Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Surreal Times

It's been a while since I posted here. The last time, back in January I was still very much wanting to be in hibernation. Who knew a kind of enforced hibernation from others, would be on the cards back then. It's all like a strange, bad dream isn't it. Something so tiny having such a huge impact on us all. How powerful humans think they are and yet how fragile we can be. With most of the world confined to their homes I feel extremely grateful. Not just to have a place to call home, but also a garden in which to be able to be outside, whenever I want to be.  
So from the garden is a posy of flowers for you dear readers to brighten your day.
Here in the UK we are allowed a walk outside for exercise once a day. Luckily the countryside is on the doorstep so Mother natures spring gifts are always close by.
When this lockdown was announced last week I made the decision to close both shops for the time being. The reason for this is, the post office that I use is very tiny and although not always particularly busy at this time of year, there is a narrow passageway that makes it difficult to stay at the required distance from people. I will let you know of any changes and when and if I have reopened. But for now I feel it is the right decision. In the meantime there is lots to be getting on with creating stock ready for when the shop does open again. Last week truth be told, I found it very difficult to concentrate. No doubt many of you have felt the same? It was hard to sit still when the news seemed to be constantly changing. So solace was sought in the garden. The weather was lovely, blue clear skies and a real warmth to the sun. each year the the primroses take over the lawn just that little bit more. I made a little video and put it on Youtube. Let me whisk you away, take a look below. 
With all that has happened the beginning of this month seems like an age ago now. But back then when when things were normal, I finished this picture. 'Stone Scent and Spirit' 
It's currently part of The Gathering exhibition at the Inverarity Gallery in Scotland. The Gallery is still open for purchases. So if you are interested in this original which is for sale via them, then do pop across here

These are truly surreal times we are living in but we will get through them. So many wonderful uplifting stories are being shared and acts of kindness. We all have to do our bit however small it may seem. Whether it's sharing beautiful things stories, music and kind words to help lift one another's days, to helping those in need when we can and of course cheering on our wonderful NHS staff and all on the frontlines every Thursday at 8pm from our windows and doorways. Although I can't get out and about to share places on here, there are others things to share and a few places I visited last year that I never got around to blogging about. So I will be checking back here soon.
In the mean time, stay safe

"It's like in the great stories Mr Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to how it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass" ~ Sam Wise The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien

Friday, January 17, 2020

One Small Light

Hello there and a belated hello 2020…This is auto pilot speaking. Karen is not quite ready to give up hibernation rest, so I am in charge of the blog, posts and all social media. Think of me as Karen’s in built Siri, or Alexa. ;)  So where is Karen? She is resting behind a closed door, in one of the hundreds of rooms in the corridors of the head that we share. I can’t see which one she is in, as to be honest they are never ending so that would be a virtually impossible feat?  But I do suspect it probably is the mossy floored one, with the waterfall and birds. The one with the connecting hobbit style door that leads into the hall of crystals with the ceiling of starlight and aurora borealis that dances to the wind song of the north. Then again, on second thoughts, she could quite easily be in the room with no walls. Step into this room and you step out into the universe. Did she ever tell you about this one? A silver bath sits in the centre, bathed in moonlight filled with warm water that never ever gets cold. There are potions to add to the bath. Meteor shower, Solar eclipse, Ice rainbow, Pillars of creation, Earth rise, whichever one you choose to add to the water, is what the room will show you. Pretty cool don’t you think? Yes, there is a good chance of her being in this room actually as she is rather fond of her baths? Me? No, I prefer showers. But thanks for asking (blush) Ooh… almost forgot to mention about the tiny rooms and the tiny doors within the big doors and the mirrors within the tiny rooms, with the tiny doors. Now, if she has eaten the spoonful of sugar or drank the bottle with the label, she may have even gone through a mirror above a mantlepiece or a wardrobe and who knows where that will lead her?  But that’s another story altogether!
Anyway, sorry for waffling… yesterday she appeared for a moment to give me this painting. ‘One Small Light’  Like everyone, after seeing on the news the devastation the wild fires in Australia have caused she wanted to contribute and help the wildlife. So this painting is now for sale in the website shop and all money from the sale of it will be donated to the charity ‘WIRES’ in Australia. 

Do pop over and take a look if you are interested in owning an original painting and want to help a charity at the same time.  Thanks so much for listening… normal service will resume soon ;) x

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Inside the Pages of a Story and Christmas Sparkle.

Beautiful December. As the sun sets the mist soften the spaces in between.
A fairytale pink blushes in the twilight. It could be any year, any century when things are obscured and trees stand ghostly on the horizon.
I could be in 1749, 1920, or in Godrics Hollow or Brigadoon.
 Or 'in the time of swords and periwigs and full skirted coats with flowered lappets' 
Inside the pages of a story, in a little shop in Westgate street, just near College court...
In Gloucester was where I found myself last week. So how could I not revisit the 'The House of the 'Tailor of Gloucester'
Simpkin had his own stocking hung up on the fireplace but was still up to mischief it seems.
The mice were busy, measuring and stitching.
And the Mayors waistcoat was already complete.  All except of course, one cherry coloured buttonhole.
This wonderful waistcoat was recreated in 1980 by Gloucestershire Federation of Women's Institutes. 
If you are a fan of Beatrix Potter and happen to find yourself in Gloucester, then it's definitely worth popping in.
The other reason for being in Gloucester was my birthday treat that evening. To see the Mediaeval Baebes in concert at Gloucester cathedral. 
I've loved their music for a long time now, so it was a real treat to see them, especially in such a magnificent setting. They played lots of their older songs, plus nursery rhymes from their new album 'A Pocket full of Posies' and many festive songs which got me into the Christmas mood. 
Here they are below, the line up from a few years back, singing a Christmas carol.
Back home with the winter mists still surrounding the village and a lot of flood water too now, the sparkles are in abundance. I brought the unicorn down from the studio to give extra sparkle this year. 

