Saturday, September 19, 2015

A veil as thin as smoke

Days are quiet here now. My son has returned to university and daughter is back at school. September has returned and in the garden the flowers are still blooming, holding on as long as they can while the sun is still warm. There seems to be a lot of purple around. Here below is Verbena bonariensis one of my favourite plants. It's so pretty, the bees and butterflies love it, and it's quite a tough cookie.  Standing tall and very rarely falling over even in the heaviest of rains and wind.
This year, sadly there has been a distinct absence of butterflies here. No where near as many as we normally have.  Here though below is a blue butterfly enjoying the Oregano that I spotted the other day.
It's been a good year for the apples and the blackberries which are are abundant in the hedgerow.    
When the days have been warm  and dry, I've been sat with the doors open and re positioned my chair by the door for maximum daylight.
I wasn't alone, there is always company just a few feet away

This is what's been on the easel.  An A3 sized painting on wood. Here are some progress stages.
And the finished piece. 'A veil as thin as smoke' the colours are slightly different here. In reality the original is probably somewhere in between. Prints are available here for anyone interested.
Now I'm busy painting toadstools and the odd bee.

Monday, August 31, 2015

A trip to Stratford.

The heart of England? Some might say this was Stratford Upon Avon. Birth place and resting place of Shakespeare. I was here on Saturday wandering the cobbles, showing our daughter who is currently studying drama at A level.
I think my favourite buildings of all time/style of architecture has to be tudor. Maybe I had a previous tudor life?
 The top left above the swan, is Shakespeare's birth place. The grey oak dog below, decorates the outside of the Garricks head pub, the oldest inn in Stratford where we stopped for a bite to eat after getting lucky and managing to pick up some last minute tickets for 'The Merchant of Venice' at the RSC.  A big treat for my daughter, before she returns to her last school year, in a few days.
No photography of course during the performance.  Here is the stage though before and after. 
                 RSC photo of Patsy Ferran as Portia in The Merchant of Venice. Photo by Hugo Glendinning
Such amazing actors and actresses! I loved the reflections and light and the red dress, so striking in the dark and candlelight. It's made me want to use red in a painting. I don't think I've used red in a long while?
Summer is fading fast and is almost gone for another year. Soon it will be time to light the fire, the candles, make soup and enjoy the sparkly dew drop days that Autumn brings. 
I will leave you with this, by The Smoke Fairies.  

Friday, August 28, 2015

A walk, a card and some seeds.

A walk on Cherhill downs.
Up here there is peace. Down in the distance the road curves around the mysterious Silbury hill. Up here the cars have been silenced, they are insignificant and unimportant. All that matters is the ticking of grasshopper, hum of bee and whisper of gentle wind in the grass among harebells.
In the sky, the pretty song of skylark calls. The ancient land echoes with it's tales of forgotten people.
My feet on white chalk, this old route, my footsteps following the old ways.
Wild flowers dot the grassland banks and ditches of the ancient iron age Hillfort of Oldbury Castle.
 A sea  of purple and lilac, scabious, knapweed, harebell and thistles alive with bees.
It's a good place to be for the soul up here. I can hear my own thoughts. 
Across the down, on the north side, high up above the fields of barley is the white horse of Cherhill. (Or Oldbury white horse)
How I love these white horses on hills.
Hmm I was hoping to see a corn circle too, but wasn't lucky this time. 
                                       “a walk is only a step away from a story, and every path tells.” 
                                                                                              ~Robert Macfarlane

This summer has been too quick for me this year,  just like the bees on the thistles in the pictures above were. I wasn't fast enough to get any decent shots that day, except the one.  Bees have been on my mind quite a bit lately. There seems to have been more in the garden this summer. Not so many butterflies though sadly. 
A couple of weeks ago I was having a bit of a play around digitally, with one of my paintings, which is fun to do occasionally. I'm no expert in photoshop or anything (wish I was)  One of the images was a bee, I played about with layers and added some vintage stock images. I liked it and thought that it would look pretty as a card. So went ahead and made up a batch of cards. 
Then I remembered about the wild flower seeds spare, gathering dust, that had been collected by myself (from my garden I must add, not the wild) and some that friends had given me and I hadn't got around to using them, as many of the plants already grow in my garden and wild nearby. Anyway, I decided how nice it would be to sell this card with a packet of wild flower seeds. After oiling my rusty graphic design abilities here's the little label for the seed packet, which has been attached to a small brown envelope that hold the seeds.
                                          'Sprinkle these seeds to help the bees'

