Monday, January 31, 2011


Yesterday we walked, over the hill and far away to the rocks where the fox once was. In the heather there were frost flowers in shadow pools untouched by winter sun.
We sat, Robin and I, on the hill while the dogs spilled around us.
Today when I looked at the photos I took I laughed so much at Rosie doing her dangerous stunts with a small stick. She is beautiful.

Today I learned that a library in Torfaen near Pontypool want to use my dragon images to decorate their library, a new one that is opening soon, and I tried to settle to work, and move two tonnes of logs and find out how much I still have to do on The Cat and The Fiddle.


Pure Vanity

Final proofs for van decoration.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Four and twenty

The next rhyme on the list is Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye, four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie......
So, in the spirit of research the children have bird pie for supper. All winter long I have been luring wild birds into the garden, collecting them until I had 24 and now I have made a pie and some roast potatoes for the children to eat, as the 'new austerity' that David Cameron keeps talking about kicks in. Two birds with one stone, so to speak. Supper and research for image. I wonder if that means that the other ingredients should be tax deductable?
( nb. Pie is made from birds, but it is left over from the gorgeous pheasant casserole with marscapone and red onions that Robin made for us yesterday. Not blackbirds. Honest)


Two weeks, three and a half paintings plus a couple of small decorations. And a dragon to paint to take to Norfolk. And, if time, something for Valentine's Day. And forms to fill in and contracts to send off and teenagers to feed and dogs to walk and carpets to clean ( studio getting a bit grubby)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Third, fourth or fifth time lucky?

 Take one frosted feather.......

..later, elements from the studio and some from the imagination...... make a perfect long day painting.

( Hickory dickory dock, the mouse ran up the clock, and A B C tumble down D, the cat's in the cupboard and he can't see me!)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Distractions no. 2

Just had the proof for van through. Have asjked for a couple of changes and have fingers crossed that it can be done in time to go to Norfolk. I am unreasonably excited and have to sit down and work!
I am discovering a whole new world of 'dubbers' out there, and illustrated vans all around the world. Want to start either a facebook page or blog for the van but not sure which yet.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Step by stepping stones.

 Here am I little Jumping Joan,
When nobody's with me I'm all alone.


Little Thomas Tittlemouse
Lived in a little house.
He caught fishes
In other men's ditches.

Walked the dogs on the beach at Abermawr, through the woods and down to teh sea. On the way home Rosie did some posing.


New cover. Looking good.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kingfisher 2

Here am I, Little jumping Joan. When nobody's with me I'm all alone. 

Some time ago I had a holiday in Devon. Elements of this holiday have come together in this painting. 


Today I have help from my silent fishing friend.  


It is always difficult to move swiftly from one painting to the next. I have 4 or 5 paintings still to do and have to be finished by 12th Feb ( extension from end Jan). So, today I have to
1. Stretch paper. Three pieces.
2. Draw out Jumping Joan and maybe Four and twenty tailors.
3. Fill in form for Art in Action.
4. Find contract to send to people.
5. Walk dogs.
6. Make fire. It is getting cold again though bright.
7. Stop looking at the preview picture of one side of my van.
8. Sort out discs that need to be made and posted to people who want them.
9. Talk to Jane about things inside the van.

Monday, January 24, 2011

On the beach and in the studio

On the beach today, a new dog. Huge paws, huge ears and plenty of growing to do but soft as butter and beautiful.
In the studio, weasels. Between each photograph, one hour of painting.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Moonlight and water

Early. Walking on the beach. As we moved towards the north end of Whitesands a rock came alive and began to move down the beach. So close. We stood on the sand, hand in warm hand, and watched as a seal moved into the sea, silvered by the setting moon.


While I was drawing this image out two of the weasels fell in love over a tin of black treacle. My paintings seem to be taking on a life of their own.


The best things take time and I am looking forward to getting tomato seeds soon so that I can make this from fresh grown tomatoes. It uses so many so I hope that we get a good crop and the taste from bought tomatoes is amazing so home grown and fresh picked should be amazing. Untill then we have to buy them, and you can make this with cheap tomatoes. It will be fine. Or you can make it with vine cherry tomatoes and it will be most excellent ( but expensive). Sometimes we have chopped Charizo stirred in, sometimes just the tomatoes. Both ways are perfect.
So, you need about 2 kilos of ripe and beautiful red tomatoes. Put them into a tin or dish and sprinkle with three finely cut cloves of garlic. Add some sprigs of thyme, a handfull of oregano, a couple of bay leaves and a sprig or two of rosemary then douse with black pepper and a sprinkle of salt ( sometimes I put the pepper on when the tomatoes have cooked for about ten minutes because I love the scent of black pepper falling on something hot). Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over all and stir around. 
You can sprinkle chilli flakes, add charizo, lie sausages over all or place chicken pieces on, whatever. Or just have the tomatoes.
Cook for about three quaters of an hour at 195 and sit and read by the fire. The scent of the thyme and tomatoes is heavenly. ( If you put something on like the sausages you will need to turn it half way through.)
Eat with fresh bread, chipped potatoes, pasta. And if there is any left then heat up and stir in a tablespoon of creme freche for soup the next day.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Closer to the end

This morning, walking early on the beach, moonlight on the water. Between the land and the sea, between the night and the day. And on the beach a log. But then the log began to move and the dogs watched and we stood, amazed. In the moonlight, daylight,  dawning, a seal.
Small pieces of magic are always welcome, especialy when it is wild magic.

Gray goose and gander
Waft your wings together
And carry the good king's daughter
Over the one strand river.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sometimes things change

So much has happened over the last couple of days, and every time I have walked past my easel with The Cat and the Fiddle on it has stopped me and made me pause and look. So when my editor phoned and had a few coughs and erms and then said how much she liked the cat and the fiddle I knew what was coming next. Suffice it to say that A Rhyme in Time is now called The Cat and The Fiddle and has a new cover. 
I think it is much stronger, more eye catching and amazingly looks as if it was designed to be the front and back cover.
I still have 5 spreads to complete in about 3 weeks. Time to work hard.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hey Diddle Diddle The Cat and The Cart

Another morning of frost crisp and moonsetting. With the van iced up I walked with the dogs to the high hill top and over. On the other side all was hush. Not a breath of wind, and only distant calls of curlew and oystercatcher and ravens. We sat on the high rocks and watched the shadows shrink a little, thought  a lot, then home to finish colouring Hey Diddle Diddle.
 On the hill I found peace of mind in a swirl of thinking.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A moment, a thought, a memory.

On a school visit somewhere in Birmingham I sat before a class of children, opened "Can You See a Little Bear and almost began to read. A tug at my sleeve. Looking down a tiny child, black headscarf around her beautiful face.
"Can I sign for you?" she asked.
In her ear, a hearing aid.
"Please, " I answered.
I turned the pages. 
"Elephants are big, mice are small. Can you see a little bear standining on a ball? And here is my dog and her name is Floss...."
As I read I watched from the corner of my eye as her hands danced and spoke my words.
Now, a few years later she comes to mind and I wonder where she is now. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011


In something so small and very beautiful lies a story that stretches across an ocean to a land far away. It is a story of love, of craftsmanship, of beauty. When I sleep in my studio it comes to me in moments of dreaming. Time will tease it out. For me it began in Siop y Pobol, in St Davids. I wonder where it will end?