Sketching Chickens In The Kitchen Garden

henrietta 1

A sketch of Henrietta chicken

Hi there, how are you?

Last week we visited the local botanical gardens. They have so many lovely walks there and even in the middle of winter we find things to look at.

This time we walked past the chicken run, its part of the gardens called a pottager garden (French term for an ornamental vegetable or kitchen garden.)

There are about a dozen chickens scratching around, we decided to sit and draw them (insert scrappy sketches).

rough chicken sketches

I had drawn the chickens with graphite which doesn’t show up on my scanner but I found a pink pen while tidying up and decided to pick out the chickens I liked best with it.

I have several pages just like this one; I think you get the general idea though. Not amazing art work I admit, it just gives me an idea of the shapes and poses.

I really wanted some photo’s but I only had my ipod with me so we waited till they came close to the edge of the enclosure and snapped a few photos. One of the chickens Henrietta (not her real name) came right up to us (she was ready for her close up). The pictures came out surprisingly well.

henrietta chicken photo

The beautiful Henrietta (please excuse the fence)

Later at home I drew some sketches of Henrietta in my sketchbook. I used Payne’s Grey for the feathers but thought they were a little too blue, so I painted another layer mixing a little black into the Payne’s Grey. I didn’t want to dull the colour, just darken it a bit.


A different view of Henrietta.

I’m not sure what it is about chickens, I love watching the scratch around and bustle about.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x


Birds On The Brain

pidgeon sketch

pidgeon sketch

Hi there, how are you?

Earlier in the week we went into town, we had decided to check out the local Christmas market. There were things to see and taste (they had some extremely good cheeses) and at the end we came upon a giant tea-cake seller (the tea-cakes were very big not the vender) after buying one each we went into the new theatre/cinema/caffè/restaurant/library! They have moved everything into one big building and so we needed to check this out too.

We ordered hot chocolates took out our tea-cakes and whilst we were sitting there we pulled a few books off the shelves to read. I found a book about poultry that strangely contained pigeons and ostriches; we got out sketch our books (ever ready) and started to draw as our drinks cooled.

I drew a pigeon, I would have taken the book home but it was “reference only” so I snapped a few cool looking chickens on my iPod to take home with me. The book is called “Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds” it has lots of fine-looking bird pictures in it.

The Catalana rooster/cockerel

The Catalana rooster/cockerel

During the week I’ve been drawing from the pictures I took and having a lot of fun in the process.

The Welsummer hen

The Welsummer hen

The Dutch Bantam rooster/cockerel

The Dutch Bantam rooster/cockerel

Friday was the 1st December, I drew a little robin in the corner of my sketchbook page and since I liked it decided to post it on twitter for the @pinchpunchpost challenge. At the start of every month they post up a theme, usually an animal, then on the first day of the next month you can post pictures with that theme. This month it was a robin.

robin sketch

A cheeky little robin

The theme for January is panda so if you feel like joining in post a panda on your twitter feed January 1st   tagged  #punchpunchpost.

We’ve decided we really like drawing in the library/everything else and we will be doing it again in the future, it was actually very relaxing.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x

An Anniversary Shaker Card

happy anniversary card

Hi there, how are you?

This week I needed an anniversary card, I had planned to paint something small with watercolour but life got in the way, as it does.

I decided die cutting a simple design would be a lot easier as I could do that relatively easily with one hand (I could use the other one as a paper-weight)

It’s a shaker card. My daughter was throwing away some beads and sequins she no longer wanted, I jumped up and said “don’t throw those away; I’ll use them in a card!” no point in wasting them is there?

We’re back from our holl’s, a week in London to see relatives.

hope blue whale diving

Dippy has now been removed from the Natural History Museum to be replaced with hope the huge blue whale skeleton.

There was a visit to Kew Gardens (it rained persistently) the psalm house, water-lilies, cactus and orchids, (trying to keep out of the weather).
Kew also has a small gallery built to house the work of Marianne North. She sounded like an amazing woman, travelling around the world on her own in Victorian times painting everything that she found interesting.
There is also a lot of botanical art by many other artists housed there too. It’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

We went to the natural gallery because the other half wanted to see the Van-gogh paintings. (We couldn’t see them last year because they were refurbishing the room)
I wasn’t fussed on the sunflowers but I did like his “two crabs” I also liked the Monet “The Water-Lily Pondbut you really have to stand at the far end of the room to see them in their full glory.

