Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Northampton Town in Pen

Though very much an art novice, I have to confess to being extremely pleased with the way my Water Mill pen drawing turned out. So much so that I have decided I'd like to try something more ambitious. Even if it turns out quite poor I hope to learn a lot from the experience. I've also decided to show the drawing as work-in-progress so that any more experienced artists can toss in any words of advice as I go along.

I am showing the main reference photo so we can all see what I'm aiming at however, I will be drawing the Market Stalls across the bottom right corner which is more in keeping with their present deployment. They also have more colourful striped canvases which will be easier to depict than the drab plain blue canvases in the photo.

My basic plan is to draw a grid to help get the proportions and perspectives as accurate as possible and then lightly pencil in the main shapes and structures. Then I will ink over those and erase all pencil marks. I will then pass over the drawing adding in detail and finally review the picture for tonal values. I learned from the Water Mill drawing that a lot of detail involving a lot of lines creates dark tones naturally. I can't judge at the moment which parts of my drawing will need extra shading and which won't, so I'll leave that till last. I've chosen a Medium Surface Cartridge paper, 130 gsm and size A3. I've never used this paper with pen before but a small test on a scrap of the paper caused me to think it should be ok. I will be using a selection of fine point pens of different thicknesses.

In my forum I'm running this as a Work-in-Progress and we started right back at choosing the reference photo to work from. I'm posting my thoughts at each step and the full process from beginning to end will be documented. However, in this blog I will simply leave it at this one post, but the picture will be updated at each stage so if you wish to see it developing pop back frequently and I'll try and have an updated picture for you to see. If you want to follow it more closely, you can see my forum thread here.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Rosie

This is a pencil portrait of 'Rosie', a German Shepherd owned by a friend of ours. I drew Rosie when she was a puppy but the only reference photo I had was of her looking into the bright sun with a very significant squint. I considered drawing her eyes open but they are so important that, without some reference, I was worried it wouldn't look like her.

Now she is a teenager. It's interesting drawing her without the fluffiness she had as a pup. Regrettably, the best photo of her had closed eyes again, but this time I had other photo's with eyes open that I could refer to.

I was in the process of scanning the image when my friend arrived. We were talking as the scanned image of Rosie scrolled down my monitor. My friends face was worth it's weight in gold because I could see for myself that she'd recognised Rosie straight off.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Artist Showcase

Some time ago I decided to showcase some of the artists in my forum. The objective is to give some internet coverage to little known artists so that their work would be more widely seen. The plan, quite simply, is to showcase a different artist and their work each month. Having run successful showcases for three artists I have decided to put myself into the frame for the next showcase.

It was difficult choosing just 6 pieces to display but I decided to show some watercolour, pencil and pen pieces as they are my favourite media. I will probably do this again in the future and the next time I will concentrate on a single medium.

My showcase is now online at www.JWJonline.net/Showcase.php and a link on the main menu leads to previous showcases.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Water Mill - Lower Slaughter

Lower Slaughter is a small village in the beautiful area of England known as The Cotswolds. The scene is of the mill and a couple of typical Cotswold Stone cottages This drawing was copied from a photograph submitted by one of my forum members for use as a painting project.

This is my first line drawing. I've often read of the theory of hatching but this is my first attempt at creating blocks of tone entirely from 'lines'. Though there are some area's I wish I'd done differently, I'm extremely pleased with the result and consider this to be one of my better creations. Now I need to do some research and read more on how I should have tackled the grass area's and some of the brickwork. It would be good to receive critiques from any artists conversant with this medium. (A larger version of the picture can be seen here.)

Friday, 13 November 2009

Pateley Bridge

When on holiday in Yorkshire last year, I stopped briefly at Pateley Bridge. I was only there long enough to walk to one end of the High Street and back, but was totally captivated by the old Yorkshire Stone buildings and small shops.

This is a view of one small section of the High Street, looking up the hill. I found the perspective tricky and haven't fully captured the steepness of the incline, but I found this to be an interesting and thoroughly enjoyable painting.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Mushrooms

In my garden I have an annoying clump of mushrooms that grow each year near the base of one of the apple trees. I usually try and remove them as soon as I see them, and since they grow in my lawn, they are almost always hacked up by my mower. Because of the way mushrooms leave their fungal spores in the soil, I even tried replacing a square of grass so as to discard the infected area, but still they grow.

