Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Rondo for an autumn garden

summer•shorts no:15

What a composition of colours, a symphony and green burgundy and purple! This is our 'Rondo' grapvine heavy with fruit.

Shhhh! hum the tune quietly - don't tell the hens.

Sister act

summer•shorts no:14

I think you'll agree that this year's Three Sisters bed is quite magnificent. Sister-Corn is the star of the show, just look as those cobs becoming plump on the sturdy stalks with those tufts of male flowers on the top. They dance like warriors in the breeze.

Sister-Bean is playing a quiet supporting role this year, she's there if you look carefully but doesn't steal the limelight. But by late October I'm sure there will be a good harvest of beans for comforting casseroles and soups.

And lastly Sister-Squash, she holds the whole show together – her stout limbs run around and around holding the giant green leaves aloft. She sends up tall stalks with exotic frilly yellow flowers that the bees and hoverflies love and tucked below her fruit are forming, drinking up the rain-water and getting bigger and bigger every day the sun shines.

You grow girls!

Scene change

summer•shorts no:13

The view from The Wild Wood was transformed from summer to early autumn this week. The dust in the air and rumble of the combine harvester signalled the end of summer – a quick scene change this year as the 24/7 mechanical munching endeavours to out-smart the weather.

Now the scuffle and thud of the baler, leaving the field dotted with rectangular blocks of straw. Soon a new back-drop will fill the view from The Wild Wood – brown earth furrows, spiky skeletal trees and hedgerows and dark birds against the sky.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Cattle in the meadow and stars up above

summer•shorts no:12

Today was a perfect late summer Sunday – after lunch we walked one of our favourite routes along the Stour valley from Long Melford, approaching Sudbury via the timeless meadows. Cattle wade in the cooling river shallows just as they have done for many centuries.

After an indulgent cream tea in the Mill Hotel, fruit scones (I think a real cream tea should have plain scones - is that just me being picky?) clotted cream and strawberry jam; we wandered back to the riverside, taking a short cut through St Gregory's churchyard. The ancient carved doorway seemed to invite us inside the cool quiet church, where we discovered this glorious painted ceiling . . .

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

New for you to view (and me to do)

summer•shorts no:11

The to-do done list:

design and send out a new flyer promoting my illustration work to publishers and studios tick
add a new section of digital illustrations to the online gallery tick
complete a new set of illustrations and print new cards tick
put the new cards in the Etsy shop tick
tidy up the Etsy shop tick
add lots of new digital illustration work to the Studio pages of my web site tick
revise the web site home page tick
start new paintings . . . oh! can't tick this one yet, but it's dull and rainy outside so I'll make a start
put Giraffe and Elephant book in the Etsy shop . . . mmmmm! – I should do that today too tick it's here in the Etsy shop
start the design and illustrations for the two new little books I've been planning in my head . . . yes! I MUST
write a new to-do list

Monday, 10 August 2009

Last rays of the sun

summer•shorts no:10

Cure-all, protector, forecaster of storms . . .

The Carline Thistle
Carlina vulgaris

Reflecting the last colours of the evening sky . . .

A Chalkhill Blue butterfly (Polyommatus coridon)
pauses on the delicate florets of
the Small Scabious (Scabiosa columbaria).

Dusky pompom bobbing above the grassy bank . . .

The Devil's Bit Scabious (Scabiosa pratensis) whose
stunted root Old Nick chewed to steal its
soothing power.

Photos taken during our walk on The Devil's Dyke yesterday evening.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

A morning well spent

summer•shorts no:09

I spent this morning in Cambridge . . .

1) bought new shoes at the best ever shoe shop :-)

2) got fitted! . . . I'm what size!!!! oooooo la la!

3) cultural fix – went to the Fitzwilliam to see Endless Forms: Darwin, Natural Science and the Visual Arts – this is the big one for Cambridge University's 800th year and the Darwin bicentenary, it takes up all six of the museum's temporary exhibition spaces. Surprising, fascinating, beautiful – brilliant!. I now need to sit down and reflect . . .

4) and drink an ice cold Fentiman's Ginger Beer.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Under big skies

summer•shorts no:08

Yesterday we drove diagonally across Suffolk from our most south-westerly corner to this rather aristocratic garden in the far north-east of the county, tucked between the wide Waveney water marshes and the North Sea on the Somerleyton Estate. As you can see, the sun was shining and the sky was full of very artistic clouds which East Anglia does so well. I particularly liked the tipsily swaying yew topiary.

Back home, we quickly refueled with a ham salad, grabbed a box of goodies for 'afters' and a couple of bottles of Beck's and headed off to Saffron Walden – we had a cunning plan . . .

. . . we headed up the hill to the big iron gate leading into the back of the Audley End Estate, along the footpath and across a grassy field; as we did so, an orchestra in the distance played the Dambusters March and a Spitfire soared across the sky above, arched and tumbled back towards us! We didn't get to see Katherine Jenkins in her gorgeous frocks or see the orchestra, but we could hear them loud and clear as we sat and watched the sun set, drank our beer and ate marsh-mallows. Our evening's entertainment ended with a splendid firework display – I didn't take any photos but Gina was down there in the official audience and has posted some here. Now that's how to have the 'Last Night of the Proms' experience without the 'getting out of the car-park' finale ;-)

Saturday, 1 August 2009

I am the chutney-wallah walli*

summer•shorts no:07

This scrumptious mixture of freshly chopped Czar plums (picked from my Mum's garden yesterday), apples, onions, raisins, brown sugar, vinegar and spices is now simmering gently on the hob. It's gradually turning a rich shade of deep 'Suffolk pink' and filling the house with a sweet-sour warm spiciness.

Listening to TMS would have been the perfect accompaniment to my labours – but rain has stopped play and the BBC has (wisely in my opinion) decided that a whole day of Geoffrey Boycott's reminiscences would be just too much for the listener at home to take and have switched off coverage for the day.

There has been just a little drizzle here this afternoon, in fact it's dry now and pleasantly warm – I could sit outside (within sight of the cauldron, of course) and attempt to complete the big crossword at the back of the Saturday paper :-)

Have a good weekend

* thank you to mangocheeks for the grammatical gender correction