The festive decorating has begun. Beginning with the little twiggy branch that stays all year on the piano. Over the years it has held snowflakes, icicles, birds and various sparkly bits. This year it is the year of the toadstool. Woo!
The toadstools normally go on the Christmas tree in the other room, but I bought a few extra this year, so felt their time had come to play starring role on the piano. The birds have flown to the fireplace and the snowflakes will be happy settling on the tree this year. (All except the robin, who was quite adamant he wanted to stay in the twiggy tree, thank you very much. ;))
The holly is picked and waiting in a bucket in the greenhouse. Meanwhile the holly tree has now been stripped of all remaining berries by hungry blackbirds and thrushes.
Plan for the weekend is to buy the tree. :)
The winter sun has been a welcome visitor dancing merrie light on walls and doors.
Looking outside it could almost be mistaken for late summer in this picture.
More sketches from the advent calendar on facebook.
'Do you hear what I hear'
And a white hare.
A few Christmas's back, this was on television.
It was fabulous and just the thing to get you in the yuletide spirit. I came across it again whilst browsing you tube. If you missed it last time I highly recommend it, or if you did see it, then go on, take a break and watch it again! Or like I've done, have it on in the background whilst doing something else.
See you soon
One of the beautiful things about Winter is the fiery skies.You can almost smell them smouldering as you breathe out what looks like accompanying smoke into the frosted air. You have to be quick to catch them as they pass so fast and all too soon darkness has descended. I tried to time it perfectly this evening and went out, but came back in as I realised I had in fact a better view from the window.
Over on my Facebook page I have been posting something up everyday. A face book advent calendar type thing. You may have seen these, if you haven't here's a sample..Sketches and photo's and such like. I will share here the sketches as the photo's you may have seen before?
This last one 'The journey north' I hope to work on as a painting very soon.
I don't have an advent calendar, but my teenagers do. This year it is a chocolate one. We normally alternate the years with picture/chocolate. Which one do you have? ...
To celebrate the beginning of Winter I had an early birthday present yesterday and went to see Olafur Arnalds perform at St Georges in Bristol. He is coming to the end of his 'For now I am Winter' tour. It was just beautiful and perfect for my beginning of Winter. :)
I think I will be rummaging in the cupboard to find the Christmas decorations this weekend..
I will leave you with the title track of Olafur Arnalds album. Have a magical weekend. x
Not so long ago, you may remember I drew a sketch, of this half animal, half human. I played around with it digitally and promised I would return to it. So now I have. This is a painting on wood. 'All made of stars'
I also returned to other sketches done at the same time.
I often write words down, in a little notebook I keep. Random words that sometimes pop into my head and sentences that inspire a picture, especially like to creep into my head in the dark hours past midnight when I should be in bed asleep, instead I find these are the hours where most of my ideas for work appear.
Words from my notebook.... Most can see, but many are blind Many can hear, but most are deaf "Remember to open your eyes" said the fox
'Remember to open your eyes, said the fox'
Or... 'From the light we all came' ? I'm not decided on the title of this piece yet?........
I will be making prints of these very soon. First I will have to get them scanned in town though, as my scanner is broken and I haven't got around to buying another yet. (another job on the 'to do' list) Hopefully I should get them done by next week.
In the garden already nature is making preparations for next years fruit. The catkins are decorating the hazel tree.
There are still leaves that are not ready to fall. After all they were late arriving this year.
And only 25 days, until the days begin to get lighter again.
I will leave you with a song that I had on repeat whilst painting these pictures. Beautiful video too.
I woke up and the world outside was dark, all so quiet before the dawn, opened up the door and walked outside, the ground was cold. I walked until I couldn't walk anymore, to a place I'd never been. There was something stirring in the air, in front of me, I could see more than this, more than this, so much more than this. There is something else there ~ Peter Gabriel
November mists have arrived. In the morning when the day is new and filled with promise they linger until the sun finds strength to burn them away. They return quietly when the fires are lit and the blackbird has a belly full from a days feasting on red ripe holly berries. They stay throughout the night, silently softening the edges of the bright moon.
It's at this time of year that I always somehow feel the unknown close. Beyond our vision, somewhere in the in between places the feeling that there is more than this is strong. I saw it in the hundreds of spiders webs caught in the wind, in a field up on the hill. And in the donkey that in the light looked as if it could be a unicorn in disguise.
I see it in the white sunlight on thin leaves.
And in the birds.
I am having a little break from making wooden hangers now until the Spring and instead will concentrate on paintings. Below is my most recent work, painted on a slice of wood that I had. This idea had been in my sketchbook for a while and the shape and piece of wood suited it perfectly I felt.