This year, due to my inability to deal with them at the appropriate time, they have been left to grow. Today, with the sun shining nicely and me having time on my hands, I wandered out there with my camera and have loaded the results to my web site .... www.JWJonline.net/Mushrooms/.

I've tried searching to identify the strain (? variety) of mushroom but have had no success so far. If anyone knows, please let me know. ;-)

Monday, 2 November 2009

Knaresborough

A short while ago I did a quick pen sketch of Knaresborough, a small market town in Yorkshire. This was the view from the castle, along the valley towards the railway viaduct.

For a bit of fun I decided to print the sketch onto watercolour paper and add some colour. It was an interesting exercise especially in view of the small size of the paper (7" x 9") and the amount of detail in the sketch.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Halloween


Just a quick sketch of a pumpkin for Halloween.

Actually, this has been set as a Drawing Project for members of the art forum, and all of the entries can be seen on this page.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Brixham Harbour

I recently spent a fabulous week in the Torbay area and visited the beautiful small town of Brixham with its active fishing harbour. In the harbour is a replica of The Golden Hind, Sir Francis Drakes famous ship. This sketch was with non-permanent ink and a brush with clear water was used to 'pull out' the shaded area's. This is a medium I'm particularly fond of.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Market Hall, Chipping Campden


Built in 1623, this Market Hall caught my attention on a recent visit to the Cotswolds. All of the buildings in Chipping Campden, and other towns in this area, are constructed of this yellowish, locally quarred, limestone.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Shambles, York


This is a pen & wash of The Shambles in the City of York. For any who don't know, this is a well-preserved medieval street of timber houses. Though I'm very pleased with the end result the painting hasn't turned out as I'd wanted. What I had intended from the outset was to draw the scene with a pen and then add only a minimal amount of colour, leaving the pen lines to do the 'talking'. Regrettably, as is so often the case, I didn't know when to stop and I've applied a lot more colour than I'd ever intended. I wouldn't have thought it would be so hard to NOT paint up to the lines and to leave some white spaces here and there. I also think the picture lacks a focal point.

So, I had a second go at this scene. The first thing I decided was to draw in the people jostling past the shop windows. This helped with the focal point issue. The other thing I did was force myself to use weaker colours and put my brush down once I'd laid in some washes. This still isn't the 'minimal colour' effect I was aiming for, but it's much closer.

I would really welcome any comments with regards to which version works best.

Knaresborough


In the Autumn of 2008 my wife and I holidayed in Yorkshire, not far from the market town of Knaresborough. The town is situated on a cliff top overlooking the River Nidd. The cliff makes a fine natural defence and so it was a logical choice to build a castle. The castle has largely gone now but it's remnants are well displayed in a perfectly manicured park area that overlooks the river valley. The view from the park towards the railway viaduct with it's fine arches bridging the valley, is quite breathtaking.

This pen study will never do justice to the beautiful view, but it was fun to do. I find the challenge of going straight in with the pen (no pencil guidelines first) very rewarding.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Ingrid J Ormestad

I'm delighted that my very good friend Ingrid Ormestad has agreed to be the subject of my first "Artist Showcase". For this first showcase we have selected a range of her work from one of her first watercolours, through to her most recent acrylic. In future showcases we will concentrate more on a particular genre, such as Ingrids superb mountain landscapes.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Artist Showcase

As a new feature in my art forum I've decided to 'showcase' the work of selected artists. Each Showcase will be a selection of up to 6 paintings or drawings, complete with text that can either be about the artist, or about their art. The Showcase will be by way of a dedicated page on my web site and will also be linked to from my other art site, the forum and this blog, as well as being mentioned on Facebook and Twitter. Each Showcase will stay on the net for at least one full month, or until such time as another artist requests Showcasing. Any artist who already has a web presence will be able to link to their site from the Showcase.

The first Showcase is under construction and I hope to launch it any day.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Hover Fly

I am gradually building a collection of photo's of the flowers in my garden with the objective of showing that the garden has something flowering every month of the year.

You can see what I have so far on "My Garden" page.

On this particular occasion I was taking a photo of a Dwarf Dahlia that has a lovely peachy/orange colour but it was being visited by a Hover Fly.

