Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Too much to do.

2. Work on roughs to fill them empty space. Lavender's blue, a little nut tree, the cat that went to London.
3. Draw out A Swarm of Bees in May.
4. Take Tom to get his lift to the Scilly Isles for World Gig Championship.
Oops. Dropped Tom off then five minutes later heard a strange sound. Mobile phone ringing. "Where are my tickets for the steamship to Scilly's?" I am a bad bad mother. Boy and tickets untied and many thanks to Andy for being more on the ball than me!
5. Go to Celtic Vision in Narberth to retrieve camera from the Celtic Camera Shaman who has put camera through the wash.
6. Read, for at least 30 minutes.
7. Try and catch a giant panda.
8. Take the black dog of doubt that snarls and growls in your head out for a walk and run him ragged until you know again that you can do this, all of this, even if parts of the list roll over onto another day, that you will find images for every blank page in the nursery rhymes book, that the words will gather for the story of the lost child and the giant panda, that an idea will form in the mind's eye for the Christmas card design, for the cards, for the book cover.
9. Watch the swallows fly in and out of the barns at Glyn's.
10. Make list.
11. Get packing for print and send the bear and a couple of books to the lovely lady of song across the water.

Already distracted from my list of 'to do todays', at the end of this post I am going to put a 'done' list!

Meanwhile, walking the dogs on the airfield I tried to hold thoughts in my head but cowslips and day dreams wandered away with my good intentions.

There were footprints again, of a diaphonous creature. Perhaps it is a Silk Dragon. Perhaps the Silk Dragon sleeps during the day, feeding only on the songs of the skylarks that fill the sky today. Perhaps at night the Silk Dragon wakes and protects the slumbering larks in their nests of tall grass, from weasel and stoat, from owl and from fox, so that they rest and can sing the following day. 
Perhaps I should do some work now, but then maybe this is what books are made from, tha random daydreams of a wandering mind.

Almost ran a black dog over on the way back from St Davids. Ah, the irony! Glad I didn't.

Things that I have done today.
1. Signed vat forms and sent cheque in the post. Now maybe, just maybe, I am up to date and life can get back to normal, but it has been a long and expensive experience that I have not enjoyed.
2. Paid electricity bill.
3. Walked dogs, heard skylarks, watched swallows, heard grasshopper warblers in twilight.
4. Made discs of image Linda M Smith and put in the post and listened to Artemisia.
5. Gone to supermarket and bought stuff.
6. Washed up and made supper and fed remains of nettles to dogs.
7. Mused on dragons with footprints of silken thread soaked with early morning dew.
8. Tidied up a bit, but not much.
9. Made another list and mused on all of the things on the earlier list that are not yet crossed out.
10. Had heart lifted by the silhoette of woman riding a bear across a twilit star dotted sky above my beautiful house.

Findings, looking.

Early morning painting, thinking. 

1. Make list.
2. Stretch paper.
3. Paint  for at least 6 hours.
4. Walk dogs to a different beach.
Walking the cliffs in Pembrokeshire, the air like cold silk on the skin, sky like the underbelly of a fish and wimbrel, cormorant, oystercatchers fighting the wind, ravens and a seal watching as I sit among thrift, seacampion and squil to write about pandas. Then home to lions and unicorn and bees.
5. Roughs, for Christmas cards, for nursery rhymes.
6. Take children to school, collect same children, take Tom rowing, sit for a while and watch the sea.
7. Don't forget to look for the poetry in every day life.

A small clutch of dragon eggs, from a Flower Dragon.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The world is full of nursery rhymes.

The world is full of nursery rhymes. On the way back from London I drove past Banbury Cross, near Gloucester ( though it was not raining so no fear of large puddles), past a very crooked house where a crooked cat may have lived and there were most certainly mice, and last night, had I been wearing a hat, there were bats enough to fill it.

Last year I drove past here and the window was full of cats.( scroll down the page to find the pictures from Hay, around 25th May) The flower border shows how the house was once much loved.

Yesterday was a settling back into work day, a walking in sunshine day, a finding words that had been forgotten and remembering day, a painting day. On the way home from collecting Tom from rowing there were owls. The first slow flapped in a hush winged ghost flight across wind bent hedges. The second sat beside the road, owl eyed, bright white in a crown of black branched trees that had grown through the ruin of an old house. Curious, he watched us until the hunt called to his blood and he spread wings wide and sailed away.
Now the day begins in a misty moisty morning and the damp air is full of the whirl of grasshopper warblers, chiffchaff and blackbirds ( perhaps four and twenty, but not baked in a pie), and today is a painting lion and unicorn day.


On the beach today:
More of the tattered feathers of Icarus
A few pale tears from a mermaid's eye
Sea the colour of a herring gull's wings
Shifting drawings in the sand made by the sea's restless hand
Oystercatchers like dancers
Seaweed coloured like flames
A  child's glove
A close mist that stole the edge of the world. 

One, two, three, four, five
Once I caught a fish alive.
Sis, seven, eight, nine, ten
Then I let him go again. 


For Robin, for his birthday tomorrow, notes in the back of a moleskine notebook.

Looking for notes on a story about a panda I found something else, dated April 2006.

From another room
Quietly you say,
"I love you."

Out of the blue.

I ask to know
Where this "I love you" was born
And you say,
" Watching the steam rise from a cup of tea,
Listening to the radio, and
The music I heard yesterday."
This is the poetry of everyday conversation.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A realistc list?

1. Find camera.
2. Kids to school.
3. Walk dogs.
4. Paint for at least 6 hours.
5. Pick kids up from school.
6. Look for giant panda.
7. Gather poems, leopards, dragons, whales and bears and take to Porthgain to pick Tom up ( with camera if found).
8. Try and do at least 2 roughs for nursery rhymes. 3 would be better.
9. Think about Christmas.
10. Make list.

