Thursday, August 16, 2018

Resting like a Butterfly on a Blade of Grass

In endless sunshine and heat the hours seem to blur. Shimmers of silver, ripple above hot tarmac and dried out lawns. There are warps in the very translucent fabric of light. Entrances to other dimensions? If I stepped through, would time stop altogether and days be warm like this forever?
~Thoughts by me, from a hot summer day in July 2018
What a beautiful summer we have been blessed with. Each night the gentle balm of crickets has been its soundtrack. A soothing tiny insect orchestra playing to Mars as it shines out bright in the August sky. Playing to the ghostly flutterings of white winged moths and the vast infinite star filled skies above. 
We walked not far from home one balmy evening as warm as a greek island and found glow worms. 
August is now dressed to meet September. Her skirt is ripened corn, and hazelnut, thread and woven with the remains of dried up grasses, feathers and seeds. Embroidered with faded clover blooms and a pot pourri of meadow flowers. The feather of a magpie and a pigeons egg shell as white as a full moon are stuck to her feet and wasps fly about her poppy seed scattered fading hair, picking at the ripening fruit. Her scent is of hay freshly harvested, dried up earth and dust of well trod stone. Blackberries emerge from her ears and around her neck the engorged ripening rosehips give her a heavy heart, because she hears the call of Autumn and knows her time is almost up. 
This blog has been a little neglected over the summer. I pressed pause and rested like this butterfly on a blade of grass.
For a moment I hopped off the merry go round for a short while to recharge, but then found that I actually needed a little longer than thought and didn't want to climb back on. 
So I stepped away from the fair ground of social media and took a break. Not to go anywhere exotic or anything, just to be here, being in the present and not feeling obliged to post things when really I had no desire to say or share and was feeling just tired mentally and tired of that feeling of 'having to'  share something, anything...  Of course that feeling is all in our minds really and it really doesn't matter too much, but sometimes we succumb to the pressure and beat ourselves up about it and feel as if we have to constantly keep up with things and post regularly on social media. So it was time to listen to my body and pull up the drawbridge and retreat.
It's been peaceful just being semi offline, (obviously I still had my shop open so was always available for queries etc) doing things such as white washing walls, painting a floor, giving our home some time and love and rearranging things. I've had a whole lovely week with my daughter, to watch films, have foot baths and go shopping. Paying Glastonbury a visit again and stocking up on incense. I suppose my body was telling me it was time for some 'me' time. Some would say 'resting and nesting' Other years I have felt a little the same during the summer time and feel the need to go quiet. Maybe my DNA is part garden bird (preferably robin of course ;-)) as they also go quiet and stop singing for a few weeks during the summer months.
I managed to harvest some hazelnuts before the squirrel snaffled them all up. It was a  bumper crop this year and this is just a tiny amount, enough for us, so the squirrel had the rest and hopefully the nut hatch? These pigeons have their latest nest in the hazel. They haven't had much luck with nests this year and do tend to make them in precarious places. But what a sweet photograph, side by side in their humble abode.
I feel more refreshed now and almost ready to jump into Autumn... I can feel a turn in the air, the scent is different and summer is definitely singing her last song. Darkness is coming earlier, the skies are as pretty as the northern lights and being a winter person, I can feel my sap beginning to rise.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Sunshine, Flowers and Hares

It appears in summer I become a little flower obsessed. 
But then who doesn't, right? 
Sunshine and colour and little simple things make me happy.
The latest hares reflect the colour and sunny days of the season. I'm happy to announce that a long overdue shop update is scheduled for this Friday 29th June at 8pm (GMT)
Meadow hares and hedgerow hares will be leaping across to the shop and also some of the hares that I did previously that didn't sell at the gallery in Yorkshire will also be added along with some original paintings I've previously shared on posts here.
This time I decided to try something new and use the hanger designs also for postcards. Giving them a page from a botanical book type 'feel'. I think they work quite well? It also allows more people to be able to enjoy the designs, useful if the prices of original art are a little out of your reach. I've packaged them up in mixed bundles of six. Each pack having one of each design. They will be added during the shop update too. 
And it's never too late for some older designs to be turned into cards too. 
 I recently added an old favourite 'Starlight Hare' to the shop. 
Enjoy the sunshine!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Midsummer Spell

I couldn't sleep so worked until the birds began to sing and the soft pink, apricot and grey hues of the misty morning looked like a dream on a page in a book, that I could walk into.
Midsummer is approaching fast. The grass around our little bonfire area has been cut and is ready for a fire on midsummers eve. How fast the year is going. I love these long days when I can stay out in the garden pottering, and planting until 10pm. If only I had a spell that could stop time on the longest day just to get all the things done that needed to be done. My list is ever growing...

