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Display ideas: One colour blooms

One colour blooms (c) Ella JohnstonWant a really effective flower display? Try an arrangement of one colour blooms.

I personally love my simple posy of cream gerberas, ranunculus and mini pom-pom blossoms with gorgeous green foliage. The simple overall look appears effortless (it was really) but stylish, especially when combined with my retro charity shop jug

One colour blooms (c) Ella Johnston

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Monday Moodboard: Soft Shades

Monday Moodboard Soft shades

I’m loving this week’s moodboard of sweet, soft shades but you’re probably wondering how I got to it.

I’m on product development mode at the moment and consequently my desk is full of colour swatches, trend reports and tear sheets. Loads of the latter are from last year, which featured these particular shades a lot. I still adore the combinations of greens, blues, creams and pinks – I’m interested to see what new soft shade combinations will be in vogue for spring and summer this year.

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Monday Moodboard: Pantone Colour of the Year: Greenery

Greenery Moodboard

Last week Pantone announced its colour of the year for 2017. It’s ‘Greenery’ and it makes me happy.

A few design experts have been a bit disparaging about this colour with the name ‘Kermit’ referenced, well as a person who admires the work of Jim Henson I don’t think that’s so bad.

But seriously I  love a bit of greenery, and I was even singing its praises earlier this year. Bringing the colours of nature into your home is a marvellous thing and the vivid shade of this Pantone  works incredibly well with both subtle pastels and equally vibrant hues.

The colour is described by Pantone as a “fresh, yellowish hue” that “symbolises the reawakening of nature in spring and is a symbol for a new beginning”. Great – just what we need after 2016.

I’ve embraced shades of greenery already in my own new print designs (before the announcement I may add) so I’m incredibly happy that it’s not just me looking to find hope in natural colours and forms.

Leaf prints by Ella JohnstonLeaf prints by Ella JohnstonLeaf prints by Ella Johnston

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Friday fun! Botanical love; more spoils from the garden

Garden flowers

More indulgent love for botanicals from me. My garden just keeps giving. Roses.

What a beautiful, beautiful summer it’s been so I’ve been reaping more spoils from the garden.
Roses. We have beautiful bright pink roses which need constant pruning – they just keep blooming. This is great for us as we have an abundant supply of vibrant blooms to grace our rooms with.
Roses. Luckily we’re also in dahlia season so everyday I’m checking which heads I can chop to bring indoors and display in our home.
Dahlia. I love a big fat dahlia bloom – you can display a single stem and enjoy its wonderful structure and architecture. So I’ve placed one of my orange flowers in this lovely marble effect  vase I found at a charity shop and the other in my favourite green fishbowl vase (sorry about the reflections, I’ve still got so much to learn about photography and picture editing)

dahalia 1

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Drawing of the week: The Green-headed Tanager

Green Tanager Ella Johnston

I’m currently working on a birds from brazil illustration series to coincide with this years Olympics. While researching this topic I kept coming across images of the green-headed tanager.

The Green-headed Tanager (c) Ella Johnston

This small, colourful bird can be found in the Atlantic forest in south-eastern Brazil and far eastern Paraguay.

The Green-headed Tanager sketch (c) Ella Johnston

The creature measures an average of 13.5cm. Its preferred habitat is humid forests but there have been sightings in orchards and parks; apparently its flashy blue-green coloration camouflages well among the foliage.

Green Tanager Ella Johnston

As this bird is so colourful and full of character it was tremendous fun to draw. It was great to break out the brighter colours in my watercolour box. Plus, I couldn’t resist creating lots of sketches to capture the quirky, playful nature of this vibrant little critter.
The Green-headed Tanager sketch (c) Ella Johnston
The Green-headed Tanager sketch (c) Ella Johnston

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Completed Plant of the Fortnight: Thistle

Thistles, Watercolour and Ink, (c) Ella Johnston

After whipping up a set of black and white thistles earlier this week I got carried away and did two final watercolour illustrations and a fabric pattern using this gorgeous flower as my motif.

Thistle, Watercolour and Ink (c) Ella Johnston
I love a thistle and used them a lot when I style photo shoots – I admire their structural quality and blue, green, two-tone colours. I particularly like drawing them though, you can be really expressive with both the watercolour and the pen work as you can probably tell. They also work incredibly well as an indigo and white pattern – I’ve ordered some fabric in this pattern from my  Spoonflower shop so I can make some nice stylish textile bits and pieces.

Thistle Pattern indigo and white (c) Ella Johnston

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Plant of the Fortnight: Wood Anemone

Wood Anemone Illustration (c) Ella Johnston

On Monday I shared some sketchy five minute drawings of some wood anemones, here’s my colour version using watercolour and ink. I’ve also worked up a pretty pattern repeat using the flower and foliage as a motif.

These are really lovely delicate flowers, I love their light, paper-like petals and delicate minty coloured leaves. I’m lucky enough to live near woods and every spring it is full with a delightful carpet of green and white. It’s a wonderful gift every year and gives us a tremendous amount of pleasure.

Wood anemone pattern (c) Ella Johnston

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Summer in five colours

Berry head cliff edge TEST LO RES

Last week I spent a few days in South Devon and the weather was beautiful. At this time of year, when nature is starting to reach its vibrant peak, colours come into their own and seem to create a palette of pink, white, green, yellow and blue.

Red valerian at Berry Head PINK LO RES

The hedgerows, meadowlands and walls were full of wild red valerian, which is sometimes known as kiss-me-quick, fox’s brush or Jupiter’s beard. It was everywhere.
Red valerian at Berry Head 2 PINK LO RES

White valerian at Berry Head WHITE LO RESThe white ‘albus’ form of valerian also smothered swathes of the cliffs at Berry Head, while the higgledy-piggledy buildings of Brixham’s harbour reminded me that what we think of as ‘white’ is usually a mixtures of other, softer colours – creams, yellows, blues and pinks.
Brixham Quay WHITE LO RES

Ivy blue wall 2 GREEN LO RESSome of those harbourside walls are gradually being ‘greened’, while a walk through the Grove took me back to Andrew Marvell’s poem ‘The Garden’ and the line ‘a green thought in a green shade’.
Brixham Grove trees GREEN LO RES

Brixham lichen 2 YELLOW LO RESThe sunny week in June saw me and Dr B spend afternoons in some of the secluded coves along South Devon’s coast. I am fascinated by lichen (it’s starting to cover the roof of my little studio) and on one afternoon the dappled sunshine was reflected in the golden colour of the lichen on the rocks at the foot of the cliff – it’s almost an abstract painting.

Fishcombe Cove boat BLUE LO RESAnd of course, when it comes to blue, the sea and the sky around Torbay provided perfect inspiration.
Torbay yachts TEST LO RES