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.

Thursday 30 July 2009

Ginger's hoard

summer•shorts no:06

There has been a distinct lack of pastel blue/green eggs, I haven't been able to supply friends with their regular boxes of half a dozen mixed colours and sizes – the disappointment and realisation that they would have to buy eggs that weren't quite as tasty, was visible on their faces :-(

Nutmeg Spice has been broody again and Saffron Spice has started her first moult – that would explain things wouldn't it? . . . but! wait a moment – it's the pale sage green egg that I haven't seen in the egg tray for some time. Ginger Spice! what's she been up to? I can't remember seeing her sitting in the nest box for days. When we were on holiday in May, Ginger Spice was so annoyed by Saffron and Nutmeg in their broody-mood refusing to leave the nest-box, that she laid her eggs elsewhere – I wonder? I'll just check . . .

. . . under the privet hedge in front of the patio, right against the house wall – Ginger's hoard! (sigh)

Sunday 26 July 2009

A butterfly summer

summer•shorts no:05

Leeks left to go to seed attract all kinds of beneficial insects to the vegetable garden, and butterflies love them too.

The resident Comma butterfly with its artfully 'ragged' wings has been joined by a beautiful Painted Lady – is she one of the 20 million or more, which made their amazing migration to Britain from North Africa this summer or one of their first off-spring?

Friday 24 July 2009


summer•shorts no:04

The cat got up and stretched
herself, and came and
sniffed the basket.
Perhaps she liked the smell
of onions!
Anyway, she sat down upon
the top of the basket.

She sat there for five hours.

from 'The Tale of Benjamin Bunny'
by Beatrix Potter

From the vegetable garden, I've just gathered the ingredients to make Piccalilli – cauliflowers, green beans ('Lazy Housewife' and 'Bridgewater'), gherkins and . . .

. . . shallots – if the tabby one lets me rearrange her day-bed!

Thursday 23 July 2009

En plein air

summer•shorts no:03

Did you see the BBC TV programme about David Hockney painting in Yorkshire*? I thought, 'I don't do enough of that - looking and painting outside in the open air'. Art historians call it en plein air, I don't think Hockney uses that phrase. I was struck by the fact that the wild young man of 'Swinging London' and Californian pool-sides had come home; he is a dour, opinionated Yorkshireman in a flat cap and probably always has been – that made me smile.

Today I took my lunch, paints and sketchbook out into the fields. This is a route we walk often and over the past few weeks I've been 'mind-sketching' the softly undulating fields and placing the woods and copses within the space. I'd thought about the colours changing as the summer approaches its climax. It was like a niggling itch in my mind – I needed to put brush to paper.

This is today's painting of Littley Wood under a sky full of scudding clouds.

* the programme is available to watch online until 4 August

Saturday 18 July 2009

We all went to the moon

summer•shorts no:02

My Godfather went to live in California, so I never really got to know him – but he always sent me a Christmas present. These invariably arrived very late and in a very bashed up condition; one year I got a huge doll called Baby Secret who whispered in an American accent when a string was pulled; the next year it was a dented metal box containing a microscope with glass slides and test tubes.

Choosing presents and posting them obviously became a chore; the following year I received a letter from National Geographic telling me a subscription had been paid for and I would receive a magazine each month. Not the most suitable present for a little girl who was still avidly reading Milly Molly Mandy books, but I loved getting the big yellow envelope from America every month and I especially liked the maps and wallcharts.

The thing that I remember most was following the Apollo missions to the Moon. In February 1969 the National Geographic magazine came with a map of 'The Earth's Moon' – front and back, with all the craters and features named. I've still got it, complete with the pin hole where I stuck in a pin on July 20th 1969 to mark where "the Eagle has landed".

Friday 10 July 2009

Time for summer shorts

Last summer I introduced PPP-lite – quick snippets of news from my garden and studio. I've lots of plans for projects in the studio and garden while the sun shines; so, while I'm busy with other things for a couple of months, I'll be posting summer•shorts . . .

summer•shorts no:01

A Comma butterfly basking on a globe artichoke
in the vegetable garden early this morning.

Thursday 2 July 2009

Dappled sunlight and shadows

Today I took my paints to The Wild Wood; Cliff has constructed a rustic bench from yew branches, the seat is a flat plank of wood – it looks too pale, too plain, it needs something more.

Of course the senior under-gardeners and the Spice Girls asked to come too – they love The Wild Wood, natural fossicking terrain for would-be 'jungle fowl'.

They found plenty to do in the pile of leaf mould; I did a tail count from time to time – they know of a way to get to the vegetable garden from The Wild Wood!

I didn't have a plan before I started painting the seat, but the dappled sunlight and shadows of the yew leaves gave me an idea – I'd record the moment and the light and shadow would mix with the leaves and golden sunlight I was painting . . .

As the paint fades over time I'll paint more shadows and sun dapples – layer on layer, dappled sunlight and shadows.

The Online Gallery Raffle winner is . . .

Thank you everyone who visited my new Online Gallery during June and wrote lovely encouraging comments in the Guestbook; and a big thank you to those who bought prints too :-)

I'd planned a cunning selection procedure involving my studio assistants. Who said "never work with animals"? – how very true! It's a hot and humid day and there had been no sign of the tabby one or the ginger one all day; I called their names and after a very long time they strolled languidly into the courtyard stretching their furry striped cat-suits and jumped effortlessly through the open studio window. But this was a brief materialisation – before I could pick up the pile of numbered paper strips the studio assistants had dissolved into thin air as only cats can!

So . . . I had to resort to a random number generator

and it picked number 20

which is Marguerite from Chichester – I've sent you an email Marguerite and the selection pack of my greetings cards will be on their way to the south coast very soon.