Posts by Diane:



falmouth15 030A weekend trip out to Mylor in Cornwall proved to offer a little more excitement than the drizzly weather. Armed with my camera I spotted some picture taking opportunities of designed pieces for which I could see some creative potential in my studio, but not for the same design purpose as that originally intended. Even on a dull day the sailing boat masts, coated in a water proof varnish, adopted a warm tangerine glow against the back drop of serene greys and soft blues. The varnish is used for practicality amongst the sailing fraternity, but having given up that pastime I now look at boats for the colours, shapes and patterns that are made by the structures and reflections. Back in my studio I then turn these into colourful and graphical patterns that reveal hidden designs found in industrial type structures.

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The masts were balanced between two benches, left to dry in the spring air. They were precariously close to the water side, I guess making way for passing pedestrians, but creating a photo opportunity for happy snappers, like me.

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Once home I began the design magic and straight away a simple colour adjustment adding stronger oranges and blues turned a dull picture into one reminiscent of beaches and sea. I just kept on experimenting creating patterns in a range of colours and imagery; some of which can be seen here:

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And then I combined the latter two images. A graphical abstract print evolved with the impression of a setting sun.

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The sun is disappearing into the sea creating a vibrant and bold landscape and a colourful, modern print. And it all began with a quick snapshot! x



This was a passing moment that happened one morning recently. I was routinely on my way to collecting the post from the front door when I was struck by the strong geometric shapes against the textured hall wall and metal lines of the radiator. These stunning forms were being created by the sunlight entering through the glass above the door and I could not resist snapping away.

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In the most simplistic, monochrome form the patterns created are quite striking on their own merit. However I wanted to experiment with adding colour and spot colour to see what designs would evolve.

Here are a few:

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So, from the simplest, almost everyday occurrence pattern can be created. It is with us where ever we are and what ever we are doing! x


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And the colour name originates from the fruit. In nature not only oranges are orange, but sunsets, sunrises, sand, fire, fish, marigolds, sunflower centres, tangerines, clementines, pumpkins, carrots, autumn leaves, mango and cats, especially tigers. In the not so natural world, orange is used for traffic cones, in traffic lights, life rafts, warning signs, life belts, racy cars, visibility vests and children’s toys. It is synonymous with Halloween and other festivals, marmalade and the sun. It is a popular colour with many, but not all, there are a few who find it threatening, brash and gaudy. We must remember though that the colour originates from a fruit that is packed full of vitamin C, a nutrient we very much need to keep our health and vitality. I hope that my recipe for Succulent Orange and Chocolate cake will bring a spring to you step.

As in the picture above and those below, I have used this fruit and the colour orange to represent exuberance.

artandcaravan15 056ORANGES AND PEARS

This simplistic piece relies on the colours for its appeal.

One artist who is famously known for painting with orange pigment is the abstract artist Mark Rothko (1903-70). He used great areas of canvas to paint blocks of bright colours, often shades of orange, red and yellow that seamlessly blended into each other.

Every piece of orange artwork stands out from the crowd and makes an impact whatever the setting..


This is a Henri Matisse stylised bowl of fruit executed by my daughter with a little assistance from mum a little while ago and she just so happens to be called Clementine, honestly!

Orange has been such an inspiration to me that I have included not only the fruit in some of my artwork but also the colour.

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A simple, but colourful interpretation of oranges on a white cake stand. I love the contrast between the cheerful oranges and purity of the white stand against the neutral grey background.

Orange brings a warm glow!



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I have not yet come across anyone who does not like this cake, quite a statement but it is true.It is a bake that can be presented for many occasions; an afternoon treat for when the kids come home from school, a birthday surprise for someone special, a great dessert with a dollop of cream for a wonderful dinner party finale, or out in the garden for summer tea with a scoop or two of ice cream. The longer it is baked the more cakey it becomes; accordingly the less it is baked the more torte like it becomes and will subsequently create a well in which the cream can puddle. And what is the trick that makes it so moreish? The boiling of the orange.

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To make this scrumptious cake you will need:

  • a greased and lined 20cm (8in.) cake tin, preferably loose bottomed or springform
  • 1 large orange
  • 3 large eggs
  • 225g (8oz) golden caster sugar
  • 120g (4oz) ground almonds
  • 150g (5oz) self raising flour
  • 1/2 level tsp baking powder
  • 100g (3.5oz) milk chocolate (dark if you prefer a richer flavour)
  • 50g (2oz) flaked almonds

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) mark 4.

Put the whole orange, that is right, every bit of the orange goes into a saucepan and is covered with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for at least one hour. It should be very soft when a knife is inserted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. When cooled cut in half and remove any pips and place all, peel, pith and flesh of the orange into a blender or food processor and whiz to make a smooth puree.

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Now, or you could do this whilst the orange is cooling, place the eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk together until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes with an electric mixer. Next fold in the almonds, flour and baking powder, followed by the orange puree. Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 40 minutes. The cake should  be springy to the touch and a skewer, when inserted, should come out clean. Leave in slightly longer for the bake to be more like a cake. In this instance it will have visibly risen more and be firmer to the touch and the skewer will come out dry.

Leave the cake in the tin to cool. Whilst the cake cools break the chocolate into a small heatproof bowl and place it over a pan of gently simmering water until the chocolate has melted. Spread the flaked almonds on a baking tray and pop under a grill until lightly golden, or darker if you prefer a more toasty flavour.

