Here be Midnight

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Fortune Favours The Brave

I started this painting along time ago when I was feeling a lot more courageous than I do today. But then true bravery is mastered when one can continue to face ones fears without giving way to the fear itself.
Big talk for a small and quivering person. Life is challenging at the moment and I feel that it is this way for many of us. All around me personal battles are being fought in precarious circumstances. 
On days like these I love to turn to Terri Windling's Drawing Board Blog. Her magical words and wise quotations are soul food.  She is taking a small break for while so I have gone back through her posts to find this beautiful quote;

"So don't be frightened, dear friend, if a sadness confronts you larger than any you have ever known, casting its shadow over all you do. You must think that something is happening within you, and remember that life has not forgotten you; it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall. Why would you want to exclude from your life any uneasiness, any pain, any depression, since you don't know what work they are accomplishing within you?" - R. M. Rilke (from Letters to a Young Poet)

Below is a colour experiment for the larger work to be completed at a later date. I like the textures appearing in the sky and the sea but the bold coloured clothes are not what I will choose for the final piece. 
The two creatures are sailing on stormy seas in a small vessel but I feel sure that they will make it to their destination. The ships guardian has seen something on the horizon that has made him smile. May we all have such a vessel to take us home.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Ex Libris

A few weeks ago I had a wonderful day visiting Bateman's,  Rudyard Kipling's home and sanctuary in East Sussex. I am almost embarrassed to say how very much at home I felt amidst such overt affluence. There is something about the smell of old buildings such as this, a comforting mustiness that cannot be contrived. The wooden paneling, antique furniture and beautiful textiles ooze handmade craftsmanship, a sense that everything has been slowly, lovingly and patiently coaxed into being. The walls are adorned with beautiful art, bookshelves are filled with tall tales and glass cases and mantles pieces display exquisite curios from the east. It was a magical combination that within minutes lulled me into a sense of peace and tranquility that coloured the rest of my day. I could almost feel serenity take it's place on my face as I ambled around the rooms, holding back the small but noticeable urge to kick my shoes off and slump into an aged chair to listen to the gramophone.

Amongst the many wonders there, and there are many, a couple of  small pieces of rectangular paper took my fancy.  John Lockwood Kipling designed for his children personalised bookplates. 

I have always loved bookplates.  Beautifully decorated front with a deliciously tasty gummed back.  As a child I had a small selection of them given to me as gifts. The process of matching the right book with the right ex libris plate was one I took very seriously.  I would conscientiously make my choice, then with the same attention that I would give my last chocolate easter egg, I would lick the sweet glue and place it on the page. But I could never bring myself to use them all up,  saving the last few for a very special book. As a result I still have the last few even now.

Below is a little bookplate design that came out of my pen one evening. It requires a little photoshopping, something I have never done before.  There are a few dots in places where I would rather they weren't, due to a change of mind as to the technique I was going to use. I feel sure this is just the beginning of many bookplates and I love the idea of doing personalised bookplates for people. In an age of kindle and such electronic devices books are becoming all the more treasured and respected. There are many that have pledged to read the printed word. I am currently looking into the cost of printing these and so they may well be available for purchase in the near future. Size available will be 10 x 7 cm. Commissions for personalised bookplates are welcome, please drop me a line at .

original size 80mm x 105mm