Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Walnut Ink

A few weeks back, I picked up some windfall walnuts and thought I would have a go at making myself some ink. The idea of making walnut ink has always appealed to me as the colour of the wood is beautiful.
Inside the walnuts hadn't developed and some were older than others, but I purposely picked the dark ones as I read somewhere that the older and more darker, the richer the ink? After chopping them up into pieces I put them into a bowl and covered them with water. 
Then left them for 24 hours to soak and release all of their gorgeous nutty colour. 
If you have ago at making this, remember to use an old bowl as the ink stains and will get into any tiny little crack or scratch. Also make sure you wear old clothes or an apron and rubber gloves, as it can stain hands for weeks. The smell was delicious, the fresh aroma you get when eating a fresh walnut. 
After soaking thoroughly, (infact I ended up leaving it an extra 24 hours as I was busy with something else) you transfer it to a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for  about 30 minutes

Once it has cooled, strain through a piece of muslin or similar type material into a jug. Squeeze as much out as possible. Depending on how much you have made add about 10 -20% alcohol, or some recipes say vinegar. (I used vodka) to prevent any mold forming. 
Then transfer it into any spare bottles or jars. Some empty Star Child incense jars that I had in the cupboard were perfect for the job. 
The next bit was testing it out. I was really pleased with the colour.   
The tones achieved through layering were quite impressive and I was able to manage to get quite dark contrasts with the ink as I had a good black sediment in the pot. October was 'Inktober' month and although I've been too busy to commit to take part everyday I've enjoyed having a play about with ink. 
It being walnut ink, I felt I had to draw trees.
And a walnut or two.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Spider Month Of September And A Shop Update

I like to think of September as spider month because of the sheer amount that seem to be visible at this time of year. Not only are they in the house, (it's okay I'm not scared of them ;-)) outside the windows  are covered in spiders too. They love to make their webs on the panes of glass. A dark trick for the poor unsuspecting fly that thinks he will just head on into the house, but then realises there is glass between itself and the room and a deadly trap made of spun silk.  Meanwhile the sweet blue tit knows that the spiders and flies are  up to things on the window, so it's the month when I hear a tap tapping and look up to see them peeping in at me during their autumn feast.
I was happy to have captured the above picture, even if it is a little blurry as they move so fast, too speedy for my camera.
September is the month when in the morning the hedgerows, fields and  gardens are decorated with dew dropped webs. And the early morning Autumn light just makes them look as if one had stepped into another realm. Such beauty.
The garden is still filled with flowers.
 And butterflies. Every time the sun comes out, our big patch of ivy is a nectar magnet for them.
It's been a busy month behind the scenes. New Autumn cards have been designed and added to the shop. You may remember these images from my wooden hangers last year? I thought they would make cute cards in the style of a nature journal type page again. I'm selling them in a pack of 3 in the shop.
I've also been busy organising a 2018 calendar which is now available. 
The hangers have all been finally finished. Below are most of them. There are 16 in all but some are similar, so I won't share every single one here.

                                                                             ~ *~
The shop update will be next Monday 2nd October at 7.30pm (uk time) First come first served.

There will also be some new sets of cards in the shop. I know Christmas is still ages away (thank goodness) but because a lot of my work sells abroad I have to get the cards and things in the shop early.  Sooo... if you are not keen on looking at Winter things yet, please avert your eyes. ;) 
With October just around the corner now, it's time to get back to the sketchbook and some new paintings. My little studio has been tidied and changed about in preparation. 
Happy Autumn

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Magic Of Morning Light And Notebooks For Those Who Love The Moon

Morning light as it quietly rises beyond the hill. Taken from my kitchen window.
Being more of a night owl, I'm not normally an early riser so don't often see the dawn rise. This morning though something woke me. Pink glow through lacy curtain stirred my heavy eyes to open. I went downstairs to put the kettle on for the first cup of tea of the day and took my camera to the window.  A soft misted morning of late August.  'Red sky in the morning shepherds warning' the old words pop into my head, memories of childhood. My neighbours cockerel crows and in the field just over the hedge the sheep begin a dew drop spangled breakfast. I stand with my mug in hand watching nature paint her masterpiece on the horizon, feeling blessed to witness it.

On the ceiling is a blood vein moth. Through it's wings streak the darkest pinks of the morning sunrise. This beauty rested all day, until the moon rose, then I delicately cupped it in my hands and let it fly free outside.
I'm still working on some moths. This time painted on hares again. They really should have been ready ages ago... but other things have a habit of getting in the way, like they so often do.
As soon as they are ready I will add the dates of listing times etc in my Etsy shop announcement.
One of the things that got in the way of finishing the hares was designing some new notebooks.
A pack of three,  especially 'for those who love the moon.'
'Moon Gazers notebook'
'Moon Dreamers notebook'
 And a 'Little notebook for moon lovers'
Notebooks are available here
It's quiet in my studio, enjoying the last days of summer. Just the radio on, a cd or an audio book.
And when I'm tired of the chatter of radio and sound of human voice it's just me and the sounds outside with my door ajar. And occasionally if I'm lucky I will get a visitor. This sweet one was waiting for me to add extra treats to the bird table. A relative of Robin Goodfellow? I hope so?
Some other work I've completed since my last post here.
'Dreaming Of Bees' Small hand painted talisman
 Bee pendant/talisman
(Both of the above, have already been sold in the shop)

Now summer has almost come to an end. I have a calendar in the pipeline ready for 2018 (which hopefully shouldn't be too long in the making) and some winter cards to finish designing.

Some favourite things of my summer 2017:
  • Flowers, flowers and more flowers! :) 
  • Pottering in the garden
  • Visiting my sister on St Michaels Mount and midnight swimming beneath the moon in the causeway
  • Lots of elderflower cordial
  • Drinking mead sitting around an outdoor fire
  • Roses. (yes more flowers)
  • Swimming in the Aegean and walking among ancient olive trees
  • The gentle meditative sound of grasshopper and cricket in the garden
  • Seeing hedgehogs back in the garden
  • The friendly birds on Holy island
  • Feeling warmth on my skin and walking beneath blue skies
  • Spending time with Son and Daughter both home from Uni 
  • Finding beautiful moths

Flowers are those little colorful beacons of the sun from which we get sunshine when dark somber skies blanket our thoughts. ~Dodinsky