Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer Too Hot - Roll On Autumn

We are in the middle of a very hot and humid period in the UK at the moment. People who live in VERY hot countries will wonder why the English complain about the mercury rising to the high eighties (31C), but we are not really used to it. My comfort zone is very small - 10C to 20C. The other point is the humidity. Our cloudy skies seem to attract it and it makes it very difficult to sleep...complaint over, now back to the art.

Below are my two latest watercolours. Very into colour at the moment - must be due to the summer.

In A Bright And Shining Land

Seen Once In A Dream

It was my nephew and his lovely wife's tenth anniversary the other day so I thought I would send them a watercolour illustration to mark the important occasion. The black lines don't appear on the card though. I enjoyed drawing this and I hope they received it safely. You may notice it is the same horse as above which is a copyright free one from one of my books.

When I was having a trawl through my old artwork the other day I found my very first piece of coloured pencil work which I must have done around 1990. I was trying to achieve a blended look and I think I partially succeeded. Not necessarily representative of wisteria but I quite like it.
I found a wonderful artist on Etsy the other day called Mariann Johansen-Ellis. She is a Danish artist and printmaker and her Etsy shop is called oneline and can be found here. I love her bright, illustrative style. Below are a linocut and two watercolours of hers. She has masses more to look at on Etsy and also her website here. If you click on "Printmaking Movies" on her website she gives interesting tutorials about about printmaking and etching. She must be a great tutor because her tutorials are very clear and succinct. I have tucked them away to watch with a cup of coffee (even though I don't etch). To top it all off she even has a blog here.

My Indian Doggy Bag
Mermaid's Song
Jester's Hall 11
I came across a painting by Dorset artist Sue Hardy the other day. I was very impressed with her beautiful soft colours and attention to detail and use of light. She uses a variety of media such as pastel, acrylic, watercolour and charcoal. Her subject matter is mainly of the animals and nature of the English countryside. She has some wonderful art on her website here. Don't forget to check out the archives too.

I have been tagged by Flora of Through The Round Window so here goes. Those of you who don't like tags skip the next bit.

What is your current obsession? At the moment I am watching the Youtube reruns of Hyacinth Bucket in the comedy Keeping Up Appearances. They are really silly and quite dated now but I find them so funny. Youtube's Norwegicus the Third has uploaded the whole series.

What are you listening to right now? Enya's Paint The Sky With Stars. I love all her music but this is my very favouritist one. Listen to it on Youtube here. By the way, have you ever tried opening two Youtube windows at the same time with the same song. You need to get one started a bit before the second and you can get a lovely effect.

What do you think of the person who tagged you? She is funny, cheerful, chatty, witty, loves her family and makes beautiful glass.
What is your favourite quote? Again so many, but one of my favourites is:

"The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live" - Florence Whittemore

Do you admire anyone's style? I am not sure about style in a dressy kind of sense but overall I admire Queen Elizabeth 2 immensely. She has character, wisdom, sense of humour and a great sense of duty to the country. For the job she is doing, she is perfect.

Favourite movies? Well definitely the LOTR trilogy and especially the Return of the King which is my all time favourite. I also like Legend, Pan's Labyrinth, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest and the Spiderman films.

Favourite book? This is almost impossible considering I have about 10,000 favourites, but if I really had to chose one it would be Keiko Minami's Bonheur. It is the most gorgeous book of beautiful etchings and I never get tired of looking at it. And no, mine didn't cost anywhere near the prices of these on Amazon. They must be printed in gold.

Favourite fruit? I think I will go for apples with this one, although I like lots of different fruits. I like the Garden of Eden symbology.

Favourite smell? I have a very powerful sense of smell (not always a good thing) and it has to be Lily of the Valley, both the flower and the fragrance.

What do you look forward to when you come home after being away? Cuddle the cats, a cup of tea and check my emails etc in no particular order.

Which word do you overuse? Actually it is "actually" and of course "basically" gets a look in there too.

