Waking early in the morning to the sound of heavy rain. A watercoloured kind of day. At the airfield we arrived just as the rain stopped and the skylarks took to the air to celebrate. Back home tried to avoid the confusion of too many things to do by finishing the Christmas card design for the MBF. A little more work tomorrow and it should be done, then only:
1) Hobb and Lindholm covers x3 by end June
2) Get on with Nursery Rhymes.
3) Christmas card for Shalom House Hospice Trust.
4) Work in prep for Art in Action
5) ???????? otherwise known as the mystery US project that I can't talk about.
6) Writing up Panda story.
7) Roughs for cat book.
8) Prep for school visits to Hertfordshire/St Albans including Federation of Children's Book Groups evening session.
So, I have spent the day smudging a piece of paper with coloured water whilst listening to Jennifer Warnes smudging the air with the Songs of Leonard Cohen.
1. Draw chickens ( a carry over from yesterday's list) 2. Walk dogs. 3. Get daughter to physics exam, son to school, parcel to be collected, pick up washing, bring daughter, son and washing home, send parcel to America. 4. Do roughs for The Inheritance, Wolf Brother and The Rheindeer People. 5. Make list. 6. Try and get cats to vets before bank holiday weekend. 7. Try not to be overwhelmed by the muddle of creatures tangled inside head ( a giant panda's child, some angels, a hare or two, the moon, a cat, some wolves, a rheindeer, musicians and bears, a ship, a pirate, Venice, Alexander the Great and a menagerie of curious creatures and a partridge and a pear and beneath it all a newly hatched dragon in search of a story)
Oh no! I just sat down on the bed in a pool of sunshine that looked as if the sun had thrown a warm shawl onto the bed for me, and moments later I woke up. And yet it seemed that two hours had gone by!
3. Draw things i) chickens ii) roughs for Christmas card.
4. Finish MBF Christmas card.
5. Phone Harper Collins, again, re Robin Hobb covers. ( and now I know that I have 3 covers to do for end of June, one Robin Hobb, two Megan Lindholm's, and a package of wonderful books on the way in the post)
Best leave it at that as it looks achievable, and see what happens next.
Wind wrinkled watercolour sea while walking dogs.
nb. add to list DRAW DRAGON FOR EVELYN.
Shortly after doodling these I fell into a pleasant sleep.
Things I have also done:
1.Popped around next door when I could hear voices in the garden and saw Glyn and Nadolig, both looking well, though Nadolig has a torn ear that needs to be looked at, for he has been courting the lady cats.
2. Looked around and seen that my studio is such a mess and really does need a thorough tidy up. But then not tidied up.
3. Thought about wings.
4.Remembered to pick up son from school.
5. Been shipwrecked on a coral reef while reading.
My friend Adam Buick has a kiln opening at his studio at the weekend. Walking past this evening, a collection of pots that for one or other reason didn't make the grade looked stunning in the evening light. Even these sing of the earth from which they were made in a unique and beautiful way.
Adam will also be at Art in Action at Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire, in July.
After a day of painting, and yesterday's wonderful day of walking and writing, so tired, and wanting to work in the evening, when friends come by and put an end to work as the garden fills up with wonderful horses, who prune the roses, flowers and all, and re-arrange the rosemary, and drink fizz. When they leave they take Hannah with them, and as she goes she says, "if I fail my chemistry exam tomorrow it will be your fault for letting me go."
And I am still listening to Jennifer Warnes, still loving the music, still loving the moon.
Time to write, and so, after dropping Tom at school I thought it was a good day to commute to work. I drove to Whitesands Beach, 2 miles from home, and with notebook and pen and glasses that go dark in the sunshine, with a hare and the moon necklace and a moonstone ring as talisman I walked to search for words, hunting a story. The sun was shining fierce when I set off with hope in my heart, but soon the mist began to veil all. Over the hill and far away, and up and up and up.
Almost at the top of the hill, a small cluster of burial chambers is the only reminder of people who lived here so many years ago that even their bones are dust. Step after step, words began to gather. So when we reached the hill top high we found a place in the shadow of the wind, me and three dogs, and settled to write as the mist played with the landscape, and the wind sang a song in the grass and the gorse.
Part of the story caught we moved on and down, hunting, searching for more, past the wild ponies, the valley with golden reeds, and the orchids and out to the arm of rock that juts into the sea where sometimes there are porpoise. Here we rested again and chased words.
Moving on again, past bright, bone-white ponies with midnight dark foals we could see the beach and the high hill was now clear of the cool mist. In a warm place I gathered the last of the words and then home. Outside the door the postman had left a parcel, from Jennifer Warnes in the USA, a signed copy of Famous Blue Raincoat, remastered and with unreleased songs and notes, The Hunter, and an LP version of The Hunter. And on The Hunter, her version of The Whole of the Moon, which is such a gift in itself. So wonderful.
Now it is time to gather all the words and thoughts in before I have to walk back to the beach in the evening to collect the car.
It has been a weekend full of people as two good friends married each other, and Pembrokeshire put on the finest show of good weather to honour the occasion. Clear blue and hot.