I brushed the fly away a couple of times, but he insisted on coming back, so in the time proven spirit of working with what we have, I made the fly the subject.

For the technically minded, I was interested to learn that there are over 6000 species of Hover Fly. Looking at the most common, I suspect this one is Episyrphus Balteatus. Despite their wasp-like markings, they are harmless and gardeners should delight in their presence as they feed on Aphids.

Before taking these photo's I hadn't realised how colourful and beneficial these little chappies can be. We live and learn. ;-)

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Cadair Bronwen


Cadair Bronwen is another peak in the Berwyn range of Mountains in Denbighshire, North Wales. This view is looking South towards Cadair Berwyn.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Moel Fferna


This is a painting of Moel Fferna, one of the peaks in the Berwyn Range of mountains in North Wales. It's an odd thing that many enthusiasts rush right across North Wales heading to Snowdonia, and they pass through Denbighshire without even realising that it has this superb range of mountains with breathtaking views.

Making art fun!!

It's been a while since my Art Forum ran what we call the 'Picture Puzzle' so a number of the members are again pooling their resources to contribute to another painting.

None of the artists have seen the photograph that the painting will be taken from. They have each been sent a small portion of the photo, which they will paint in their own way. Each painted segment will then be slotted into place on a blank template, and the complete painting will gradually take shape.

Although the main purpose of the 'puzzle' is to have some fun with our art, there is a serious side to it. The sides of each segment must be accuratey reproduced or the portion won't fit very well with it's neighbours.

At the time of writing this, the first two segments are in place. Others will 'appear' as they are completed, and I'm posting the painting here so that everyone can monitor it's progress.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Animating Art


Here is something I did a long time ago, but I came across it recently and thought it would be nice to share it.

I did this pencil drawing of the Spurn Lightship, which I saw in dock at Hull a few years ago. I scanned the image and then opened it in Paint Shop Pro. I added a new layer to the image and filled it with a dark grey. I then adjusted the transparency settings of that layer until I'd created an image that made the ship look as if it was a thick fog at night.

From there it was a case of 'painting in' some lights. I painted the lights as if the main beam was pointing to the right, and saved the image. Then I undid that light and repainted it as if the beam was almost pointing at me. I repeated the process until I had 8 'frames'. These were then pulled together in PSP's Animation Shop, where it was then just a case of adjusting the frame timings to give the right effect.

I've slightly oversimplified the process for the sake of a short explanation, but I'm sure you get the general idea. The result is an animation that brings a new dimension to the static drawn image. Regrettably, hosting the animation on the net causes some problems with the frame speed, and it will sometimes run too slowly, and sometimes too quickly. If anyone is interested in seeing the original, drop me a line and I'll happily send it.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Making art fun!!!


As some of you know, my art forum runs a periodic 'Picture Puzzle' where a number of members paint sections of a painting, which is then assembled to make one composite picture. Our latest one, Number 9, has just been finished and looks great. Thanks to all the members who have contributed.

As we start to look around for a subject for our next puzzle, I wonder whether it might be feasable to allow artists who are not members of the forum to join in. If you are interested, let me know.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Song Thrush


Last week, a very good friend came to visit. The weather was absolutely fabulous as Britain basked in week-long heatwave hitting temperatures around 32 degrees. Although we went out to see a few local sites, a great deal of our time was spent in the garden. We were eating breakfast on the patio, enjoying a midday snack in whatever shade we could find, and wining and dining into the evening. But the biggest joy was this Song Thrush who would arrive in the tree tops whenever we ventured out, and would sing his heart out for hour after hour.

Though not the sort of subject I would normally paint, I can't wait to have a go at painting this shot.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Sad or angry?

I have a keen interest in trying to take photo's of birds in flight. I think it's the challenge of getting the shot that appeals to me. Sadly, I'm not very good at it. My Sony DSC-H9 does a pretty good job of zooming in with it's x15 optical zoom, but focusing is a major challenge. Birds invariably fly faster than the auto focus can lock on to them. I've tried setting the camera on manual focus but then you've got to be extremely lucky as to whether or not a bird passes at the predetermined distance. Small apertures to maximise the depth of field only serve to slow down the shutter speed and high ISO settings introduce image noise. As a result of all of the above I have scores of blurred, out of focus, under-exposed, noisey near-misses, and no worthwhile photo's to be proud of. That said, that is the challenge, and one day I shall catch a bird just right and the hard work will have been worthwhile.

