On the way to Pittsburgh!

We have been welcomed to the USA with open arms – except for the people at border control who were extremely serious about their roles!

Our first few days were with some marvellous friends of ours who live just south of Boston. Apart from being taken to beautiful beaches, the oldest Tavern in the US at Newport, Rhode Island, a children’s party right on the water’s edge at Buzzards Bay, and an end of season evening at a local tennis club, we also went to see Cranberry Harvesting.

Did you know that Ocean Spray, the company whose name we might be aware of if we drink Cranberry juice, harvest their cranberries in at least two different ways.

Mass production of the large cranberries used for their drinks means that they are grown in ‘fields’ of bogs. I have normally seen them grow relatively sparsely in the wild in the mountains of Norway, but here the bogs are just carpets of the plants. They are lovingly tended all year round and at harvest time the bogs are flooded, a machine gently disturbs the growth of submerged plants and the fruit floats to the surface. The fruit is then manually lensed towards a suction pump which draws the fruit up into a washing facility and then transferred to a waiting truck. The trailer was about 60 feet long!

The process certainly made me think and we only saw a minute section of this vast production.

Although we didn’t see it, apparently fruit that is sold as fresh, frozen or dried fruit is picked dry by hand. In this instance the fruit appears riper than that seen in the pictures below.

I was told that there are quite a few varieties used for in their production and the ones in the wet bog are called Early Blacks.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Today we have had a really long day. We started driving at 10:00 and arrived at our overnight destination of State College, at 19:30. But we had some amazing views of the changing colour of the leaves. We are due to arrive in Pittsburgh tomorrow afternoon, but this time it is a very few hours travelling in comparison to today.

Autumn colour
Autumn colour

Bosham Christmas Craft Trail 2015

When we got together last year to arrange this for the first time, we had a huge discussion about what we should call this trail.

In Bosham there is quite a community of artists and all of us are serious about what we do. We agreed that the common denominator was Art, but what would that signify? Several of those wanting to take part didn’t want to classify themselves as fine artists (paints and brushes) as they were makers -although definitely artists. Additionally we didn’t want some long title to classify the scope of the trail, but neither did we want people to think that this was an ‘arts and crafts’ event. We therefore agreed on Bosham Christmas Craft Trail.

Next weekend – Friday 27 – Sunday 29 November, we are opening our homes to help you choose your special Christmas gift for your special person – or yourself of course. You will find small gifts, to large ones and all of them are crafted by well known artists.

Of course my special area is Botanical art and some of my original work will be hanging for you to see, or as limited edition prints ready for you to give away; plus of course some cards.

This is a very special time of year where we meet a lot of old friends in the comfort of our homes. I hope to see you at some time during the weekend and of course at Saltings, we will be serving a little mulled wine and mince pie.

But prior to that I am starting my final workshop of 2015 tomorrow. Please don’t laugh at the title: All those Autumn Colours; stunning leaves and things. In previous years the workshop has been popular and I worked out the date according to the best time for such colours in recent years.

For people who live in the UK, they will know that the leaves died a death weeks ago. Here in the south coast, they usually last a little longer. Unfortunately at the end of September, beginning of October, there was a long cold snap and the leaves started turning then. The colours were amazing and my Acer was spectacular – but that lasted but a few days and the leaves fell off the tree forming a golden carpet. I didn’t take a picture as I was so upset!

However, where I live there are some lovely neighbours! They called me yesterday and said that the wind was beginning to take its toll on their Maple – did I want some of the leaves. Did I?! I now have some really beautiful leaves for people to paint, if they haven’t already found subjects themselves.

Watch this space for some of the results in the next few days.

Your invite to the Bosham Christmas Craft trail. Our open home address is; Saltings, Windmill Field, Bosham, PO18 8LH. Welcome!

Bos-A5-Flyer-2015

Botanical art workshop – Autumn colours – in Bosham

Well, I mentioned that I was due to have a botanical art workshop from Friday until today. Are interested in how it went?

I have been allowed to take the following pictures and you can judge from these how it went. I and the people who came, would obviously be very interested in your feedback, so please comment.

20131103-225647.jpg

20131103-225707.jpg

20131103-225738.jpg

20131103-225752.jpg

Some of the subjects.
As usual, we took a photo once the position of the subjects had been arrived at. As I have suggested previously, it is worth doing this as we are painting from living things and they change over time. If something wilts, we can replace that element and if we knock something out of position, we can re-arrange. We still paint from living subjects.

20131103-230349.jpg

Enjoying the company and the opportunity to paint.

20131103-232501.jpg
Glory tree – Coloured pencil

20131103-232604.jpg
Malus Gorgeous – coloured pencil

20131103-232705.jpg
Fallen leaves – Watercolour

20131103-232756.jpg
A pear plus Malus Gorgeous and Golden Hornet crab apples – Coloured pencils.

I think that you will agree that these are lovely pictures that are well on their way to completion. But, what is even more amazing is that some of the students had not done much in the way of their chosen medium previously and they accomplished so much in this one workshop. It was exciting to watch them develop. No wonder I enjoy teaching!