Saturday, 6 February 2010

All Loved Up

It’s Valentine month. Women dream of romance and men mostly try to avoid it - or so it seems to me. Are there any romantic men out there I wonder? For those who want to enjoy being all loved up the florists abound with beautiful roses at this time and I just adore looking at them - everything from designer minimal to traditional romantic.

I enjoy making flower arrangements and I have experimented a lot with material from my own garden. At this time of year I add a few bought in flowers. A plain bunch of roses from one of the better supermarkets is a good value buy, leaving you free to add garden material, artificial pieces and any number of decorative items found in home stores or hobby shops. This will give you a lovely and individual personal bouquet. I believe that wonderful plantwoman Beth Chatto finds flower arranging very relaxing and admittedly I find the same. Also for me it often sets off an idea for a painting.

Here are a few of my flower ‘arrangements’.

And here is a painting developed from one of them. It is entitled ‘Romantic Bouquet’, an acrylic on a shallow box canvas measuring 40cm x 40cm priced at £280 and available now.

These are some other images I have made of roses.

February is also snowdrop month - time to look out for the first shoots and to begin to feel uplifted by them believeing that spring is on its way.

On the subject of flower arranging again ( an artform that dangles delightfully between earth and easel), I have been reading up on Constance Spry, a very enlightened lady for her time. In her book ‘Simple Flowers’, published in 1957, she speaks of how we have a natural desire to make things beautiful and express our personalities in our homes. When money is tight we can spend a small sum on flowers and she quotes Vita Sackville-West in saying that it can make us feel like ‘a millionaire for a few pence’. Put a modern slant on her writings and you are well away. Inspired by her use of wild plant material in her arrangements I went off to a local conservation wood I work with to get a bit of inspiration. Then from garden, hedgerow and wood (with permission of course) I collected snowdrops, ivy and ash saplings to make some interesting contemporary designs. No painting here but you never know!

A note from last month. I have almost finished the embroidery and it will make an absolutely fabulous cushion!

The ‘spa herbs’ painting has made a little progress but it has been too cold for me to work in the studio - arthritic joints and low temperatures don’t do too well together I’m afraid.

Well, I hope at least some of you have a romantic month. If it’s a good weather day on February 14th it will just about be light at 6 o’clock. Look out for signs of spring , love them and make the most of them.

'Rose partners'
Mixed watercolour media on paper. 260mm x 185mm. Unframed £50.

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