This is one of the best I've taken so far. I don't know if this Black Headed Gull is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders or if he's just pee'd off with my camera in his face everytime he flies past. Whatever the reason for his misery, this photo is worth keep for his expression alone .... photographic merit seems irrelevant somehow.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Crooked Spire


I've been wanting to do this one for ages. I painted it in watercolours in October 2008, and have been keen to have a go at a Pen & Wash version.

This is the famous bent spire on the Church of St. Mary's and All Saints in Chesterfield. There are many legends and folklore tales about the devil and virgins that attempt to explain the reason for the spires unusual shape, but the most likely reason is that the joiners used unseasoned 'green' timbers and these warped after a few hundred years or so. It is suggested that the plague had wiped out the experienced craftsmen of the area and that untrained novices completed the construction unaware of the need to use seasoned timbers. The warping was probably helped by the massive weight of the lead tiles that were used for the entire spire.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Bolton Priory

Despite its name, this semi-ruined priory is nowhere near Bolton. It's at a small place called Bolton Abbey near Skipton in Yorkshire. The priory is in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales on the banks of the River Wharfe. It is a beautiful setting that is just screaming out to be painted. A rippling river with stepping stones and small sandy inlets, meadows with cows and a sky full of wild birds. I was also fortunate enough to be there on a warm sunny day. I've never felt comfortable painting plein aire, but ever a scene could have tempted me, this one could.

Though I had two attempts with watercolour I couldn't get the 'look' I was trying to achieve. I think the strong sunlight and bold shadows has teased me into over defining the shapes and structure. I have certainly been too bold with the greens, and they detract from the main subject I think. As a result I decided to have a go without colour, and produced this pencil drawing. Though I personnally feel a subject like this needs colour to show it off at its best, the pencil sketch does seem to convey more 'mood'.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Architectural Portrait

I am developing a keen interest in painting buildings and was delighted when I was approached recently to do a watercolour of a new office unit being built in farmland locally.
When I visited the site to take some reference photos and get a feel for the place, I was immediatley struck by the lack of background. As with most modern industrial units, this one is very box-like. Smart, but featureless and without character. Sure, I could have painted a box with blue sky above and green grass below, but I wanted my painting to be a 'scene' in its own right, and say something about the area it's located in.

The only solution I could think of was to shift the viewing point to raise the eye-level above the height of the building. This would allow me to 'steal' background from the distant landscape. This was my first experience of this sort of thing and I found it much harder than I'd expected. I thought it was just a case of raising the horizon and adjusting the vanishing points. Well, I guess it was ... but to raise it by the right amount, to give some background without making the building look all roof, took quite a few practice sketches. And without a photo to copy, placing the doors and windows in the right place tested my knowledge of dimishing space to the extreme.

There are things I might do different next time, like possibly using 3-point perspective rather than the 2-point I used for this one. But I'm glad I decided on an angular view showing the front and a side. I think a straight-on frontal view would have made the building look flat and the painting look too symetrical. So, overall I'm not disappointed with the result. I've made a 'painting' out of a structure and shown the surrounding countryside, which says more about the building than the reference photo ever will.

This will make an interesting addition to my 'Architectural Portraits' site as it's the first Industrial building I've painted.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Bluebell Wood

Well, that's not its real name, but it is a wood full of Bluebells, that's for sure. Last Sunday my wife and I went for a stroll through the woods and the carpets of Bluebells were so dense, the air was laden with their scent. Since the few Bluebells I have in my own garden were at their best I was expecting a good show of flowers, so went well prepared with my camera. I've posted one of my shots here, but there are several more on my website at www.jwjonline.net/Bluebells/.

To my delight, there were many white butterflies enjoying the Bluebells almost as much as I was. Though they were, in the main, camera shy, I did manage to get a couple of decent shots, which can also be seen on the web page.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Weeds ?

Weed: a plant considered undesirable, unattractive, or troublesome, especially one growing where it is not wanted, as in a garden.