I tag the following blogs but don't worry if you don't like tagging - no

Joy at Jamjar
Shirley of Beadbag
Gillian of IHeartCrafts - Check out Gillians Giveaway on her blog

If you like these beautiful contemporary folk images of Olesja Serjantova you can find many more at her page here. is a huge Russian site of over 6,000 artists and over 189,000 artworks. Can you imagine that? I have posted some images from their site previously. I really admire the work of many Eastern European and Russian artists.

These delightful felt applique pictures are the work of Julia K Walton who has an Etsy shop called Fire Horse Textiles here and also has some beautiful examples of her felt work on Flickr here. I never can resist chickens.

I was tempted into purchasing a couple of lovely items on Etsy this past week. The gocco print of the Nordic Blue Hares is by printmaker Dee Beale. She has a wonderful style and produces some lovely artwork. You can see more of her here at her blog and also at her Etsy shop here. The greetings card is by Freya who is an artist I have posted about previously. I love her style but didn't realise that she also produced greetings cards. Her Etsy shop is here and her website here.

Over the past years I have visited lots of artists studios who are in the Open Studios event. I think other countries have something very similar. Basically you check in your locality for which artists appear interesting and whose style you like and you can pay them a visit during a couple of weeks in the summer. The studios are dotted all over the country and maps are supplied with all the necessary details. I have a collection of over 120 of these and they are lovely to browse through in their own right. Most of the studio events are also online. I have brochures from all over the country here and all craft and art disciplines are represented.
This shows how the brochures are illustrated with lots of lovely open studios to visit. If you cannot visit, then often, if an artist catches your eye, you will find that they have either a website of their own or are represented by a gallery if you Google their name. You will need to click on this picture to see it clearly.

This is our local brochure.
One of the places I visited was the beautiful and ancient St. Dunstan's Parish Church at Monks Risborough. Parts of the building date back to 1150 although most of it is dated to 1470, which makes it the oldest recorded parish church in England. The lovely sandstone head sculpture that I posted about a little while ago is situated around the rear of the church on the wall. Every year the church is taken over for two weeks as a base for several artists during the Bucks Open Studios event. Just behind the door as I walked in was a very talented artist and illustrator called Christine Bass. I chatted to Christine for over an hour and during that time examined her lovely acrylic paintings, pored over her fascinating sketchbooks and bought a fair number of her greetings cards. Christine kindly gave me permission to illustrate her work and you can see her images below.

Her work caught my eye immediately due to its vividly coloured and graphic art style. I love the way she paints her trees for instance. She explained that one of her techniques is to collage tissue over the canvas which are then painted. This gives her work a extra dimensional quality. I think her art is beautifully contemporary and I wish her the best of luck with it in the future. She also gave me some very useful tips on acrylic painting which I have yet to try in earnest.

Christine has a blog here and if you go to the "older post" link at the bottom of each short page you will be able to see much more of her work and also her illustrations. It is well worth a visit. The other artists in the church were also very interesting and had some lovely work on display including linocut printmaking, handmade books (gorgeous), botanical art, stained glass, texiles and jewellery. A veritable feast of art in beautiful surroundings. In fact two of my favourite things together - churches and art. What more could I ask for?

From Sonning Common, Near Reading

Beacon Hill From Coombe Hill

Passion Flowers And Cardoon

Chilterns Winter Night

Pink Snow

Flowers At Queen's Park

Near Bledlow


BeadBag said...

Gorgeous post - love all of the pictures.

Flora said...

Hi Cathy - as ever, some wonderful work on your blog!

Thanks for doing the tag (and for your comments!)...i had no idea tags were considered a bit of a no-no (I'm such a blog-virgin!) so apologies for that!

Toothfairy said...

what a long post!!! I like the first few drawings a lot! thanks for sharing!

Flora said...

Ah, thanks for clearing that up for me!

Yes, there are in fact 2 other Flora's whose blogs I read and comment on, so it was all getting a bit confusing! The first is and the other is - both are well worth a visit!

Cathy said...

Thanks Shirley

Cathy said...

Thanks Flora. Don't worry about tagging. No one has to do it if they prefer not to - some like it and some don't. I think sometimes people don't have a great deal of time to do their posts and the tags take a bit of thinking about etc.

Cathy said...

Hi Toothfairy. Thanks for visiting. The first few images are my own artwork so I appreciate your comments.

Cathy said...

