Friday, 17 February 2012

Moka Coffee Pot

I almost called this post "Decisions, decisions!". I've been quite busy of late one way or another. As I mentioned a couple of posts back, my en suite bathroom is being remodelled and I've spent a huge amount of time trawling round bathroom showrooms looking for inspiration and buying everything needed. Since the job started I've been involved in clearing the room, removing tiles from the wall and then some of the decorating work like painting the ceiling and woodwork.

At the same time my job has exploded in terms of hours in the day needed. At Xmas I decided the time had come for me to retire and I informed the company on my return back to work in January. I've always promised them as much notice as I could give so set my end date at March 31st. There is a lot to do legally and in terms of organisation and handover and ever since my announcement I've been bombarded with meetings and other matters associated with my departure. Over half my time is now spent on such matters and my real work is suffering badly. I am determined to hand over a tidy ship, with a place for everything and everything in it's place, and everything up to date.

So, between the extra demands of my job and 'keeping up' with the bathroom, leisure time is harder to find. And when I do find some it's that horrible decision, art or computer. And if I choose computer, do I follow my blogger friends or play catch up in my art forum. Decisions, decisions!

I am hugely behind on visiting the blogs I like to follow, so much so that I'm now beginning to miss some of the posts. I WILL catch up, I promise.

"Moka Coffee Pot"
Graphite - 10" x 8"
That said, I had some free time today and chose 'art'. I like drawing silverware (not that I've done a great deal of it) and this months drawing project in my forum is this fine Moka Coffee Pot. With my recent passion for sketching and Pen & Wash, it seems like a long time since I last picked up my pencils with serious intent, and so this subject appealed greatly.

These pots are made of aluminium and used over a flame or electric range for making espresso coffee. It consists of two chambers, the lower one holding water and the upper one collecting the coffee. It produces the coffee by passing hot water pressurised by steam through ground coffee contained in a basket set between the two chambers. It was first patented by inventor Luigi De Ponti in 1933.

Now I'm off to try and catch up with a few more blogs. Hey, from the end of March I ought to have all the time I need for blogging .... and my art ... can't wait!!!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Secret Garden

Just a few miles from my home is Castle Ashby Estate. It consists of a superb old house sitting in 10,000 acres of splendid Northamptonshire countryside with extremely extensive and tranquil gardens. Work began on the house in 1574 and continued into the early 1600's. At the suggestion of King William III in 1695, four great avenues of trees were planted but all bar one were removed by Capability Brown, the famous landscape gardener, in 1761. The magnificent gardens are open to the public every day of the year and consist of Italian gardens, an Orangery, formal gardens, Rainbow Borders, Spring Walks, an Aboretum, a Butterfly garden and a Secret Garden.

When I was last there I had strolled through the Butterfly gardens enjoying the heady scent of Lavenders, Buddlea and Hebe's and watched the butterflies and bees flitting back and forth as they went about their daily chores. 

Pen & Wash - 11"x 8"
I made my way from the Butterfly garden through the box hedges and came across this ... the secluded Secret Garden. Filled with Lavender, Roses, Jasmine and Salvia the scent was out of this world. I made my way along the Rose covered pathway and sat for a while in the shade of the Gazebo just soaking up the peacefulness and contemplating the rich tapestry of colours and textures that lay before me. 

I took some reference photo's because I just knew I had to paint it one day. I will be going back this summer and I will be taking my sketchbook with me.