Yorkshire Skies

Yorkshire Skies | Whims And Fancies

 

There really is no doubting that the Yorkshire countryside is a beautiful place.   The hills, valleys, limestone cliffs, heather and waterfalls make for a very tranquil setting.  For me, being in the north and the remoteness of the places adds another sense of enigma to Yorkshire.  Last year, during our roadtrip through England, we spent a few days in Yorkshire, visiting the countryside that I dreamt of so often.

Many months ago I got a beautiful skein of yarn very aptly named Yorkshire Skies.  I just had to make a pair of mitts with it before we visited Yorkshire.

 

Hermione hat and mittens with Yorkshire Skies Yarn | Whims And Fancies

 

I was looking for a pattern that would show off the yarn, and came across Hermione’s Fingerless Gloves on Ravelry.   I managed to finish knitting the mittens the night before our flight.  I was so determined to wear them in Yorkshire that I finished weaving in the stray yarn during the one-hour travel time to the airport. 

Once we were back, I noticed I had enough yarn left to make a matching hat.  The hat pattern was written for worsted weight yarn.  Since I was using smaller size knitting needles for my fingering weight yarn, I added two extra cables to my hat.  That resulted in just 1 extra stitch at the end after the decreasing was done.  It was a tad big for my head, but one run through the dryer in low heat setting made it just the perfect size for me.

 

Malham Cove Yorkshire | Whims And Fancies

 

View from Malham Cove in late summer

 

Malham Cove Yorkshire | Whims And Fancies

 

Malham Cove in late winter

 

As we peregrinated the streets and countryside of Yorkshire, I was smiling happily while wearing my mittens.  My husband and I fell in love with Yorkshire so much that I planned our next England roadtrip earlier this year fully around Yorkshire with a few added days in Derbyshire.  I took both of these photos from Malham Cove, one of my favourite hikes.

 

Whitby Sea with Winsor Newton Waterbased Oil | Whims And Fancies

 

Sunset At Whitby

Of course, very soon after our return I had to paint a picture of the beautiful skies we saw in Yorkshire.  This was my first time playing with oil, and I could not have picked a better subject to paint.

 

Sailboat Quilt Pattern | Whims And Fancies

 

The painting, in turn, had me look back at a pattern I had designed a long time ago.  Sewing this block is going to be my One Monthly Goal for this month.  I know I will be thinking of the beautiful skies.

 

Yorkshire Moors Heather with acrylic | Whims And Fancies

 

I am also very sure that Yorkshire will continue to surface now and then in my paintings.  Currently I am working on this acrylic painting of heather in the Yorkshire Moors while listening to stories.

 

My Orange Maine Coon Kitty | Whims And Fancies

 

My kitty sleeps and purrs beside me, hopefully dreaming of a happy place.  I love a peaceful life.  Whenever I can get it, I enjoy it to the fullest!

 

See you next time,
-Soma

 

I am also linking up on Through My Lens, Our World TuesdayWednesday Around The World, Seasons, and Friday Photo Journal along with other linky parties on my Events And Links page.

 

Happenstance

 

 

One of the recent weekends was full of wonderful moments of happenstance.  The weekend started with visiting an exhibition called Monet: The Early Years at one of the museums in San Francisco.   Earlier in the month, I had mentioned it to my husband.  Knowing how much I adore the Impressionist painters, he got us tickets for the event.  A couple of weeks ago we were there on Saturday morning, bright and early, although not quite bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

 

Monet

Towing of a Boat at Honfleur by Claude Monet

 

 

A Cart on the Snowy Road at Honfleur by Claude Monet

 

 

Green Wave by Claude Monet

 

 

A Hut at Sainte-Adresse by Claude Monet

 

We explored his early work through approximately sixty paintings.  Exquisite play of colours, light and shadow, brush strokes and dynamics are an integral part of every painting.  Although he lived in abject poverty, Monet was so passionate about this work that he continued on with his personal style of painting.

 

 

 

 

Water Lilies by Claude Monet

 

The museum also has two small paintings by Van Gogh.  As I walked into the Gallery that had the Van Gogh pieces on display,  there was this painting by Monet right across from where I was standing.  As we walked around the room, we found a few more paintings by Monet and Renoir.  A lovely surprise find before leaving the museum.

