Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Evoking a Rural Idyll - The Cotswolds Home of Laurie Lee

"Rosebank" Laurie Lee's home in Slad
Cottages nestling into a verdant hillside, Queen Ann's lace frothing in the lush hedgerows, echoing sounds of farmers and countryfolk as they toil in their tiny green valley. These are images painted by the author Laurie Lee.

I studied this book for English 'O' - level and loved every word. As we hunched over our texts in stifling hot classrooms Lee transported me to his rural idyll. I have since read several books about rural life but none have the emotional potency of 'Cider with Rosie'. His skill lies in how to evoke nostalgia through the lens of a child with the skills of a poetic author.

I don't know how he and his family came to stumble upon this cottage back in 1917, there was no rightmove in those days. There must have been so many cotswold villages that would have suited Annie Lee's sprawling family just as well but luckily for us the family landed here, in this beautiful vale, at that point untainted by the spread of mechanisation and technology.

Blissfully unaware that she was involved each day in off grid parenting Annie Lee raised her family single-handedly with no running water or electricity.

He depicted a slower life, one rooted to the natural world and where people had purpose. His imagery suggest a happy, homely nest of safety and adventure issuing from every window and door of the house. A place to surge out of and to ebb back into after a day of play in the green landscape.

I'm not denying that life was harder in many ways in the past but I yearn for a meaningful connection and Laurie portrays a place into which I could easily submerge...

Designing artwork for my next issue of The Pottering Artist I fancied creating postcard.

On cotton rag watercolour paper I saturated the cream surface with water and dropped in random puddles of pistachio and evergreen and let it run taking care to avoid the building shape.

Employing a flat brush charged with stronger hues of green I punctuated the stone cottage at its edges with darker passages to suggest it's burgeoning trees and felt a swell of excitement as the scene started building before me. 

Frilling and flouncing foxgloves and wildflowers sway in the loosely washed in foreground after I had sketches tiny black in florets across the breadth of the bank along the cottage. 

As a backing to the card I used a faded version of the original and added a few flourishes and whimsies which I hope partner well. Want some cards? I have them to sell at 50p each. Email me at alisonfennellart@hotmail.com.

In my mind I recalled such days of carefree pottering and wandering in my own youth in the days when it was safe to roam around the village until it was too dark to see.

Do you remember safer and more carefree times? Would you like to describe childhood memories? Please share below and we'll reminisce together.

The full article "Judging a Book by its Cover" will feature in Issue 3- "Rooted"-  of The Pottering Artist - out on 1st June and published 

by https://www.blurb.com/user/artcabin https://www.blurb.com/user/artcabin

Monday, 20 May 2019

Painting in a Series

Painting in a series is a little like planting seeds. You usually have to thin a few out tio keep just 1 good one!

For Issue 3 of The Pottering Artist which is out on 1st June I am getting a wiggle on and endeavouring to illustrate my last but one article.

I will be talking about my process in painting images for the folktale the Enormous Turnip but as usual I go off at a tangent part way through.

I veer off into old ladies and their headscarves and have an absorbing spell of sketching fetching folds and triangular shapes.

Some turn out well and others don't.
That's the way it goes sometimes but it all adds grist to our artist mill.

To read the full magazine check this link on 1st June and purchase a softcover magazine with sumptuous paper or download an e-book or print out your own PDF!


Here's a screenshot of me scribbling and drawing away using BookWright desktop publishing. The template interacts very easily!

From humble and raw sketches I brushed favourite colours and added features in places - all the time learning how those fabric folds go...

Friday, 17 May 2019

This Weekend in Your Sketchbook

Looking for things to draw?
Let's warm up our drawing hand by squiggling and doodling.
Our sketchbook project subject this weekend is:- 
Sprouting this week my tender seedlings are now unfolding their first true leaves on my allotment and I am hopeful. 
So far no slug has ravaged them!

Feel free to explore this bulbous vegetable with its flamboyant foliage in any way you like and indulge in creative drawing ideas for beginners. You can just do a line drawing of vegetables or branch out into paint!

Send me your finished works to alisonfennellart@hotmail.com and I will feature them on this blog.

Also - below is a brief description of how I painted a lovely cluster of beetroots in gouache using hot colours - play away with your own rendition of this humble veggie ...

If you enjoy vegetable imagery and want to get more creative snatch a copy of my magazine The Pottering Artist on 1st June.
Contents include drawing and painting turnips, carrots, beetroot and more. 
Our theme will be vegetables using pastel, and collage with ideas for exploring this rich subject.
Shop here on 1st June for ISSUE 3!

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Real Needs and False Needs

Most of us in "developed" countries have all of our basic needs met. What then is there to aim for or strive for once we have food, shelter, companionship? Nothing - you would think. But that's where the world of marketing and advertising ramp up their game and start creating new needs for us that we are tempted to meet.

Consumerism is built on a raft of false needs to drive the economy. An economy of largely excess and redundant needs all generated to satisfy our restless egos. Egos are manipulated by the media to crave more and novel things in infinite choices at a faster and faster rate.

The result is that we are railroaded by the need machine that is the media.

In the end it is hard to differentiate between what is a real need and a fictitious and contrived one. Very cleverly contrived mind you as these advertisers and marketers are super skilled in hooking into our ever restless ego.

Consider that even 60 years ago most people didn't have access to a TV and so we not brutalised on a minute by minute basis by the TV commercial screen that numbs all of us to our real requirements for life.

We are so used to this that we think it is normal to have a "bucket list" of events and things we want to have or experience. But at what cost? The planet is paying the price for this burgeoning greed of need. Step off the merry-go-round and be grateful for all you have in your world.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Not Long Now - Issue 3 of The Pottering Artist out 1st June

SETTLE IN for a quiet spell with my MINDFUL ART MAGAZINE and absorb creative ideas and art techniques to make your own.

Out 1st June - treat yourself to The Pottering Artist Magazine - my indie and ad-free creativity journal.
  • Prepare for a languid, arty stroll through the Cotswolds of a child in the 1910's,
  • immerse into colourful collage work, 
  • brush bold pastel to create naive still lifes, 
  • enrich your off-grid knowledge of vegetable storage 
  • and spin a new thread for the yarn of the enormous turnip folktale in mixed media...

Out 1st JUNE 
Your copy will be available in 3 formats (digital and hardcopy) from £2.99 to £9.99