Wednesday, April 27, 2011

With or without, car stickers

Available by mailorder online from Solva Woollen Mill. ( Will have to email to order at the moment as they are so hot off the press they are not yet on the website.)

Sunday, April 24, 2011


In the afternoon I listened to The English Patient while I painted. There are moments in that film that I love so.

Time passing in colour.

I know when I am working well because I use the hour glass to count away the passing of time. I love its silent elegance of accounting. Sand falling steadily through glass. It has its own sense of poetry and gives me a peace of mind.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ancient stones on St Davids Head, Pembrokeshire

Early moring walking to work. Songbirds and sunshine and no one around appart from a sea gypsy, wandering from cove to cove in a kayak. I took my camera and the singing bowl and dogs and daughter. The air was summer scented again, warm for the time of year and the time of day.

Back home, painting, then potting up tomatoes and leek seedlings while cooking supper. And while I put small seedlings into pots I hear, for the first time this year, a cuckoo.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Further distractions

Todays distractions so far have been 
1. Up early and off to Porthgain to film 'ladies' rowing team. Many thanks to Ben for driving the little black boat and catching fish.
2. Off to see what a man is doing with canvas and wood. Very very exciting.
3. Down to the Mill to sign a book for Philippa. And the mill looks stunning, as do Alicia Mortlock's boots for babies. In fact they just looked so perfect!
4. Home via St Davids which was heaving with Easter people and to the supermarket where I bought all the wrong stuff which meant that when I got home I was roundly scolded by daughter = blissful mood shattered to fragments.
Must be time to paint.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Books

A parcel of books, Robin Hobb covers and Meg Lindholm. They look and feel good. And inbetween all the things like blogging and taking Hannah to doctors for jabs and shopping and trying to sort out money things I managed to do a few hours painting. When working on the rough for this years MBF card I wanted to do something more simple in design, and very much had Japan on my mind.  Soon off to Porthgain to film men in a boat. And still looking forward to working on new books by Hobb.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Some days are just like that.

Yesterday I meant to paint. I meant to put away distractions and paint and paint. The trouble is I have such fine distractions.
I meant to just walk to the high hill top but the air outside in the early morning was scented like air I remembered from holidays when I was a child. Vivid memories sparked by the smell of the air. As I walked up the hill with the dogs, thinking " I must get home and work" I saw buzzards circling high, gangs of assorted corvidae, jackdaw and rook and raven. I thought, maybe just over the hill, a little further. The air was soft silk on my skin, and still that seductive memory-air.
And over the hill there were wheatears flashing white arse, dusty blue feathered with cream underbellies. Beautiful. And linnets and grasshopper warblers and stonechat. Skylarks too. Across the sea bright white gannets, and where there are gannets there are usually porpoise, so, seduced by the morning I walked down to the sea.
And the sea was the deep blue colour of a peacock's eye and the cliffs were gold with lichen and sunlight. The bluebells are rising and I must go back, at least once a week or I will miss their flowering when they blush the cliffs blue. Among them the meadowsweet is just pushing through and wild honeysuckle tangles in the bracken. There were ponies.
Out on the water a fisherman lifted pots and seagulls flew rings around him, bound by greed or need, to the man. A seal watched him. Maybe a selkie. I watched them both.
Home past the City of Badgers where again the bluebells are rising beneath the small twisted blackthorn and down the green lane where tiny blossoms paint the floor like hailstones. Beneath Elmo's tree lie the small feathers of a songbird. At night it is the owl's tree. The feathers mark a successful hunting.
I took the film camera with me and filmed a few of the moments on my walk. The film is raw and uneditted and there are ponies.

Home to work and A Clash of Kings lies in a pool of sunlight on the bed in my studio, whispering to me and before I know it I am once more lost in its pages. And Jane Johnson tells me that there are two more Robin Hobb manuscripts, Rainwilds books, coming my way for new covers. ( Jane edits Robin Hobb and George Martin as well as writing her own books)

In the evening as I walked the dogs a red moon rose over the land. Deep red on rising, eerie, beautiful, it sang fear into the primitive heart of my soul. Not least unnerving was that despite the brightness of the copper disc there were no moon shadows. As she rose into the sky she paled to a deep moongold. 

