Monday, May 30, 2011

Beautiful Distractions

The day began with walking the dogs ( and Elmo). I then became trapped in the garden. I was distracted by:

potting seeds, salad leaves and coriander,



planting tomatoes and watching the butternut squash grow,


hanging up washing in sunshine,



Tirion's flowers, planted in my garden by her dad, because they are her favorite and reminded her of him.
Finally I made it into my studio where I drew for a while, before becoming distracted by blogging, taking in the dry washing, planting out the baby leeks and weeding one of the raised beds.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Distractions no 4

I met Kevin and Claire through rowing. I think we had moved to the area at a similar time. Kevin was running Sigma and I talked about getting a van and having it wrapped and he said he wanted things for his campsite and we wandered off in different directions.
We came back together again. 
Kevin and Claire have the most beautiful camp site in Abercastle.
Now they also have a yurt and teepee manufacturing company.

And we have done this:

The images are from Starlight Sailor, written by James Mayhew, published in US and UK by Barefoot Books. 
Not quite finished, as Kevin is dressing the yurt up like a dream, but some time in the next couple of weeks I will get more photos. And I am looking forward to working on more with Kevin and Gary and Claire. And teepees. Because Kevin is giving me something I have always wanted, a teepee and next year, with his help, I will dress it in a new skin, with wolves and hares.

Meanwhile I am looking forward to spending a night or two in a yurt just reading and listening to the wind in the leaves and the birds in the trees, watching the light fade out of a day and back in again and seeing the stars and the turning world.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Distractions no 3

There are many ways to distract myself from work. I bought an iPad this week and went online to try and find a case, but all that I could find were masculine, functional and ugly. So I decided to make my own. One thing leads to another and now I find that I have a shop at Cafe Press, and it is to become the gift shop for The House of Golden Dreams. As time goes on the stock will grow, and it can also grow by request, so, if you see an iPhone cover but have a blackberry, just email to request something.
I haven't yet bought anything from cafe press but hope to get badges made in time for Art in Action and iPad cover when I can decide what I want on it. And with luck I will put a whole range of things on to coincide with the launch of the Cat and the Fiddle.

Studio, Thursday.

On my desk today, cats and owls.
Yesterday I took Pixie to the vet. She is the star of my book, I am Cat, that I am working on. Her face will be on the cover. She told me what to write and the cat curl dreaming is ammonite Pixie. But, she has been ill off and on for a few years now. She has colds that she can't shake and no amount of anti-biotics seems to shift it. For a while I stopped treating her, but yesterday took her again to the vets. Such a sorry state she was in, it did not seem fair. And she is such a dear and beautiful small creature.
By the time I got to the vets she was not only crusted with snot but had been sick in the cat basket. She hates cars. Moira was unsure what we could do next but decided to just throw everything at her.Nothing to loose. Pixie couldn't go on like this. 
So, I came home with the prospect of having to work on a book built around the memory of yet another dear, beautiful dead cat.

At this moment though Pixie is in my studio, curled on my knee. I have not heard her sneeze once today yet. She does not smell. She is not completely clear with her breathing, but so much better.
And I have hope.
I want I am Cat to be a celebration of her, and her brother, Maurice ( I miss him so much it hurts) and not a memorial to them.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

He sings his song in May.....

Walking at the airfield today and there were so many skylarks. We heard a churring sound, like a blackbird alarm call, but different. A little way on a bird was being chased over the commonland, calling again. It was a cuckoo, female. The sound we had heard was the cuckoo's alarm call.

Soon I will be moving my blog, taking it in to my website and gathering in the cat blog too, and blogging on wordpress. A new start for me, lots more learning, but hopefully a good change.

My daughter teaching me how to do films better!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday, Monday

Too many things are getting in the way of working today, including the mess of kingfishers and tigers, hares and wolves that have take up residence on my desk. My thoughts hide within porcelain eggs one minute and the next they are running and sleeping with wolves, hunting with a lynx in the snow watched by an owl, and then flying over the Rainwilds with a red dragon.
Meanwhile, downstairs I have a lovely desk that is waiting to nest and I have a determination to not fill it up with rubbish.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I am Cat, progress.

