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.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

May and the Secret Scent Of Angel Flight

I went a 'Maying' to bring inside
 A favourite flower, yet could not decide,
on meadow jewels or hedgerow lace,
Buttercup, sweet golden face,
Bluebell charmed me beneath soft dappled light,
Apple blossom shared the secret scent of angel flight,
All are heavenly treasures, gifts from the Fae
 In the merry merry month of May
    ~ Karen  Davis  May 2018

Feeling very much filled with the joys of Spring on the 1st of  May I  painted this teeny tiny painting. 
The month has been glorious so far and the apple blossom, like something from a fairy tale this year. To just sit and 'be' beneath these boughs is truly a divine gift from above. I know I probably sound a little like Anne Shirley from Green Gables but honestly seriously think that people that are unwell or feeling sad should be prescribed by their doctors to sit beneath blossom. Especially apple blossom. The scent is heavenly and if angels do have secret scents of flight, (I like to imagine that they would) then I'm sure at least one of them would be the scent of the humble apple. Apples themselves are known to have healing properties so there is definite truth to the old saying 'An apple a day keeps the Doctor away' So why not the scent too?
There is a little blossom left, but most is going over now. Hopefully the bees have done their job and we will have a good harvest of fruit later on in the year. That's not the end of the decorated trees in the garden though as the hawthorn is about to burst into bloom. Today it is in tight bud so by tomorrow or the next day, with a good sprinkling of sunshine it will be the star of the garden.

The flowers of the season are definitely being reflected in my work. This little painting was done for fun back on St Georges day (April 23rd)
Whilst sitting on the back door step listening to the blackbird song I noticed this beautiful hawk moth. With the help of Mr Google found out it's an Angles Shades ( Phlogophora meticulousa)
It rested here all day, luckily too close to the house to be under any threat from the birds.
Today there was another one on the watering can. It could of course be the same one still flying about, but looked smaller and darker so think it's a different one? I encouraged him on to my hand where he sat for a while, his wings quivering ready for take off.  Then he flew off towards the shade of the hedge.  So pleased to see moths about.
It was not so pleasing to see that Mr and Mrs Blackbird had abandoned their nest after the last cold spell in April. After noticing it very close to the house, each time walking past could see that no bird was sitting on the eggs. Sadly they were left and then were eaten by something?
But 'hurrah' am now happy to report that they have since got a new nest close by to where the initial one was and are currently feeding chicks! (dear little tweeting sounds are coming from further back  in the hedge)  
And here is proud Daddy stopping by on the bird feeder for snacks.   
Lawn update...
In my last post I shared the primroses taking over the lawn and mentioned that we had decided to let a large area of lawn go wild throughout the summer for the pollinating insects.  So here are a few pictures of what it's looking like and plants that have appeared.
 Forgetmenot, dandelion, cow parsley, dead nettle.
Cowslips in the background, planted two of those, years back and they have seeded beneath the apple trees. Forgot to mention that last time. 
These little mounds of earth on the lawn could be some type of mining bee?  If you know what causes them please comment and let me know. They are different than worm casts.
Sweet simple daisies. 
Bugle and ground ivy
There is also plantain, hawkweed and clover coming up in other areas. The cow parsley in the picture below has been allowed to establish over the last few years. It's one of my favourite spring flowers and I married in May (many years ago) for the specific reason that they could appear at my wedding. :-)
We've mown paths through as you can see which makes it easier to get around the garden when the grass is wet and ties in nicely with the top area which is still mown short around the flower beds. 
That's all for now...
Wishing you the sweet magic of May.