Weekly Sketch – Orchid Medley – 28/01/2013

Still thinking about Spring and delighting in looking through old photos of visits to the annual Orchid Festival at Kew. Back to my favourite drawing medium and style; scribbley scrabbley black pen and ink for this medley of orchids.


(© Catherine Cronin)


Weekly Sketch – Orchids – 20/01/2013

The snow has transformed my familiar surroundings into a fresh white sparkling winter wonderland. This is the view from my balcony.


Watching the snow drift silently down for hours, you would think I’d be inspired to draw this transformed landscape; but instead I found myself thinking of the annual Orchid Festival at Kew; even though I am enjoying this brief snowy magic I am yearning for signs of Spring. The Orchid Festival at Kew is a delight; wonderful blossoms in suprising shapes and colours. I revisited old pictures from previous visits to Kew and thought I’d try and draw with paint and ink for my weekly sketch.

I was trying to get away from my usual scratchy pen drawing style; I find it difficult to use paint, but I was hoping trying something different would have thrown up some new ideas to explore. Two of the results are a bit of a mess, and one is just very traditional looking. I have found that most of the time I make an ugly mess or boring images; but all that works somehow towards the few succeses.

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep. ” ~Scott Adams




(© Catherine Cronin)

Holiday – Bay of Naples 2012

I recently travelled to the Bay of Naples, my first visit to Italy, and it was a trip full of ups and downs; thunderstorm soakings and majestic ruins; transport confusion and wonderful sea views; bad graffiti everywhere and picturesque fishing villages; half built constructions rotting away and sunny days; great food and bad food; lovely people and stray wandering dogs. A funny mix. There were signs of economic distress and long-term lack of investment everywhere. But I saw fantastic Roman ruins, sea views that fed the soul; and met lovely people . I will go back one day, as still so much to see and do. Perhaps I always try to do too much on a short holiday, we were there only 5 days, and we went to Pozzuoli, Pompeii, Procida and Ischia. So here are a few holiday snaps to share with you.

Pozzuoli – Third largest Roman Amphitheatre after Rome and Capua.

Procida – Pretty island in the Bay of Naples.

Pompeii – Roman ruins – typical stone paved street with pavement; food counter with intact fresco; public fountain head; villa bird floor mosaic; I think another fountain with pool – I couldn’t get closer; replacement statue in situ; architectural interior design intact in bath house.

(All photographs © Catherine Cronin)

Walking in Shoreditch

I went on a lovely walk yesterday with my friend Ruth from I am acrylic from Shoreditch station, around the streets near Brick Lane and hence to Whitechapel Gallery to view Rachel Whiteread’s Tree Of Life on the gallery’s façade. On the way we saw two fun pieces of urban art.

(Photographs © Catherine Cronin)

Balcony Garden Photo Collage

I love our balcony …

I love our balcony; it gives us wonderful outdoor space with what I consider a great view and it floods our flat with natural light all day long as it is south facing, a must for art making. As most Londoners will admit outdoor space is a dream and if you have it you are envied. I have a container herb garden of rosemary, thyme, mint, sage, and parsley, great to taste but also a feast for the eyes and nose. Every summer I try to grow another couple of plants, this year I’m growing everlasting sweet peas and tomatoes. There is great enjoyment and satisfaction to be had from growing things from seed, a joy when you see you plants thriving. Last week I came home and as if from nowhere my sweet peas had popped their first blooms, pale pinks and bright pinky-purples that glowed luminously in the early evening light. I was very excited and got my camera out to record this first for me in growing sweet peas; and then I just carried on photographing the whole balcony. This balcony that is very mundane, made of metal and wood, but it has bought us such pleasure over the years, so I’ve made a photo collage of that moment in time, a moment of happiness.

Our balcony overlooks railway tracks, you get used to the noise, and the tracks are green corridors through this city, teeming with life. There is a lot of life down there, the seen – foxes, cats, magpies and pigeons, and the unseen – mice, rats, small birds – which sing their chorus at dawn and dusk, and call to each other throughout the day. On the other side of the track are mature trees that screen houses and low rise flats, a beautiful old red brick building, and an old church with a decorative steeple. We have a fabulous open sky view, so much space to watch the starlings’ acrobatics each summer as they come to feed on the clouds of insects; seagulls wheel above us daily waiting for their chance to feed at the local outdoor fish market, we see geese and ducks migrating as the year grows old. Lately we have seen Chinoock helicopters flying around, I assume in preparation for the London Olympics. We have a resident magpie couple that strut their stuff in spiky shoes on the metal warehouse roof beneath us, they perform heart-stopping dives off low-rise buildings and float across the railway track to perch on building outcrops in the sun showing off the blues, purples and greens in their black feathers. I love this balcony.

(All images and works under copyright © Catherine Cronin)

Kew Gardens – A Spring visit to Kew

I am constantly inspired by nature; by the abundant variety of plant forms; by wild spaces  and cultivated gardens; by the signature of the human hand alongside nature’s fruitfulness. There is no better place to see such variety than at Kew Gardens; a place I try to visit yearly; a place where I can never be bored and where there is always a suprise in store.   http://www.kew.org/

Here are some recent photographs from a recent spring trip to Kew; there are definitely some print ideas brewing in mind from this day out.

(All images and works under copyright © Catherine Cronin)

Musings on ceramic hearts, I see Alhambra and pigs

I really hoped that I would have got further along with my artist book ‘I see Alhambra’ but due to working on other projects and life just running away with me, I am still cutting lino plates.  I am aiming for ten images; when I have them I can post about book structures. Till then here are a couple of fun things I have been up to.

I am coming to the end of my ceramics class, and so here are the new ceramic hearts for this year that I will turn into brooches. They just need a sterling silver brooch pin attached and then they will be for sale in my Folksy shop. I love the richness of the glaze colours.

As usual I have been enjoying my walks in and around London, they inspire me to create. Another place I love to visit is Hackney City Farm; the animals are always a pleasure to watch, I am particularly fond of the pigs, they are either full of antics or asleep when I see them. A good place to teach city children about where food comes from and how you get more animals; though it would be hard to explain away what exactly that male duck was doing to that chicken last time I paid a visit!

(All images and works under copyright © Catherine Cronin)