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The White Hind in the Thicket

Deer. Signs of their presense, torn bark, a trail of hoof prints through the trees, a shed antler. Deer are elusive, highly tuned to the slightest sound or movement; a delight to come across.

Fallow Deer Antler

It is easy to understand how deer are often seen as magical creatures in myths and stories, connected with the spiritual, supernatural world. Often in these stories and myths they are white, a brilliant, glowing white. In Celtic mythology, they are seen as ‘fairy cattle’ that are milked by mystical women – sometimes banshees – who themselves shapeshift into deer. I am fascinated by shapeshifting in any form and by the crossing of the subtle veil between worlds.

I have been collaborating with the author and storyteller Roselle Angwin. Once I had written my book, The Memory Tree, Roselle proof-read it. She liked my artwork and suggested that we work on something together; I would illustrate one of her stories. As she lives close to Dartmoor, she chose an old Dartmoor tale that she first heard from Dartmoor storyteller, Mavis Hewitt. The story is about a man’s encounter with a magical deer. Stories with this theme occur all over Europe.

Here are some photos of our booklet fresh from the printer. It is available in my Folksy shop and in my shop on this website.

The White Hind Booklet

The White Hind Book Inside

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Landscape Scenes

Here are a couple of new landscape scenes inspired by woodcuts and by reading much ‘nature writing’. I’ve recently discovered the new magazine Earthlines just at the right time; I seem to be tuning into something. I continue to read many interesting books concerned with nature, place and our relationship to the more-than-human world. My list includes: The Peregrine, The Old Ways, The Wild Places, Becoming Animal, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Otter Country……and many more. All make the “wild” an inviting and interesting place to be, but as it is, I don’t see much of it. Now winter is fast approaching, I’m happy indoors turning my attention to creative projects and letting my imagination thrive and trying to get my head around the latest version of this wordpress blog. Not easy!

Seven Sisters
The Seven Sisters.

 

This picture – more like a doodle – I’ve called The Seven Sisters after the cliffs with that name along the coast of Sussex around the mouth of the River Cuckmere.

Cliffs at Birling Gap
Chalf cliffs at Birling Gap east of the Seven Sisters.
Devil's Dyke
Devil’s Dyke

 

This picture is based on a view across the Devil’s Dyke valley as seen from a viewpoint along the Saddlescombe Road.

Devil's dyke

Winter scene with deer
A winter scene with bare trees, a deer and moon.

 

This scene isn’t based on any particular place. I think the trees look a bit stark.

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