Taking a closer look at the mossy undergrowth.
current art adventures
A beautifully mysterious ivy covered workshop that joins onto the graveyard. Just oozes olde time charm.
(I would also like to state that I really don’t hang out in graveyards as much as this blog suggests. It’s just that every time I pass graveyards I seem to have a camera with me, and there just happens to be some great photo opportunities. Honestly.)
It’s been snowing recently.
When it was fresh it made an already beautiful landscape look quite picturesque. I get the feeling that as it begins to melt, as it begins to mix with mud and slushy footprints, it will become less so.
What with transportation somewhat delayed during the last couple of days, I have spent a lot of time watching snow fall and huddling in sheltered doorways. It is particularly beautiful at night, as snowflakes dance in the street lights like fireflies, drifting embers in the orange light. That oddly calming sense that overcomes you when you watch air currents billow is ever familiar.
A Canadian friend I met at university commented on how we British always seem ill equipped to deal with snow, year on year, and I am inclined to agree with her. Whereas countries that have a lot of snow face the weather donned with chains, ploughs and incredibly warm coats, we grind to a halt. Trains cancelled, schools closed, stocking up on tinned foods in a panic, and all at only a few inches of snow on the ground. My only guess is that we are unused to it, and don’t have the infrastructure in place to continue with our lives as normal.
For now, I am enjoying the delayed start to my days. Snow brings out the child in me, as it does most people. Snow angels, snow men, snow ball fights, and the steam of a hot cup of tea as you defrost in front of a fire.
One of my favourite makers recently is Susan Horth, who constructs exquisite animal and insect sculptures and jewellery pieces from woven wire and bead jewels. Each piece is stunningly detailed and surprisingly life-like. They seem so precious and intricate that time can easily slip away whilst you gaze at them. I am particularly fond of the little bee and lizard brooches.
Last month the weather was surprisingly sunny for September. Whilst I was hanging the washing out to dry in the garden, I spotted this little guy. Since I was just about to head out on a bike adventure my camera was close to had, to I had time to take a few shots before he took off. Now the weather seems to have firmly decided that it is winter, and most of the things I photograph seem to be soggy leaves and overcast skies; I am most definitely looking forward to when it becomes cold and dry and delightfully crispy.
It is no secret that I have a great fondness for foxes, and regular readers may remember several posts outlining or illustrating various reasons for this. Although it has been many months since I have mentioned them, do not assume that this is because I no longer think of them; it is merely because I cannot seem to find the time to make as many declarations of my love as I would like!
I have, however, been taking quite a few country walks recently, and these have given me some lovely quiet moments with a sketchbook. In true British summer style, the weather has been a little intermittent in the last few weeks, pouring with rain one moment and overflowing with warm sunshine the next, but on the dry occasions I have taken a few art essentials with me on my wanderings. There are some lovely worn footpaths which trace lines across fields of long grass and it is not uncommon to spot wild rabbits and deer in-between the occasional dog walker.
I quite often find a seat on a dry-stone wall or patch of mossy grass and fill a few pages with doodles and thoughts. The process verges on therapeutic, and these quiet moments are wonderful for planning new designs for my shop. Last week was perhaps a more obvious example of this, when I caught sight of a red fox along the edge of the wood across the field from me. Without my glasses on she looked like an orange smudge in the distance, but she slid into focus once I had retrieved them from my bag.
Perhaps she wasn’t used to humans, or perhaps she didn’t see or smell me sat upwind, or perhaps she simply did not care that I was there, but she came towards me in an unconcerned trot.
It was one of those instances when you daren’t move for fear or spoiling it, so I sat very still as she approached. She was a healthy fox, unlike the ones that has moved into my garden some years ago who had been covered in mange. She had a sleek coat, and a thick tail, although she was a little smaller than I had expected so I wondered if she were young, or if it were just because she was a vixen? I briefly wondered what she was doing out, being a nocturnal animal, but then decided it was relatively early in the morning and she may be on her way home for bed.
When she was about five meters away she caught sight of me and froze. We had one of those frozen and assessing moments, that seem to last longer when you’re involved in them than they do to those on the outside. Then she turned tail and melted into the shadows of the wood.
I had been thinking of heading back to my studio at that point, but instead I rummaged in my bag for my flask – for I sometimes bring a flask of tea with me on these occasions, never knowing if I will stay out longer. It is a lovely mustard coloured flask that came with a picnic set I got last winter in the sales, and I am very fond of it. Settling down with a cup of tea, I began another series of drawing of foxes. But once I had finished a few, I moved on to rabbits, who had been frolicking on the other side of the field during my drawing, and then an Eurasian Eagle Owl, which I had not seen, but had been on my mind a lot these days.
When the weather began to turn, I packed up my sketchbook and pencils and continued my walk home. Back at the studio, over another cuppa (raspberry and Echinacea herbal tea, this time, my favourite right now,) I coloured my drawings and scanned them in for preparation to transfer them onto tote bags for my etsy shop.
My weekend was well spent with a visit to Prinknash Abbey Deer and Bird Park. Being the nearest animal park to me and one that homes beautiful deer that eat from your hands, I have made a point to go to Prinknash as often as I can. This visit was, thankfully, full of sunshine and friendly birds. I fell in love with a peacock, and spent an hour drawing him in my sketch book, whilst he pranced about proudly in front of me. One of these doodles made it onto a tote bag and is for sale in my etsy shop.
I am working on some more of my deer doodles, planning on making a papercut or illustration from one or two of them.
I also have a great fondness for the goats at Prinknash, having spent well over thirty minutes stroking one lovely black and white goat who seemed to love the fuss. I wonder how much proper strokes they get, considering many children visit the park and tend of give a few giddy pats and squeal with delight when the goats eat from their hands.
I am hoping to upload my new drawings and designs this week, and have so many exciting plans in the making, so expect more animal inspired crafty goodies soon!