I’ve taken loads of pictures and hopefully soon I’ll be able to draw from them. How’s the drawing coming on you ask?

left hand drawing of a rose

Little rose drawings. The left hand drawing is on the right hand side of the page, broken on the left.

Erm.. there’s more work needed me thinks. Hehe there doesn’t seem to be much difference between hands at the moment. I don’t want to fall out of the habit so I just need to keep going, it will get better with practice.

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x


#worldwatercolourmonth Week 3 – A Rather Abrupt End

#worldwatercolourmonth week 3

The last three of my watercolour paintings for #worldwatercolourmonth

Hi there, how are you?  Here are the last few paintings for #worldwatercolourmonth. What’s that you say? There are only 3 pictures! Surely there are seven days in a week?

Well yes, you would be right. I was happily painting along and the other half said “it’s a lovely day, let’s go for a walk” We did, and then this happened!!


It’s broken, in two places (because if you’re going to do a job do it right eh).

So endeth my drawing career for a while. The cast (it’s so purple I could hug myself hehe) comes off at the end of august! (no need to feel sorry for me I’m ok, just feeling very foolish right now.)

So to make up for the lack of actual paintings, something I did in my sketch book just before the Ooops.

pineapple sketch

A pineapple! I thought it would be nice to draw it before I cut it up to eat.

I really like how both the sketch and the colour turned out, it looks very pineappley. The thing at the side is one of the “scales?”(I’m not sure if that’s the right name for them. ) drawn slightly larger so I could see what I was drawing.

Above the pineapple is a small bramble leaf I had picked up on a previous walk, i drew it because I liked the colour and wanted to record the find in my sketch book.

So that was an eventful week.

NB: Want to know what World watercolor month is about
World Watercolor Month was founded as a charitable event supporting art education.
Please make a child’s dream come true by donating to The Dreaming Zebra Foundation!
Check it out here at the Doodlewash site

Thanks for stopping by today. Till next time, have fun x


Finding A Tulip Tree

tulip tree flower sketch

A sketch of tulip tree flowers I had found on the ground and taken home to study.

Hi there, how are you?

We were out walking in the park this week and as I looked up into the trees, there it was. I hadn’t seen it before, even though we’d passed the tree a hundred times before.

It is a flower from a tulip tree.  I didn’t even know there were tulip trees so that was a surprise.

I picked up a couple of flowers that had fallen on the floor like the magpie I am, so I could study them a little better and took a few photos on my ipod so I could sketch them later.

tulip tree flower photo side

A tulip tree flower from the side

tulip tree flower photo front

A tulip tree flower pictured from the front

In other news it’s July, and that see’s the start of world watercolour month details here.
there are prompts if you like to use them and there is a charity to support The Dreaming Zebra Foundation. you can find all details on the Doodlewash site

“Don’t miss World Watercolor Month 2017 in July as artists around the globe come together for the ultimate watercolor celebration! 31 Watercolors is 31 Days! Just use the hashtag #worldWatercolorMonth” (from the Doodlewash site)

#worldwatercolormonth Day 1

#worldwatercolormonth Day 1 Starting small, a little watercolour daisy. painting any white flowers is always tricky. more practice needed.


I’m thinking I might try it and see how it goes. Hopefully painting in watercolour on watercolour paper every day for a whole month will give me lots of practice (that’s good for me right?)
So here I go, Happy world watercolour month.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by. Till next time, have fun x



Snails And Castles


A happy bunch of snails looking for something to eat.

Hi there, how are you.

We’ve had rain here and that brings out the snails. To be honest I don’t like ‘em. They eat the berries and leaves and you can bet the minute I plant some thing lovely they join with their cousins the slugs and munch it down to the ground.


Snails are oddly fascinating.

Having said that, I do find them oddly fascinating. So before I evict them to the near-by woods (I don’t like them but I don’t want to kill them either) I take a few photo’s. I could just stand there and draw them but I find I get better detail from the photos.
These guys were drawn from my photos and one from a picture search on the internet. I’m practicing my hatching/cross hatching.


Weeping Window Poppies at Caernarfon Castle.

