Saturday, 29 December 2012

Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, England. Herring gull on a life raft?

Herring gull ponders and decides his next move. He stands on a floating  raft on the river Tweed, Northumberland, England. He has an intelligent eye.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Paintings of French flowers and fruit, by Tessa Bennett

Cosmos and asters etc.

French apples on an 18th century French plate.
Buttercups in 18th century vinegar jug etc.
A last rose of Summer with 4 pears.
Quinces on a French 18th century dish.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

This is a photograph of a European hedgehog. There are 17 species of hedgehog, a spiny mammal of the the sub Erinaceinae. Hedgehogs share ancestry with shrews and have changed little for 15 million years!  They are nocturnal and insectivorous mammals . The name came into use in about 1450 and was derived from middle English (heygehog) because it frequented hedgerows and has a pig- like snout.  They are wonderful creatures.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The housefly - musca domestica, sunbathes on a raspberry leaf.

The house fly -   ( musca domestica)  is the most common of all domestic flies, and the most widely distributed of all insects. It can carry serious diseases, has one pair of wings, and the female is slightly larger than the male.  Houseflies are  believed to have evolved some  65 million years  ago  and probably owe their  worldwide dispersal to co-migration with humans.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Three French roses and a daisy, painting by Tessa Bennett.

Three pink roses and a daisy, drawn and painted in France from life. The 19th century pottery jug with mauve and silver decoration is probably Scottish. 

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Boletus mushrooms, known as cepes in France, found in a small wood in South West Central France today..

Boletus  mushrooms -  known as cepes in France. They are  good to eat, these were  found in  a  small wood in South West France today.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Thursday, 24 May 2012

A striped snail, French lizards, and Irises - a painting by Tessa bennett.

A tiny striped snail makes for the garden!
A lizard makes friends.

Irises, a painting by Tessa Bennett.

A lizard takes the sun on an ancient wooden window frame.
Flowers in the grass.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

May blossom and the Northumberland countryside. A blackbird looks for worms amongst the grass. Three paintings by Tessa Bennett.

Four Pears, painting  by Tessa Bennett.
Six Apples, a painting by Tessa Bennett.
Hydrangeas in a French antique pottery jug,  painting by Tessa Bennett.

May blossom,  and the glorious fields of  Northumberland  beyond.
A nesting blackbird scratches and pecks for worms in the mown grass.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Orchid in pot, painting by Tessa Bennett.

Orchid, a painting by Tessa Bennett.

Painting in progress, - 5 stages, (not in order!) by Tessa Bennett.

3. Third stage in painting of 2 pears and a lemon.
1. First stage in painting of 2 pears and a lemon.
2. Second stage in painting of 2 pears and a lemon.
4. Fourth stage in painting of 2 pears and a lemon.
5. Fifth and final stage of  painting of 2 pears and a lemon by Tessa Bennett.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Joy of Easter Tulips! ....... and a brief history of tulip mania!

Tulips and Tulip mania.              The extraordinary history of the tulip did not begin in the Netherlands as is commonly thought,  it began in Turkey. The tulip is indigenous to a vast area encompassing parts of Africa, Asia, and Europe, growing naturally in mountainous regions with temperate climates. The name tulip is thought to have come from the Turkish word "tulbend", or "turban" which the flower represents. It was in Turkey in the 15th century that tulips were grown for the express pleasure of the Sultan and his entourage, and the tulip became a symbol of wealth and prestige. In 1573 Carolus Clusius received tulip seeds from Persia and he planted them, first in Prague, then in The Imperial Palace in Vienna , then in the gardens of  The Leiden Hortus Brittanicus. In 1594 tulips flowered for the first time in The Netherlands. Clusius guarded the bulbs zealously but many were stolen, thus interest in tulips spread rapidly particularly amongst the upper and middle classes. In 1636 tulip mania and the commercial industry in tulips reached its peak, but in 1637 the market collapsed and fortunes were won and lost almost overnight - at its height one bulb could be worth as much as a whole house in Amsterdam! Tulips remain a popular symbol of The Netherlands to this day.