29 August 2010

Weekend pleasures

There's nothing I like more at the weekend than to take a leisurely breakfast on the garden terrace . Today I prepared some fresh fruit, with vanilla yoghurt and some sweet raspberry sauce (left over from Friday's dinner party desert - couldn't let that go to waste!) topped with toasted chopped nuts. To follow a hot croissant with ginger marmalade - yum!

The pool was inviting - I dipped my toes

and contemplated reflections in a blue pot

Watched the cats watching each other,

then strolled around the garden.

Happy to see my new pots of orchids are thriving.

The Rangoon Creeper is in full bloom - its perfume is delicious!

Beautiful Bauhinia - it doesn't stay on the tree for long - monkeys love it!

I counted 9 different varieties of palm tree growing in the garden.

Bananas reaching for the sky (next door)


and wildlife .

I love my garden!

21 August 2010

Illustration Friday - Atmosphere

Water media on gessoed mountboard © Caroline Soer 2010

'The moon has stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at a work
That points at him amazed'.

From The Moon and Little Frieda by Ted Hughes

I combined this week's Illustration Friday word 'atmosphere' with last week's 'star gazing'. I chose this line of poetry by Ted Hughes from ' The Moon and Little Frieda' in which Hughes vividly evokes the atmosphere of the English countryside.

Full Moon and Little Frieda

A cool small evening shrunk to a dog bark and the clank of a bucket –

And you listening.
A spider’s web, tense for the dew’s touch.
A pail lifted, still and brimming – mirror
To tempt a first star to a tremor.

Cows are going home in the lane there, looping the hedges with their warm wreaths of breath –
A dark river of blood, many boulders,
Balancing unspilled milk.

“Moon!” you cry suddenly, “Moon! Moon!”

The moon has stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at a work
That points at him amazed.

--Ted Hughes, from Wodwo (1967)

20 August 2010

Illustration friday - by the skin of my teeth

copyright Caroline Soer 2010

Oh my gosh, think I'm scraping in by two seconds here for this week's word -' Stargazing'. I've been under the weather all week with a nasty cold and am only managing my sketchbook page as I couldn't decide on which theme to go with. Please click to enlarge the image.

Here you have them all in rough - star/moongazing hare, Stargazer Lily and Star Gazey Pie. Ever heard of Star Gazey Pie? This pie originates from the small fishing village of Mousehole (pronounced Mouzel) in Cornwall, in the southwest of England. As legend has it, for many days one winter, the seas were too rough to bring in the catch and the village had little to eat. However, eventually, one fisherman called Tom Bawcock, braved the storms and went out fishing. Against all odds he managed to bring back enough fish to feed the starving villagers and for ever more, December the 23rd has been called Tom Bawcock's Eve. To make the small catch go further, the fish were baked in a pastry case with the fishes' heads poking out up at the stars, hence Star Gazey Pie. The man was revered for saving the inhabitants' lives and his festival is an annual attraction in Mousehole complete with illuminations and depictions of Star Gazy Pie in lights.

I visited the Mouzel a few years ago and bought a copy of Antonia Barber's delighful tale The Mousehole Cat, illustrated by Nicola Bayley which tells the story of this legend. The illustrations are delightful!

11 August 2010

Illustration Friday and other ramblings

'Caged' - watercolour copyright Caroline Soer 2010

This week's Illustration Friday word is Caged. Here are a couple of caged, but hopefully, contented chickens from my sketchbook. Just a swift little illustration this week as I've been thinking about a few new projects (and yes, that includes the elusive website, but no, there's nothing to show yet!). Scroll down to see something else I'm adding to my list of must do's!

I've just received my little blue book for the Sketchbook Project! Are you taking part? If you're not familiar with this fun project click on the image below to find out all about it. There's still time to sign up, but be quick as themes are filling up fast!

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

My chosen theme is 'In Flight' and I'm thinking of filling the book with lots of birds and insects and other flighty things! I'm looking forward to sharing my sketches with you as I progress through the book.

I hovered over my desk to give you a bird's eye view of what's on there today! The usual painting paraphernalia, the new sketchbook of course and two new little chinese calligraphy items I bought yesterday. See the handy little paintbrush rest?

Every artist should have one!

and this is a tiny little water dispenser in the shape of a teapot. You fill the small hole in the top, cover with your finger and then tip to pour out water drop by drop! Meant for mixing chinese ink but couldn't resist this - so cute!

So many beautiful little examples in this youtube video - I feel a collection coming on!

Oh and if you're still with me after all this rambling, well done, you deserve a bit of light entertainment! I'd just like to return briefly to the subject of 'in flight' to share a link to the NewYork Times and Christoph Niemann's hilarious 'Red Eye - A visual diary documenting a flight from New York to Berlin (with a layover in London)'' which will no doubt be familiar to many of you who travel long haul! Enjoy!

5 August 2010

Passion Flower

I found this delicate little passion flower out on my morning walk yesterday. The vine was creeping over the garden wall of an abandoned property and I brought home a long stem to take a closer look. This is Passiflora foetida, also known as Stinking Passionflower, Love-in-a-mist (due to its resemblance to Nigella damascena a flower also surrounded by numerous threadlike bracts), Running Pop and Wild Waterlemon. The latin foetida refers to the apparently unpleasant smell emitted by damaged leaves, though I haven't noticed this! The bloom, which is quite small at just over 3 cms in diameter, appears to last only a few hours, opening at dawn and closing by midday. Well worth clicking on the photos to enlarge.

2 August 2010

Illustration Friday - Artificial

Artificial pear - paper sculpture

I decided to try something completely different for this week's Illustration Friday task. The word is 'artificial' and I've created an artificial fruit that does in fact have a real stalk! I carved the pear from an old paperback book, coloured the edges with ink and added a real stalk with a paper leaf, after I'd eaten the real pear!

My inspiration for this was a new book I bought at the weekend. Check this out if you like playing with paper.


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