Posted on

The Cabin – Dreaming

The Cabin of Quercy
The Cabin of Quercy

A cabin on a wooded hillside with cicadas all day long; the forest song. Heat, there the sun beats. The sun beats and the grasses are dry, bleached. A hawk tilts over, dark and long against the blue. Then a kestrel. Drowsy butterflies drift over our glade – scarce swallowtails, white admirals, dryads. There are bush crickets. capricorn beetles, dragonflies patrol at dragonfly hour – ‘horse stingers’, ‘snake doctors’. Stag beetles emerge horns upright, haphazardly in search.

Cicada
Cicada
In the Scrub
In the Scrub
Outside the Cabin
Outside the Cabin

It’s the hour of the bat, or perhaps of the nightjar churring from a tall oak in the scrub. churring softly Softing churring – the purr of an engine.

The Nightjar Tree
The Nightjar Tree

Owl hour, the tawnies are about. The moon rises, a biscuit moon, buttery, warm, almost whole. Night.

In the little cabin, off grid in southern France in July, we immersed ourselves in nature, reading, writing and visiting the local palaeolithic cave art. It was a sort of retreat. The world above – the sun, the wood, the cicadas, the deer, the badgers, the moon. The world below – roots, caverns of calcite sculpted over time by the hands of water and ice; an underworld of beautiful beasts solitary or shifting in silent herds painted thousands of years ago.

Living was simple; drinking filtered water, washing in a bucket, cooking on a ring using a gas cylinder. I had time to think, time to dream, time to watch spiders weave intricate webs;

Spider Web
Spider Web
In the Hammock
In the Hammock

time to watch Jupiter rise in the south; time to revel in the constellations; time in the hills with the trees; time to contemplate deep time, listening to the sunlight through trees,

Morning Light Through Trees
Morning Light Through Trees

dreaming in gold and sweat. Dreaming in thunder.

We swan in the River Lot

Swimming in the River Lot
Swimming in the River Lot

and in the River Cele with butterflies on the bank for company.

Swallowtails and Scarce Swallowtails
Swallowtails and Scarce Swallowtails

I sat out at night in a storm while the sky ripped itself into shreds of white light and warmth came up from the earth all around. And it rained thick pillars of rain. So immediate it was, in the midst of it all – wood, hillside, storm, then darkness, the moon’s shadow and the milky way.

And on our last night the moon became shy and subdued into shadow. Red and warm bloodied it pulsed like an embryo in its swathe of sooty cloud, the longest lunar eclipse of the century.

Eclipse - Painting on Wood.
Eclipse – Painting on Wood.

The retreat was wonderful, relaxing, a little hot. Now, with all the images and the experience inside me I want to respond somehow – painting, writing, drawing… new projects.

I have written a piece for TOAST magazine – Time in the Limestone Hills.

Thoughts
  • Interesting (0)
  • Like this (0)
Posted on

Havergate Hare

Hare Cleaning on Havergate Island

Hare on Havergate IslandWhile on Havergate Island last year, I had plenty of opportunities to watch, study and photograph the island’s hares. It was a pleasure.

A full moon shimmered on the waters of The Narrows.

Havergate Island Moon

On returning, I drew this picture, called “Havergate Hare”. It is now a greetings card available on my Folksy shop :)

Havergate Hare

Thoughts
  • Interesting (0)
  • Like this (0)
Posted on

Swan and Moon

Sifting through my blog images my attention was caught by my swan illustration created for the inside of a bottle that was tossed into the Atlantic last year. I haven’t heard from anyone who may have found it – yet. Anyway, I thought about the swan image and decided to redraw the picture without the words and experiment with it in photoshop, overlaying it with a photograph of a misty sunset over the River Adur.

Here is the result:

Swan and Moon

My thoughts turn to why I drew swans flying at night in the first place. I recall that they migrate at night, navigating by the stars. Am I right? Are they migrating now?

A quick check confirms that some swans migrate. They fly by day and by night and when they fly by night, they learn to navigate by the stars. Mute swans were sacred to the Greek God, Apollo, as the bird was known as a symbol of light.

I am also reminded of the lovely Celtic myth of Aengus, the God of Dreams, who falls in love with a girl he sees in a dream. After much searching the girl is found and she is called Caer. Each alternate year Caer becomes a swan. Aengus can only claim her if he can identify her amongst a hundred swans which is what he does. But to join her, he too transforms himself into a swan. They then fly away together singing such beautiful music that all who hear them succumb to a deep sleep.

Thoughts
  • Interesting (0)
  • Like this (0)
Posted on

Latest painting

Kissing the Blue Moon

Another painting. I wanted to continue with the dark blue aqua colours and include leaves and scrim for textures and gold dust to give a shimmer. Initially I just did the head and moon but it looked a bit disembodied so I outlined a body. I didn’t want to fill the body in, just leave it as a vague linear figure. I’m not sure it works!

