Every Day in May: Day 31


Helix Aspersa #2

Snails, it transpires, aren’t as slow as their PR would have us believe. The final day of May was greeted by intense sunshine, and this little guy (if that’s an acceptable term for a hermaphrodite) was lurking inside its shell in the leafy shade, but I coaxed it out by watering the earth, and it proceeded to make a rapid and twisty escape as I rushed to paint its portrait. Pen & Inktense in Japanese-fold Pocket Moleskine.

Every Day in May has taught me a lot about what my Inktense watersoluble pencils can do, both on their own and in combination with waterproof pen, coloured pencil, white gel pen and watercolour. I’ve grown used to the feel of my Pablo CPs on smooth Moleskine paper. I’ve had a fine excuse to spend a total of many hours out of doors enjoying the garden, learning loads about the flora and fauna that inhabit it. I’ve become quicker on the draw, as it were – less hesitant – when it comes to attempting a sketch in limited time, developing shortcuts to enable me to finish a drawing later if my sketching session has to be abandoned. Finally, I can now open up my accordion-style Moly to display 31 images, all in a row: a sequence that conjures up every single day of my own personal month of May.

Thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to view my May entries and leave me an encouraging comment. All of my Every Day in May posts can be viewed here.

Every Day in May: Days 29 & 30

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Pieris “Forest Flame” and Prunus Domestica

I couldn’t resist sketching the Pieris for a third time on noticing that new red leaves had begun firing up among the greenery.

Our fan-trained plum tree made a very half-hearted attempt to blossom this spring, but its small green baubles suggest that we shall, after all, have home-made plum cake later in the year.

See you on the final day in May!

Pen & Inktense in Japanese-fold pocket Moleskine.

Something other …


… than an Every Day in May entry.

Occasionally, if a sketch is especially small and modest, I won’t post it to my blog until I have a handful of similarly small, modest sketches to keep it from getting lonely.

These pen sketches were done in Ely in March ’07 (!), February ’08 and May ’08 respectively.

Pen in small hand*book journal and Daler-Rowney sketchbooks.

Every Day in May: Days 27 & 28


Mystery plant and Lonicera [Reprise]

Could there be a better advertisement for “less is more” than the contrast between my two latest drawings?

Due to a conspiracy of time and weather (and suddenly I grasp why those partners in crime share a name in so many languages: le temps, el tiempo, il tempo … They are both part of the same plot to keep me from sketching!) I started my entry for Day 28 from a photo snapped last night, finishing it from life this morning, by which time no amount of watercolour would improve it. This is the first sketch I have posted to my blog which I truly hate. Move along now, folks. There’s nothing to see. Ugh.

#27 pen & coloured pencil; #28 pen, Inktense & watercolour in Japanese-fold pocket Moleskine.

Cute as a button or two


One of my earliest crochet projects was the Super-Simple Crochet Newborn Pullover, which I made while pregnant with my daughter: note the bump in the first photo, and the 7-month-old decidedly-not-a-bump-anymore in the second.

My latest version of the pulley is crocheted in two shades of Sirdar Snuggly DK, and although I went a bit OTT with the twiddliness of the picot edging, the buttons I’ve added at each side of the neck slip easily through the picot holes to make the opening a little less baggy. The flash photo gives a clearer view of the jumper itself, but I’m including the other one gratuitously and just because. And ‘cos it’s her.

Every Day in May: Days 25 & 26


Cymbalaria muralis and Rosmarinus officinalis

“Ivy-leaved toadflax” sounds more like an Elizabethan term of abuse than something I’d wish to find growing in a crevice of my garden wall; but it is a delicate and pretty thing to find there. I added a close-up of one of the tiny flowers, barely a centimetre high. It had a little cartoon face.

It is stupidly easy to grow rosemary, and we have plenty. Fortunately it’s one of my favourite herbs.

Pen, coloured pencil & a bit of Inktense in Japanese-fold pocket Moleskine.

Sweetpea, Finally

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Crochet has been happening this Bank Holiday weekend, for the first time in weeks. Knitting, however, has not.

Knitting and I haven’t been on speaking terms for a little while now, but it really wasn’t me who started it. Well – maybe I can take some of the blame. My Embossed Leaves socks and my knitted lace scarf were having a hard time dealing with the resumption of my somewhat intense relationship with daily drawing, painting and sketching – a relationship that predates my love of yarn crafts by many years. But when the knitting stops its almighty sulk and decides it’s happy to cooperate again, I’ll be here with my needles.

Crochet, meanwhile, has decided it doesn’t object strongly to a bit of promiscuity on my part, and my crochet projects and my sketchbook journalling are beginning to overlap.

I ordered this yarn (Nashua Handknits June in the “Willow” colourway) from the States, two years ago, intending to make the Sweetpea Cardigan from the Spring 2006 Interweave Crochet for the little girl I was expecting. A fortnight ago, I finally got round to making a tension square …

… and this weekend, I made some serious progress with the cardi itself.

I did take into account when ordering my yarn that she’d probably be a couple of years old by the time I de-procrastinated on this one. I think it will fit her. I hope it will fit her. My daughter will be 2 at the end of August.

Every Day in May: Days 23 & 24


Rosa and Calibrachoa

Our white roses are coming into bloom, but I got carried away with this one, seeming to discern more and more colours the longer I looked. Though drawn from life, it therefore turned out surprisingly stained-glassy and stylized.

Three weeks ago, I planted some calibrachoa seeds, and they’ve started to flower. The seeds came free with a gardening magazine. I’d never heard of calibrachoa (and stupidly, chupacabra is the word that more readily springs to mind when I try to recall it!) but I now learn it was named after Mexican pharmacist Antonio de Caly Bracho. “Every Day in May” is proving nothing if not educational.

Pen, coloured pencil & Inktense in Japanese-fold pocket Moleskine.

On the fly


Found on a path by Palace Green.

Pen, Inktense & coloured pencil in Canson w/c journal.

Ménagerie à deux


I spent an hour yesterday in the company of my daughter’s chums Tabatha (better known as “Meow”) and Serge (aka “Oo-oo”). It was a joy to use my oil pastels again for this sketch, and my subjects sat nice and still for me for the whole hour and a bit.

Approx. 9×8″, oil pastel on Daler Ingres paper.

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