Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thoughts, Walks And Hares

A few days ago I had a day off from doing creative things.We didn't go far, just a few miles away from home. 
                                                                  View of Silbury hill

Moon daisies ( Ox eye)  danced to the gentle scented breeze and skylark song surrounded the ancient West Kennet Long Barrow. A burial mound 5,000 years old.
As I leaned against the stone it felt warm, no hint of the usual coldness of stone.

Roundway hill was quiet. The blue butteflies fluttered upon tiny yellow flowers of Tom thumb undisturbed, happy to have reclaimed the land.

On July 13th 1643 it would have looked a rather different scene here. A site of a battle

Looking down this hill above I caught a fleeting glimpse of a hare before it disappeared  beneath the bush.
I have been visiting this hill for many years and whenever I do I always remember our school day out years back when we spent the day on the hill with other Wiltshire schools reinacting the battle. We made our costumes and were only allowed to bring food that would have been available in 1643. I remember having a small bag made out of sack to carry my lunch in and to conceal my waterbottle which held blackcurrant juice. ( pretend wine!) Our class were Roundheads, on Oliver Cromwells side. I dug up an old photo of us, ready for our journey up the hill before battle commenced. :-)

Sitting on the hill and near the barrow I felt content and at home. It made me think about a recent and interesting post by Christina on her blog 'A mermaid in the Attic'. She recently did a post called 'Meditations on home'   How sometimes we can feel disconnected and feel as though we don't truly belong if our ancestors have come from another place/country. I feel very lucky to feel connected with this land and feel that I am in the right place. My husband on the other hand feels the same as Christina. Being born and raised in Zimbabwe but having ancestors from Ireland, Scotland, Italy and maybe even a pirate from Portugal! He doesn't know where his roots really are? Maybe he never will?
The feeling I have is hard to put into words. It's a deep connection,  a sharing? It's not always felt, sometimes it only shows itself when you return from a far away place and step foot on home ground. .... Of course I could be competely wrong and I may well originate from Vikings? Just 3 miles away from my home they did DNA testing and found a group of Viking descendants! However I'm not that tall ( 5ft 6) and I was born with very dark brown hair and blue eyes, so perhaps not. ...Although I do have a strong pull /urge drawing me to Scandanavia?....... ;)
Please do go and read Christina's post on the link above, as it's a wonderful piece of writing.

After our day out, the rest of the week was busy, not as busy as this Mother or Father, who I've been watching put so much hard work into feeding chicks. We have a nest in a crack in the wall above the dining room. Photo's courtesy of my Dad who had his 'good' camera with him the other day.  x

I'm sure what I've been busy with is not as important as raising beautiful chicks, but I'll show you anyway..... 

                                             Forgetmenot Hare

                                                           Star Hare

                                                                  Harebell hare
And two more Oaky hares ....
Pop across to my Etsy shop  and take a look .
And enjoy the May bank holiday whatever you are up to?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tree Time Tales And Some Starlight Birds

Waiting for moths to hatch or emerge can get a little like waiting for paint to dry really. The other morning though when I wasn't looking, one appeared. I let it out of the jar and it flew to the window pane where I was able to get a picture.It then flew to the holly tree, so I wished it well on it's journey. Now there are only two chrysalis left.
If you love moths like myself, click here for an  interesting programme that I enjoyed the other day.
I finished another tree inspired painting. Remember the sketch in my last blog post...

                                                                 The Blackthorn King

Both paintings, the one in my last post and this one I have done for 'Tree Time Tales' the theme of this years Cheltenham Illustration Awards which a talented artist friend of mine (whom I so wish would get a blog!) recommended I should give a go.
The painting 'Advice from A Tree' is based on the poem by the same name by Ilan Shamir. I think I have shared this poem on here before, but here it is again anyway.
                                                                 Advice from a Tree

Dear Friend,
Stand Tall and Proud
Sink your roots deeply into the Earth
Reflect the light of a greater source
Think long term
Go out on a limb
Remember your place among all living beings
Embrace with joy the changing seasons
For each yields its own abundance
The Energy and Birth of Spring
The Growth and Contentment of Summer
The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall
The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter
Feel the wind and the sun
And delight in their presence
Look up at the moon that shines down upon you
And the mystery of the stars at night.
Seek nourishment from the good things in life
Simple pleasures
Earth, fresh air, light
Be content with your natural beauty
Drink plenty of water
Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes
Be flexible
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!

                                                                     By Ilan Shamir
The painting 'The Black Thorn King' is based around the story of the Erl King. but I also included a thread of an enviromental theme running through it, so it has a double meaning. In the picture he has been defeated. The rider has escaped. He will always be Autumn. (Cut down and will never see spring again.) I have turned the tables so to speak and the Erl king/tree king has become the victim. A slight similarity to Angela Carter's version. in her book The Bloody Chamber which is a dark magical  read  and full of wonderful imagery.
A while ago I shared a song by Josh Ritter on one of my older posts that I love that is also based on The Erlking. The story has been changed to Oak tree King in the song. Take another look here it really is a beautiful song.
 I shall leave you with some Starlight birds, soon to spread their wings to my Etsy shop.

Did anyone catch a glimpse of the full moon last night? I was told it was A 'Hare Moon' but sadly was cloudy here.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Touch Of Wild And A Scent Of Wisdom

Gentle, delicate, insignificant to some who are sucked into the realm of bold, bright loud, showy and repeat flowering... Our native wild flowers hold a special place in my heart. I suppose it's because they are the flowers I grew up with in the country lanes and woods where I played as a child. The wonderful names always transport me through a doorway into a forgotton place. A past of herbal tinctures, small bottles with glass tops, pestle and mortar, apothecaries, bunches of dried plants and garlands hanging from old oak beams. Rooms scented with bowls of pot pourri, flagstones scattered with lavender leaves,  flowers steeped in oils and blended essences.... I'm inspired just by the names . ... Honeysuckle, Shepherds purse, Pennywort, Dandelion, Cuckoo pint, Yorkshire fog, Speedwell, Snakeshead Fritillary, Herb robert, Devils bit scabious, Yellow archangel, Lady's bedstraw, Sticky mouse ear, Jack by the hedge, Fairy flax. Corn cockle,  Foxglove, Deadly nightshade....
I could go on and on...
Here are some I spotted out walking...


                                                                  Cuckoo flower

                                                             Jack by the hedge
And the queen of the woods... bluebell 
The hawthorn is in bloom now too and my little summer hobbit house which I've nick named 'Bag End'  is looking lovely and wild alongside it.
I also have been wearing this scent of  the wild.. Tree Wisdom perfume. :-)
 My daughter gave me this for Christmas. Hopefully the wisdom might soak in?  ;-)
Of course, as well as enjoying being outside, I have been doing other things. 
Sketches for new paintings..

 And one of them complete. Although looking at it now, I can see I have done the tree's hair line differently. I prefer the sketch, so will have to change that.

'Advice From A Tree' 
I've also been in the shed cutting out lots of wooden creatures and still have more to do, so next week will be a very busy week here.
Oh and just incase I forget, (but I'm sure I won't! ;-)) My painting 'The Starlight Hare' is the featured painting for spring/summer on the children's page over at the Hare Preservation Trust!  Please go and have a look as it's a great website and a fantastic cause for a magical beautiful animal.