Tuesday, 25 May 2010

A small shrine in the garden

despite being a committed catholic, my OH has started doing a Tai Chi course for relaxation. She has to say the least gone a little overboard, even to the extent of constructing a small shrine in the back garden. Last evening after a wonderfully sunny day, we sat and drank a small glass of a slightly chilled rose wine in ront of the shrine with candles lit as the darkness enveloped us.. Of course I couldn't resist getting the camera out. Not quite in focus but it was a very long exposure and I guess I didn't keep it as still as I imagined, despite using a support.

She has been buying all the gear; a silk suit, a wooden practice sword, videos and CD's. It isn't giving me very much to relax about. Here's a piccie, afraid you will have to supply your own wine, LOL

a small shrine

The good weather seems to have deserted us today, still warm but quite cloudy. Rain forecast for tomorrow, but that's our lot in the UK. The weather never stays the same for long.

Monday, 24 May 2010

In the garden

Right, one of my favourite things to do in the garden ........... is taking photos. I have records of projects / flowering species and just oddities ( like the frogs!) over the past few years. I won't bore you with all of them just now but may sprinkle them in when things are quiet on the photography front.

Right now we are enjoying some fantastic weather in the UK and coming after a couple of years iof bad sunmmers it is very welcome. As usual I have been using my camera and thouoght that I could amuse you with a couple of shots. The first is from a rhododendron bush which hold a special place in my psyche; we originally dug up a shoot on a river bank in wales whilst on holiday. The plants had naturalised, although it is not a native, and the banks were covered in multitudes of rhododendron plants. We managed to wrap the roots to avoid it drying out and got it home alive. We have since moved twice and the plant itself has been dug in and out several times. More than once I thought it had been lost over the past 35 years or so. But it is still with us and this year the display has been the best ever.

my rhododendron

bloomin' marvels

As you can see from the first shot, I am fond of lots of green growth. I love the isolation of not being overlooked by neighbours and the feeling of being in the country. Although, we practically are; being just minutes walk from a rural paradise right on the edge of the Birmingham connurbation. The tall tree in the distance is at the bottom of my garden. I include a close up of the flowers because I do like them although they do not form a major part of the garden. There is always a little colour, just to break up the greenery. But do notice the cloudless sky - the sun was so fierce that we couldn't sit out in it, just opened the doors and windows and enjoyed the breeze indoors. MIL ( 99 years young) was with us and we thought the sun would be too much for her.

lilac and sky

Just another shot, this time of the lilac tree, to show off the wonderful sky.

at the bottom of my garden...

this is a new feature. I have used bricks from an old path (dug up at considerable cost to by poor aching back) to raise the level of this bed which takes the place of a large clump of pampas grass which was growing thru the apple tree. I emptied my compost bin into the space and have planted courgette / cucumber and tomatoes. Although under a tree it is still one of the sunniest spots in the garden because of surrounding buildings and hgh hedges. Last year, in a very damp summer, our tomatoes suffered very badly from blight so these (spindly) plants have been planted as far as possible from the affected area. because of holidays and cold spells they have been growing too long on our windowsill, still I will see how they go and may yet purchase replacements. The basket at the top of the photo holds tumbler tomatoe plants.

time to go and get some more gardening done, thanks for getting this far.......

Saturday, 15 May 2010

My first post

Readers of my art blog will know that I have been considering a new blog to keep my various art-related activities separate. I am not a very prolific photographer and I do not have anything more than an inexpensive digital camera, but I do enjoy taking photos of more than just myself and my wife and the scenery when we are out and about in the countryside. My wife loves visiting places, so I end up taking loads of photos - some crap and some with possible uses as reference material for paintings and drawings but often I take them just because I find the subject interesting.

So.... I intend to keep a journal/blog of the latter. Maybe you will find them interesting also.

So where to start? Well this last week we spent a few days in Cornwall, where we had gone to visit the Eden Project. A bit of a mixed bag as far as I am concerned but the tropical rainforest biome is a true wonder. It is HUGE, and provides a marvellous way of presenting the worlds rainforest plants and history to the visitor. More than just a large greenhouse, it has rivers and waterfalls, a mangrove swamp and examples of the living conditions of the native inhabitants of the world's rain forest dwellers. I have included here a few shots of  subjects that I noticed. If you wish to see a larger version then visit my Flickr photostream where I will be backing up the shots on-line.

sculpture by West African artist El Anatsui,
fire damaged timbers from Falmouth Docks - originallly from West Africa


just a pink flower, I loved the colour and structure of this bloom


A shot of a palm tree taken to compare the height of the biome with the crowds entering at ground level. The dome does rise higher towards the centre but I wanted to make the comparison. Further away the people were lost in the jungle.


Couldn't resist this shot of the dandelion seedhead, what a marvellous stucture


A waterfall at the top of the pathway around the biome. I guess it was about 20 - 25 feet high and provides running water for the streams anad swamps in the biome. It cascades from the top of the wall of the old china clay pit into which the structure has been constructed.


Ok that's enough for my first post, I will try to keep them fairly regular and mostly short. I cannot promise to keep away from art ( see the sculpture above) but I hope they will be more than just a collection of holiday snaps and provide interest for a varied readership.They will of course reflect my own interests and may well end up in my art work either literally in collaged art or as references for my painting. Thanks for sticking with me to the end.