Jan Harbon, Artist and Illustrator

Jolly Welsh poppies 

Sunday, March 13, 2011, 12:26 PM

I've felt much improved this week - ah the marvel of antibiotics! Also the sun has been shining quite a bit too, which can't but help encourage the garden to look more colourful, I notice the cherry trees are starting to show some budding - which is great, crossed fingers that there's no late frost.
A lovely day on Friday too, with a workshop painting daffodils, anemones and tulips. I always seem to make such a TRIAL of getting the flowers out on the right day, but mostly they behaved themselves this time (and the students were wonderful too). A LITTLE more eating of chocolate fudge cake would have been helpful, but our children were here at the weekend to demolish leftovers. (I do feed them other times, but you wouldn't think it).
welsh poppies and vetch web copyI am painting some anemones at the moment, but I have just finished, out of season of course, this picture of welsh poppies and vetch. I felt the card range needed some more yellow, so cropping this image will be what I'm looking for I hope. Nearly got the six ready for the printers, and there'll be some reprints too. Might even manage a few more to the collection before Chelsea. Yes, I must be feeling more like it! Hoping to get the notecard images away by early next week too. I think they are going to look great in smart wallets etc.
Will be getting back to Gilbert white's House - now I've stopped startling everyone with coughing fits - I've missed the snowdrops, but in time for the Spring rush, and I'm looking forward to it.
goldcrest copyGilbert says on 12th March 1770:
"The golden-crowned wren (regulus cristatus), sings. His voice is as minute as his body."
I think that's a goldcrest he's talking about - and I haven't seen one this year, but I've certainly heard the dawn chorus beginning to make its presence felt. Lovely!
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Fall (in Spring) 

Friday, February 25, 2011, 12:31 PM

fall stage 3 copyfall stage 4 copyWith the customary out of sinc. painting I try so hard to avoid, but always seem to end up with - here are the final three stages of the painting "FALL". Well there it is, Autumn has finally caught up.
Next painting well under way, and it will be no surprise that it isn't seasonal either....more next week when I've got rid of this very seasonal cold....fall stage 5 final copy

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Where was I? 

Saturday, February 19, 2011, 09:57 AM

butterflies 025 cut copySome techno difficulties, some absentmindedness, some distractions...that's where January 2011 went... here we are back in the swing of the botanical year again. Snowdrops and crocuses are up, and the occasional blue sky (not to mention that it encourages blue sky THINKING too), makes me believe that Spring is coming. Which will produce my normal excitement at all the "budding" going on, but my despair at watching lots of it go over without me catching it on paper yet again. It will ever be so no doubt!
It rained last Sunday however, so we took a trip to the Glasshouse at Wisley to see the butterflies. SO lovely. Still there until the 27th February if you want to see them. I felt quite overwhelmed when one attached itself to me. It was amazingly light, like a feather. Wisley still hadn't any printed copies of workshop dates, but I'm pleased to say it's now easy to find on the website, at last... RHS Wisley
Fall stage 1 72 dpi copyStarted during Winter, this is the stage by stage "FALL" painting begun at Gilbert White's last November. I have a paper carrier full of bits collected around then, and the painting has grown around the first oak twig. Hopefully it will be exhibited at this year's SBA show in London.fall stage 2 copy This is a method of composing I enjoy, it looks random, but I assert it isn't! It starts with the usual rough sketch, but because it can grow as it goes, it allows for a lot of happy accidents along the way. I find it maintains my interest probably more than the really planned composition. With that sort of painting, I try to keep 2 -3 paintings on the go to keep up impetus on all of them.
butterflies 031 copybutterflies 027 copy
The "pansy" article is now out in the Spring edition of the "Flower Arranger". Available from NAFAS or the larger WHSmiths and other newsagents. Amanda the designer did her usual excellent job of sorting out my pictures and text into a semblance of order. She makes it all look so sensible and appealing at the same time.
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the end of the year, and another just around the corner... 

