Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Nearly February!!!

black petunias from last year's SBA show.

Dear Painterly Friends, I have had very little time this year so far to paint and when I do have time I will iron, clean, hoover, organise etc. etc. anything but paint. Infuriating as this is I eventually pick up the brush and then the phone rings or I check my email and then have to sort out work things.

OOO LA LA, this is a problem added to that, one has to squeeze in a new year diet and exercise programme, it would be funny if it wasn't so tragic, the perpetual cycle of to do's. As I wrote to one lady recently 'my mind is like a washing machine, constantly turning, always clean, sometimes in a spin, always jumbled up and always with one sock missing'
But not this year, let it be known that I will endeavour to be a grown-up; surprised and amazed at how my sons are taking control of their lives and destiny, I am taking inspiration from them. Somehow I have brought up 2 men who talk with conviction and elegance and rather than working on the edge of chaos like their mother; they work out their lives in a calm and considered way, in a way that I can only dream of. Thank goodness their father's genes have risen to mould them and my doo-lally genes have been suppressed, long may that last. 

Such is my youngest son's extreme good sense, that when I said I may buy a scooter/ motorbike or such like, he said 'that in no way was I a fit person to undertake such a purchase, I can't even stay upright when climbing a gate', this is true and rather annoying that I appear so vulnerable (this link is not me I might add) to him but at least I could say back to him that he now knows how I feel about him having a motorbike. Yeah.
The online tutorials are ticking along and I am going to start working through the list of suggested project throughout February. My classes in the studio are filling fast and I am looking forward to students coming from Australia, Singapore and France. I am starting to feel a bit nervous actually and hope I do their journey justice.Wish me wings.

 Ps. This year I have been invited to be on the committee of the SBA for a one year trial and am hoping to be of use to them. It is an amazing show that they put on every year in April at the Westminster Central Hall, which by coincidence is where my final Fashion Degree show was held, many years ago, so it is a place that holds a lot of memories for me. They are looking for Businesses that would like to put their logo in our show catalog, it only costs £50 and the catalogues are kept for years so it is a great way to remind people of you business. If you know any company that might be interested in advertising in this years catalog then all you need to do is send their details to pam@soc-botanical-artists.org and she will know what to do.We are always looking for volunteers to help with the running of the show, stewards etc if you would like to be involved then do get in touch with me and i can forward your details to one of the ladies in charge, It is a great way to have time to really study the work and pick the brains of long standing SBA members.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Christmas card 2014 copyright billyshowell

I wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
At this time of year the Cook/Showell household is a buzz with last minute 'finishing off jobs.' My hubby Simon and I are manically painting some decorative pieces for a commission; we have to paint 3 huge Chinese ancestors and a large Chinese cabinet, it's not just flowers that get painted around here. The work has been ongoing since September but we are now on the last push before the delivery date. Every year there is always something that is required in time for Christmas so the Cook household juggles around it all.

All in all it has been a busy and we are delighted that so many students have joined the on line classes and had fun doing so; we are constantly looking to improve the site and this year will see new ideas and tweaks.

My new Classes start after February so as to hopefully allow me some time to paint and to avoid the worst of the weather, 
 fingers crossed. If you are keen to join the classes in Tunbridge Wells then do drop me a line and I can send you the details. 

I leave you with one of my favourite little cake recipes which I make for my students at class and my Christmas card illustration and of course I want to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New year.

Billy's little Apple Fairy cakes

I use little muffin cases you will need about 12-16 cases for this quantity
Mix together in a mixer
8oz /225grams gluten free self-raising flour (or ordinary flour if you prefer)
6oz/170 grams baking margarine or butter
7oz/200 grams caster sugar
4 small eggs or 3 large
1 ½ teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 level teaspoon of baking powder

Stir in
2 tablespoons of natural yogurt or cream if you prefer
2 large cooking apples peeled and chopped into small pieces
Dived the mixture between the cases
Bake for 20 minutes in a medium oven on the middle shelf
I use 160 degrees (310 Fahrenheit) in a fan oven (gas mark 2-3)
Leave to cool then dust with icing sugar or decorate with butter icing.