Speaking of spells, my painting 'Midsummer Spell' is currently for sale at the 'Inverarity gallery'
It's part of an exhibition titled 'Magic and Medicine'
The painting is acrylic on wood with gold leaf and is mounted in a vintage wooden hand painted black frame, with bee decoration. 
Do go and take a peep. :)

Bees feature in another painting that I quite recently finished 'Invisible Paths' 
These paintings are both available as cards in my shop in a pack of four mixed or packs of two of the same. 
I've also made this older painting 'Between Two Trees' into a card for the spring/summer season.
I have some hares that are almost done now, so not long until a long overdue shop update!...
Other than that, my days have been pretty much filled with flowers, occasional charity shop book browsing and wildlife watching.

What are you filling your summer days with?

Friday, June 1, 2018

From Chichester to Alfriston and in Between

Warm evenings, golden hues and blossom scented breath embraced the fleeting dance of May flies in a perfect moment as I walked beside the river just over a week ago now.
Hedgerows and banks were draped in the finest veils of lace, as if in preparation for a bride to take her vows. And fields covered in offerings of purest gold.
This wasn't a wedding that would be shared on television though. Just the quiet union of nature's perfection, happening regardless of anyone watching. Like moments when a sunbeam catches a petal, or a water diamond on a single spider thread sparkles after rain.  Each flower, seed and creature played their role and merged into the wondrous beauty of May.

While many folk were watching another prominent wedding on the box in the corner of their room, my feet were treading the earth in East Sussex. For a few years I've been meaning to say a 'hello' to the guardian of the Shires, the Long Man of Wilmington and that day seemed a perfect opportunity.
The south downs is the UK's most recently made national park. It's a beautiful area that stretches from Hampshire to Sussex.
There are so many walks to do. Being only there for a couple of days we managed to fit in one long one, where I came across this gorgeous being.
The young fox watched us for a minute, wary for a moment or two. Were we the kind of humans that only wanted to capture it on film? Yes, so sniffed the air and walked on it's way leaving our day with a trail of magic at it's heels.
The walk we had chosen to follow passed the little church of Berwick, famous for it's murals painted by the Bloomsbury artists Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell. Inside it was a lovely space filled with flowers and filtered light .
It was no accident that we passed this church as part of the trip to Sussex was to see the work of the Bloomsbury group so of course we visited Charleston too.
Charleston was the country home of artist Vanessa Bell, and is famous for it's designed and hand painted interiors by herself, Duncan Grant and other Bloomsbury artists. Sadly I didn't get to take any interior photographs as we had an hour long guided tour and we weren't allowed to take pictures. But, I really loved this house and how they had decorated it. Do have a look at the website for interior pictures here if you haven't seen before. You can view them room by room. It's made me want to bring more colour into my home and paint the doors. The garden was pretty too.
We were staying the night in the village of Alfriston, so also got the chance to visit the very first house that the National Trust bought back in 1896 for the price of £10. The Clergyman's house  is an idyllic medieval thatched wealdon hall house with another lovely little garden.
How adorable is this bedroom! 
Alfriston village is a charming place with a variety of little shops and tea rooms.
The South Downs Way route passes through, so it's very popular with walkers, and the majestic chalk cliffed coast is just five miles away. We did pay this a visit too, but as this blog post could go on and on I won't share any sea scape pictures. Instead I will share the quirky book shop that we browsed in 'Much ado Books'
I found this poem in a frame on a wall in one of the shops and liked it. It seemed very fitting, as our little trip had also taken us from Chichester to Alfriston. We had stayed the night before in Chichester visiting my Son.  You can really feel her love for the Sussex countryside and old way of life shining through.
From Chichester To Alfriston by Eleanor Farjeon.
When I returned home I researched a little about the author and found out that she was a writer of children's literature, plays and biographies. Although winning  notable children's literary awards  it seems she is little known to readers today which I found a little sad. She is mostly known for being the author of  'Morning has Broken' a popular hymn that I used to sing and love at school. More about her here and here

Now it's time now for me to head back into my little retreat beneath the trees.
This little space is a blessing to be in at this time of year. Although can get a little dark now the tree canopy is in full leaf.  I shall be back soon to share what I've been working on and I have some hares that are getting impatient to be painted. I am a little behind with sharing things I've finished and especially late in doing a shop update which has been on my list since April and I still haven't been organised. But I will correct that soon. ;) 
I hope you enjoyed the month of May as much as I did?
I raise you a glass of mead to sweet elderflower and rose filled June days.