Arty journeys...


Monday, 31 August 2015

Treasure hunting and 365 daily drawings update


Yesterday a friend said my walks to take photos were like treasure hunts - and that was exactly the thought that had been going through my head on my previous walk. Life can be difficult sometimes but there are treasures around us if we look hard enough.

This morning's treasures . . . rain - yes even the rain because I had the whole of Coombe Wood to myself for my early walk. There was a steady drizzle - enough to put up an umbrella - but not enough to soak you through. The birds were still singing and a few brave bees were buzzing around although some did look a bit soggy.

The rain was splashing onto the pond distorting the reflections

The water seems to have the same effect on some of the plants as sea water on pebbles - intensifying the colour. Some leaves were wet and extra shiny and bright

while others were covered in droplets which glistened even in the dull conditions

Branches and stems hung low over the paths, weighed down with raindrops and emptied themselves on me when I brushed against them

There was a constant dripping sound even between the showers as the plants shed their water droplets.

Little bell like flowers dripping - these are new - I didn't notice these growing

There were several puddles to negotiate

Looking over the railings into the cafe courtyard - I like the reflections in the puddle below

Nasturtium leaves - with water droplets

The prairie beds - flowers bowed down with the rain

A lot of the plants seemed to be leaning

Some of the flowers are fading

but others still have their strong colours

More of these little flowers are opening now. Thanks to a friend I now know they are Thalictrum Delavayi (Meadow Rue). I think they are absolutely gorgeous

Possibly the only flowers that are still standing incredibly upright are these bright yellow ones

This one looks as if a bud is sheltering underneath it

Water running over the fascinating middles

I think these look like they're made of plastic when they're wet. I love the strong oranges and reds

These are a smaller and paler but similar to the other yellow ones shown earlier on here. They're clustered together tightly in a sea of yellow

Although I did walk along some of the bark pathways among the prairie beds some of the flowers were bent very low, blocking the paths and I didn't even try this little path

More petals have dropped off, revealing the amazing structure underneath. They remind me of a wooden stacking toy I had as a child

A rather soggy, brave bee

Some of the poppy seed heads had tiny pools of water on them

Gorgeous colours - I would never think of putting purple and red near each other - but wow - it works with these flowers

In the wild flower bed there are just a few poppies left

The raindrops glittered on the pine needles

A breeze blew gently while I was under the beech tree - making it shed quite a lot of water from the leaves

The rain grew heavier as I came round the corner past the hydrangea and onto the lawn between the deep flowerbeds

I think the colour of this little flower is fabulous - and it has a wonderful middle with delicate filaments and big dark purple anthers.

Tall stems were weighed down 

A lovely cluster of bright cheerful faces

 I think this might be yarrow

A very neat sunflower

A bed of orange, yellow and red

I like the way these petals twist so you can see the red top and orange undersides

 Then on round the corner this deep blue flower stood out

The Jerusalem sage has lost all its petals leaving star shaped holes

This picture confuses my poor brain. It looks as if it should be turned around but these daisies really are spilling over a wall and not springing up beside a path

and here's the proof

A quick look at the little alpine trough. These plants are really tiny

and the dripping hops

The rain was coming down quite fast now

Little lilac shaggy mops 

These dainty flowers were sparkling with raindrops

Then it got much darker and the heavens opened. The rain splashed heavily into the pond

Bubbles and splashes


As some of you know I'm doing a daily drawing every day this year. They're only 3x3mm on a 5x5mm square of watercolour paper which has been stained with used fruity tea bags because I preferred not to start drawing on clean white paper. 

These are the drawings for July and August

The August drawings have also been used for a project on Facebook called the Sketchpack Project. This is organised by a lady in South Africa. People from various parts of the world take part. Many people use the Sketchpack if they are able to get one -"a zizag booklet allowing one sketch on both sides of 15 'pages' to complete the month." Each page is 8.5x10cm. Some people make their own or draw in a sketchbook. For the project I cut a piece of black paper 8.5x10cm and each day I added a fairly random mark to it - pen, pencil, paint, stitching etc. so that the background was slightly different each day, I blutacked each of my daily drawings (a life sized detail of different objects) to the slightly changed background and scanned it. The scans were then put into a document, printed, cut, stuck together, folded and displayed so that all of the drawings show

Here are a few of my drawings with the object I was drawing

It fairly quickly turned into a guessing game about what each object was. I had to give clues for some of them, including the blue dog toy above

The completed sketchpacks or photos of them will be shown in an exhibition in Cape Town, South Africa in October. 

Thank you very much for joining me for this rather long post


  1. Thank you for you llovely positive view of a damp grey day. The little cream bells dropping with rain look like Arbutus or strawberry tree. I have it in my garden and some years the cream flowers appear while the strawberry like fruits from the previous year have ripened on the tree. Tessa xx

    1. Thank you very much Tessa for your kind words and your information too. I have seen plenty of plants with bell shaped flowers but they're usually in the spring and I've never noticed this one before. I will be interested to keep an eye on it to see what it does next.

  2. Your descriptions are just as colourful as your photos, so much so that I can imagine the sweet fresh smells from the rain soaked plants and flowers. I always love how rain can bring out those lush earthy scents.

    1. Thank you very much Cath - I'm delighted that my pictures and writing convey more than that just pictures and words and that you can imagine the scents etc. too.

  3. Love today's wet walk - despite such a dismal day, you got some amazing shots and still such bright colours abound! the raindrops in the pond and the puddles are really great.

    1. Thank you very much Helen. I'm really pleased that you like the photos - thank you for your encouragement.