Monday 30 April 2007

Remember your first set of wheels?

Illustration Friday time again.
The topic this week is Remember.
Do you remember your first set of wheels?

Thursday 26 April 2007

Becoming a twitcher

Well, birdwatcher anyway, apparently the term twitcher is reserved for those who actually spot and record the sightings of rare birds.
And so far my feathered friends are your commoner garden variety, but that's fine by me, I could watch these little characters all day.

Green finch and blue tit, rare enough to see them feeding together, although it's the Great tit who seems to be the unsociable eater and chases everybody else off.

Blue tit

Coal tit

Green finch

Tuesday 24 April 2007

The Guardian weekly photo competition

This would have been my entry for the Guardian photo competition
had I got it in in time. The topic is Retreats so my tenuous link would be As winter retreats, spring emerges, coiled and ready to burst into life.
Well, there's always next week, when hopefully, I'll be more organised and the topic will be easier!

Monday 23 April 2007

White Death Spider, Misumena vatia

I photographed this spider last summer.She was living on the cosmo flowers in my garden, hiding on the underneath of the petals most of the time.
I'd never seen a white spider before so I googled her and came up with this name, White Death Spider, sounds very dramatic, but have a look at these photos and you'll see why it's quite appropriate.

Here are a few facts I gleaned from this site
The high brow name is Misumena vatia, aka the Crab spider, due to the crabby way she moves, but the name she prefers herself is Flower spider, much prettier!
They don't weave a web, they ambush pollen gatherers, honey bees, butterflies etc. etc, injecting venom and sucking their prey dry there and then. Delightful!
The female is larger than the male, I think my photos are of a female which is why I'm referring to her all the time.
She can change colour from white,to yellow, to orange, very slowly, to camouflage herself against the flower she's on.
Maybe the spider in my photos just wanted to try pink for a while, unfortunately no can do.
Actually on the same cosmo plant there are white flowers, so obviously she was just having a stroll!

In the last photo here, I think this particular stance must be her defence mode, it certainly makes her look vicious, even I'd think twice before taking her on!

Noble savage Moon Dancing

Noble Savage is the topic for Illustration Friday Night this week.
She's celebrating the full moon. As you do!!
One of my favourite songs by Van (the man) Morrison is
Beautiful romantic lyrics and great music to dance to as well!

Friday 20 April 2007

Penguin, Illustration Friday

I painted this little fellow in acrylic and he's my submission for Illustration Friday, the topic being "polar".He's perished with the cold, the poor thing.

Thursday 19 April 2007

Owl on the prowl!

Another original, digitally enhanced. Started out as an ink drawing and finished off in photoshop.

Wednesday 18 April 2007


I bought this rhododendron at the end of last summer, in a half price closing down sale.
It's my bargain in the garden!
It's my pride and joy, and as you can see, it is literally bursting into flower. I've never seen one like it and I don't know the name of it. If anybody out there recognises it, please let me know. I have just tried googling it but there seem to be an endless amount of different kinds out there.
One thing I did learn was that the origins of the name are Greek, Rhodo meaning rose and Dendron meaning tree! Lovely.

The bark on the lower half is all cracked and falling off, should I be worried or is this just growing pains? Anybody, anybody?

Tuesday 17 April 2007

Amateur in the garden.......

Trying to create a flower bed.

Ok, this was my first pathetic attempt, a Delphinium( I think ) surrounded by some geraniums, petunias and lobelias.
So I had a look at some chelsea flower show winners and started again.

Well it wont be going to Chelsea, but a much better effort.
Maybe a Little crowded to the back but I do want to leave space for some dwarf cosmo that I'm growing ( slowly ) from seed, and I'll dot in a few poppies as well when they're big enough to fight their corner!

I transplanted stuff from around the garden and unfortunately the fennel and the anemones went into shock! I gave them bucket loads of water which I'm hoping will revive them, not drown them. It's such a big learning curve, this gardening lark. I hope with my learn as you go method, that I don't have too many fatalities!
So if anybody out there has any helpful hints , I'd love to hear for you.


Illustration Friday Night
Totally digital, of course.

Monday 16 April 2007

The elusive kingfisher


illustration friday

Good Fortune smiled on me and gave me a fleeting glimpse of electric blue as a kingfisher flashed down the river disappearing into the dense foliage. An apparition that made my heart sing.
My illustration started out as a watercolor that I then digitaly enhanced in photoshop.

Sunday 15 April 2007

Gardening, growing Lupins

This is my second year of gardening and I'm loving it. I've a few lupin plants that I bought last yr, hurray for perennials, I've sown their seeds and low and behold, beautiful babies. Now I understand why they call it a nursery. Just look at that sweet seedling, its like a little hand.

Unfortunately I've discovered that they don't flower in their first year. A bit disappointing but there you go that's gardening for you. Luckily I took cuttings from the mother ship(see below) and so have a few slightly more mature guys, pre-teens maybe, coming on. I've no idea if they'll flower this year or not.

This is the result I'm hoping for, beautiful.

I can't remember if I had blue ones, I definitely had pink and yellow ones.

There are some interesting botanical facts to be found
for example
John Parkinson attributed wonderful virtues to the plant.

Many women, he says 'doe use the meale of Lupines mingled with the gall of a goate and some juyce of Lemons to make into a forme of a soft ointment.' He says that the burning of Lupin seeds drives away gnats.

Tuesday 10 April 2007

Arum Lily

illustration friday
This weeks topic is "green"

Which came first........

I've joined
Illustration Friday night
They are a much edgier crew than the original IF, no cuties allowed. This is my first post and the topic is "the crux". I've been told I'm being too cryptic, am I?

Wednesday 4 April 2007

Illustration Friday "Snap"

This is my interpretation of "snap", I love photo booth snaps, not of myself though.I really enjoyed the film
In which the main character collects all the photo booth snaps that people discard and sticks them in an album. It's a quirky movie, well worth a watch.