Laura’s back home and I’m keeping on keeping on

This week’s best news is that Laura is back home after her surgery last week. She’s making excellent progress and is a lot stronger each day. Jamie and Amelie are taking excellent care of her – I think she might get used to being waited on! The weather is being kind and she’s making the most of the warm sunshine to rest in her garden and enjoy the flowers and the birdsong!

Our garden is looking pretty gorgeous too. You may have seen the coral coloured peony I posted on Instagram recently. That big, fat second bud has opened now and the colour of the first has faded to a rather beautiful, soft peach.

I painted it alongside a white peony that came into flower the next day. I’ve used a technique we are going to demonstrate on DMTV over the next couple of weeks so do keep checking the newsletter for details. You can sign up to receive it at the foot of the page on the website if you haven’t already. It will then just drop in your inbox each time we write.

Not all of our stunners are out in the garden. This Epiphyllum, Queen of the Night, is taking over the conservatory – it’s enormous. Right now the flowers are coming thick and fast. They don’t last long but it doesn’t matter when there are so many more to follow.

The buds are spectacular themselves. Most of the year we call this the ugly cactus but it certainly comes into its own when it flowers so magnificently. I plan to draw this later today!

I do spend a lot of my time drawing and painting because I love it so much but in between I sew and piece too. I find mixing it up keeps everything fresh and I get more done. The blues above aren’t all sewn together yet but I thought I’d give you a peek at how it’s coming along. Sorry about the wonky picture – the strips are just laying on the floor at the moment while I assess what needs doing next. I intended to make a blue quilt but those oranges and rusts just snuck in. I’m really glad they did –  they lift the whole thing don’t they? Of course it won’t look much like this once I’ve finished it but you’ll just have to wait and see how that goes. (As will I).

Thought I’d finish this brief news with something completely different. I paint and draw flowers all the time. They are easy subjects because whatever sort of a job you make of it they will always look vaguely flower-like. Portraits are a different kettle of fish – they have to have a likeness that the sitter recognises! When I was commissioned to paint a double portrait of two little boys I hadn’t realised that all I’d have to work from would be a black and white school photo that was over 50 years old. It was small, faded and grainy with none of the detail we expect from our modern cameras. I set to with acrylic paint on a wooden painting panel using only tints and tones of grey to establish the lights and darks. Once I’d captured a likeness I thought I’d be clever and use my imagination to add flesh colour. All that grey was lifeless. I was pretty happy with how things were going and sent a photo to my client so he’d know I was working on his painting. Imagine my reaction when he said he liked it but his brother was a redhead back in the day! Luckily a little glazing medium mixed into the acrylic meant I could give his brown locks a red tint. After 3 months in self isolation I wish I could do the same to my own hair – I usually have mine cut and coloured every three weeks so you can imagine what it looks like as I write this! It’s alright if your staying home but I may have to resort to wearing a hat next time I’m making a video.

Hope you are coping with lockdown and finding time to be creative.


Talk soon,