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Wherrygirl's Garden Patch

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    Just imagine living in a country where you can say casually ".....I noticed two bald eagles standing on the ice." And no, Cecilia, I'm not moving to Scotland just to see your golden eagles or the sea eagles. The introduction of the latter into our area seems beset with problems, by the way. When the idea was first mooted I did wonder about farmers' concerns, East Anglia was once the bread-basket of England, with the addition of barley, but it is much more mixed now with cattle and quite a few sheep flocks. The plan is still to introduce them to Suffolk, but I'm not sure where exactly. Our RSPB reserve at Minsmere would no doubt be a great attraction to the eagles and that would be a tragedy. It is a superb place for bird-people, with hides all over the place - in treetops, fens, on the edge of the Scrape (excavated reed-bed areas), heaven at all times of the year with a lovely cafe serving homemade puds and cakes and steaming pots of tea to heat you up in winter. Aahh-hhh.....
    Ivy

    "To thine own self be true.......
    Thou canst not then be false to any man."

    Comment


      8 January 2011

      Absolutely nothing doing in the garden at the moment, I haven't even put the green wheelie-bin (garden rubbish collection) out for several weeks because I haven't done all the clipping and weeding and clearing up that usually goes on this time of year. A few years ago our district council announced that they were suspending green bin collection for 6 weeks in winter. I raised a great outcry, wrote and asked them whether any of them actually had a garden and knew the amount of tidying up that needed to be done in winter.
      Others must have complained, too, for the following year and ever since collections didn't stop. But now I live in terror that they will say: "We told you...." and suspend operations over Christmas and New Year.

      So, to cheer things up I am posting a scanned copy of a scraperboard picture I did several years ago of a great tit. I don't know how many are familiar with this technique, which is akin to engraving. Special nibs are required of varying shapes and are used to "scrape" away the special black coating on card to reveal the bright white beneath. As much care is needed as in engraving on metal, for mistakes cannot be corrected. I had seen this picture in a bird magazine and loved the pose, as if the bird had just alighted on the slender branch - I could almost see the swaying of the twigs as the tit held its balance.
      This was my first attempt at scraperboard and I had to decide how to transfer the image to the card - its black surface waiting invitingly for the first tentative application of nib. In the end I trusted to my eye, made just 3 or 4 minutest pin-point marks to establish vital positions, held my breath and began.
      I have just tried photographing it, but scanning came out better, though it is still not as needle sharp as the original. However, here it is in anticipation of things to come:

      Last edited by wherrygirl; January 8th, 2011, 23:29.
      Ivy

      "To thine own self be true.......
      Thou canst not then be false to any man."

      Comment


        That is very artistic... it would be awesome as a winter postcard, or even as a Christmas card! Quite stunning an image!
        With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

        Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
        Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com

        Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

        Comment


          Thank you very much indeed, J-O for your words. There are so many things I would like to pursue and scraperboard work is one of them. I enjoyed the challenge to be faced in the need for complete accuracy in the use of the tools while at the same time trying to maintain the appearance of fluency and spontaneity that watercolour and oil painting exhibits. It's so many years since I did that picture and it gave me much delight.
          I have gradually withdrawn from many things I did in the yagnuB (censor can't read backwards) Society since I retired from work (the paid variety!), stepping down from them so that I could give more time to things I wanted to do - more "me-time" as they say. But now I find other interests are crowding in, like photography and thinking up things for CVF as an excuse for rushing out with the camera! But long may it last.......
          Ivy

          "To thine own self be true.......
          Thou canst not then be false to any man."

          Comment


            Clever Idea, Ivy...backwards writing for the censor!!!

            I LOVE your scratchboard--simply lovely! What talent!

            I did a bit of this during school....you are correct...it is difficult-even more so than watercolor, because even THAT can be washed away a bit. And I think it trains you eye to "see" negative space!

            Comment


              Ah, negative space, people don't always think about that, do they? I'm always looking at those spaces particularly around the edge of any drawing to see how they balance and add to the overall design within the rectangle of the picture. It can really make such a difference, can't it?
              Ivy

              "To thine own self be true.......
              Thou canst not then be false to any man."

