April Journal and Sketchbook

I feel like my pages for this month do not represent how damp and chilly and runny-nosed April really was

On the 1st of April we were in glorious sunshine on the Isle of Iona – but that’s all in this journal post here.  Check it out to see all my pages from that amazing trip.

These pages are the rest of April, which was, frankly, damp.  The wettest April ever, surely.  But in between the soggy days, there was hints of the vibrance and liveliness of April, and out I went with my sketchbook.

I found coming home from the Iona holiday pretty hard going.  I’m usually such a home-bird that I secretly cannot wait to get back to our house.  But this trip hit different.  I was blue.  I’m not totally sure why – maybe just because it was such a special trip and I was sad it was over.  Maybe because the weather was rubbish and the kids were both ill.  It felt like the ground had shifted under my feet while I was away.  

The things that gave me joy amidst my glums were:

– the seedling forest on our en suite windowsill.  I say good morning, I wish them a good night.  I turn them and talk to them and stare at them.  There’s aubergines, marigolds, sweet peas, snapdragons and cosmos.  And one precious trombone squash baby plant.  

– tadpoles in the pond.  So wriggly! 

– eating the kid’s easter choccies

– the pink blossom on the cherry tree in the garden is the best it has ever been

– sky-scanning for the first swallows, spotted for me on the 19th of April.  All is well when the swallows are home.

– dandelions! 

– sketchbooking

I’m out the other side of my glums now.  

The studio has been pretty quiet this month.  I wonder if Mother’s Day and Easter being so early have tilted the year a little bit.  Quiet months are always unnerving, but I’ve been in this game for 12 years now, so my nerves can handle a little dip or two.  I’ve been making the most of the space to work on the 2025 calendar design (already!) and to do lots of drawing and sketchbooking.  Last Tuesday was a good bright day, so I headed out into the woods here at Drygrange for a couple of lovely hours.  I set up in two different riverbank locations.  I had intended to draw lots of dandelions, of which I’m slightly obsessed at the moment, but instead I drew: wrens, baby snails, fiddle-head ferns, a yellow wagtail, three-corned leek, wild garlic, the river, a dipper, and a mallard.  It was glorious.

Other April things:

a woodpecker drumming so loudly that we thought it was inside the house.  It turned out to be several gardens away.

tulips, especially frilly ones

lambs

lungwort, toothwort, golden saxifrage

a deer grazing in the courtyard in the early evenings and mornings

Sketchbook pages pictured:

Above – a sketchbook spread of a the fast flowing river, done in watercolour, coloured pencil and poster paint, and a pencil drawing of a mallard in flight; 

Below – cherry blossom in the garden – done in watercolour crayon with water added by raindrops

meeting Penny the puppy, and toy cars for Piglet’s birthday card design

primroses, wrens, ferns, snail shell – drawn in Drygrange woods [biro, watercolour crayons, coloured pencil, watercolour]

yellow wagtail, three-cornered leeks, wild garlic – drawn in Drygrange woods [biro, watercolour]

dipper, baby snails, tree rubbings, woodland floor – drawn in Drygrange woods on a paper bag [coloured pencil, watercolours, watercolour crayons, biro]

 fast flowing river, done in watercolour, coloured pencil and poster paint, and a pencil drawing of a mallard in flight

photographs: kit ready for heading out on a sketching trip; riverbank studio set up

April 2024 sketchbook pages by Hannah Longmuir
April 2024 sketchbook pages by Hannah Longmuir
April 2024 sketchbook pages by Hannah Longmuir
April 2024 sketchbook pages by Hannah Longmuir
April 2024 sketchbook pages by Hannah Longmuir
April 2024 sketchbook pages by Hannah Longmuir
packing for a sketching trip
riverbank studio set up

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