Monday, October 5, 2015

A grey sky day.

The first Monday in October and the skies have turned grey and the rain is falling gently. I'm inside at the computer today doing the boring jobs as I call them, but of course very necessary.  Reordering envelopes, paper, and restocking the shop, tidying away and filing receipts and such like. I find it hard to concentrate if I'm surrounded by chaos. I know some Artists thrive in an organised mess, but I'm not really one of them.
Outside the window the holly tree is alive with activity. The berries are red and ready for a blackbird and thrushes feast. Blackberries have clawed their way up through the branches and are in fruit at the top of the tree. Shiny black caviar against the earthy red of the holly. Sparrows flit between the juicy fruit and blue tit hover against the window frame tap tapping the glass with their beaks, feasting on the spiders and other insects that are caught in the webs on the window frame. I do love the advantages of not cleaning your windows regularly. Who needs to, when the birds do it for you. ;)

Luckily the weather here was totally different last week when we had the Blood moon lunar eclipse. I stayed up to watch and the skies here were just perfect. Clear as a bell and filled with starlight. I tried to capture on my camera. They aren't brilliant as I only have a bridging camera not a proper DSLR. But all in all I am quite happy with them and I shall definitely have to add this eerie orange moon into a painting at some point soon.
The other day I was in London.  (My daughter has reached that age when it is time to go visiting open days for Uni's etc)  The last time I was there was a year ago to see Kate Bush, so it was quite nice to visit. Being a country mouse I can just about manage a once a year trip! Although this year I feel it will be many more as we are off up there again already it seems just next week! Anyway, I will stop waffling on and show you what I saw.

Aurora the huge wonderful Greenpeace polar bear puppet, standing outside of the Shell oil building, her head moving and roaring... I was aware that she had been there, as had signed the petition many months ago, to stop drilling in the Arctic and my name was one of the many thousands attached to her.  But what a wonderful surprise to stumble across her unexpectedly on route. Of course London is filled with so many exciting things to see, but she was what made my day! And then even better, was the fantastic news announced just a few days later that Shell had made a decision to pull out of drilling in the Arctic. So now Aurora is on the move and is travelling to Paris and I feel so lucky to have had the chance to see her.  You can read more about the story here.

Back here at home, I've been working on some wooden hangers which are all going into my Etsy shop this evening at 8pm UK time. Just a heads up for those of you that don't have Facebbok and Instagram. Although a bit short notice, so I do apologise for that.
I will leave you with the trailer to Max Richters 'Sleep' An eight hour long piece of music written to be slept through which is just what I did, when it was played live on Radio 3 on the night of September 26th. A wonderful relaxing sleep it was too. Beautiful and ethereal music...

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A veil as thin as smoke

Days are quiet here now. My son has returned to university and daughter is back at school. September has returned and in the garden the flowers are still blooming, holding on as long as they can while the sun is still warm. There seems to be a lot of purple around. Here below is Verbena bonariensis one of my favourite plants. It's so pretty, the bees and butterflies love it, and it's quite a tough cookie.  Standing tall and very rarely falling over even in the heaviest of rains and wind.
This year, sadly there has been a distinct absence of butterflies here. No where near as many as we normally have.  Here though below is a blue butterfly enjoying the Oregano that I spotted the other day.
It's been a good year for the apples and the blackberries which are are abundant in the hedgerow.    
When the days have been warm  and dry, I've been sat with the doors open and re positioned my chair by the door for maximum daylight.
I wasn't alone, there is always company just a few feet away

This is what's been on the easel.  An A3 sized painting on wood. Here are some progress stages.
And the finished piece. 'A veil as thin as smoke' the colours are slightly different here. In reality the original is probably somewhere in between. Prints are available here for anyone interested.
Now I'm busy painting toadstools and the odd bee.

Monday, August 31, 2015

A trip to Stratford.

