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.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

A festive wreath ... and December's Gardens Illustrated linocut

This morning it's bright, sunny and cold, it actually feels a bit like winter, which is a lovely change from the mild damp and cloudy weather of late. It was a good excuse to spend time in the garden collecting materials to make a festive wreath. 

My inspiration this year is the design of a small wreath I bought from a lovely local florist to hang on our newly decorated porch door . . .

I cut lots of box branches and made little bunches of bright berries and some faded Hydrangea flowers to nestle amongst the bright greenery - the doors in the front yard are now dressed up for the festive season.

Way back in September when I was anticipating the arrival of Frank's article for the December/Christmas issue of Gardens illustrated magazine, I really didn't expect the topic to be Californian native flora in high summer!

The plants Frank mentions in the article were unfamiliar to me, so the only way to start was to sit down and do some research and sketch the plants from photographs.

The more I thought about the illustration the more I wanted to end the year and the final page of the December magazine with something traditionally festive . . . how could I give the composition a Christmas twist?

I let that idea float around for a few days and two possibilities formed: 
- a path through a magical landscape of candle-like plants
- a festive wreath.

I collaged my sketches together in a wreath shape - this might work! And framed the view of Frank's Californian canyon and his new love, a shrubby tree Arctostaphylos glauca (which is closely related to one of my favourite evergreens for winter berries and flowers – Arbutus unedo or the Strawberry tree) and similar Christmassy looking bauble-like berries and tint lantern-like flowers. 

Here's the finished linocut and the printed illustration on the final page of Gardens Illustrated.

But wait . . . what's this email from GI HQ?! Gardens Illustrated publish 13 issues a year! . . . so there's one more to go before the year ends. I'll tell you more about that before Christmas.

Meanwhile in real studio time the January 2016 illustration has already come and gone and this morning I've received the text of Frank's column for February . . . and it's a gem!



  1. I love all of your wreaths Celia :) the ones on the doors (and I do love your smart blue paint on the porch door) and the one in the magazine illustration too. Such a clever way to add in a hint of the season!
    GI has 13 months in their year? how very curious...

  2. I love both wreaths, they look stunning against the doors. It must be really interesting researching the unfamiliar plants, but 13 issues, how strange!

  3. How funny to find that Gardens Illustrated has that baker's dozen way of counting monthly issues. I am so happy to have been adding to my 2015 collection of GI magazines that have included your illustration on that themed last page. Ages ago, I began a habit of looking at magazines from their last page forward.

    Could this be because I am left-handed? Whatever the reason, with Gardens Illustrated, this habit guarantees a glimpse of your wonderful illustration of the month.

    Bravo on this latest design that's got a traditional botanical wreath design melding with a California twist. xo

  4. Oh how I love seeing the process of your work, the finished image is always stunning, but the sketches and ideas in-between are the bits I love perusing.

  5. I make lino cuts myself, albeit very basic ones. But they're nature inspired and I really admire your work. It's so accomplished and beautiful - I'm looking forward to seeing the next G.I. piece.

  6. Matilija poppies - wonderful for that to mean Christmas. But I do have lots of orange (and ivory and russet) Californian poppies blooming.

  7. oh and the manzanita has bark I covet when I read Californian garden blogs!

  8. Good to see the latest illustration, lovely. Have a great Christmas.

  9. You are truly very talented. I love the wreaths but I also enjoy how you share the process. Merry Christmas to you and yours!


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