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.

Sunday 3 May 2015

May Gardens Illustrated – and The Artful Hare

I've now completed three linocuts for Gardens Illustrated magazine . . . I work about two months ahead of the publication date. I showed a behind the scenes look at my working process last month, so I won't repeat that each month but I thought I'd show you my sketches and a few thoughts.

For his May article, Frank Ronan writes about leaving his English garden untended and the joys of May in England when every ditch, verge and hedgerow looks beautiful.

The heading 'Momentary Magic' alludes to Frank's mention of
"the 'little moment' that Shakespeare spoke of" . . . so, if like me, your knowledge of the bard's works isn't as in depth as Frank's; this refers to Sonnet 15. Before starting work on ideas for the illustration I copied it out in my sketch book.

I then spent a happy afternoon drawing detailed drawings of the wildflowers mentioned in the article.

I considered including a Dunnock (also known as a Hedge Sparrow) but he didn't make the final version  . . .

Yesterday Cliff and I went for a walk along undulating chalky/flinty paths on the West Suffolk/Cambridgeshire border. The verges were spangled with Stitchwort just as described in Frank's May article for Gardens Illustrated (there's a nice article about Frank in there too).

Early May really is a beautiful time to enjoy a walk in the English countryside, yesterday we walked through Bluebell woods and along field verges awash with Cowslips.
We were also lucky to see a number of hares, one was sitting washing its whiskers only a short way away form where we sat eating tangerines - and of course it was the day I wasn't carrying my camera! but we both had binoclars so we enjoyed quietly watching.

Which brings me onto this . . . The Artful Hare is a beautiful hardback book compiled by Alan Marshall, of images of hares by British printmakers

including me . . . 

Alan and Marion called in to my studio with some boxes of books which are available to UK customers only (sorry but postage costs don't allow for overseas shipping) via my online shop.

Wishing you all a happy May Bank Holiday weekend and if it rains the gardens and fields will look all the greener!


  1. how do ypu (all) manage to take such lovely pics?

    1. You should see all the rejects Carol!
      I find my iPad is best for studio and garden shots. The photo of the stitchwort was taken with my elderly iPhone.
      C xx

  2. I love how you've woven all of those aspects into the final print - greater stitchwort is one of my favourite flowers, I think because of the pairs of petals :-)

  3. My copy of the Artful Hare has just arrived. So looking forwards to getting to your pages.

  4. Celia, this post is a joy to see. I am so interested in seeing how your Gardens Illustrated work evolves from natural inspiration blended with editorial considerations. The results are brilliant. (I still await the arrival of the April issue over here, but think this might be The Week.)

    The Artful Hare looks really wonderful. Perhaps when I next get over to the UK I might be able to get closer to a copy.

    Here's a funny coincidence...as I began looking at this post, an interview with Grayson Perry about his book Playing to the Gallery began playing on National Public Radio. Synchronicity!


  5. It is fascinating seeing the creative process from start to finish. I love looking at your sketch book.

  6. I discovered Stitchwort in the woods today - May does bring beautiful wild flowers with it! Your prints are always so lovely, the flowers look perfect springtime!

    Katie x


  7. A lovely illustration Celia - so interesting to see your creative process at work - love Stitchwort too such a simple flower looking beautiful en masse.

  8. I love your sketchbook, so inspirational. I have to echo what Debs said, it is fascinating reading about your creative process. Lovely work x

  9. It's great to see the 'thinking process' on the page and read about where it takes you Celia. The wild flowers have been beautiful this year, some definitely coming earlier than usual. There's not much stitchwort around here yet but the wild garlic and hedge mustard is abundant. The air is sharp with the pungent aroma and walking down the lanes there's the sense that it's all about to burst into that marvellous, frothy 'green-ness' that comes in May... if only the sun would come out and it would stop raining. Still, it is a Bank Holiday Monday so what did I expect?

  10. The stitchwork is filling the verges here too.

    I'm loving your GI illustration and that book looks amazing :)

  11. The Artful Hare is a book I am coveting! I do so love to see your working process :)

  12. How lovely Celia - I really enjoy following along with your GI illustrations, it sounds like you are having so much fun with this project :)
    The Artful Hare looks gorgeous too, I am going to see if it's available on Amazon.

  13. Your photos and linocuts are lovely. Congratulations.

  14. Your work is utterly amazing I wish I was as talented as you are

  15. Congratulations on producing such marvellous illustrations. It must have been a joy for you to have such a commission. I always love to see the thought process behind the work. I can your attention to detail from the care you have taken in your sketchbook. Well done all round. x


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