Thursday, February 12, 2015

The days are getting lighter

The days are getting lighter here but they are still as cold as stone.  February was welcomed in with fire.
Sparks danced beneath the moon.  Alive, on a journey, heading off into a clear dark night.
Later when it had burned down, I lay in bed watching the moon from my window and wondered if the fox that has been calling each night these past few weeks had come to visit. I hoped it stayed awhile by the warm embers on such a cold night.
A start has been made on getting the garden up together. A task that has been put off the last few years. I love this area wild and it's filled with oregano, which the bees love in the summer. But the time has come to give it a good clear up. Too many brambles and hawthorn have begun to grow and couch grass has been smothering the masses of primroses and bluebells that live here.  So begins the long process of digging things out and putting back in. And the path of stones that surround this whole area will be revealed once more.
There is a lot of moss (which I love) but some of it has to be taken out too.  I have a cracked leaky birdbath which needs mending/waterproofing somehow. Meanwhile the birds aren't at all bothered about the plastic dish.
The snowdrops are looking pretty beneath the apple trees and the hazel has a good show of catkins this year despite the windy weather a few weeks ago.
This week we had to have a couple of trees cut because they were touching electricity wires.  I don't like seeing this happen at the best of time, but it was someone else's decision not ours. We will make the best use of the wood. I have my eye on some of the larger pieces to cut up as slices for some paintings. I would love to incorporate the sycamore tree in one of the paintings.  Of course it will all need to season first.
Since last here, these small paintings below have been brought to life. I will be mounting/matting them, then shall add them as originals to my shop next week.
I shall leave you with some wise words from my tea. Enjoy your Valentine's weekend. x

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Forever filled with magic may this place be.

In my last post I shared a sketch that I had done. Since then I have gone ahead and turned it into a painting. I thought it might be interesting to share the process in stages, as I haven't done that in a while. From sketched out beginnings on wood.
To stirrings of life, aided by of copious mugs of tea and many hours of music.
Until you reach that moment when you stop and say it's done. 
The colours are looking slightly different between these last two images. I think the true colour is somewhere between the two. 
This painting is now available to buy as a print here in my shop.
A few days ago, I was out early to capture the morning's beauty. 
Fire was rising from the horizon as I walked down and looked across the garden path. 
Ice intricately covered each and every stem. Not a branch, seedpod or faded leaf had been missed. The Winter King is very thorough. I had just a few special minutes in this strange magical half light before it disappeared. A small window in time. I felt as if I was witnessing something ancient that so many from long ago saw when they worshipped the sun. 
 Walking on, the sun watched me, peeping through branches like an eye.  
 Then in no time at all the eye had disappeared, the light diffused and a dragon rose to greet the day.
   It didn't stay long but metamorphosed into another golden being of light. 
In the corner of the field I encountered a golden portal.

I didn't step into it that morning as I had art work to come back to and be getting on with. ;)  But, rest assured next time, I will most certainly step inside.  Who knows where it will lead to?  After all I have asked my little friend to show me the old magic.  I think he is doing a good job so far.  
By the time I walked back home for a cup of hot chocolate, the sky was the colour of a summer flower. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hibernating with tea, Merlin and a jar of wishes

It's wild outside this evening as I sit here at my desk and write this. I can hear the tree branches moving and the whistling eerie voice of the wind as it whips around the house. It  sounds like ghostly birds in a storm that have lost their way. I was hoping it would be a north wind and that it would bring snow, but it isn't. Instead rain is being blown against the inky black window panes. So far this area has missed out on any snow, except a tiny dusting that melted as soon as the morning sun came out.
I've retreated a little into hermit mode so far this new year. My bear genes again want to hibernate.
My head has been stuck in cupboards rummaging and rifling through stuff. There have been many trips and bags taken to the charity shop 'to simplify things' I don't mind calling this a new years resolution, as I know I can keep it. I get great pleasure and immense satisfaction from clearing clutter, it's a good feeling!  And on the plus side, the universe always gives you something back in return. I found a lovely coat the other day whilst browsing after dropping my bags off. Don't worry an old coat of mine went into the next bag to replace the new one coming in. ;)
This bear in me has also been drinking rather a lot of tea, reading in the bath and watching episodes of Merlin.
I have been working as well though, doing my tax return, and an illustration commission. 
And I've been playing in my sketchbook. Here's a jar of wishes for 2015. 
And another sketch which began as just a doodle. I think it's about whilst I was busy with the illustration commission, the creatures for my future paintings were waiting for me to come out to play, get my brushes out and bring them to life?  What do you think? 
Better get to it then! :)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ring out wild bells to the wild sky

