny June days which stay in the mind for ever. After so much rain recently, it has been a real treat, and it looks as if it will last for a few more days anyway.

I followed a footpath I have not been on before, and discovered some lovely buildings well worth sketching, including this ruin and barn half submerged in the long grasses. It took most of the morning to do this double page spread in my small Moleskine sketchbook, but I enjoyed it immensely.

Old farm buildings


All the rain over the past week has made the cherries on our tree swell nicely. They are a great favourite with the birds. Blackbirds in particular. In fact one was so impressed he came back with members of his extended family for a banquet without any regard for social distancing. However, they graciously left us enough to pick for our jam making over the weekend, so we all benefited, which seems only fair.


Towards the Farmhouse

I pass this view most days when I go for a walk across the fields. Sometimes the gate is closed, other times it is open. Often there are cows gently grazing the grass, occasionally there are Canada Geese there. This time there was nothing, and very few other walkers either.

But I quite like the view and have decided that it would be good to do it again under different weather conditions and different times of the day, so I hope to be back in the not too distant future with another version or two. We are veering between bright sunshine and thunderstorms at the moment, without much warning of either. Never a dull moment.

06-16 Towards the farmhouse


Waiting for the sun

I went for an early walk across the fields to where this barn is situated. I have painted it before from various positions, and I was hoping that the sun would come out and provide some interesting shadows. Alas it didn’t. The grey clouds hovered overhead and showed no signs of moving at all. However it was good to be out in the open, the only sound coming from a few sheep in the distance. Maybe I’ll go back when the sun reappears..

06-09 Waiting for the sun


Newspaper pots

We’re growing a lot more from seeds in the garden this year. A few weeks ago, having run out of pots and trays, we made some of our own from old newspapers. They worked really well, and as the newspapers were being thrown away by a neighbour, they had the added advantage of being free ! Now the seedlings are ready to be planted out, some in the borders, others in the vegetable plot, where hopefully they will thrive through the Summer.

Having sketched them at this stage, I’m looking forward to being able to paint some of their produce!