I did do some work. Today I will try and do better. I am hoping to film Tom rowing this evening. He is off to the Scilly Isles soon for the World Gig Rowing Championships. One day I will go too to see all these beautiful gigs all gathered together in one place.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

List of a few things that need to be done

  1. Wash up
  2. Tidy up
  3. Paint  some, but not enough.
  4. Edit manuscript
  5. Pot up tomato plants
  6. Weed beds
  7. Walk dogs some, but not far enough. Instead of walking I took a book and sat on the hill and read a chapter of A Clash of Kings
  8. Stop doing things and listen to birdsong
  9. Sit in the sun and think
  10. Make coffee for Claire.
nb. Try and avoid picking up George RR Martin's A Clash of Kings until much later in the day.( Failed!) But I did paint a small dragon for friend's van.

And I did hear from Jane Johnson that there are two new Robin Hobb books that she has manuscripts for that will be needing new covers. City of Dragons and Blood of Dragons.

Friday, April 15, 2011


On the cliffs the thrift is beginning to blossom. Sea campion and squill also. 
Back home the Amur leopard is almost finished.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

A short leopard story

 Travel can be unsettling. A few days in Paris, a weekend in Derbyshire. All well and good but each time I seem to get into the swing of walking and working I flit off again and then have to settle. Add to this the fact that I am almost 50 and increasingly menopausal and some days painting doesn't go as it should! 
Take one leopard. So far through this painting and frustration with how it went was crippling my fingers and judgement to screaming point! Not quite bad enough to 'know' for sure it wasn't right and not good enough to go on with.
Sometimes when this happens I take a photo and look at the piece of a screen, or sneak off and then sneak up to it when it isn't looking. Is it me, or is it really not working? When does self doubt kick in and when am I just being to self critical, given that I would if time allowed rip everything up and paint it 20 times?
This time I put my rubbish painting on facebook and got back the very best and most precise crit that I have ever had for a piece of work, that was just so incisively 'right on the button' that I want to quote it here. Made me laugh so much! Many thanks Debra Morse, you star. Here is what she said:

'You know I think this piece is perfect as it is. It's obvious the leopard and swallow have had a bitchy fight. 'Eff you' is all over each of their faces. The piece is unfinished. The irritation is palpable. Even the tree is heaving a sigh.... the other swallow fled so abruptly as to leave a hole in the sky. You have captured the frustrated menopausal fatigue brilliantly. I say label it accordingly, and start a collection of raw bits of emotion captured in colors.'

So, having skirted around the piece all afternoon and tried and tried to redraw I returned to the original text and the original leopard, not an African leopard but an Amur leopard, rarest of all. Only 40 now are known to man in the wild. It could be that there are a few more, but only a handful. Wild leopard of heat and snow the Amur's coat changes in length from 2-7cms from summer to winter. By the time this book is published there may be none left in the wild forests where Russia borders China. Logging, farming, hunting, all have taken their toll.
Painting all day, having begun in the evening yesterday and she is a much more noble creature. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What my daughter is doing

I was a little shocked earlier this year when Hannah announced that she wanted to go to Peru for four weeks this summer with a company called World Challenge. First reaction? No way. Sadly ( or should I say, happily?) daughter has far too much of a mind of her own. She researched the trip and has been applying here and there for funding, has been saving all her money from her part time job, is plundering her savings and this weekend we went to Derbeyshire where she had a chance to meet some of the team she will be going with.
Amazing. Her team leader is an amazing and impressive woman as is the World Challenge organisation. Many of my fears were allayed by the talk, by meeting some of the other parents and by Hannah's whole approach to the trip.

