Isolation distractions . . . .

A poem remembered from childhood days:

The Daisy :

The Daisy is a happy flower
It blossoms in the spring
It blossoms in the sunny hour
When bees are on the wing
It brings with it the butterflye
Likewise the humble bee
The blue path in the sunny sky
The crows nest on the tree
It brings also the butter cup
The dew drops in a shower
Which the morning sun dries up
Before the noonday hour
Hedge sparrows in the hawthorn hedge
Building their mossy nest
Till evening shadows ushers in
& leaves them all at rest

John Clare

It is gloriously sunny again after some hard frosts. On the large lawn in the front of the house I have only mown the edges recently leaving the myriad of daisies for the insects. Yesterday the ceanothus at the front of the house was alive with the buzz of honey bees. I don’t if it is the warm spring, but we are doing exceptionally well for bees of all sorts and lots of early butterflies. A colony of, what I think are, mason bees have moved into the “insect hotel” on an outside window sill.

White tailed bumble amongst “stonecrop” on the yard wall
“Buzz, buzz honey bee, honey bee, sting who you like but don’t sting me

Over the last week I have been quite busy “art wise”. I joined in the BBC 4 programme “Life Drawing Live”, where the presenters give some tuition, a little relevant art history and present the live models who pose and you are invited to sketch along with the studio participants. Each “pose” is given only a very short sketching time; they started with only 30 seconds drawing time. The limited timing does wonders for ones concentration! Below are a couple of my efforts; I haven’t included my 30 second sketches. The BBC and based each of the poses on a different classical painting – here we start with “The Rokeby Venus” by Velazquez to be completed in 6 minutes.

Finishing with “Liberty leading the People” by Delacroix (posed by a mastectomy patient) and given 16 minutes.

A great distraction and very challenging.

Then later in the week I started on two very different flower paintings not quite finished either.

I wanted to depict red campion flowers in the landscape using leaves and bits and pieces to “print” the surrounding foliage first. I think the finished picture may be heavily cropped I’m not very happy with it.
Lastly. A very stylised painting of large mauve allium flowers. A friend rang and dropped them on my wall in passing whilst on a “voluntary “ shopping run for an elderly neighbour. She just knew” I would want to paint these very structural blooms of which she has a huge clump. They are in reality spectacular.

Now back to my other major distraction at the moment- the garden. I must go and water the plants in the cold frame ……

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