Once the cake has cooled remove carefully from the tin and place onto a serving plate, drizzle over the cake to make your desired pattern and scatter the flaked almonds over to set into the chocolate as it hardens.

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You can either serve this immediately, in which case the chocolate will be softer and more like a sauce, in fact you could serve it with a chocolate sauce rather than coat the cake with chocolate and then scatter the almonds over the top and serve with ice cream, or allow the chocolate to set for eating later, unless the temptation is too great and it is devoured in the meantime!

But, if you do need to keep it, it keeps very well in a cake tin for up to a week. It can be kept in the fridge for longer and freezes very well, just remember to thaw it thoroughly before consuming.

Easily serves 10.

cakes 010All you have to do now is find a knife, a cake fork or spoon and add whatever you like: clotted cream, whipped cream, pouring cream, a Cointreau or Amaretto flavoured cream, crème fraiche, Greek yoghurt, vanilla or chocolate ice cream or even custard

Tuck in! x


A visit to the zoo is not just about seeing the animals, but also experiencing the smells, sounds and surroundings, and within these surroundings can be found an exciting assortment of patterns, shapes and colours. Everywhere I go I cannot help but photograph the patterns around us and in the living; the weird, the wonderful and the not so wonderful. I must admit I receive strange glances when I am photographing animal droppings, an iron grating, a slab of concrete or the kids ice creams rather than the kids themselves; even though you can never have too many pictures of the children! We had a family fun day out to the zoo a little while ago now and I could not resist snapping away at the colours, shapes and patterns. Oh, and do not worry, there are not too many pictures of animal doings!

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I thought I would kick off with the girlie pinks and, maybe, ruffle your feathers a bit latter! Flamingos never fail to attract the girls, just look at the shades in this picture from the palest pastel to the richness of almost orange, and the Barbie pink feet that just seem to stay so clean. The delicate fluffiness of the feathers are inviting to the eye as well as to our senses of warmth and luxury; unlike the coat of the next creature…..

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Reflective mood!sly eye

It may not be so cuddly and cute, but the pattern and colours of its skin are jaw dropping! (Sorry I could not resist it!) And the reflective colours and shapes in the water offer a near perfect symmetry.

Another cold-blooded creature that is also not quite so charming, even though you could say it is a charmer, has a naturally patterned skin that has attracted the attention of the fashion world for many years and has often been used by designer brands.


slippery creatureAnd with a little technical adjustment this slippery creature’s skin can be made to look very different….almost woven rather than scaly!


The slightly childish side of me could not resist sharing just one of those moments with you when you think you have a great family shot, but the elegant necked giraffe, gracefully gliding behind the smiley faces, has a less than graceful moment right at the time the shutter snaps.

DevonCamping13-1192whoopsAnd one daughter showed her surprise!

Oblivious to the disturbance it caused the giraffe carries on strutting its stuff in all of its patterned glory.

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DevonCamping13-1189Apparently each giraffe has its own unique pattern. With a little colouring a designer giraffe emerges!


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More patterns and pictures from the day:

DevonCamping13-1013Pattern created by light.

spikyPattern created by growth.

tortoisetortoise shellPattern created by nature.

metal headAnd pattern created by design.

love birds


zebra printZebra print… Tiger stripes…

tiger stripes

Elephant textures…..

elephant shades


elephant tusk

elephant skin….And big bird ruffles.



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Pattern, colour and texture……everywhere! x

hey, big boy




Big Foot

Just when you think your children’s feet cannot get any bigger! 

They just keep on wondering off! I think she needs a board though!

a big wave too

A great day for picture taking at Watergate Bay, Cornwall; and so I kept on shooting……

First we had the calm and then the gentle surfing waves breaking onto the beach casting a landscape of many shades of blue; then a dog arrived who could not decide whether to guard the board or use it; and then the real surfers arrived and enjoyed a great spring day.

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all blue

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The dog that tried to steal the show or was he guarding the board!

Then the real surfers went strolling by for a great afternoon riding the waves. Just another day in Cornwall! x

Real surfers

surfing over


A Gentle Breeze


This is the first blog from pictures and patisserie, a blog site that hopes to share my art and love of all things artistic and creative, including a love of baking and making. I have always had a passion for art and design, but I am also enthusiastic about the art of making and consuming tasty sweet desserts; and whilst this gallery is predominately about my obsessions with art forms, there will also be the occasional pop-up recipe for you to try. So, as you eat cake you can also peruse the art on display, just as you might in a café gallery. I intend to gossip about art, design, creating things and motherhood!

My journey with the creative world began a few years ago with a BA(hons) degree in graphic design followed by a ten year spell in public relations and then babies arrived! That certainly required a great deal of creativity! The following years moved between changing nappies to creating and sewing textile artworks for family and friends; originally created from recycled clothing. I continue to take commissions for my bespoke family heirlooms of grandchildren flying kites, new homes and much loved pets, but I have always held a desire to paint, so recently I armed myself with a paint brush, canvas and acrylic to see what would happen. I have experimented with many styles and techniques with my first collection appropriately titled ‘My experimental stage’. A gallery page will appear soon!

Abstract forms and bold colours are presently fascinating me with inspirations coming from my surroundings of coast and country, family and home, and, of course, food! x

A hot day


summer reflections