Blood Red

Growing silently and unmolested by any unwanted intruders in the vegetable garden, this is the largest, so far, of a row of North Holland Blood Red onions. I always like to paint any produce like this whether it is from the garden or brought home from the shops. I particularly liked the range of colors from dark red, through Burnt Sienna, white and greens on the stem. It also has very white roots.


The Rudbeckias are doing most of the work supplying colour in the garden at the moment. There are other things but none as brash or self-assertive as these tall brightly coloured flowers. There are some marigolds which can compete in colour but not so much in height. They do very well in their own little world.

I wanted to paint these before they succumb to the weather and lose their petals.

Grow house Tomatoes

Although these Tomatoes have their roots firmly in the grow house (a miniature glass-house for those not so horticulturally disposed), they have grown enthusiastically enough to be bursting out of it in all directions, and this vine has become rather top-heavy. The late Summer or early Autumn sun has them ripening by the day and their colour changing almost as one looks at them.

Caring for Figs

Our fig tree has had access to more light this year which means it has grown and looks very pleased with itself. Unfortunately, it hasn’t had so much sun, so a lot of the fruit will not have the chance to ripen. The rich colours of the insides always come as a surprise, but always fun to add to the pages of a sketchbook.

Watering can

Sometimes I use my sketchbook to play around with ideas, try something different, without meaning to create anything in particular. Here I was using a stronger ink line in the sketch, making it play a more dominant part in the finished drawing instead of having it disappear beneath the watercolour when I paint over it. Apart from having the side of the watering can coincide exactly with the centre line of the sketchbook, which is bad designing on my part, I quite like the look of this sketch.

I also like the way the watercolour has behaved. I made the main grey area from French Ultramarine, Indian Red and Yellow Ochre, mixing them very loosely and allowing them to merge on the paper. I also like how dark they went when I added a little Winsor violet. There is also a little Cerulean Blue on the top of the can and on the handle.

Painted in my Moleskine watercolour sketchbook portrait format 8×5 inches.

From little seeds

The Poppies have been beautiful this year and are always a welcome addition to the garden whether planted on purpose or a gift of Nature. Although their delicate petals do not always last long once the wind blows, their tall elegant seed heads add another sculptural element to the borders.


With the beautiful weather we have been enjoying, I had to post something from the garden to celebrate the arrival of Summer. In the world of borders and beds, plots and allotments, things have stepped up a notch, and there seems to be so much to do. I am not sure if the late frosts were entirely to blame for the lack of enthusiasm in the seeds to do anything this year, as there was a lot of time spent trying to find the right kind of peat free compost. Eventually we found one which seemed to find favour and our seedlings are now marching away as happy as anything!

A little sunshine

Wow, it’s been longer than I thought since I last posted. No real reason for the delay, just been busy with classes restarting, craft fairs starting and fitting in some gardening between lots of rain. I took advantage of a brief sunny interlude to paint this in the hope that there will be many sunny days to come throughout the months ahead. If we keep believing that, it’s bound to happen, right?

A page from the journal

A weekend spent in the garden preparing for what we all hope will be a good summer. It is tempting to start planting seedlings but we are still having frosty nights. Lovely to see the Bluebells starting to come out and loads of Forget-me-nots. Things are certainly on the move.

Some seeds are taking a long time to do what they are supposed to. I don’t know if it is the weather or the peat-free compost we all have to use. Does anyone actually like the stuff?