Sunday, 22 July 2018

Just Sitting Here, Waiting for Autumn...


'Pumpkin in Blue Chiffon'

Lots of folks just love it.
I dread the beginning and long for the end of it.
That may sound a tad melodramatic but that's me.
Excuse me while I hold the back of my hand to my head and look ethereal :o)
This summer has been such a strange one, all over the world ; too much dry, too much heat, too much rain in some parts.
The mountains we can see over yonder, are always green, endless green.
This month they looked like Arizona in a heat wave (I must say, I have no idea what that would really look like, I'm just guessing), everywhere was yellow, dry, wispy parched.
It no longer looked or felt like North Wales.
It was weird.
And so very wrong.

Our water comes from a natural spring, way up in the mountains and feeds down to a gravity-fed tank, then to our taps.
Each day we searched the sky for rain, weeks go by and you see it not coming.
We were waiting for the day when our beautiful water maiden dried up.
We have no other water supply.
Droughts are a scary thing up here.
So far, she has been doing a great job, slower, but still there.
We have left roses for her at the source, she deserves so much more.

So, you see what I mean about Summer...
And so, the pumpkins come out.
Not really real pumpkins, just the ones I have painted or made over the years.
It comforts me to know that Autumn is crawling ever nearer and they can come and play.
So, for a while I will be getting everyone (who cares) into the spirit of the next season by showing you my pumpkins :o)
Here is the first, this pumpkin fell in love with a blue chiffon scarf and wrapped itself up in it.
They did not want to be parted and so I painted them enveloped in their friendship.
Even though the pumpkin was well past its prime, and had lumps and age spots, it still danced beautifully.
This one is painted in acrylics on canvas.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

How To Grow a Rose Faerie

Okay so maybe not actually grow a's my artistic license coming out and waiving itself about, so bear with me...

I have been asked how I 'come up' with ideas 'where does the inspiration come from?'
I will let you into a little secret...I never come up with any ideas and I do not have any inspiration at all...naaah, that isn't true...the opposite is.
I can never ever shut off my damn brain and ideas for subjects to create are everywhere, always pulling at my clothes and nattering in my ears...they are doing it right now, telling me to move away from this evil machine and go and create something!
So, before they pull me into their dark, mysterious lair, I will share how this little lady came about...

1. Find a willing model...this is quite easy as the Fae are naturally vain and love to be sketched, if you do it quickly! If you're too slow, then forget it!
This lovely lady was sketched out on a big sheet of A3 paper with lovely black charcoal which we both enjoyed smudging and then getting covered in it.
She later washed herself in the birdbath...:o)

I then completely forgot about the sketch and went and created something else...
(I think it was either a miniature hatbox or an Art Doll...see what I mean)

I found this sketch tucked away behind the cupboards where it was covered in cobwebs, that's how long she had been forgotten...that's why she looks a little accusingly at me :o)
2. Find a pretty flower...this should be easy, there are plenty around...but not in the hay fever season oh no, because of the nasty pollen...and winter is a little too harsh for many flowers to poke their noses that leaves the spring and autumn...but this is Wales, it rains most of the time...spring is always soggy and everything is droopy with rain...okay, so spring is out, that leaves autumn...nope, by then I have forgotten about wanting to paint a flower and am painting pumpkins instead...sigh...and another sigh...
So, look through your photo's and see if you can find one which will do for inspiration instead! :o)
No, stop looking at all of those other pics, you're looking for a flower, maybe a nice rose, not pictures of your children when they were little and very cute...sigh.
So, after a while you may find something which might do, if you squint at it, or use a lot of imagination...

This is Gertrude, not the most beautifully named but she smells divine :o)

So, now we have a model and a flower...what shall we do with them?

No.3 Try to fit your subjects together into a pleasing composition
Okay, sorry, that sounded like 'art speak' and we don't allow that here...
Because my charcoal sketch is big and I want to paint a small A4 picture I am going to have to get the old sketchbook out and see if the Fae will come and sit on the rose.
Easier said than done...although as the rose is so sweet smelling she eventually consented and it didn't turn out too badly. (Who needs critics when you can do it yourself?)
The sketch is now A4 and done with pencil, so that the lines are clearer-ish, (I never can stay tidy), so we are about to reach the next stage...unless some little squirrel in very shiny Armour comes by, then we will be off somewhere else with the Fae and this will become yet another forgotten painting (I should know, those armoured squirrels have sucked me into their dark wormholes many times).

 No.4 Decide which media to use... 
Although I love painting in oils best, for this picture I thought watercolours would be nice so everything in the sketch was copied onto watercolour paper and tucked away in a file to keep it nice and clean and away from cobwebs...can you see there's a pattern here?...
Then I went outside to play with the squirrel knight...

No.5 Remember the painting you started ages ago...
So, you're looking for something to do and because you don't know what you want to start, you go around tidying up your workspace...
And guess what you find?
Not just this picture but loads of other UFOs (Un-finished objects), just lying there in a box, who would have guessed there would be so many lovely things all ready for you to paint?
So, you say cheerio to Sir Squirrel de Wormhole and make a cup of tea and try to choose which one you fancy painting...
Because there is a rather pouty-looking faerie glaring from a big rose, you decide you should maybe choose her... and so the painting begins...after you have found a cookie to go with your cup of tea...

Almost finished, just a little blushing of the cheeks to do ;o)

I use old rescued plates and dishes as palettes, hence the rather fancy gold-rimmed painting equipment! he he he :o)

So, there we are, she just needs a little more eye-liner and she's good to go...I think...maybe I should add a little more shading here and there?
Maybe a little more green on the leaves or more creases on the petals?
Can you have too much paint?
Or, maybe I should just be happy that this one is finished at last...and she isn't looking too grumpy, well, not for the Fae anyway...

Do you think she has forgiven me yet?

Now I really must get my squeaky Armour oiled up...Sir Squirrel awaits...
I may be some time...:o)

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Invictus...or trying to keep your spirits up...

I am battling with myself at the moment, I don't want to get all heavy with details as I do not want to be known as the 'miserable blogger'...I don't want to be that guy. ;o)

As we all know misery loves company and I do not think it fair to share mine with you, so in that spirit I will try to be uplifting.
One night last week I was having fitful sleep and as I tossed and turned, lines from the poem Invictus rolled around my head.
Next morning I re-read the poem and began to smile...some part of me, or from outside of me, was trying to help.
I am feeling a little better now, I am in a good place and I am feeling stronger.
We all have those Dark Nights and can find ourselves in a place of sadness from time to time.
I thought I would share the poem with you in the hope that it may help, if you too visit that place of sorrow.

A strange thing happened shortly afterwards...
I was contacted by know, the type of person who has nothing to say to you for years and years and then sends messages of misery.
If this message had arrived at a dark time for me, I do not know what I would have done.
Thankfully, it arrived later.
And like the poem says...
'I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul...'

William Ernest Henley is still a fascinating character, his life was so full.
He was also the inspiration for 'Long John Silver', (seriously, how cool is it, that he was also a pirate?), Robert Louis Stevenson was his friend and wrote the character based on him, because of his inner strength (it helped that he also had a wooden leg) :o)
Henley's little daughter was also the inspiration for 'Wendy' in Barrie's play Peter Pan.
Margaret would call Barrie 'Fwendy'...sadly she did not live to see the play, but, like Peter Pan, little Margaret lives on...she has become immortal...
What more could we wish for? :o)

So, remember, you are the master of your fate.
You...are the captain of your soul...
And I shall return soon with some pretty pictures...:o)
Bye for now...