This morning Robin and I parked at Whitesands and walked slowly home with much sitting on cliffs watching the water. Now the evening is cool and the moon rides the sky and I am thinking to go and hunt that moment when the day rolls away and the night comes in, and to watch the moon, translucent in sunshine, grow bright with the rule of the night. All day the little people of the air buzzed and flitted on bright wings. I saw my first bright fresh dragonfly of the summer. Now the moth time is coming.
A slow flapping low grey heron flew past my bedroom window in early morning misty light, almosy filling the window. A wonderful magical start to the day. Mist and cowslips and air thick with the texture of skylark song as I walked on the airfield and tried to count how many. It was a symphony, beyond numbers. Medieval nursery rhyme carried across time and I want to take it on to a new generation so draw a hare and a hart and a lady and a knight. Conversation with American company and it seems that things are going well, and all so far is liked and we are singing the same song, so now more to do and to write and to draw. Headed for the high hill for peace of mind, with notebook, just incase. On the Fox Rocks the sun slid through the bright golden gorse. Surrounded by dogs in a bed of dry heather lay back and looked at the dancing moon glowing brighter in the evening sky, closed my eyes and thought and then a rush of wings so close I could feel the wind they stirred, but opening eyes saw nothing. Raven, dragon? Whatever, it was swift. There was a blackbird saluting the setting sun, oystercatchers, small bell like voices of linnets and pheasants disturbed by foxes. On the path home bluebells everywhere and small paths made by badgers, the striped bears of Britain. And later I went to the beach to watch the moon setting but all was a veil of mist. I stood on the beach with the sea roaring in my ears and the mist making the world a small circle of white light. A good days work done.
When I signed up to this commission I little realised that I would be given a crew of mice to sail her. What a shambles. They have no idea, are lazy in the extreme and have made a tangled mess of the rigging. How we are ever expected to sail across the world's oceans I will never know. This ship needs a cat!
1. Finish paintings, i) I saw a ship ii) MBF Christmas card. 2. Write up Panda story. 3. Do rough for Christmas card. 4. Do rough for Robin Hobb book cover. 5. Draw foxes dancing. 6. Try to stop thinking about ship's log for 'I saw a ship a sailing'. 7. Walk dogs. 8 Pick up washing from wonderful washing woman. 9. Think about owls. 10. Listen to the Time Chicken. 11. Watch Alexander with Colin Farrell and call it work ( very lazy research for a story).
Drawing hares with wings, painting mice with chains around their necks, walking dogs to a soundtrack of skylarks, watching swallows low across the fields and cooking a chicken with mustard and lemon and white wine, red onions and potatoes.
Days slip by. Outside a new moon is bright but slight in a blue, dark sky. Walking the evening away with new camera in a boggy place. There are rabbits in plenty in the dry places and the dogs love to run, and the daisies have gone to sleep and closed their eyes against the coming dark. The day has been spent in painting four and twenty white mice, getting a print from Jane, walking in bluebell woods at Abermawr.
And we found a new and beautiful path with a fast flowing narrow river and stepping stones and an ancient watercourse through an old stone wall.
At the beginning of the month I was sent another book from Mr B's in Bath. Always a mystery, this package was wonderfully filled with promise, a heavy weight. And sure enough when I opened it the cover was beautiful, the pages smooth and the blurb inviting. But I was still reading Skippy Dies by Paul Murray, not because it was dull and slow going, rather because I had been so busy with work. So I pushed aside work for short periods in the day and sank into Paul Murray's wonderful book and now am lost at sea with We The Drowned. I do love Mr B's. They just have such a great idea of what I will love.
Some things that I have done over the past few days.
1. Counted white mice from one to four and twenty.
2. Watched the azure swallows fly low across the fields.
3. Stood in the garden at five in the morning and listened to the cuckoo call across silver frosted fields.
4. Spoke to woman in US about new project and meetings and still, in a way, feel none the wiser, but quietly hoping to make the right choices. Exciting.
5. Sold a small painting and wrapped it and packed it and sent it out on a very long journey across to the other side of the wide wide wonderful world.
6. Lost myself in a vicious sea battle.
7. Walked, in bluebell woods down the path to the sea, in a bog filled with irises and king cups. And Hannah said she saw a dragon fly.
8. Bought a new camera, very much like the old one, but clean, a Nikon D3000, from my wonderful camera advisor, Ivan, at Celtic Vision. He is still thinking about what I should get to replace my small camera that I lost.
9. Talked to the weasels.
10. Made the bed with clean sheets that smell so good, though not as good as sheets that have danced with the wind on a washing line in sunshine.
11. Looked after my neighbour's horses which was a great pleasure, going out early and late into the field and wandering among them and checking the water and leaning against their dark heavy sides that smelled of horses and grass and summer while swallows flew between us. We shared an apple and they took the small pieces from my fingers with gentle velvet lips and crunched the sweetness.
All images and text on this blog are copyright Jackie Morris unless otherwise stated. Should you wish to use any, for any purpose, please seek permission first from Jackie. Publishers have very large legal teams.