First and second spreads of 'I am Cat', to be published next autumn by Frances Lincoln. When thinking of books I think of the turn of the page, where the spine is, a balance for words and much more. And before the painting of the sleeping cat there is the cover, the end paper, the title page. The words for both spreads read....
I am Cat. At night I prowl, but in the day I sleep, curled in warm places, ammonite tight. And when I sleep I dream. 
I dream that I roam deep in the jungle, bright flame cat of the forest, striped like light, like shadow, sun scorched.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Creeping up on a tiger

Walking in search of the golden dancing iris at the airfield. There were ponies and foals and butterflies and orchids, skylark and linnets and the constant song of a calling cuckoo.
Back home. I have been illustrating now for almost 30 years and still I find the tyranny of the white page a strange torture. I have stalked toward this tiger for about three weeks, creeping up, hiding behind paintings of foxes, wolves, trying to catch the tiger while it was unaware . Now the piece is started, so the page is no longer blank, white, waiting. And now I just think, ah well, there's still time to spoil it.
So what is it about this process that I enjoy?
And what is behind the tiger that I am still stalking?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A dream

Some years ago I had a vivid dream of six kingfishers. It was bright with colour, and when I woke that is what I remembered. The sketch from teh dream lingered as a memory for a couple of years. Now I am trying to make it real.
But all of these owl and kingfisher paintings are just distractions from work. I should be painting cats and working on East of the Sun and West of the Moon.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Art in Action: Will be there again this year.


Working steadily, quietly through the day on a large piece to take to Art in Action. I want to try and catch the last light of day or the first light of day in the feathers of an owl's wings.
How much does a title change the way a painting is seen.
I could call this:
Barn Owl
or I could call it
Hushwing, Bellvoice.
Or I could call it 
Soft Wings Silence Song.
It needs gold leaf, moongold I think. I will work on it a little more then finish it at Art in Action in July. Until then it will sit in my studio and I will watch and wonder, if the owl gets a meal, if the wren escapes to sing another day.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Facebook, foxes, inspiration and owls.

Many people criticize Facebook. It has its problems, doesn't always work as it should, reminds me always that I have a fat belly ( thanks for that facebook! every time I look at my wall! with it's specially chosen facebook adds). At the end of the day it is free.
And I have found that from facebook I have been able to connect with other people who are sometimes like minded, sometimes not. I have been able to make a closer link with my peers. I have found a supportive community of people and there have been times when I have been inspired by facebook, for example when Kathryn Evan's son Archie said that while he believed in faeries he didn't believe in foxes because he had never seen one! The result was the painting of The Strawberry fox.


Sometimes I feel challenged by the opinions of some people, often I find links to beautiful things, always I find that my time becomes tangled in the world of others and very often I find inspiration, so, my thanks to both Jane Hill and Richard Mabey. Jane posted a response to something I had written.

"from Richard Mabey's 'Nature Cure'. The book I was reading this morning, a description of seeing a barn owl at dusk: " it was winnowing the grass, threshing it for food. i could see the last light from the west shining through its wings, marking out the dense primaries from the almost translucent trailing feathers. it seemed at that moment to have four wings, two in the day and two in the night...."

 It reminded my that walking and watching and sometimes standing still and watching is good for the soul, and has drawn me back to the depiction of owls.


Other things I have done with facebook:
bought books recommended by others,
sold books,
met people,
cemented friendships,
learnt things, 
wasted time,
talked nonsense,
invited people to events and exhibitions,
seen things of beauty.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Things that are beautiful.

New green growth on a stunted holly tree, sharp leaf spikes, coloured deep green.
The skin surface of the sea swaying and wind wrinkled.
The smell of sunshine on wild ponies.
Sea campion, white, delicate.
Bluebells on the cliffs by the sea, their colour bleeding down, dark marine, into the green stems.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Walking to try and clear my head and saw seals, buzzards, red fox, stonechat, ravens, fulmar, linnets, skylark, martin, swallow and swift, foxgloves, tormentil, marsh orchids and bluebells. Rich.

Trying to tidy up my desks, my room, my head, but instead I am wandering around other people's creative spaces on facebook.


Walking to work: sunshine and seals

Monday, May 9, 2011

Kitsune: Or, the daughter of the Winter Queen and her fox.

Last night I ran away from the house and sat in my van by the sea and sketched, leaving children watching Harry Potter. Peace. I think I must take after my grandfather who would retreat to the chicken shed with cake and talk to the chickens. My van is like a mobile shed. The sunset beautiful, pale moon gold with big waves.

Today working away and sometimes it goes well and for moments I enjoy what I am doing but most the time it just won't look like the image that lives inside my mind. So I take a photo, to look at the piece in another way. And I think.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dragons and Horses

A long list of things to do was interrupted by visitors today. Tea in the garden with hot crossed buns and apples for the four footed, then off they went, although they found the dragon van to be a curious creature.


Wild and windy, washing on the line and walking. Blue bells and the silver sea. And in between everything, painting and thinking.