Thursday, July 28, 2016

A July filled with Flowers.

With July almost over it had to be time to pop in and say hello to this rather neglected blog.
I've been having a sort of semi creative break for a while, so haven't got anything totally finished in the way of art to share... but I have flowers, so many flowers.  My July has been a July filled with flowers.
Flowers are I believe, a good way to balance the negative news that seems to be happening in the world almost on a daily basis these days...
Lets begin with a walk in Gloucestershire. The Slad valley, home to Laurie Lee. Cider with Rosie country.  A warm but overcast day, quiet except the gentle hum of bees and summer soothing sounds of cricket and grasshopper. Marbled white butterflies flitted from one knapweed bloom to another.  Fields of wildflowers, scabious, clover, orchids, yellow rattle dotted the fields.
We passed an orchard with the prettiest white cows and apple trees laden with mistletoe. 
Through a wood where a faerie had been busy making a home  
And a holloway,  silent yet so full with the whisperings of ghost horses and travellers.
“Bees blew like cake-crumbs through the golden air, white butterflies like sugared wafers"
~Laurie Lee Cider with Rosie

Take my hand, follow me to the purple scented fields of lavender...Somerset Lavender
Now if I had brought with me a discreet blanket and soft pillow then I would have been quite happy just to have laid myself down between these rows and spent a whole day and night here, breathing in this wonderful heavenly scent and soaking in it's energy.  Do you think anyone would have noticed me? ;-) No doubt the bees would have and maybe the hare that has been spotted in the fields on occasion I hear. 

This was my first ever visit to a lavender farm and now I would like to have my own. So I bought two little plants of the favourite variety to start me off on a small scale. :-) 
After browsing the shop filled with all things lavender, I bought some essential oil and then we sat for a while on this bench soaking up the surroundings and eating lavender ice-cream. 
Such a lovely place, if you are in the area then you must definitely pay them a visit. 
There were other  flowers at the farm too. The sweet peas were a joy to behold. The scent took me straight back to working many years ago in a local hotel. The smell of beeswax on old wood, and picking the sweet pea posies for the freshly cleaned cottage rooms. I always loved that simple task of putting a posy of flowers in a guests room to welcome them.  
More memories are stirred seeing  marigolds. Bright and cheerful and the smell and sticky, sappy marigold scent of childhood summers.
“I must have flowers, always, and always.”   
~Claude Monet

And now to home and to the little patch of Earth that I lovingly tend to. Such magic that comes from a tiny seed scattered on bare earth.
“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” 
~ Iris Murdoch
I am not normally someone that is into bedding type plants or hanging baskets but this year I couldn't resist this petunia which I have just planted on the edge of the border. It is surely made of velvet! The purple black reminds me of a Queen's gown or cloak in a fairytale Or the Queen of the night from the Magic Flute? How wonderful it would be to design a fairytale garden.. . Now there's a thought.  
My rather delicate Tolkien inspired structure that I shared earlier, has survived so far and has sweet peas blooming now and is doing it's job rather well.  

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in--what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”
~Victor Hugo -Les Miserables
Flowers give so much pleasure and scent can really lift your mood. So if you are feeling  sad with the world or lonely or just want to lift your spirits, take the time to go out and smell the flowers and if you haven't any nearby then go on, treat yourself and buy a bunch. We need the return of flower power! 
“Find gratitude in the little things and your well of gratitude will never run dry.” 
~ Antonia Montoya

I shall leave you with this little angel that flew inside the other day. A plume moth. Plume moth caterpillars feed on bind weed so please please remember to leave some in your garden for this sweet soul.  Its all in the little things...

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Days of Roses and Honeysuckle and Small Offerings of Light