As part of her fund raising she is doing a beach clean. It seemed a good way to benefit all round, and also something different. Walking on Whitesands Beach gives a small idea of some of the rubbish that washes up. The tideline is always dotted with tiny pearls of coloured plastic. On other beaches the detritus of man can be more overwhelming. The photos below were taken in 3 minutes on the beach at Ninewells. I have said that she can talk about her project on my blog, facebook etc. So, over to Hannah:

Hey Bloggers!

 As you may know, my mother is one Jackie Morris  and I am an AS student at Ysgol Dewi Sant, studying Art, English, History and religious Studies. This summer I am embarking on a World Challenge Expedition to Peru- Andes and Amazon.

    This expedition will not only be culturally enriching but will also develop skills in team work, co-operation and money management, and will be an invaluable educational experience as it will not only provide 70 UCAS points as it is ASDAN recognised, but will be the primary stimulus and inspiration for my A level art project.

    This project will entail trekking through the Andes and Amazon but more importantly beneficial community work in the community of Lima.

    As I fundraising activity, I am going to be doing a beach clean on the less accessible coastal beaches that you will have seen on mum’s blog, as every year much debris is washed up on them and never really gets cleared away. As most of them can only be accessed by boat. This will not only benefit the wildlife and local community, but I will also be donating half of the funds raised to Save The Children, who carry out projects globally, and of particular interest to me in Peru. Any support would be gratefully received.



 In order to gain access to the beaches, which are inaccessible from the land Voyages of Discovery are loaning Hannah a skipper and a boat. Ffion, the skipper, is loaning her a dry suit and she will have to jump overboard and swim ashore then bag up as much rubbish as she can and swim it back to the boat. With luck she will be able to clear much of the plastic, and most importantly the bits of netting and wires that tangle the seal pups that will be born on the beaches later in the year.
If you would like to sponsor Hannah please send cheques, made out to Hannah Stowe, to c/o Chris and Julie at The Moshulu Shoe Shop, New Street, Paris House, St Davids, SA62 6SN.


The Seal Children: Part 1.

Remastered film of The Seal Children intro. This story grew out of many small springs of ideas, possibly the first being hearing a story on Radio 4, by Kevin Crossley Holland, a retelling of a traditional story of Selkies. I became fascinated by these tranformative seal faery folk of legend.
The next film will be of the original manuscript and sketchbooks and then I hope to do a reading of the stroy with pictures.
In the autumn I will take the camera to the seal beaches and get film of the pups and mothers and their eerie songs.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Yesterday I learnt how to blow a sheepdog whistle.
Today I painted a small cheetah and a small snowleopard for the 'I am Cat' book.
Small progress, but better than none.

Signing Books at Solva Woollen Mill, Pembrokeshire, Early Spring.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Inside out 3

Outside clouds kissing hills, pearl gray light, white blackthorn blossom, jackdaw caw and magpie chatter and raven cronk, the wind building. Chiff chaffing in the bushes.
Inside, hot plains, ostriches, cheetahs.
Almost finished, not quite. Just letting it settle with the cat and the moon.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Red food

In the garden there are still beetroots that have survived the winter, in the ground. And in my cookbook from Druidstone Hotel, a wonderful vibrant recipe.

4 beetroots, roasted and grated
300gms of Greek Yoghurt, thick, creamy
3 tablespoons of fresh squeezed sharp lemon juice
a handful of tasted, chopped walnuts
a couple of tablespoons of olive oil
one clove of finely chopped garlic
and always
black pepper.

I roast the beets in olive oil with some black pepper because I love the smell of the dark ruby roots and the cracked black peppercorns. There is something wonderful and jewel like about the grated beets. All you have to do is stir all the things together and then I find if you make it the day before and keep in fridge the taste is more wonderful and the colour is a feast for the eyes. 

Seedlings are sprouting up in the raised beds and I am wondering if I will have enough of everything, do I need more raised beds, should I just dig up the whole garden and plant food?

In Wales vegetables can be dangerous creatures so we keep them caged, or maybe this is just to keep the cats off the raised beds!