Teaching with Fieldbreaks at Goodnestone Park Gardens

On Monday of this week I went to Kent to teach at Goodnestone Park Gardens. What a beautiful area. It is so peaceful and they are so welcoming there.

This is the second year that I have had classes at Goodnestone Park with Fieldbreaks and the workshops are seemingly more popular each time.

I had a lovely group of people with half of them using coloured pencil, one eventually chose to use graphite and the remainder watercolour.

I think that things were about a week behind in comparison to where I live. In some places you could almost see the green tips begin to appear on the hedging, there were loads of daffodils, no tulips, the Magnolia x soulangeana was still closed but nearly ready to burst although the Magnolia x stillata was fully open and the Camelias were glorious. There was in fact a lot to choose from if only you looked and were able to see. The flowers eventually chosen to paint were the above, plus Primroses, Periwinkle, Hellebore and Fritillary. The results were very good and as far as I can tell, all those taking part were pleased with their results.

I get quite chuffed when students achieve what they set out to do – and in some instances even exceed that.

The only thing I hadn’t been prepared for was the summer warmth. I had layers to keep me warm, but even so I hadn’t expected it to be as warm and lovely as it was.

I will be having another workshop at Goodnestone Park with Field Breaks in June. Come and join us in this peaceful environment.

Family visit and lack of painting

Early in April, my sister from Australia came to visit to escape partying around her 60th birthday down-under. She brought with her my two nieces, one partner and two grandchildren (3 and 8 months). My two children with a partner also came to see their cousins and aunt, so the house was full and cracking at the seams.

We had a lovely time over the three weeks they were here, although my sister was not too happy that no-one questioned when purchasing her first wrinkly ticket!!

Needless to say there has been no time to paint and I have been itching to get down into the peace and quiet of my studio at the bottom of the garden. It was of course already occupied!

However I did escape for for two days and one night. I spent the time at Goodnestone Park Gardens. But more on that in a separate blog.

The weather as you know has not been typical of April during their visit, although it is a little warmer than when they arrived. We did all get hefty colds in trying to appear tough and hardened Englishmen.

On Monday my children went back to Amsterdam, where they both live presently, taking with them one of the cousins and her partner. Today my sister and her other daughter and grandchildren returned to Australia.

The house is amazingly quiet!


Crab apple blooming delayed by cold!

Well, we all want warm weather as soon as possible. We are tired of the cold and want to see normal signs of spring. But, at the moment I am grateful for the slight delay the weather affords me in relation to crab apple as blooming!

A positive. The sun is shining and although cold, it is dry. The world still looks good out there.

Why do I want a delay?

As you know, in doing the crab apple series of pictures, I intend to also include a dissection of each of the flowers. The flowers for each of the crab apples are so different. Some petit and strictly formed, whilst some are big and blowsy. If you have looked at the crab apple variety, you might have some idea as to what the flower might look like having seen the apple – but it takes me by surprise every time. An apple blossom is not the same from one variety to another. Have a look when you get the chance. Which is my favourite? I don’t know!

Anyway, during the coming crab apple blossoming period of normally about ten days, I will need to dissect a flower from each of my chosen varieties to examine, measure and sketch in preparation for the final pictures. I need to get this done If I am to succeed in even getting a chance at finishing the series this year. Getting a space at next years RHS exhibition is another issue!

Please keep your fingers crossed for me that I will get done all the dissections in time as my sister and her family will be staying with us from this coming Saturday out April. My sister and family are coming from Australia, from the hottest summer ever recorded! I don’t see her too often and therefore want to spend as much time with her as possible. I have a plan.

At the moment, each of the crab apple trees have buds with the green leaves peeping out, except for the John Downie that only has pregnant buds. Hopefully the actual blossoming time will be a little delayed and maybe even be longer than the normal ten days. But, I will be getting up extra early to get at least a couple of hours work in before anyone gets up. But as one of my nieces has a 5 month old baby, maybe this is wishful thinking?

The following pictures are from the Malus Red Jade. This is how they are today 1April. Last year they were like this 18 March! Except for a sudden heat wave, it looks as though I might get a bit of the delay I had hoped for. Sorry I am so selfish!