It was a little budding rose,
Round like a fairy globe,
And shyly did its leaves unclose
Hid in their mossy robe,
But sweet was the slight and spicy smell
It breathed from its heart invisible.
~ Emily Bronte
June is the month for roses. I've been enjoying the ones I'm lucky to have in this garden and stop to smell their heavenly scent each time I walk past. How can you not, when their time is so short? I treated the garden to a new addition when visiting the local garden centre recently. It's a rose that for years I have had my eye on but never got around to ever buying. So the other day when I saw it, I gave in and it came home with me.
 It's a repeat flowering one so I'm looking forward to smelling the roses for a little longer. It also has the most vivid colour petals which I've saved each time that they have dropped, for drying.
This month I've been finding it really hard to concentrate and my mind has been all over the place so  recharging for longer each day outside has been important. Watching the flowers emerge from seeds that have been tended and nurtured, soaking up the scents really help to clear a busy mind.
There are always so many wonders to see! The hornet in the picture below, lost it's way the other day and came in through the window.  We caught it in a beer glass and admired it for a few moments before releasing back outside and on its way. The caterpillars were having a feast on the mullein and one of the roses. The top right hand one is a mullein moth and the bottom impressive green one I'm hoping (fingers crossed) is a humming bird hawk moth? 
In the green house was a stunning tiger moth. Such beauty! 
  Moon daisies (ox eye) are in abundance and the grass snake is back in the compost heap.
With so many distractions it's a wonder I get any work done at all this time of year! Some how I do though. Here are a set of small paintings 'Midnight in the wood' series that I've made into new designs for cards.    
The cards are available here to buy as a pack of four.  The photo of the originals above look much bluer in colour than they are. In reality they are more like the cards below.  It's hard to pick up the colours correctly with a camera sometimes though.
I've also had a little play about with some pendants. The ones that I added to the shop have already sold, but I will be adding more shortly.
Another painting recently done. 'Small Offerings of Light'
Inspired by the photograph that I took not so long ago, of my owl hangers all hanging together.  Here are just a couple of pictures at the moment, as I'm having some camera problems. It will be made available as a print once scanned and ready. 
I hope you all made the most of the longest day if you are this side of the world like myself.  Or the shortest one if you are not. :) It's hard to believe that the Summer Solstice has been and gone now, this year seems to speed up with each day that passes. 
My evening was spent quietly in the garden with a small fire waiting for the beautiful full moon to rise.  It was peaceful and filled with bird evensong and the smell of woodsmoke woven between honeysuckle. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Return to Tintagel

In my last post I mentioned that I had recently taken a short trip to Cornwall.  So here I am back again to share some of the pictures...
We started off driving down via the north coast as I wanted to visit a favourite spot. Tintagel  The last trip was in 2011,  so it was definitely time to say hello again to this mythical, magical old rugged place.
It's always a good time to visit, but May has it's advantages. The wild and jutted jagged edges are  softened by bluebells, yellow tom thumb, purple thrift, sea campion and other coastal cliff flowers.
I picked a sprig of thrift to dry and keep. I shall keep it with my dried clover flower that I picked on top of the Tor, at Glastonbury.
High on top stands the new sculpture 'Gallos' by Rubin Eynon.  It means power in Cornish. An 8ft bronze sculpture inspired by the legend of King Arthur. I believe that some people are not happy about new additions here and feel that it is making Tintagel too commercial... I personally really liked it and thought it was a beautiful thing. Standing tall with the wild winds and stormy skies around him he looked so at home. I loved the way he faced inland. looking back home to his lands. I also love the way the artist has left parts of him as just gaps, as if he is only partially here. A ghost you can see through. Arthur stepping through the veil.
Another angle.
Carrying on the Arthurian theme, we crossed Bodmin moor and passed Dozmary Pool.
Dozmary Pool is a fresh water natural lake. In local legend, it is believed to be the final resting place of Excalibur and the home to the Lady of the lake.  After Arthur was mortally wounded at the battle of Camlann, Sir Bedevere threw Excalibur into the lake, returning it to the Lady. 

I would have been happy to carry on visiting Arthurian sites, but there were other plans on the list too, so that will have to wait to another day. Instead we drove across to the southern coast and met a sea mist in Polperro.
Polperro was one place I had never been in Cornwall, so a visit was long overdue. It didn't disappoint and looked even more atmospheric in the grey and mist. 
For those of you that like me have never been. It is a place of winding narrow streets, white washed cottages and is filled with quirky corners 
The Shell House...
We browsed in the lovely little shops, visited the museum, in between dodging the rain showers and were enticed into cosy cafes by tempting treats. 
The next day the sun came out so we went in search of the wild and rugged places once more and walked some of the coastal path.
A lovely walk was had. 
We finished our short trip by returning via the northern side again and back to the more magical .  Many years back I visited the famous Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle.  After so many years I  thought it about time to make a re visit. Such an interesting museum filled to the brim with so many things to look at. Spells and talismans and all manner of magical tools and information about magic and witchcraft through the ages.  
It was a perfect end to a short break. :-)