'She loved The Moon so dearly'
Prints of this piece are available in my Etsy shop here
I saw a wasp and a butterfly on Monday and there is a pink rose blooming in the garden. Hard to believe it is November now. But it is and the apples have all blown from the two trees. So far I have made chutney, apple pie and fresh juice but there are still two bucketfuls in the kitchen to use up.
I have had to put my little heater on a few times in my workroom, but so far the weather has been kind and it's wonderful to be outside watching the twilight fall early and the Autumn light play tricks with the shadows and reflections.
I captured these shadows in the greenhouse, they remind me of old photographs.
There is no sign of frost yet and the lavender still has flower.
But the leaves are falling...
from the great giants, in the field behind the willow herb.
and the holly is reminding everyone what time of year it is.
I've been busy making things to restock my Etsy shop. New items will be added tonight at 9.30pm (uk time)
I won't show everything, but here are a few items that will be making their way there.
So who had a sparkler last night then? The best firework, pretty, but no noise.
I did. ;)
That November night, looking up into the sky,
"Hey, wish that was me up there-- It's the biggest rocket I could find, And it's holding the night in its arms If only for a moment. I can't see the look in its eyes, But I'm sure it must be laughing."
But it seemed to me the saddest thing I'd ever seen, And I thought you were crazy, wishing such a thing.
I saw only a stick on fire, Alone on its journey Home to the quickening ground, With no one there to catch it. I put on my pointed hat And my black and silver suit, And I check my gunpowder pack And I strap the stick on my back. And, dressed as a rocket on Waterloo Bridge-- Nobody seems to see me. Then, with the fuse in my hand, And now shooting into the night And still as a rocket, I land in the river.
Was it me said you were crazy? I put on my cloudiest suit, Size 5 lightning boots, too.
'Cause I am a rocket On fire. Look at me go, with my tail on fire, With my tail on fire, On fire. Hey, look at me go, look at me... Kate Bush ~Rockets tail
On Thursday my daughter had no school due to a teachers strike. So we decided to have a day out to Oxford. It's not far on the train and the sun was shining. The perfect day for an adventure. We were heading to this majestic building below, home to the Pitt Rivers museum.
Inside it is just as impressive.
The Pitt Rivers museum is a collection of archaeological and anthropological artifacts. It was founded in 1884 by one Lt General Augustus Pitt Rivers, after he donated his collection to the University of Oxford.
It's an amazing place filled to the brim with curiosities from all over the world. Inside the light is dim. Much darker than the picture above in which my camera made things look far brighter, compensating for the lack of light. A kind light for the old things and just right to add to the atmosphere. There was so much to photograph and look at and read and on top of that there were drawers underneath filled with even more secret wonders! To be honest I would have been happy just staying in here all day with a notebook and pencil sketching and writing. Anyway here are a few of the things that I took pictures of. Things that jumped out and spoke to me.
Ornate keys which made me wonder about their stories. Which doors had they opened? Who had been their keepers?
Most objects were labelled by the tiniest writing imaginable.Others were more readable.
Above, the small paws of a poor mole, cut off while still alive. It's feet kept in the pocket of a man, as a cure for toothache! I am fascinated by the past and things such as this, but I'm so glad that we have progressed with cures for toothache these days. I'm sure the mole would be too!
If you suffered from warts, then the charm below would have been for you...
In case it's too small for your to read this is what it says on the label. "Charm for warts Oxfordshire~ Go out alone and find a large black slug. Secretly rub the underside on the warts and impale the slug and thorn. As the slug dies the warts will go"
This little bird made me feel sad.
I loved the colours and designs of these old playing cards
And was particularly attracted to all the things depicting animals of course.
It was very atmospheric in the museum and some of the things such as the shrunken heads, weapons and ancient surgical instruments were rather unnerving. It made us wonder what it would be like to stay the night, or be there in the dark surrounded by all of these objects that hold the spirit and ghosts of people. Then I found this video showing the museum viewed by torchlight, which I thought you might like to see.
I gazed in awe, as I always do, at the beauty of mother natures creations in the natural history part of the museum.
On our way to lunch we passed the most adorable little cottage.
And met a white rabbit blowing bubbles. :)
We were lucky that the day was dry and warm. There were lots of ladybirds flying around the old university buildings. On their way to look for a good sleeping places for winter I expect, which I'm sure they will find among the many stone buildings here.
Our last stop, after a little shopping, (well I am with a teenage girl. ;)) was this fabulous exhibition that was totally unexpected as I hadn't known it was on.
Original sketches and notes by Tolkien, JK Rowling, Alan Garner, Susan Cooper, Philip Pullman and CS Lewis, including his original map sketch of Narnia. There were also some very old looking books and manuscripts concerning magic and angels, and some illuminated with gold. All was so wonderful to see, what a rare treat. Sadly no photography was allowed inside, so I will have to keep all of these precious images in my head. What a special end to a great day out.