Ring out, wild bells to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
The frosted flowers of the most beautiful hoar frost covered the branches here a couple of days ago.
I took the scenic route home from the post office that morning to capture it all. For a while I was wandering alone, it seemed just me and the rooks, in the Snow Queens icy land, a fairytale landscape. A glimpse in time, before the sun warmed it back to liquid to trickle down stems and drip off branches, to seep down and water the sleepy earth.
The gentle sound of the river flowing, my footsteps on hard frozen ground, ice cracking. Delicate whispers, of fragments brushing against my coat. Silver shards tinkling, almost bell like.  
The skeleton of nettles wearing ice fur coats.
And hawthorn still with a few snacks for birds, useful on cold days like these. Blood red against purest of white.  A hint of a fairytale...

Now, the night has arrived on this old and last day of the year. It has been a good one for me and I feel extremely blessed. Thank you for taking the time to stop by here in 2014. I appreciate all of your comments and read each and every one, even if I don't always get around to replying.
I look forward to sharing more things in 2015.
Happy New Year to you!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Shortest day.

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!
~ The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper The dark is already closing in here. It's been a rainy day with soft drizzle so I haven't seen the sun properly on this the shortest of days. We are all here inside though cosy with our own sparkle and lights. My son has returned from University and daughter and husband have finished school and work now for the festive break. There is food to bake, a 17th Birthday to celebrate and gifts to wrap before the 25th. In between time I shall sit by the fire and watch the flames dance and enjoy the quiet moments between the busy ones.       
Wishing you a Happy Winter Solstice and a very peaceful Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Decorations and gifts

The darkest time of Winter is upon us. Inside and outside lights abound to chase the darkness away.  Fairy lights twine around trees, doorways, staircases, sometimes whole houses, they shine from almost every window, wherever you go. Fires are lit to warm our hearths and hearts.
I know many folk don't like the long dark nights that winter brings, but I have always loved it and celebrated it's difference to the other months.  I can't imagine living in a place without obvious seasons. I love winter equally to Spring, Summer and Autumn and feel glad that each one has their own beauty and gifts to bring to the cycle of the year. 
Winter's dark evenings I feel are balanced with the bright low light in the day. Her silver skies, frosty dawns and of course her whiteness of snow. 
This morning I was up earlier than usual and as I put the kettle on to make my morning mug of tea I noticed out of the window a low mist lying in the field. So after finishing my drink and a slice of marmite on toast I decided on a morning walk hoping it would be a great opportunity for photographs, as it looked so pretty. 
The mist still hung about the river when I got to the field.
To my right, the frosted grass was flooded with ethereal light. 
Beautiful winter sun. 
Revealing nature's own December decorations. So much more perfect than anything sparkly for sale in the high street shops.
Delicate spider webs draped in the tiniest almost frozen water droplets formed a necklace between the burdock seed heads on the river bank.
Gold from the heavens shining on jewels of the Earth. More precious than any jewellery to be opened on Christmas morning.
I walked in this morning sun for a long while. Soaking up it's brightness in my bones, feeling as if my very heart was being charged. I took deep breaths inhaling the icy air. It was filled with the smell of leaf, branch, soil, animal, fruit, stone, feather and water, all blended into an exotic morning scent. Better than any designer perfume in a bottle. It was a good start to my day.