Earth & I Gave You Turquoise

Earth and I gave you turquoise
when you walked singing
We lived laughing in my house
and told old stories
You grew ill when the owl cried
We will meet on Black Mountain

I will bring corn for planting
and we will make fire
Children will come to your breast
You will heal my heart
I speak your name many times
The wild cane remembers you

My young brother’s house is filled
I go there to sing
We have not spoken of you
but our songs are sad
When Moon Woman goes to you
I will follow her white way

Tonight they dance near Chinle
by the seven elms
There your loom whispered beauty
They will eat mutton
and drink coffee till morning
You and I will not be there

I saw a crow by Red Rock
standing on one leg
It was the black of your hair
The years are heavy
I will ride the swiftest horse
You will hear the drumming hooves.

From the book In The Presence of the Sun by N. Scott Momaday

Thoughts
  • Interesting (0)
  • Like this (0)
Posted on

New Year

Woman Moon BirdA quiet end to the year, a year of reflecting, writing and blogging. I stood on the balcony when the pips struck twelve and watched as hundreds of orange lanterns took to the skies. One floated quite close by from the garden next door to join the magical scene. And then fireworks on the horizon bursting forth above the silhouettes of roofs and chimneys. It was so mild compared to the recent snowy spell; I was just in a light long sleeved top.

The New Year has started well. We saw friends who took home some of my recent paintings and were curious about some of my early stuff. It was fun bringing out from storage, a large red painting that I haven’t seen or thought about for years. My last few paintings have been light or of vibrant colours but now I seem to want dark paint….and stories. Perhaps illustrative paintings. I want to continue with my Turtle Dreaming story and it would be good to finish it this year. The “Dreamcatcher Woman” in my last post was the start of painting on wood once again. It’s not a good painting but I like the depth and darkness, the hint of ocean about it. The song just came into my mind while I was scanning in the photo. Here is the next piece, “Woman, Moon, Bird” also on sanded scaffolding board.

I shall put up the end of year paintings soon if I can finally finish them. Meanwhile, wishing much happiness for the New Year ahead.

Thoughts
  • Interesting (0)
  • Like this (0)
Posted on

The old moon in the new moon’s arms

I’ve been pondering the moon in my pictures. The last illustrations I did featured a full moon but it was new moon when I did them. I looked through some of my other pictures – for example my “Wooden Man” – and there are many crescent moons and all of them sit facing to the right. Wooden man

My boyfriend told me that the moon doesn’t look like this in the northern hemisphere evening. So I checked out the moon the other night. It is currently waxing, creeping up high and visible in the western sky and it was definitely facing with its glow on its eastern side. My photo doesn’t show it very well. Crescent moon

However, I don’t mind which way around it is in my pictures…

Another thing I’ve heard about the moon at the moment, is its “earthshine”. How lovely, the moon picking up the glow from the earth! This is also known as “the old moon in the new moon’s arms”. There’s something beautiful about that! I couldn’t see any earthshine last night but I’ll know to keep looking in future.

Another special moon feature I saw once was over Victoria Falls. It was quite a long time ago and I vaguely remember the thundering waters. I went out at night with a full moon, and there it was, a moonbow glimmering magically over the waters. It was very special. Moonbows are lunar rainbows formed by light from the moon instead of the sun. They are rarer than rainbows but just as beautiful.
Writing by the Moon

Here is a picture I did last weekend entitled “Writing by the Moon”. I enhanced the blue colour in photoshop and now it has an underwater quality to it!

Thoughts
  • Interesting (0)
  • Like this (0)
Posted on

Gazing at the moon again…

I’ve a fascination for wood at the moment. I’ve been photographing trees and gathering wood to paint which is now drying in my kitchen. I found a log and a flat piece with knots like flattened souls staring out at me on my allotment. The odd woodlouse finds itself lost on a desert of lino, but I think I’ve shaken most of the wildlife out. While I wait for them to dry, I’m turning to some illustration. Today I’ve finished two pictures, both feature trees and the moon as usual. This one has a girl transfixed by a full moon beside a wood full of eyes.
Girl and the moon

Thoughts
  • Interesting (0)
  • Like this (0)
Posted on

Taking steps to paint

I have got out a new canvas to begin a painting at last. I keep getting images in my mind and don’t want to hold back any longer. I did want to try new techniques, styles or improve my work somehow but it seems that the best way to progress is just to DO even if the result is not how I’d like. So I’ve been sorting through bags of cord, candlewick and leaves that I collected and pressed in the autumn and listening to Michael Nyman’s “Prospero’s Books” music while arranging them on the canvas, working on the floor as usual.

new-painting-in-process.jpg

It seems like my theme will be similar to my painting “Siren” with underwater figures (underwater ‘angels’), weedlike threads and a moon image. I haven’t finished with this sort of theme yet, it keeps recurring and I feel that it’s where I’m at at the moment. I’m curious about why I put the moon in so many of my pictures; it seems to feature in many of the artworks I’ve seen on blogs and elsewhere. Mine will be an underwater moon in this painting.

Continuing with water, I’ve decided to change my blog name; I like the title image and its associations.

Thoughts
  • Interesting (0)
  • Like this (0)