 

 

Pattern on Craftsy and Etsy

 

My violin bow had been at the luthier to be rehaired.  They are about an hour away from our house, and also an hour away from San Francisco.  The bow was ready so we decided to stop by to pick it up on our way back.  We found a small coffee shop where we recharged before heading home via a beautiful road.  Inspired by the all the artwork of the morning and atmosphere of the violin shop, I have a new musical pattern brewing.

 

White Rose | Whims And Fancies

 

On the way back, the conversation digressed toward the gardens of Versailles.   We haven’t been to France yet, but we have seen a couple of beautiful stately home gardens in England.  It was therefore not hard to imagine the scale and beauty of the gardens of Versailles.  Our home is not a very large one, but I do like to take inspiration from large enterprises and scale them down to suit my need.  The thought of doing the same with our garden stayed with me.

Next day, when my husband went to the shop, I went along to browse the plants area.  I wasn’t planning on buying anything, but then I spotted this white rose.  All resolve melted away and I came home with 29 plants!

 

 

 

Can’t say no to irises.  I got these and my friend Mary sent me some more.  I am a lucky girl.

 

 

Also, a few foxgloves.

 

 

The following Friday, after work, I sat down with the garden measurements to create a layout for the plants.   Influenced by the larger gardens of the stately homes, I am designing a garden with a few different focal points.  Our garden may not be huge, but it is certainly big enough for that.  I created a circular focal point with the white rose in the centre.  It is a working plan, so it will continue to grow as I get inspired by the greatness of others.

I am going to take a break for the next couple of weeks.  Hopefully a few more moments of happenstance will find me.

-Soma

 

I am also linking up on Through My Lens, Our World TuesdayWednesday Around The World, Seasons, and Friday Photo Journal along with other linky parties on my Events And Links page.

 

Of Flowers And Trees


Stained Glass Flower Quilt Patterns | Whims And Fancies

 

Lately it has been wet around here and my plans for planting our now fairly bare garden have been stagnant.  In the meantime, I moved on to working on a little indoor flower project.  This is another one of those long-forgotten quilts.  I designed my favourite flower quilt patterns in the style of stained glass window panels.  As I was drawing the flowers, they took on shapes of mineral crystals.  Since I love geology, the blocks are all named after my favourite minerals – Garnet Primrose, Kyanite Iris, Olivine Tulip and Selenite Clematis.  I made the initial blocks with the Downton Abbey fabrics.

 

 

Stained Glass Flower Quilt Patterns | Whims And Fancies

 

I didn’t want an usual 4 x 5 block arrangement for this quilt.  I wanted something completely different, a special layout for this one.  Until I had the layout designed, I didn’t know how many blocks I needed to make and progress stalled.  The four blocks went into the cabinet not to see the light of day again for a long time. Now it is finally time to dust off the pieces and start working on the rest of the quilt.

This is the layout I came up with.  I imagined walking through a very big garden made up of smaller, sectional gardens.  Enchanted Garden is what came to mind as the name.  Now that the layout is done, I can start making the rest of the flowers.

   

Since I always get asked about the pattern links, here they are –

Garnet Primrose on Etsy & CraftsyKyanite Iris on Etsy and Craftsy

Olivine Tulip on Etsy and CraftsySelenite Clematis  on Etsy and Craftsy

They are quite easy to make 12″ blocks.  Many thanks to those of you who purchased the patterns already.

 

Derwent Pastel Pencils Evening Sky Drawing | Whims And Fancies

 

I do love nature and my most favourite are the trees.  One evening, I sat down to relax with my sketchbook while running one of my favourite movies in the background.  It was early March, the trees were still very bare and the sky took on beautiful colours at sunset.  Using pastel pencils I was trying to capture those colours peeking through the silhouette of a tree.

 

Sennelier Oil Pastel And Derwent Pastel Pencils | Whims And Fancies

 

A few notes about oil pastel and pastel

  

Although they share the name pastel, oil pastel and pastel are really quite different from each other and cannot be used together.  I used paper stumps to blend the pastel pencils.  I tried to use the stumps to blend the oil pastel, but using my fingers proved more effective.  The heat from my finger warmed up the oil in the oil pastels, which in turn blended the colours a lot better.

 

I didn’t buy any special paper for the pastel pencils.  They worked great on Strathmore 400 Series 80lb drawing paper.  For the oil pastels, however, I used a thicker paper so the oil from the pastel would not seep through.  I used Canson 150lb smooth surface paper for the oil pastels.  I would like the try the oil pastels on canvas one day.