Here's to a magical and peaceful Christmas to you!
Thank you to all that stop by here and for the continued support of my art work.
May 2020 bless the paths you travel.
See you soon x

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Seven Sketches For Folk Week

Over on Instagram there are always lots of daily challenges to take part in. I always admire people that can fit the time in for them and do try to do some myself. You may remember I did the 'March Meet the Maker' challenge earlier in the year. So when I heard about a week long challenge called Folk Tale Week it was time to jump on the ride and join in. A week didn't sound so bad and if i just did tiny pieces/ sketches then I could dedicate a couple of hours each afternoon. So I did.
Each day there was a prompt to create a piece.

Day 1. 'HOME'

”Once upon a time her forest had been far and wide. It’s mossy plains never ending. But the cold grey stone spread like a plague across those ancient paths she travelled. Each garden was a country, this island her universe and her home her castle"

Day 2. SECRET'

Many of you may know that I think Robins are a bit special, so who better to pluck from the book of knowledge?
'Many men believe they have read from the book of knowledge. Yet in reality only but a few know how to pluck the golden threads of secret from it’s ancient pages’

Day 3. PATH

On the third day I couldn't get the old song 'The Fox' out of my head. It's a song I used to sing at Primary school and is also on my Spotify playlist. (I like the Laura Veirs version) Here he is, out on the path on that chilly night.
”A fox went out on a chilly night and he prayed to the moon to give him light for he’d many a mile to go that night before he reached the town o, town o, town o “
Do you remember the song? :-)

Day 4. SMOKE 

The sleeping red dragon beneath Dinas Emrys.
“Sometimes a thin cloud curls around the old hillock like smoke”

Legend says that the war lord Vortigen chose the hill as his retreat. But however hard he tried to build his fortress, all stones toppled. Believing it was the work of supernatural powers preventing his success he seeked the help of a young boy. Myrddin Emrys (Merlin). Vortigern had plans to sacrificie his innocent body to appease the powers. When the boy realised, he scorned the idea that any supernatural power was involved & told Vortigern that attempts at building had failed because two dragons lay sleeping inside the hill, beneath a lake. Convinced the boy was right, Vortigern dug deep beneath, found the lake & drained it. The two dragons, woke up and began to fight. The white dragon fled leaving the red dragon to go back to sleep quietly in his lair. Vortigern’s castle was finally built and named in honour of Myrddin Emrys.


Day 5's sketch featured my old friend and familiar, the white hare

“He knew the many old tales of the forest, the young girl with the blood red cloak, the two children that left a trail of breadcrumbs behind them. The darkness held many stories, and yet he still walked it’s labyrinth of paths leaving stardust in his wake, for souls to find” 

Day 6. KEY

’The last leaf falls when old winter calls. And the keeper of the key begins the passing over’

Day 7. CROWN

’As a daughter of the forest she cared not for gold or silver. So they made her a crown gifted from Autumn hedgerows. 

I enjoyed taking part and am glad I set myself this small challenge. Hopefully I shall take part in some more daily challenges next year? 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Yarrow of the Olde Mead

Yes I know it's November 5th, 'Bonfire Night' here in the UK. But, today there shall be no obligatory firework pictures, instead let me whisk you away from November grey, back to the days of summer’s magic, when the dancing moth and healing yarrow decorated the old meadow...
’Yarrow of the Olde Mead’ is a painting I did for the exhibition 'A is for Apple' which has just begun at the Inverarity Gallery. It’s a gathering of different artists and we were all given a letter of the alphabet as the beginnings of our painting.  It's painted in acrylic on wood, and is framed in an up cycled vintage painted frame with mixed media.
Do go and have a look. The painting is for sale here  so if you are after a certain special 
Christmas gift for someone, then who knows, maybe, this could be it? :-) 
Anyway, I thought I'd stop by and give you dear blog readers (that are not on other social media) the heads up.
Enjoy your sparklers, toffee apples and baked potatoes this evening.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Elixrs and Potions and other Magic in Wonderland

Spider silk and water diamonds drape the tangled hedgerows. Morning mist has stolen the river and the trees have turned to ghosts.The breath of oak and stone whisper memories between the tudor cracks and eaves. And high up, a golden creature on it's lofty spire gently moves, yet there is no wind.
The colours are fading and the damp earthy smells of moss, fallen leaf, fungi and decomposing wood have replaced the perfumes of the summer gone. Although I love the scents of summer flowers, if I look for a perfume it's the musty Autumn smells that bewitch my olfactory system. 
We have had quite a bit of rainfall here so the toadstools and mushrooms are out in abundance. I'm sure the fairy folk will be up to much mischief this evening.
I came across this wonderful being in the garden a couple of weeks ago. After googling it, found out that it's the caterpillar of a Pale Tussock Moth. What an  amazing beauty! The green almost glowed and had a luminescence to it. I felt for a moment like Alice. The garden really is a wonderland if you try not to be too tidy. Leave the leaves, or just brush them to a corner. 
Pop over to instagram to see the video I shared too.
October magic has inspired my work this month. 
There is a new notebook in the web shop
On my desk, I brewed a spell with prussian blue. A Moon Elixr.
One sip daily should be enough to keep you bright throughout these dark nights. ;)
Because I had made one, Hare decided it was time to dust the shelves off in his own room and has been busy making a magical mixture too. I heard a whisper it may be starlight tea? But Robin informed me it could be something more important? 
Wishing you all a Happy Halloween!