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.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

If I ruled the world . . .

Every day would be the first day of Spring

Every heart would have a new song to sing

And we'd sing of the joy every morning would bring 


lyrics by Leslie Bricusse
music by Cyril Ornadel
here's the iconic version 
sung by Tony Bennett
or maybe, like me, you prefer
 the version everyone's dad sang along to
by Harry Secombe

 The hop shoots are nearly big enough to pick for a tasty lunch
and there is a carpet of primroses under the apple trees

  today is the Vernal Equinox
and in my garden it really does feel
like the first day of spring!

Wednesday 14 March 2012

PPP5-live Newt Safari

I've just come back into the studio after filming newts! Yes I managed to get some shots of the male newts in the shallow end of the Dragonfly Pond. I did spot one female but she didn't swim in reach of my torch beam, so I couldn't film her. It's good to know there's a healthy population of Common or Smooth Newts in our garden.

While I was filming I notice a strange little twiggy cluster walking across the bottom  of the pond! I then realised it was a caddis larvae in its artfully constructed mobile home - you read more about them here.

The video is taking a while to download from my iPhone, but I'll have it posted here as soon as I can . .  . it's here at last!

In the meantime, if you're in the Northern Hemisphere, pop outside tonight and glance over to the western sky quite low down and you'll see Jupiter and Venus shining brightly side by side in the night sky.

Oh, I've just noticed that Fiona has written her on account of our afternoon, it's over on Cottage Smallholder, here.


PPP5-live iPhone sketches

I know lots of you were looking forward to my iPhone sketch blogpost . . . I was looking forward to it too. But I spent far too long laughing and eating cake with the guest bloggers that it's now dark outside! I think I'll have to do another special blogpost about sketching using the Brushes and Vellum apps. But in the meantime I can answer your questions if you post them below and that will give me a good idea of things to cover when I return to it.

Below is a quick sketch I did in the garden looking at the evening sky through the trees . . . and I was using my new AluPen, which is a really good stylus for sketching and reasonably priced too (don't get the really cheap rip-off version it doesn't work nearly as well).

Remember to leave a comment on the Giveaway post if you'd like a chance of winning the Vegetable cards and PPP seeds.


PPP5-live . . . and there was cake!

PPP5-live A walk to the Wild Wood via Dragonfly Pond

At PPP HQ we like to attract wildlife into the garden . . .

Thanks to Su and Fiona for helping to make the videos :-)


PPP5-live Meet the under-gardeners

I know we've completely ignored the planned timetable! but that was because we were enjoying being outside in the sunshine making another video.

Here's me introducing the the under-gardeners to Fiona and Su . . .


PPP5-live A Tour of the Vegetable Garden

Well, here we are, a bit later than promised . . . after a a false start (thumb over lens!) we've managed to put together a video tour of the plot.

But first here are a couple of shots of the greenhouse with tomato plants in the heated propogator, and shallots, broad beans and sweetpeas growing in pots.

So, here is the Tour of the Vegetable Garden and me in conversation with Fiona aka the Cottage Smallholder and Su from Living on the Edge . . .

We've already filmed the walk in The Wild Wood and around the Dragonfly Pond – it will be posted as soon as we've edited the rushes!


PPP5-live - revised timetable

We've been filming in the vegetable garden and The Wild Wood, but because the visiting bloggers and I have been having such a great time outside in the sunshine we've forgotten the timetable!

So here's the revised running order . . .

4.10pm a tour of the vegetable garden with a special guest bloggers
5.00pm a wild-life walk to the Dragonfly Pond and the Wild Wood with the under-gardeners

7.00pm iPhone sketching Q&A - this may extend to a later time.

8.00pm  Newt safari (this depends on the weather conditions . . . and the newts)

In fact I'll be making it up as we go along, so times may vary slightly and other things may happen!


PPP5-live on BBC Radio Suffolk

Here's the live link...

All About Suffolk

If you missed the live broadcast, it's here on iPlayer until next Wednesday
I'm on just after the 38minute mark.

PPP5-live Breaking News . . .


The ginger studio assistant

PPP5-live Giveaway!