Thursday, December 16, 2010, 04:12 PM

tate 2 Nov 10tate Nov 10 I have a theory that one event in London is not enough to justify the journey, so naturally after a lovely and chatty Christmas Lunch with fellow members of the SBA, I caught a bus to London Bridge and walked along the Thames Path to Tate Modern. I was intrigued by the idea of Ai Weiwei's "Sunflower Seeds" installation, part of the Unilever Series of events. The work was much in the news, having contravened Health & Safety (you are meant to walk on the porcelain seeds, but the resulting dust isn't such a good idea). I can't pretend I know what the artistic merit was in it, but boy, was it impressive. The photos do not atall do justice to the scale. I think it may be one you have to see to believe. The Tate Modern website has a very interesting video that may or may not convince you of the validity of the work. As usual with these sort of things, I don't know what to think.....where's Mathew Collings when you need him. (Or Andrew Graham-Dixon - I'd believe anything he told me).For the third event (three is a satifying number to achieve, although in truth I begin to struggle a bit by now!)I caught a bus to the South Bank Centre for coffee and a wander around the Press Photographer of the Year competition. No wavering here, it was brilliant. A mix of hard hitting (some images were unsuitable for print), amazing, thought provoking, funny and sad. I really find this exhibition memorable every year.
open studio Nov 10 2open studio Nov 10 4Back to base, and we had a very enjoyable and successful Open Studio at the end of November. Just missing the bad weather too....thankyou all for coming. As usual, I forgot to take photos on the day, so here are a couple of how it looked without people!

Over the weekend we had a PRIZE DRAW, in aid of Farms for City Children, Sean Rafferty  finished  full size with accent and text 72dpi unmanipthe prize being a framed print and the CD "In Tune with the World" the poems of Sean Rafferty. Sean was an ardent supporter of the charity, and this has been posthumously produced by Chris Brown with contributions by Michael and Clare Morpurgo, founders of FFCC, and several other speakers and musicians of note. I was really pleased to have been asked by the charity to design the cover - not only was it a pleasure to carry out, but I know what excellent work the farms do with children - giving city kids the opportunity to live and work on a country farm. NOT a petting zoo - the real thing and life enhancing. With the help of "Just Giving Day", the Draw was able to donate 200. To learn more about FFCC see www.farmsforcitychildren.co.uk

NAFAS Christmas card  web copyA couple more dates for workshops in 2011, and yes, here's the venue - you may hear it here first - there will be adult education for all you flower painters at RHS Wisley! Good news, but...I don't know yet how you can book. I think the brochure will be out a little later than normal, it has still to be written. Anyway, if you find a way, the dates are: Monday 21st March and Friday 9th June. Both are one day workshops.

The seasonal looking image of holly, snowdrops and hellebore on the left, is a new card especially commissioned for the President of the National Association of Flower Arrangers. This year is exclusive to her, but next year will be on sale within NAFAS I believe. This will coincide with a step by step article on the painting of it in the Flower Arranger. First though will come a "how to" on Pansies - I think that will be out in Spring or Summer.
Next year is now pretty full - plenty to think about!

"Vast rime, strong frost, bright and still, fog. The hanging woods when covered with a copious rime appear most beautiful & grotesque."
Gilbert White 25th December, 1779
I saw the hangers from the first floor of the House looking absolutely this last week. It was as though we were there with Gilbert, looking out from his bedroom window.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010, 08:43 PM

christmas wreath Nov 201026th, 27th & 28th November
10am to 4pm daily
An invitation to visit the studio, talk about new work, your work, work in progress, prints, cards, christmas bargains, etc., plus mince pies and wine!
New limited edition canvas prints - pint sized for presents - plus opportunity to see the large canvas prints only previously at Chelsea and Wisley Flower Shows.
Plus a number of framed and unframed original greetings card designs now out of print.
For November newsletter and to go on mailing list,
please contact us

You'll see from the newsletter and from the "events" page, that the calendar of workshops is beginning to take shape. Bookings underway already for those dates confirmed, both here and at Gilbert White's. I hope to have the remaining dates in place in the next week or so.

As is always the way, I've got things to blog about this month, and no time to say them! There's always next week.....
Looking forward to the Open Studio, it's always a good social event, and I hope lots of you can come.
Must get back now to the spring (autumn) cleaning - I am of course, totally organised as a rule (gosh my nose is getting longer)....

p.s. Lots of emails sent out to people who've requested info etc.- and we've had quite a few returned because the address not quite right or it's been changed. So do let me know if you think you should have had one! Best way is to send me an email then I know it's the right address. Until you change it that is.....

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