23 February 2015

Painted Pansies & Primulas.

At this time of the year Primulas and Pansies can be seen in all
the garden centers. Their colourful heads shouting out
 to be bought and planted to give some instant colour
Whether you choose vibrant colours.

or these pastel pinks.

When I first learnt how to paint in watercolour in 2008
I was terrified learning the technique of wet on wet, especially for flowers.
I learnt how to let the paint run along the paper I had just wet,
not realizing that the paint would only run where the paper was wet.
After a few mishaps, I loved what I was able to do, knowing I was in control.
 I continued my painting at home using books I'd bought and one
I borrowed from a friend written by a French artist Maryse de May.

One of her pansy paintings from her book.
She paints in a style I particularly like and fortunately in her book there are lots
of diagrams so I am able to follow the technique and adapt it to my style.

I have seen some of her paintings at an Aquarelle Exhibition which is
 held every year in a small town not far from where I live.
St Yriex Aquarelle Exhibition.
 Exhibitors  come from all over the world.
I have the date set in my agenda, as the previous two years
I arrived on the last day about half an hour before it closed

I used the Maryse de May  'L’aventure avec les fleurs ' book as reference
 and practiced a lot that winter.

I remember only too well, as we had a long cold winter
 so that was when I mastered the way of painting wet on wet.
 At that time, I gave everything I painted to family.Then when I got a bit
 more confident a gave them to friends.This weekend while visiting my daughter
 I asked if she still had the painting of the pansies I had given her.
Well here it is for you to see. (I didn't remember it being this good)
I feel quite proud of myself.

Which has given me the push I needed to get back into painting
instead of just dabbling .
So now my paints and favourite paper are out

 ready and waiting for ME.

I think these Primulas would make make nice painted cards.

These  are still in their plastic pots
but look a lot nicer in these decorative metal holders on a tray
which I've put on the wide window ledge, waiting
 to be planted in the garden when the ground warms up.

I have promised myself and Mr France I will do more painting.
 I'll be showing more frequently 
So if you like to see my sketches / paintings please come back soon.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

19 February 2015

Guess what I'm Waiting for ....?

Yes  Spring.

A few days more of sunshine and we should have some more signs of Spring.

I love the formation of the petals on pansies.
When I first started  watercolour painting I enjoyed learning the technic

of  wet on wet watercolour painting and painted several pictures of pansies.
I gave each one as gifts to friends and family. At that time I didn't take photos of my paintings.

A few little spring flowers in an eggcup.
After last weeks cold frosty mornings it was a pleasure
to walk around  the garden today in the sunshine
it thrilled me to see lots of new growth,

This vintage egg basket is full of cones with Sedum growing through them.
Bright red shoots on the Photinia ( Red Robin )
and the catkins or what we call lambs tails on the Hazel trees.

The birds are flitting about singing their courting songs.
Then I found a discarded blackbirds nest from last year.

 These Sempervivums always survive the cold frosts.
Some will die off but I always manage to keep enough to
 replant them in small terracotta pots. Then I can move them around
to fill in an empty space while waiting for plants to resurface after the winter.


I see lots of my followers are still having snow storms.
How are you feeling ?
You must be more impatient waiting for Spring.
à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

16 February 2015

The Winner of my Give away gift is........

What a time to have Gremlins in my Laptop !!!!

That's why I'm late announcing the winner of my gift.

Everyone who left a comment on my
Grow Your Blog 2015
2 Bags Full

were all numbered  1 to 53
put into a hat

and Mr France

who is hobbling at the moment due to surgery on his knee 
kindly offered to pull out the winner.  I couldn't be sending this to a nicer friend.
I am so happy

We met way back in my early days of blogging.
I love reading her posts.

We have such a lot in common.
She loves the wild life and shows photographs of some of her wildlife visitors.
She also does the most wonderful watercolour paintings of them.

Has anyone guessed yet who she is?
Well it's Debbie Nolan
View from Harmony Hills.
If you are new to blogging please pop over to visit her.
You won't be disappointed.

So congratulations Debbie
 please send me your address
 I will get my gift posted off to you 
' tout de suite '

I would like to thank all of you who took the time
to leave a comment on my blog.
I hope you will continue to read and enjoy my posts.

 I'll leave you all with a sincere thank you.
and look forward to your next visit.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

14 February 2015

From Me to You

Wishing you all a lovely day for this St Valentines Day.

Someone could be receiving this heart filled with Lavender from my garden
along with a few other extra surprises offered as my gift
from joining the 'Grow Your Blog Party'
So please come back again on Monday when I'll be showing the name
of the winner of my gift, it could be YOU

My Mr France has never been one to give me flowers
but what could be nicer than seeing this pretty little flower 
growing on his miniature Orange tree, which he looks after with tender care.

Also this beautiful rose which he chose and planted in our garden.

So I have Valentines day all year round.

I know it's not a rose but I'm showing this poppy I painted
they grow in my daughters garden. 
So it reminds me of her.

Have a lovely weekend whatever you are doing.
Take care
Keep warm if you are living in those cold snowy parts of the world.

à bientôt
Barbara Lilian

06 February 2015

Rustic houses in rural France.

I frequently pass through this hamlet, how it's changed from the way it looked 25 yrs ago.
Most of the houses were ruins, the roofs had fallen in and very few people still lived here.
Then we began to see scaffolding being erected and the sound of cement mixers whirring.
some years later it was alive again. We met an English couple who had bought a ruin and 
 renovated it for their holiday home, but they helped to bring life back into the hamlet.

25 years ago, I have memories of a little old man sitting on a stool 
outside the front door of this little cottage making baskets.

Mr France was driving and I had remembered to put my camera in the car
so I was able to capture the roof tops with my pocket Panasonic DMC TZ 4

How different the roofs looked today, as if they had been painted white.

The houses are surrounded by forest of mainly Pine, Chestnut. and Oak.
Here the famous Bolets de Cèpes - Champignons grow
These mushrooms grow in abundance in this region. 
However I still find it hard to find them.

 The hamlet now has street lighting.which is still rare in most rural places. 

This is France of bygone years brought back to life.
I hope you enjoyed seeing the rural region of France where I live.
 I can show you lots more.
Let me know.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian

05 February 2015

Nature has been Painting the leaves.

A sprinkling of snow has covered the ground
and a visit from Jack Frost has painted the leaves.
A good reason to wander around the garden with my camera.

The shrubs have started to show new green
But the leaves are frozen after the sprinkling of snow.

The gate is open waiting for visitors,
 but our only visitors are the birds

The birds are our regular visitors.flitting from feeder to feeder 
then fluffing up their feathers to keep warm.

Their water is frozen.
and they seem to be leaving the coconut in preference for the grease seed balls.

I love to see the ornamental grass covered in frost.

The vintage wash stand full of sprouting Saxifrages
looking like a cake that's been dusted with icing sugar.

The moss is showing a beautiful bright green, nice for the moment
 until the spring when Mr France comes with the jet-wash machine !

I hope these new pale green leaves will not turn brown.
It's still early, so they could withstand a trim if they do.

 Come back soon and take a wander around my garden with me
when hopefully we have some warmer weather and we have some flowers in bloom.

So until then keep warm where ever you are
and I look forward to your visit.

à bientôt

Barbara Lilian