St George's Day.

The day was so beautiful that it took a while to drive from Robin's house to my parents' house in The Cotswold Hills.
It was St George's Day. As a lover of dragons I have never been a fan of St George. I drove a small detour to photograph the war memorial at Stanton. On the back, in dappled light, an inscription.

These men from what had been a small, close village died in France, Eygpt and Gallipoli. This is where pacifism becomes confused for me as I can only feel grateful that they died so that I can have the future that I have and yet I hate the folly of war. Sometimes, perhaps, there is no alternative.

In my father's garden the light shines through a beautiful red tulip.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Notes from the city.

Walking in early morning light. By the river a great gray heron and pure white delicate egret.
At the railway station a man on the phone. "I'm just going to have to go with this and put my head in the tiger's mouth," he said.
In a field beside the train track someone is growing redundant golf buggies.
At Euston black clad commuters like rooks move too fast toward the exit and my heart begins to beat in urban panic. I feel out of place, a shadow in a crowd. Then I see a poster of a leaping clown and heart lifts again.

At the V&A the exhibition of quilts is astonishing. Seeing the Rajah Quilt face to face is like meeting something really famous. So delicate, so beautiful. Fine stitches worked on a dark prison ship by young hands.
Walking back through the sculpture gallery I see a tiger with a man's head in his mouth.

Meeting with Frances Lincoln and we talked about the Nursery Rhymes book and I Am Cat and I met all the wonderful people who work so hard to sell the books both here and abroad. Far more positive than meetings had been in the past. And we talked about a story that I had jotted down notes for a few years ago, about a panda.
On the way back to the tube station a black cat crossed my path.
On the tube on the way back to Euston a woman snoozed. Her shopping bag was the same bright daffodil yellow as her shoes.
From the train a brief glimpse of a rider on a white horse in an emerald green field.
Back at Robin's and I wonder, did the man put his head into the tiger's mouth?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Author Blog Awards.

I am packing the car, with three hares, a dancing bear, a running cheetah and a red fox, two cats, a lion, a unicorn, some dragons and a bag of clothes and heading for foreign lands. Tomorrow the quilt exhibition at the V&A. My head is full up with the sun, moon and stars and a wish for wings and a deep desire to draw and I am not sure I should be allowed out on my own. But I do have a big pair of sunglasses, so no one will recognize me, now that I am famous and this blog is a runner up in the Author Blog awards.
Thanks everyone who voted. You have made my day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Things that are yellow

Primroses, palest blush with dark centre. Delicate petals, each year a few more flowers soften the stone wall.
Celandine stars that herald the coming of spring, gaudy yellow.
Gorse that scents the air to honey coconut texture of warm summer days.
Cowslips standing tall above the grass where skylarks rise into clear blue.
Golden grasses like Rapunzel's hair.

And a field of fading daffodils, grown for bulbs, not flowers, looking beautiful still but ragged and worn in the dry dusty field.

Walking with the dogs I think of how with a single word you can summon a whole story to mind, and if you know that story the whole tale will tell itself in seconds in your mind. And I am thinking of Rapunzel, and all these golden things touched by King Midas when I find, in the grass, the footsteps of a strange diaphanous creature, caught in the grass.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Early morning dew.

Cowslips and skylarks, sunshine and shadows, early morning dew and racing dogs.

Home now and hoping to settle to working and thinking, washing up, making lunch, supper, walking dogs again, in the twilight woods to the pebble beach this time, while the evening chorus of bird song sings the sun to sleep and the moon to rise.


Sunday, April 18, 2010


Things that are white.
Lichen on stones. 
Blackthorn blossom unfurling on dark spiked branches.
The thin crescent of the moon in the early evening sky.
Ponies on the hill.
My neighbour's house.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thinking about work.

Counted the stars into the night sky beside a lazy sea. The crescent moon played with the sleepy waves and stars shone back into the sky reflected by the mirror beach. As I walked I wandered how many miles it was to Babylon and whether you could get there before it was time to light the candles, if your feet were nimble. Even the scent of the air was beautiful, the taste of a star filled night beside the seabecame the definition of exquisite.

Feeling lost without my Nikon

My camera is at the camera doctors being cleaned and I am bereft. Or would be if Robin hadn't bought me a small camera for Christmas, a Pentax Optio WS80 that is waterproof and does hi-def film. New toy. Also does panoramas! Meanwhile Robin suggested the best thing for old camera was a good going over with a Dyson and Ivan in Narberth ( or the Celctic Camera Shaman as I like to call him) made lots of teeth sucking noises but was so delighted with the amount of use the camera has had. I have worn away all of the symbols on the back with constant use.

Todays list.
1. Try and be nicer to people when work isn't going as it should be, especialy to Robin who has taken stuff from garden to dump and washing to washing lady ( who looks nothing at all like Mr Toad) thus freeing me up to do some work.
2. Draw a page of words to practise hand lettering for nursery rhymes.
3. Finish black and white sample.
5. Read for at least half an hour.
6. Sit in the garden in the sunshine and look at the clear and unadulterated blue sky.
7. Do at least two more roughs for rhymes.
8. Go back to previous list and cross a few things off.
9. Do facebook invite for Art in Action. ( Haven't I seen that one before?)
10. Write list.

A sample drawing of black and white work to take to publisher next week.

Sing, sing, what shall I sing?
The cat's run away with the pudding string. 
Do, do, what shall I do?
The cat has bitten it quite in two!

I love little pussy.
Her coat is so warm.
And if I don't hurt her
She'll do me no harm.

Playing with the camera, looking north out from my studio.

 And south, towards St Davids.