Half Term Over

The half term holiday is now over and I am now catching up on all those domestic chores that inevitably follow. Our children left school many years ago but my husband teaches so school holidays are still a part of our lives. We took advantage of a new train service, which now stops close by our house, in order to visit our eldest son in London. As you can see we found a little time to visit the National Portrait Gallery and managed to do a little shopping whilst in the city.

The hedgehog has returned to our garden, Ted alerted us to its presence by yapping and barking, fortunately the hedgehog managed to defend itself in its customary manner. We also have bats, which appear as the sun goes down but so far I have not managed to capture any on film.

And last but not least my niece gave birth to a beautiful baby girl!

I managed to find a little time to make a start on a new book project, which has been on the back burner for more years than I care to remember. I decided to try something new and made the decision to illustrate each page with a pen drawing, this will make reproduction easier when it comes to printing the book, which I plan to do myself. I also have plans to bind the project by hand, but at this rate I shall be in my nineties before I get it finished.


  1. Looks like you've had a lovely week.

    I like the look of the new project. Gosh! those 'little projects' of one's own that just wait in the wings for years, tell me about them! Good for you to get one underway!

    Your line drawing reminds me of something I came across yesterday:


  2. Celia,

    I love the work of Reynolds Stone, I wish I could learn how to engrave wood blocks. I need another three lifetimes!

  3. Oh my, that pen & ink drawing of yours is just gorgeous! I thought it was an engraving at first. May I ask what kind of pen that is? I have thought about buying a Radiograph Koh-I-Noor, but I don't want to spend so much if another is just as good. I've been using a dip pen for a long time, but I'd like to find something a bit more portable.

    I can't wait to see the finished book~~And if you do manage to find the secret to adding a few more lifetimes, please pass it along ; ). Thanks for sharing---I just love reading your blog and soaking up your beautiful work~~Kathy

  4. What a wonderful week you have had. I love the drawing.

  5. What a fine time you've been having. Great to have the school break, and to use it well.

    Thank you for that view of London!

    Wonderful that your son has a bit of garden.

    And now, let me praise the ink drawing. It seems so different from your watercolors, yet has a quality is shows it is definitely yours. That book will surely be a beauty. Keep at it. Little by little.

    I'll now have to check out reynold stone.


  6. Hi Valerie,

    Gosh, it sounds like you've got lots of wonderful things going on! So nice of you to send a little of home to your son by giving a gift of lovely, growing plants- I'm sure it's a gift he'll treasure. Congrats to your niece... and to you on that fabulous illustration for your new book... it's gorgeous!

  7. I do envy you your incredible illustrating ability Valerie. Glad you enjoyed your visit to London.

  8. Hello Valerie,
    I love your picture of London.
    My parents always brought me cuttings from their garden when my husband and I moved to our first flat.
    Your pen and ink drawing is like a fairy tale house.x

  9. The new book looks beautiful, bringing together your exquisite detail and design work. These will be absolute treasures. Any chance of fore-edge paintings?

    Helen Rochester is the other black-and-white artist who comes to mind, the same sophistication.

    (and Thank you for your several kind comments!)


  10. Sounds like you've had a lovely time during half term. Glad you have a hedghog visitor in your garden:) The drawing is wonderful!

  11. Oh, I love your book! The illustration you have shown is wonderful! I can't wait to see all.

    Your busy week makes me feel quite the sloth! And I'm so glad the hedgehog is back!!

  12. How wonderful a week you have had. Your illustration looks wonderful, i love pen & ink work & am so intrigued by the book idea! grand news that you have a resident hedgehog.

  13. Kathy,

    The pen drawing was done with a very fine Isograph pen by Rotring, also I used a fine mapping pen, the old fashioned dip variety. Actually, they do a good job and make a more sensitive mark but are more messy.

  14. Valerie, I'm just catching up with you! You've been busy! And traveling too!
    Love the little b/w sketch!


  15. Congratulations on so many exciting new events in your life! Thank you for your kind comment on my post this weekend. I have not participated much at all in art of any kind in the last few months and it seems that topic has gone stale on my blog.

    Soon, I hope!

  16. OH, Valerie, What a very very lovely drawing. I can hardly wait to see more. Please do not take until your 90ish to finish it. LOL Hugs Judy

  17. Wow Valerie, looks like a fun and busy weekend!

    I think one of my favourite things in the world is pen and ink drawings, and what a gorgeous example by you there! Stunning...

  18. I love this little graphic drawing. It is a bit like a woodcut print. A book illustrated with drawings like this would be wonderful. I see you have one of my favourite rapidograph pens too.

    Lovely photo of London. I often meet friends at the National for a coffee. A nice central place to get together and so much to see. Our hedgehog was seen once in May and has now disappeared sadly. Last year we had at least three in our small garden.

  19. Hi Valerie,

    Thanks for your comment on my raspberry plant. I just love this ink drawing you have done. I'm so looking forward to seeing more of your illustrations for the book! What fun that you will bind it yourself. I love bookbinding, though I haven't dabbled much yet. On the ever-growing wish list of things to work on :)