Okay, I can't disagree that some 'weeds' will grow where they're not wanted, such as in the middle of a lawn or in the cracks between paving slabs, but how can we say that these wild flowers, as I prefer to call them, aren't attractive.

The 'blue grape-like berries' of the Grape Hyacinth ( Genus Muscari), rampant clusters of Daisy's (Bellis perennis) and the humble Dandelion (Genus Taraxacum), don't look hugely impressive when we look down on them from our great height, but when we go to the trouble to get down to their level, which few of us do, and take an interest, we see a completely different side to them.

The spherical globe-like flowers of the Grape Hyacinth look more like clusters of grapes when seen from a distance, but their unusual shape and delicate appearance hardly fit with the rugged, tough-as-old-boots reputation of a weed. And how delicate is the 'Clock' of a Dandelion when the flower has finished? Touching it makes it disintegrate into a thousand seed heads. And the Daisy barely gets a second thought other to complain about it making a mess of the lawn.

Perhaps it's time we stopped calling these Wild Flowers 'weeds' and gave them a place to grow. A place they are wanted.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Lucky find

In September 2001, just days after the horrors of 9/11, I flew out to America to spend a week in a log cabin with an e-friend I'd never met before. Our holiday was one of trecking through the woodlands of West Virginia and, as a momento of our holiday, my friend gave me a rather marvelous walking stick. It was carved and painted by a traveller who passes through the area from time-to-time.

On the day of my flight home I was concerned as to whether my stick would be allowed on the plane. The recent events had made the authorities review the whole situation with regards to luggage. Fortunately, all was well and my stick and I parted company as it headed for the cargo hold and I headed to the lounge bar.

After I'd landed at Gatwick and made my way to the Luggage Collection point I was thrilled to see my stick rolling around between some suitcases as the carousel bought it ever nearer. There seemed like endless delays as I waited for the rest of my luggage but finally I headed towards the station ... a backpack on my back, a suitcase in one hand, and my treasured stick in the other.

It had been a long flight. I hadn't slept much. It was now 4:00am in the morning and I was exhausted. There was no direct link to a rail service that would get me back home so I knew I had to navigate to various stations as I made my way homeward. I jumped (dragged myself) onto a train heading towards London and found a seat. Soon I was getting off at a station I'd never been to and my next task was to find another train heading my way. I placed my suitcase and stick against the subway wall, and removed my backpack to find my map. After several minutes studying it, I put my backpack on, collected my suitcase and headed off in search of the trains.

My ramblings along the Subway tunnels took me past many platforms, but none that really helped. It was getting busier now and there were more and more people in the subways, though they seemed to know where they were going. Suddenly, I found myself outside. I did the only thing I could and headed back into the labyrinth. It seemed hopeless as I wandered back and forth, unable to find an official I could ask ... no ticket office, no platform attendant. I was so tired now and really couldn't imagine myself walking for much longer. I needed that train.

As I moved along the subway with more and more people around me, my eye was caught by a stick that someone had obviously left propped against the wall. As I neared, I realised it was painted ... and hand-carved. Strewth!!! It was MY stick. This must have been the place that I checked out my map about half-an-hour ago.

I picked up my stick in a state of amazement that it was still here and hadn't been purloined by a passer-by. The very next platform I came to was the one I needed and, after a short wait, I was soon sitting on a train. A couple more changes, a few more hours, and by 9:00am my wife was collecting me from my local station.

It was probably just my tiredness that caused me to head off in the wrong direction without my stick, but was it? If I had turned the other way, and found my train immediately, where would my stick be now? Did I get 'lost' for a reason ... or was I just very lucky that the subway that morning was full of honest people? Whatever forces were at work that morning, I am so very glad that me and my stick were reunited. I shall treasure it always.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Matt Dillon


No, not the 60's hero of that great TV Western 'Gunsmoke', but the name of this Tabby cat.