 

Pastel sticks create quite a lot of chalk-dust, pencils create a lot less.  That’s why I like the pastel pencils better.  They blend very easily, they smudge easily too.  Oil pastels have mineral oil which never really dries completely, so they would smudge as well.  Therefore, both of them need sealing. I used Grumbacher Matte Finish Final Fixative to seal both of them.  One thin coat was enough for the pastel pencils, but the oil pastels needed three thin coats.  I did take the time to let each coat completely dry before applying the next one.  I suggest you try out the sealant on a small test sample before you apply it to your finished painting.

 

I couldn’t find much information on this and had to figure a lot of this out by playing.  So, in case you paint, I thought you might find this information helpful.

 

Van Gogh style Field Of Wildflower Oil Pastel Painting with Sennelier Oil Pastel | Whims And Fancies

 

I painted this Field Of Wild Flowers with oil pastels in the style of Van Gogh.  As you can see, they behave quite differently than pastel pencils.  I wrote about his painting a couple of weeks ago in The Master And The Apprentice.

 

 

Copic Marker Landscape Painting | Whims And Fancies

 

One Friday, it was raining outside and I was feeling like doodling after work, but without taking out a whole pile of painting paraphernalia.  So I pulled out my box full of markers.  I have never used markers for landscape painting before, so this was a first for me.  Markers can get quite expensive and they can’t be mixed together to create new colours. Since I don’t have an unlimited supply, I lined up the shades I had at home and doodled away at this picture of trees in the morning at the local park while listening to the patter of rain.

 

Spring Vetch Flower | Whims And Fancies

I leave you with a photo of a tiny little Spring Vetch adding its splash of colour to the countryside around here.

Hope you find some inspiration in flowers and trees this week as well!
-Soma

 

I am also linking up on Through My Lens, Our World TuesdayWednesday Around The World, Seasons, and Friday Photo Journal along with other linky parties on my Events And Links page.

A Master And An Apprentice

Wildflowers Oil Pastel Painting | Whims And Fancies

 

Spring is definitely in the air.  Although I love finding little colourful wild flowers and photographing them, it is also the worst time of the year for me due to severe pollen allergies.  I still try to find a little time to be outside to enjoy the bright flowers swaying happily during the windy March days.   Last year, in my attempt to learn wild flower photography, I went to a few local parks in search of new flowers.

 

Napa Northern Califiornia Wildflowers | Whims And Fancies

 

I took this photo of the wild flowers at our local park.  When I posted it here as part of my Wandering Camera monthly photo collage, Janine mentioned it looked like a painting.

 

Van Gogh - Green Wheat Field with Cypress

  

Ever since I was a child, I have been drawn to the Impressionist/Post-impressionist paintings.  I didn’t know them by that name at the time.  I remember loving the small brush-strokes.  I specially fell in love with the paintings of Van Gogh.  Initially all I knew of him was the very crude introduction as an eccentric artist who cut his ear off.  As I got older I learned a lot more about him and how much he was tormented by his own demons.  If I don’t keep my emotions in check, his life-story makes me extremely sad.

  

The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides and in its depths it has its pearls too.”  – Vincent Van Gogh

  

This is “Green Wheat Field With Cypress” which he painted while he was at the asylum of St. Paul.

 

Wildflowers Sennelier oil astel painting inspired by Van Gogh | Whims And Fancies

 

One rainy Friday, as I was looking at the photos of his paintings, I thought of what Janine said about my photo.  I often wanted to paint something of his style without directly copying his work.  I recently acquired a set of Sennelier landscape oil pastels.  Soon afterwards, I found myself working on this painting using those oil pastels.  It has become one of my favourites because of the emotional tie I feel.

 

Sometimes the state of the world makes me very sad, but if I have learned anything from Van Gogh, it is that even in the midst of torment and sadness, a speck of peace and beauty can be found.

Sometimes I long so much to do landscape, just as one would go for a long walk to refresh oneself, and in all of nature, in trees for instance, I see expression and a soul.” – Vincent Van Gogh

 

Happy Spring,
-Soma

 

I am also linking up on Life Thru The Lens, Through My Lens, Our World TuesdayWednesday Around The World, Seasons, and Friday Photo Journal along with other linky parties on my Events And Links page.