Hi Flora. I have been to Flora Douville before and enjoyed her blog but the other one is not known to me so I shall pay her a visit.

Kat Mortensen said...

My goodness, Cathy, my mind is on sensory overload! You put so much into your posts, I barely know where to begin!
I love the gorgeous work you have exhibited here - the white horse illustration is a particular favourite. I also loved the Dorset artist's painting of the sheep, the Russian folk-art,The Danish artist's etchings and everything of yours is fantastic and vibrant and fun!

I'm a LOTR fan as well, but I really loved the Two Towers best, I think - the people of Rohan. That was great! My last name is Mortensen, but sadly, I'm no relation to Viggo.

I also love Enya and her sister Maire Brennan and the band Clannad.

Oh, and thanks so much for following me, I do appreciate it!


Gillian said...

Hi Cathy - thanks for the tag and the blog giveaway mention! They are interesting questions so I'll get on to them this week! Love the Dee Beale prints too - beautiful.

Caroline said...

Hi Cathy! Back in Kl now and have come back to some 500 blog posts to read!! I have kept yours for last though as I know there is always so much to savour! Thoroughly enjoyed your wonderful mix of your super clean-lined personal pieces and exciting potpourri of art and artists(most of whom are new to me). As always one of my most favourite places to visit!
Caroline x

Cathy said...

Hi Kat

I am really pleased you like the blog. I seem to have gone a bit overboard in length this I love it when I find a new artist or craftsperson though. I love anything Irish or Celtic too. My dad's family came from Roscommon.

Cathy said...

Hi Gillian. I look forward to seeing your answers when you have a mo.

Cathy said...

Hi Caroline, nice to see you back although I bet you wish you were still on your hols. We are having some of your hot and humid weather this week and everyone is feeling like wet rags...ha ha. Thanks for the compliments on the blog. It will take you a while to wade through all those posts.

Acornmoon said...

Hi Cathy, what a lot of fabulous images. I have just read that your dad's family came from Roscommon. My great grandparents also came from that region although I don't know it at all, it is on my wish list.

Beth Niquette said...

Thank you for your kind and encouraging comments. I'm very honored.

I absolutely love your blog, and your artwork is exquisite in Rythm, form pattern and color. Just gorgeous!

Cathy said...

Hi Valerie,I have visited Roscommon but that was before we knew exactly which village they came from, so I would love to go back and have a look. I love Ireland to bits.

Cathy said...

Thanks very much for those lovely comments Beth. I enjoyed my visit to your blog too.

ArtPropelled said...

Gorgeous...feast for the eyes!! I'm bowled over every time I visit. So many new artists to see!

Cathy said...

Thanks very much Robyn.

Old World Primitives said...

So much eye candy in one post! I love it all, especially In A Bright And Shining Land and the third image down by Olesja Serjantova.


Holly Zemak said...

Hi Cathy, Heat and humidity are not for me either. However this summer we have seen neither, we have rain, too much of a good thing. I like your watercolor "Seen Once In a Dream", blues and purples. Enjoyed Christine Bass. Happy July 4th from the States.

Cathy said...

Thanks Stephanie.

Cathy said...

A very happy 4th of July to you and all Americans Holly. Hope you all have a lovely and safe celebration. Glad you are not having weather like ours, although it is cooler today. Hopefully the heatwave has gone on its merry way elsewhere...ha ha.

Alison Arif said...

Hi Cathy,
I am in the UK too, it has been a very hot weekend! I do like it but during the week I work in a very stuffy office so I don't mind it when I can be outside it to enjoy the sunshine :)
I love the Seen Once In A Dream picture, great post and I hope you're not suffering too much in this humidity. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

Cathy said...

Hi Alison. It certainly has been but as I sit here typing this we have had cooler weather and mega storms so the heatwave is a thing of the past..ha ha. Pleased you like the blog.

sarah summers said...

Hi Cathy
I can spend hours reading your blog. it's sooo interesting. I'll never get any work done!!! I always pop in from time to time to have a little peep. I'll be back again soon!! sarah x

Cathy said...

Hi Sarah. Thanks for that. It is great to know that people like what I find. It makes all the time spent worthwhile.