Monday, 28 February 2011

Why am I such a Lemonhead?

I seem to have a thing for lemons. Most women I know crave chocolate and shoes, whilst I tend to go for anything lemon flavoured and chairs for my guilty secrets. My habit creeps into my designs quite a bit too (see the evidence below).

'Lemon Slice' Magnetic Notice Board 

'Oranges and Lemons' Large Magnetic Notice Board (100cm x 75cm or 75cm x 55cm)        

I was most put out lately when I realised that M&S seem to have discontinued Penny Pigs. They were fab, just like lemon curd in sweetie/pig form! I've had to resort to making lemon cupcakes to console myself.

Here's a simple recipe from Waitrose I just made lemon buttercream for the topping with 200g unsalted butter creamed together with 200g icing sugar and flavoured with the grated zest of 2 lemons. I sprinkled grated lemon zest and white chocolate chips on top. If you can't be bothered with all that, then get yourself along to a Hummingbird Bakery and buy one of these Lemon Curd Cupcakes I'll be there when I've demolished this lot!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Sketchbook Peeks

Here is my sketchbook of the moment. I covered it (well I got half way) in a montage made from a failed oil painting. This was strangely cathartic, cutting it up and recycling it. I've always loved mosaics - but that's another story.

The first 'peek' is a water colour sketch that I did in preparation for a screen print entitled 'Path to the Sea'. I did several splashy water colours like this one and goodness knows how many thumbnail sketches until I was happy with the composition. As usual, pattern has crept in as paisley clouds (well, why not?) and a mosaic path made of shells and stones etc. I like to combine a free 'brushy' feel to my prints with more controlled lines and shapes. It's retaining the liveliness of the initial sketches in the final print that is always a bit of a challenge.

Here is the finished print 'Path to the Sea'. Printed in 3 colours on Arches 88 which is a lovely soft paper with 4 deckle edges and ideal for screen printing, I get mine from John Purcell. The edition is limited to 50 and each one is signed and numbered. Click here for more information and a zoom in for a closer look.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Down on the Allotment

Here is my allotment looking a little bit sorry for itself as it's early Feb. I felt I must start digging it over before the weather warms up. If I don't have it completely dug over by the end of February (have I ever?!) then the weeds start to move in - big time! My weeds tend to be the all singing, all dancing type something akin to the giant man-eating plant in Little Shop of Horrors.

It was good to see that the rhubarb is making an appearance and I dug a bumper crop of Jerusalem Artichokes. I will probably make soup with the artichokes, they have such a delicate yet distinctive flavour and are so easy to grow, in fact they can take over if you're not careful. I may even make this Roast jerusalem artichoke, hazelnut and goat's cheese salad I found on the River Cottage web site, it looks delicious! Note my friend the robin posing on the fork handle 'Secret Garden' style.