Snowdrops (Galanthus) in a silver 19th century pepper pot, original monotype by Deborah Treliving on Fabriano paper 2017
A great joy of January in England is to spot the first snowdrops (Galanthus) of the new year. The early ones in my garden have larger leaves and flowers than those which follow later in the month and into February. Each year I choose three and place them in a 19th century silver pepper pot, an heirloom from the Law family. It’s a perfect relationship; the fresh soft green of the stems the creamy white petals and the fine engraved silver is an elegance that I have tried to portray in my monotypes.
In my garden the smaller snowdrops are now emerging and the buds beginning to show. I have thousands of these and each year after flowering, but while the leaves are still green, I will split and transplant the denser clumps so that over the years I have created drifts of galanthus around our garden. The original clump came from my childhood home and they continue to inspire and cheer even the dullest February day.
Monotypes are the most painterly of the printmaking processes. My technique is to draw into the oil based ink on a Perspex plate so removing the ink with my fingers, rags and cotton buds to create the form and subtle tones of the snowdrops. I transfer the image from the plate to Fabriano paper on my etching press. Only one print is possible from each drawn image, so each one is unique. Then I clean the plate, re-ink it and redraw to create another image.
The original snowdrop monotypes are now available from the Brook Gallery at Budleigh Salterton. Contact details:
+44 (0)1395 443003
Greetings cards (A5 size) with envelopes, monotype of the snowdrops in 19th century silver vase are available by contacting me through my website: firstname.lastname@example.org
The poster for the exhibition of my latest monotypes now showing at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Bovey Tracey, Devonshire, TQ13 9AF open daily 10 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. until 9th October 2017
My latest exhibition at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen is of my monotypes and references me as an artist and gardener.
My first gardening memories are of helping my grandfather water his garden. He grew beautiful phlox and had borders neatly lined with thrift, and dug weeds out of his lawn by hand. My parents gave me a section of garden and I spent hours tending the plants and transplanting them fascinated by the juxtaposition of colours and forms in nature. I created order and pattern in my planting where nature sought disorder. From an early age favourites developed: the happy faces of violas and pansies, the delicacy of snowdrops, the brilliance of poppies, the enormous scale of hollyhocks and sunflowers. I grew annuals from seed and learnt how to propagate from cuttings.
Visiting great and famous gardens is always a joy, a source of ideas and inspiration for my own garden. Visiting national galleries and special exhibitions is equally imperative for inspiration for my art work. The Royal Academy’s curators of the exhibition “Painting the Modern Garden, Monet to Matisse” selected artists who were keen gardeners and this helped form my ideas for this exhibition.
My passion for gardens and gardening runs parallel with my passion for painting and printing, for colour and texture. The prints in this exhibition are monotypes, developed from studies in my sketchbooks of grand gardens and developed into my own secret garden.
The freedom allowed in the monotype technique gives scope for freehand drawing and was a process used by Degas in his drawings of ballet dancers, which he worked upon with pastel. Many of my monotypes have 3 or 4 printed colours in oil based printing ink and some have added hand colouring with pastel or oil paint. They are printed by hand using a Japanese baren on Fabriano paper.
This is my first blog of 2016: My new year’s resolution was to get fit and take a daily walk along the South Devon coast path, with camera. Those photos will be the subject of a future blog!
Meanwhile I have been reviewing the walks and photographs from last summer. On all my excursions I was looking for GREEN and my camera recorded green from the North of Wales to the South of France. Let’s start in North Wales:
Spending a few days in the Llyn Peninsula on the north coast of Wales in the small town of Nefyn I was lucky to be able to take some photographs in perfect weather, capturing the beauty of the sheltered bay.
It is always a joy to hear the Welsh accent and in Nefyn the Welsh language is spoken by most of the locals. Nefyn is an old settlement dating back to the Iron Age with a hill fort, Garn Boduan. Fishing for herring was an important part of the economy in Nefyn during the 18th and 19th Centuries. There’s an excellent local maritime museum in the renovated St Mary’s Church, run by volunteers, which admirably tells the interesting stories and history of Nefyn.
I love the contrast of this man-made turquoise green net against the natural greens of the wild flowers on the cliff edge, overlooking Nefyn beach. Nefyn is now a popular holiday area for families with a safe sand beach and yacht club. Everyone seemed to know everyone on the beach with families returning year after year to their beach huts and boats.
The beach huts are a necessity for the picnicking or barbecuing equipment as well as all the swimming and boating gear. I love the colour, order and pattern of the beach huts, and imagine the stories they could tell.
Walking along the sandy beach at low tide I marvelled at the seaweed, a different variety from those on my local beach at Meadfoot. I wondered if this is the Welsh seaweed for laverbread or is it a sea lettuce? The themes of land, sea and sky, the textures of the landscape, the shape and forms of rocks are of continuing interest and all will inform and be referenced in my future artworks.
I photographed many beautiful stones, and this volcanic pebble had to be selected for my blog just for its greenness!
I walked along the stretch of the coast path which skirts the golf course and overlooks the picturesque Porthdinllaen Bay, enjoying the views and the wild flowers, the contours the golf links and the varying green hues of the grasses.
How many greens? Fifty at least!
And at least fifty blues ……