The heart of England? Some might say this was Stratford Upon Avon. Birth place and resting place of Shakespeare. I was here on Saturday wandering the cobbles, showing our daughter who is currently studying drama at A level.
I think my favourite buildings of all time/style of architecture has to be tudor. Maybe I had a previous tudor life?
 The top left above the swan, is Shakespeare's birth place. The grey oak dog below, decorates the outside of the Garricks head pub, the oldest inn in Stratford where we stopped for a bite to eat after getting lucky and managing to pick up some last minute tickets for 'The Merchant of Venice' at the RSC.  A big treat for my daughter, before she returns to her last school year, in a few days.
No photography of course during the performance.  Here is the stage though before and after. 
                 RSC photo of Patsy Ferran as Portia in The Merchant of Venice. Photo by Hugo Glendinning
Such amazing actors and actresses! I loved the reflections and light and the red dress, so striking in the dark and candlelight. It's made me want to use red in a painting. I don't think I've used red in a long while?
Summer is fading fast and is almost gone for another year. Soon it will be time to light the fire, the candles, make soup and enjoy the sparkly dew drop days that Autumn brings. 
I will leave you with this, by The Smoke Fairies.  

Friday, August 28, 2015

A walk, a card and some seeds.

A walk on Cherhill downs.
Up here there is peace. Down in the distance the road curves around the mysterious Silbury hill. Up here the cars have been silenced, they are insignificant and unimportant. All that matters is the ticking of grasshopper, hum of bee and whisper of gentle wind in the grass among harebells.
In the sky, the pretty song of skylark calls. The ancient land echoes with it's tales of forgotten people.
My feet on white chalk, this old route, my footsteps following the old ways.
Wild flowers dot the grassland banks and ditches of the ancient iron age Hillfort of Oldbury Castle.
 A sea  of purple and lilac, scabious, knapweed, harebell and thistles alive with bees.
It's a good place to be for the soul up here. I can hear my own thoughts. 
Across the down, on the north side, high up above the fields of barley is the white horse of Cherhill. (Or Oldbury white horse)
How I love these white horses on hills.
Hmm I was hoping to see a corn circle too, but wasn't lucky this time. 
                                       “a walk is only a step away from a story, and every path tells.” 
                                                                                              ~Robert Macfarlane

This summer has been too quick for me this year,  just like the bees on the thistles in the pictures above were. I wasn't fast enough to get any decent shots that day, except the one.  Bees have been on my mind quite a bit lately. There seems to have been more in the garden this summer. Not so many butterflies though sadly. 
A couple of weeks ago I was having a bit of a play around digitally, with one of my paintings, which is fun to do occasionally. I'm no expert in photoshop or anything (wish I was)  One of the images was a bee, I played about with layers and added some vintage stock images. I liked it and thought that it would look pretty as a card. So went ahead and made up a batch of cards. 
Then I remembered about the wild flower seeds spare, gathering dust, that had been collected by myself (from my garden I must add, not the wild) and some that friends had given me and I hadn't got around to using them, as many of the plants already grow in my garden and wild nearby. Anyway, I decided how nice it would be to sell this card with a packet of wild flower seeds. After oiling my rusty graphic design abilities here's the little label for the seed packet, which has been attached to a small brown envelope that hold the seeds.
                                          'Sprinkle these seeds to help the bees'

 If you would like a bee card and packet of seeds, you can find them in my shop here.
Enjoy the bank holiday weekend and last few days of August. x

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Light to outshine the darkness

Some light, to outshine the darkness. Pictures captured a few weeks back, from that time of day when another realm is glimpsed, and all manner of magic seems possible? I found words in the misty labyrinth of this woven inter web to go with them.

From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
 “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King
“The Warrior of the Light is a believer. Because he believes in miracles, miracles begin to happen. Because he is sure that his thoughts can change his life, his life begins to change. Because he is certain that he will find love, love appears.” ~ Paul Coelho

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.”
~Og Mandino

Never let the light fade... I've added these words to some hangers that I've been working on.
Foxes, midnight blue and red ones. This was a design planned back in March, but has only just been brought to life. 
I've made 10 of these, and each will be added to my Etsy shop on Monday 17th August at 8pm (UK time) There will also be birds and some hare pendants.
It's been a quiet summer here. In between painting, I've been also painting the kitchen, pottering in the garden, enjoying the sunsets, meteors and scent of night scented stock. Watching birds, wishing I was a bird, wishing I was a seagull, (one that lives on a wild cliff top dotted with thrift, not a cheeky one that hangs about dustbins or steals fish and chips) talking to the squirrel in the nut tree that has eaten nearly all of the nuts this year (before I got there :/) and reading Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy (finally)
It's important to talk to flowers. 
And watch spiders, weave worlds within worlds.