Matt Dillon belongs to .... correction ... a good friend of mine belongs to Matt Dillon. One day, Matt wandered up to my friends home and decided he liked it. We have no idea where he hung out before that and assume he may have been living rough in a semi-wild state. Whatever his past was, he soon adopted my friend and has made her home, his home. He has already shown the local hound who the boss is. When she was telling me the story a few weeks ago, I couldn't resist the urge to draw him and she kindly sent me a photo to work from.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Comparisons

If you've never trod the valley,
You can never see the heights,
If you've never walked in darkness,
You'll never see the light,
If you do not climb the hill ahead,
You can't look round the bend,
If you're never really lonely,
You'll never need a friend,
If you've never failed, and failed again,
You'll never try your best,
If you've never suffered sleeplessness,
You'll never know true rest,
If you've never stumbled through the clouds,
You'll never see the blue,
If you've never suffered grief or pain,
Real joy won't come to you,
For the one calls forth the other,
As onward we must go,
Don't ask me how I found this out,
Let me just say "I know".

Friday, 13 March 2009

Spring is here



What a wonderful time of the year. The deadness and drabness of winter is being pushed aside by the young fresh youthfulness of spring. Buds on shrubs and trees, bulbs throwing up their green shoots, many of them now adorned with flowers. I'm a great lover of Snowdrops and am blessed with many of them. They have been in flower since the beginning of January and still look good even now. Crocuses are flowering to bring the first colour into the garden. What joy!

Saturday, 21 February 2009

In the SERPs

No, not State Earnings Related Pension Scheme for those of us in the UK but Search Engine Results PageS. As my previous post explained, I have made a new website. It is barely 3 weeks old but today I received my first visit from someone who found the site by doing a Google search. For those who don't know, getting a new site indexed and listed by the big search engines can be a very long process. To have had a result in just 3 weeks from conception is something I'm very, very happy with.

I've followed through on my idea to promote the painting of homes. I'm unsure whether to call it "Home Portraits" or "Architectural Portraits". The latter is a mouth full but does open up the service for offices and other non-residential buildings. I'm running with "Architectural" for now, but may well change it as the site develops. This photo is of my latest "Architectural Portrait".

Many of my paintings still have to be displayed on the new site. I'm currently trying to get the format, design, layouts right. Once it's all laid out and working I will start uploading my work by the bucketful.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

A Moth to a Butterfly

Artists must all start as beginners and they must all end up as experienced (unless they quit along the way). Whether we like the art of an experienced artist has nothing to do with how long he or she has been painting. It is entirely to do with whether or not we like the image that has been produced. It occurs to me that there is no fixed line between the beginner and the experienced artist. One has been painting a short while and the other a long while ... but the point at which a beginner metamorphosises into someone with experience is vague and undefined.

Though I promote myself as a beginner, very recently I was approached through my web site by someone wishing to purchase one of my paintings. This has had a huge impact on me, so much so that I have realised I cannot call myself a beginner any longer. An artist with much still to learn maybe, but not a beginner.

To cement this notion I have decided to shed my 'beginner' coat and fly out into the big wide world as 'an artist'. This is a difficult transition for someone such as me who holds a low opinion of his own work, but it is a step I feel I must take at this time.

Accordingly, I have purchased a new domain to give me a platform from which to present my work to the viewing audience. Initially called "Art by JWJ", the domain name is www.JWJarts.com. Though I will display for sale a selection of my work, I am also keen to pursue one aspect of my painting that I especially enjoy ... painting buildings. So one of the first services I shall offer is that of painting peoples homes for them.

The new web site is nothing more than a holding page at the moment but I have a complete design, layout and features in my head just waiting to be coded. How long will it take for Google to find my new site? How long before a search for "watercolour of my home" finds my site at No.1? How long before I get my first enquiry, and my first sale? Who knows? Maybe those things will never happen but if I don't give it a go, I'll never know.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Year round flowers.

Throughout the last 12 months, as and when time has permitted I have taken photo's of some of the flowers in my garden. I've posted a selection to my web site on a page called "A Year in My Garden". I'm very pleased with some of the photo's but several are not as good as I would have liked. Still, they demonstrate very well the diverse range of garden plants and the main point that I was trying to make which is that it is not too difficult to ensure that there is a flower in bloom every day throughout the entire year.

Though my December shots are none existant except for the conifers, I have to tell you that the Mahonia shown in October and November remained in flower right through December and is only now loosing it's last remaining flowers.

A whole new year has begun with the faithful Snowdrops, but this year they were pushing through the soil in mid-December and the first of the flowers were beginning to show for Xmas. I intend to take lots more photo's this year and put the best of them on my web page. Here we go again .... can't wait. :-)