A Grand Giveaway
to celebrate 5 whole years
of the Purple Podded Peas blog

Entry to the draw has now closed
– there are 37 names in the "hat" –
and I'll announce the winners very soon.

5 lucky winners of the PPP5-live Giveaway will receive a bundle of my Heritage Vegetable Cards
and if you live in the UK I will include some packets of purple podded pea seeds from my seed stash (overseas winners will receive a extra something to compensate).

All you need to do is to leave a comment under this PPP5-live Giveaway post and I'll put your name in the hat (or plant pot). The closing date for entries is Friday 30 March (midnight GMT).

The pea seeds have been saved from different varieties of peas with purple pods grown in my garden; of course I can't absolutely promise they will germinate (but they should).

Five years ago I wrote my first blog post:

"Welcome to Purple Podded Peas - my blog about what's happening in my studio and garden. When I'm not working on a design or illustration project for a publisher or producing a new linocut, I'm usually in the garden and at this time of year it's the vegetable garden. As the weather is amazingly warm, 18C it's a pleasure to be outside and I enjoyed a few hours hard work moving compost into the "squash mound" from the compost bins."

Well, the first part is still spot on; but, as the studio assistants have told you, today won't be gloriously warm and sunny like it was 5 years ago. And later on today you will see that I haven't been working quite as hard in the vegetable garden!

Better get on, I have some visitors arriving for lunch and I've got to do some cooking.


PPP5-live Today's Weather

Hello and welcome to PPP5-live
It's Wednesday the 14th of March 2012
and this is the ginger studio assistant.

 I'll pass you over to my tabby sister,
who is up a tree in The Wild Wood,
for a live weather report . . .

"Hello from a tree in The Wild Wood.
It's grey and chilly but not raining.
I don't think the sun will come out today."

Here's a summary . . .

I'm going to stay here in my basket
until supper time.

That was the PPP5-live Weather
brought to you from PPP HQ
by the studio assistants.

Monday 12 March 2012

PPP5•live Wednesday 14 March - the timetable

Here's the plan for the day (I hope to keep to the times, but anything could happen!)
Times are GMT

Wednesday 14th March 2012:

9.00am  a weather forecast from the studio assistants

10.00am  details of the give-away with prizes for 5 lucky winners

1.10pm a chat with Lesley Dolphin on BBC Radio Suffolk

2.30pm a tour of the vegetable garden with a special guest blogger

4.00pm a wild-life walk to the Dragonfly Pond and the Wild Wood with the under-gardeners

5.00pm iPhone sketching Q&A - this may extend to a later time.

8.00pm  Newt safari (this depends on the weather conditions . . . and the newts)

I'll be posting the special PPP5•live blog-posts throughout the day and answering your comments, so you can pop over and join in the celebrations . . . the more the merrier!

In fact I'll be making it up as we go along, so times may vary slightly and other things may happen!


Wednesday 7 March 2012

PPP5•live on Wednesday 14th March

On Wednesday 14th March 2012 Purple Podded Peas will be five years old . . . that's a whole lot of words and pictures and your lovely comments that deserve to be celebrated in some way.

So I thought I'd do a 'live' blogging event through the day . . . the final itinerary for the day will be posted here on the blog before the big day, but this is the rough plan . . .

a weather forecast from the studio assistants
a give-away with prizes for 5 lucky winners
a chat with Lesley Dolphin live on her afternoon show 'All about Suffolk' on BBC Radio Suffolk
a tour of the vegetable garden
a walk in The Wild Wood with the under-gardeners
iPhone sketching Q&A

I'll be posting special PPP5•live blog-posts throughout the day and answering your comments, so you can pop over and join in the celebrations . . . the more the merrier!

How's this going to work? Your guess is as good as mine – I'll be making it up as we go along!


Monday 5 March 2012

A March gale in The Wild Wood

I usually have to explain that The Wild Wood (the pocket of land on the edge of our garden with a few trees on it) is neither a wood nor wild . . . but today it's very wild!