 If you would like a bee card and packet of seeds, you can find them in my shop here.
Enjoy the bank holiday weekend and last few days of August. x

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Light to outshine the darkness

Some light, to outshine the darkness. Pictures captured a few weeks back, from that time of day when another realm is glimpsed, and all manner of magic seems possible? I found words in the misty labyrinth of this woven inter web to go with them.

From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
 “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King
“The Warrior of the Light is a believer. Because he believes in miracles, miracles begin to happen. Because he is sure that his thoughts can change his life, his life begins to change. Because he is certain that he will find love, love appears.” ~ Paul Coelho

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.”
~Og Mandino

Never let the light fade... I've added these words to some hangers that I've been working on.
Foxes, midnight blue and red ones. This was a design planned back in March, but has only just been brought to life. 
I've made 10 of these, and each will be added to my Etsy shop on Monday 17th August at 8pm (UK time) There will also be birds and some hare pendants.
It's been a quiet summer here. In between painting, I've been also painting the kitchen, pottering in the garden, enjoying the sunsets, meteors and scent of night scented stock. Watching birds, wishing I was a bird, wishing I was a seagull, (one that lives on a wild cliff top dotted with thrift, not a cheeky one that hangs about dustbins or steals fish and chips) talking to the squirrel in the nut tree that has eaten nearly all of the nuts this year (before I got there :/) and reading Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy (finally)
It's important to talk to flowers. 
And watch spiders, weave worlds within worlds.   

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hares, stone, water, foxglove, fell and Hill Top.

 Two more pieces on wood, that were finished recently.
'The story within' and 'I used to be an Alchemist'

These two have joined the other smaller hanging pieces that I showed in my last post at 'The names of the hare' exhibition at the New Brewery Arts in Cirencester Gloucestershire. Do pop along if you are in the area it's a real treat for lovers of hares and features work by 28 Artists including magical work by Jackie Morris, Catherine Hyde, Hannah Willow and many other talented folk that feature hares in their work.  I visited last Saturday and would have loved to have taken much of the exhibition home to live with me, including these hares by Sophie Ryder which were just outside the gallery and would be perfect and happy living in my garden of course. ;)
 I've been quiet on here, enjoying the summertime and being outdoors as much as I can. 
A couple of weeks ago I ventured up to northern parts on a short break to the Lake District.
 It was my first visit and of course I fell in love. So much green and stone and moss. Trickling stream, waterfall, mountain and foxglove. I think we chose the right time to visit because there were foxgloves everywhere. So pretty. I wish the spleenworts would grow on my small bit of wall here, but I think it is much drier here?
We did some fell walking.
Up the 'Old man of Coniston'. We were lucky as the sun shone down on us and it was warm!
I bid a good afternoon in my best Cumbrian accent, to the local beautiful sheep...
The views at all stages were glorious. 
And finally at the top! It was incredibly windy at the top although looking at this picture, you could never tell. 
Nearby was the home of Beatrix Potter.  Hill Top  a place I've been meaning to tick off my 'to visit' list for  a long while.  What a priveledge to quietly walk around this cottage, with the fire crackling, grandfather clock slowly ticking everything left just as it was. It was a step back in time to life of a slower pace. It's a beautiful cottage inside, quite dark, but very cosy, and looks older on the inside than it appears to be from outside. The perfect place to be on a dark and rainy day.  It was so interesting to see Beatrix's things, from the odd shells that she kept and tiny dolls house treasures, china, letters and sketches on her desk to her delightful bedroom with it's original William Morris wallpaper.  There is no photography allowed inside but the pictures below show the cottage and the gate to the garden.  

Afterwards we went into the village of Hawkshead and visited the Beatrix Potter gallery and saw her original work. What a treat indeed. :)
We only had a few days in the Lake district and there is so much to see and so many places to walk. I must go back.  My toes have only just been dipped on the shore of a sea of adventure. No wonder the poets and Artists loved this place so much.