              Comment


                Criss-cross Challenges 3 and 4. See #107

                11 January 2011

                These were taken at the end of October. Yes, I know, I'm behind.



                and its reverse design, taken 15 minutes later!

                Last edited by wherrygirl; January 11th, 2011, 20:21.
                Ivy

                "To thine own self be true.......
                Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                Comment


                  Criss-cross Challenge 5. See #107

                  11 January 2011

                  Cheerier sky, taken 3 days later
                  Ivy

                  "To thine own self be true.......
                  Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                  Comment


                    Criss-cross Challenge 6. See #107

                    11 January 2011

                    I climbed up and stuck these on:


                    Feel quite virtuous now.
                    Ivy

                    "To thine own self be true.......
                    Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                    Comment


                      15 January 2011

                      Last night's sunset

                      Ivy

                      "To thine own self be true.......
                      Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                      Comment


                        Cheer up, Ivy, it'll soon be Spring!

                        Around our front and rear gardens, the foxes are active, regular visits from the local robin, and the birds have been relying on my throwing out bread, bacon rind etc from the kitchen window all through the recent snow, ice and storm!

                        Comment


                          Great to hear from you Paul
                          And your post here has prompted the following thought:

                          Ivy, as I think of you as our CVF resident ornithologist, I was wondering have you in previous years and/or do you plan to participate in the forthcoming Birdwatch?

                          To explain what I’m talking about (especially for our non-UK CV members) people are encouraged to spend an hour during the weekend 29/30 January 2011 to watch and record birds seen in their garden or local park, and submit their data.

                          This has been done annually over many years giving an insight into changing trends in bird populations and distributions.

                          Here is the RSGB (Royal Society for the Protection of Bird) web page:
                          http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/

                          It does seem to be rather a Garden Patch kind of thing!!

                          Comment


                            Yes, Cecilia, I've been a member of the RSPB since the '60s, am a Life member in fact. I usually take part in the annual Birdwatch which can be done any hour of that weekend, recording the greatest number of each species seen together during that hour. This URL takes you straight to the "How to" page: http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/takepart.aspx
                            Unfortunately I rarely have anything much to record, unless a mob of starlings descend to feast on the suet balls, or a twittering little flock of long-tailed tits arrive for the same. It's usually AB 1, robin 1, dunnock 2, collared dove 2, woodpigeon 1 and that's it. But I'll certainly post my grand total.
                            Mind you, one never knows what might possibly turn up.
                            I'm now taking bets!

                            PS probably blue-tits 2, great tit 1 (sounds like the avian version of the football results. )
                            Last edited by wherrygirl; January 18th, 2011, 14:32. Reason: Remembered 2 more species!!!
                            Ivy

                            "To thine own self be true.......
                            Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                            Comment


                              26 January 2011

                              I am so weary of waking up nearly every morning to grey skies and drizzle, a drizzle which then usually develops into a good old downpour. My mood is terribly influenced by weather, it can be dull, grey skies with or without rain, and if it goes on very long I feel fed up and without enthusiasm for anything. Then if the clouds begin to break and sun gleams appear in the cracks I hold my breath until at last sunshine reigns and the world is a different place - it's all systems go.
                              I took this photo 5 days ago, when it was actually not raining and despite lack of sun these leaves gleamed at me, absolutely daring me to be miserable. One of the arum family, the leaves appear about December just when everything else has packed up for the winter. The flower spathes will appear in due course though they are not spectacular in this variety but, come autumn, the bright red berries clustered at the top of the stem usually make a good display. The wild arum always comes as a delightful surprise when the berries shine out from damp ditches.
                              Why this one thrives in its present situation, goodness knows. It is the one spot that gets all the sun there is going - as and when we get a summer - and my soil dries out very quickly. I'm being polite when I say "soil", it's just dirt really, no goodness in it at all.
                              I bought the arum several years ago and put it against this wall as a temporary measure until deciding on its final position. It's still waiting.

                              Arum Italica

                              Last edited by wherrygirl; January 26th, 2011, 14:15. Reason: Forgot to give its full name.
                              Ivy

                              "To thine own self be true.......
                              Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                              Comment


                                Your Arum must obviously be quite content where it is, Ivy. Do the birds seem to like its red berries? At least it is still quite chilly for snails and slugs as yet.

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