Most of yesterday is rained – very welcome rain in this the driest part of the dry south-east of England; then it snowed! and the wind got up . . . it's now blowing like billy-o (whatever that means).

Apparently it's gusting to 44mph, which in Shipping Forecast terms is a Fresh Gale 8; the definition of which is:

"Twigs and small branches
are broken from trees,
walking is difficult."

And as I've just come inside after a short walk to the post box and around the church yard, I can assure you they're bang on . . . in fact it underplays things as tad, as a whole tree has crashed down in the garden behind the post box.

We've already had a short power cut; and as I'm busy working on a large number of digital illustrations for a publisher, that wasn't a relaxing moment! Luckily not too much work was lost and the power is back on again. So, let the wind blow and the rain fall! This is a good week to be tied to the computer . . . that's as long as the power stays on . . . fingers crossed!


Friday 2 March 2012

Hockney . . . old meets new / new meets old

I'm not sure why I hung back and dithered about going to the biggest and brightest of block buster art exhibitions in town; maybe it was the memory of the heaving crush of cultured humanity in the Monet exhibition over a decade ago.

It was definitely not that I don't like Hockney, his work and his ideas – I do! . . . as a random pile of books and magazines from my shelf shows – the earliest is inscribed inside "October 9th 1979", I must have bought that one with my birthday money while I was still at school.

So I booked a ticket for yesterday afternoon and after a picnic of sushi (from itsu, not bad 6/10 but the rice could've been a lot better!) eaten sitting among the St David's Day daffs in Green Park; I strode into the courtyard of Burlington House, Piccadilly . . .

. . .  to see David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture.

If you're not able to get there yourself, I can recommend watching the BBC Culture Show Special David Hockney: The Art of Seeing. It's available on iPlayer until 5th March.

I was so pleased that I'd watched it before going to the exhibition because having seen David Hockney guide Andrew Marr through the galleries, I had a list in my mind of things to look out for.

Still taken from 'David Hockney: The Art of Seeing' BBC February 2012

Hockney is fascinated with the difference between the human eye and the single view-point of a camera lens; this is a common thread running through all his work. He is also fascinated by the technology of visual communication, he veers off into experiments in a new medium but always returns to basics  . . . looking and drawing . . . the hand and the eye . . . before surging on again with the energy and enthusiasm.

One thing I was keen to see (and I think I got this idea from the TV programme, I'll check when I re-watch it) was how the large multi-canvas 'en plein air' paintings work up close. Yes, the huge 6 canvas paintings of Woldgate Woods through the seasons are magnificent seen from the entrance to the gallery, but I wanted to stand a couple of feet away where Hockney had stood while he painted.

The result is like the visual equivalent of surround-sound, if you've got a ticket try it when you're there and let me know what you think.

I've tried to replicate the effect using a postcard of 'Woldgate Woods 6 and 9 November 2006' and my iPhone camera – the oblique close-up view makes the image become almost 3D. I'd love to live with one of this series on my wall.

What else did I like a lot? The watercolour landscape studies done from observation in 2004 are a tour de force; the iPad sketches of the arrival of Spring in 2011 are sheer brilliance; the multi-camera films of the Yorkshire Wolds through the seasons is a lesson in finding beauty in any corner – your garden or the field at the end of the road; and the charcoal studies of trees – will (I hope) inspire me to sketch trees from life!

Things that didn't really grab me? The Hawthorn Blossom series (though after I'd seen the multi-screen film of the hedges in blossom they did make more sense) and the Sermon on the Mount 'A Bigger Message' . . . mmm? still not sure about those.

Knowing that I was going to see Hockney's iPad sketches using the Brushes App, I realised that it was some months since I'd used Brushes or Vellum on my iPhone; so when I had a few minutes I made some very quick sketches (no more that 5 minutes).

Waiting for the train to London
late morning 1 March 2012

Lunchtime in Green Park
1 March 2012

In the Royal Academy Resturant
(a very welcome cup of tea)
late afternoon 1 March 2012

 On the way home on the train
early evening 1 March 2012

Now inspired to do more sketching outdoors
(watercolours and digital)
and that's no bad thing!