This week the daughter and I visited Caernarfon Castle. They were having an exhibition called Poppies: Weeping Window it’s made from hundreds of handmade ceramic poppies. Originally it was installed at the tower of London 2014 and was used to commemorate Armistice Day on 11 November.

They decided to keep the exhibition together and show it around the country so people who didn’t live in or couldn’t get to London could see it.

Thinking about what the poppies represent and seeing it in person is very moving. We would have liked to see it on the 11th but there weren’t any tickets so we waited and saw it a few days later.

There were also the tiny wooden crosses laid by members of the families of the deceased service men and women. So many lives lost it’s heartbreaking.



A picture taken from the top of one of the towers at Caernarfon Castle.


Here we are walking across the ramparts to the next tower.

Later we went on to explore the castle. It’s huge, and what my daughter calls a real castle. It’s a ruin but very well cared for. We climbed the steps to the tops of the towers and took in some stunning views, although if I had been alive back in the day standing on the top of those towers with my bow and arrows I would definitely be wearing my thermals. Oof talk about cold and windy!
Thanks for stopping by. Till next time, have fun x



Preserving Chestnuts


A shiny new chestnut has just fallen off the tree

Hello, how are you?
On a sunny autumn walk this week we stumbled across two chestnut trees.

We started to pick them. They are very spiky, quite often they fall off the trees semi open and you just have to pick the fat nuts (the skinny ones are usually empty) out of the shells . Before we knew it we both had quite the stash of nuts and brought them home. Now what to do with them?

I don’t usually bother with chestnuts, they’re fiddly and explosive. By that I mean I’ve tried to roast them before and sent them ricocheting around the oven.

This time I looked up on the internet how to cook them.

For roasting cut a slit or cross in the bottom (a small pin hole is not enough) and roast for 10-25 mins. I cooked mine roughly 15 minutes and they were just nice.

chestnut preserves

chestnut jam and preserved chestnuts.

Apparently chestnuts have a low fat content and don’t keep, so I decided to have a go at preserving them.

The first jar is chestnut jam recipe from the River Cottage book by Pam Corbin. This book has lots of unusual recipes for all kinds of preserves and is one of my go to books at this time of year.

It’s as much of a spread as it is a jam, it goes really nicely with chocolate (yes we tested that theory) it will be lovely in a chocolate cake I’m sure.

The second jar is whole chestnuts preserved in syrup, (recipe here). The syrup recipe on its own is lovely and is something I will use again, and not just for chestnuts.

We have to leave the chestnuts for at least a week before eating them, that’s disappointing, can’t wait to taste them.

Since this is a cooking post I’ve kept it on its own, it’s too confusing to put with all the drawing/crafting ones, plus it makes it easier to find next year when I forget what I did!

Thanks for stopping by, see you in the next post, thanks x



Rockhoppers, Frogs And More Inktober


Frogs and a lizard drawn in the reptile house.

Hi there. How is every one?

There has been much arting at out house this week. The sketchbook skool class continues. I’ve picked up new tips and played with old supplies.

We were supposed to go outside, somewhere public and draw something. Since we go to the zoo a lot I decided to do my exercise there. Unfortunately it rained so we nipped into the reptile house (still public right?) to draw frogs and lizards.

The man giving a talk on frogs complemented us on our drawing which was very nice of him. Usually my drawing of live beings is pretty bad but frogs etc. don’t tend to move around too much so it didn’t turn out too bad.


Inktober 11 – 14

Inktober is still a thing, both my daughter and I are still doing it but finding ideas is sometimes hard. I’ve taken a snapshot of my Instagram to show here and if any ones interested they can check them all out here.


Rockhopper penguin sketch

I was frantically searching for something to do for Inktober #12 and thought “penguins” mainly because they were black and white.

I found some pictures of Rockhopper penguins; their shaggy eyebrows and the scraggy feathers sticking out of their heads are brilliant. I sketched some out in my sketchbook to get a feel for them, and then did a small penguin in my Inktober book.

It’s a small A6 sized Windsor and Newton sketchbook, the pages aren’t that good for fine lines and ink work, the ink feathers and absorbs into the page but it’s one of the few books I have that the ink doesn’t soak through to the other side of the page.

This week has been a busy week, we’ve had birthdays and visiting and lots of arting. I’m really happy I managed to fit everything in.

Thank you for stopping by. I wish you all a happy week. Till next time, have fun x