Here be Midnight

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

A Special Delivery

  More and more these days I find I have less to say. Nature seems to be creeping in through the windows from the woodlands that surround my house and crawling under my skin reminding me of my smallness and wholeness – and it's a lovely feeling.

It's subtle magic but when it touches us we all know.

I see it in others from time to time and then knowing glances are exchanged and small smiles are raised.

Sometimes, when I'm at an exhibition and I watch other people look at art, I see that look. I see a look, a faint smile, a sense of distance and closeness simultaneously – their senses absorbed and arrested whilst something from within the picture is nourishing their inner most depths.

Then a thought or a noise may interrupt but if it happens to be my own art work and I tell them a small story, or a few tale-teasing words then the mind is again arrested in the listening and something akin to the nature that surrounds my home creeps in from the realm of story and picture – it gets under their skin and I watch their soul being fed.

Different stories and pictures resonate with different people and not always as you may predict. For my own work I was recently privileged to watch young children, young men, young women as well as older men and women find a resonating chord within themselves.  Any amount of analysis is useless but I appreciate the spectacle.

So without further ado here are a few tale teasing words – a little nourishment for those who find it here ... a small slice of story to celebrate the arrival of my little nephew Wolfie.

The veils between the land of story and the land we call our own are much thinner than we’d like to know. How else could it be so easy to become deaf to the world while we are lost in the wonderland of printed words and mesmerizing pictures.

We all stray there – most of us return to live our daily lives and then there are those of us who don’t.  Many folk-tales warn of the dangers of such lands. People missing for years and years or never returning at all. A danger that only succeeds in bringing a twinkle into our eyes, a skip into our step and an urge for our fingers to creep towards the next page before the reading is done.

Sometimes – only rarely, there are those whose fortune is to be born there first.

When a Mother’s heart calls for her child and the waiting seems unbearably long, it may be because the child’s soul has been first born into this world of magic and mystery.

A child is coming…. A story is being told…

In a cottage deep in the woods a human infant appeared on the fireside seat just as a tired and bearded gnome was about to sit down after a day that felt longer and bristlier than his whiskers.

"Helgaaaaaaa! Helgaaa!" He stood frozen and flustered staring at the luminous creature before him – the only bits of him that were able to move were his lips and his vocal chords and they were making good use of the energy not being consumed by his other organs and muscles.

"Helgggaaaaaa ah!"

Bruder was, for the most part, a placid gnome but he did not like surprises. What ever had appeared on his chair was a definitely a surprise and more than that it was the wriggling, wailing type and they made him very nervous.

Helga bustled into the room wiping her hands on her skirt wondering what all the noise was. With Bruder still yelling her name and the baby crying, the noise was so great that even the old cat opened her eyes before she curled up into an even tighter ball with her paws and her tail over her ears.

"It’s a sapling," she gasped, "A beautiful human sapling! Oh foxes and chickens! We must get him to the gates before they shut."

Bruder sat quietly on the small three legged milking stool feeling small and displaced from his chair.

"Where did it come from?" He asked begrudgingly.

"Inbetween" she said, pushing away the question in a voice that said that it was cumbersome and awkward to answer.

"In between what?" Bruder nudged the question meekly back in her direction just in case he might dislodge an answer.

"Here and there’"she snapped, gathering together provisions for the unexpected journey that Bruder had not yet realized he was going to be involved in.

She collected food and blankets and her gate-finder and bundled them into the bottom of an old trug-barrow. Then she wrapped the sapling in smooth clean blankets and placed him gently on top. The infant snuggled into his new movable nest and fell asleep.

"Put on your boots Bruder", Helga whispered  "We are going on a journey....".

For our little Wolfie – born 1/8/15

Monday, 18 May 2015

Expeditions and Exhibitions

I think I've been busy while I wasn't looking!

Over the past few months little piles of prints and original art works have been gathering in the corners of the studio. Some have found their homes in beautiful old wooden frames and some have journeyed to the framers. Boxes of cards will also be arriving soon so there should be quite a mixture of wares to take to the upcoming exhibitions. I have so much more to show you - new art work and projects underway but for now please forgive me if I just plug the upcoming events.

The first will be in beautiful Auchencairn at Glenshinnoch  – an enchanting mix of rustic-ness and grandeur in the shadow of Orchardton House. They have a tower there that flutters with tumbling pigeons, an old walled but wild garden and everything everywhere seems to have a touch of otherworldliness. The kind of place that makes the pencil and the imagination itchy and restless in the most delightful way.

The next one is a Tea Green event at Kibble Palace in Glasgow Botanical Gardens. You can have a look at all the Artists attending here.

On the 9th of June there will be  a Transformation Tales two-woman exhibition at the a  Eskdalemuir Community Hub til the end of June. After that I hope to be participating in another Local Gallery's Summer Exhibition. And soon I hope to show you a little more of the new work that has found its way into The Old Burrow.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

"Sell your Cleverness and buy bewilderment"

Rumi, translated by Edward henry Whinfield

Life has been peculiar of late. 

I have heard from others that their January was an odd beginning to the year and February was equally extraordinary. And March? So much strangeness has happened that it seems I have indeed "sold any cleverness I had and bought bewilderment", which may not be such a bad thing.

It's been ages since I experimented with the way I paint or draw. Recently life has prompted me to try something new even if only for a while just to play and see what happens. To allow the paint to paint in a different way and use different tools to draw and to just let out what ever wants to come through. At one point I found myself using a decorative hair stick...

And so with a fair amount of reluctance and a lot of encouragement, I did so. The hour or two that I planned to give to the experiment sneakily grew until it consumed nearly a whole day.

What came out was both surprising and not – I can definitely see how art can be a form of therapy.

These pictures are tiny. The smallest is probably only 2cm x 3cm and the biggest  about 10cm x 10cm. They were incredibly fast and fascinating to watch as they arrived.

...and then the forest arrived again and I got drawn into my favourite place and though the style seems to have reverted to my familiar method it began in a different place and I think it has a different quality a different depth of emotion.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

The stars that shine the loudest

Being my first Winter in Scotland, it's impossible not to notice the length of the nights. Sixteen hours long! Born and raised in Australia where the days and nights share time more equally, this is still new to me...and I love it. 

The urge to snuggle and hibernate beneath knitted wool and stories is almost over whelming. My fireside seat is a nest of mis-shapen cushions and messy blankets and the mind drifts languidly around subjects, as though they are shaded figures quietly passing in the darkness. Of course there are a few shady creatures that climb in under the covers but the less said about them the better...

The valley where I live is known for its lack of pollution – the Observatory that is situated along the road was placed here for that very reason– and so I am blessed with the clearest of clear skies. A few nights ago the night was so clear and crisp that I could swear the stars were bigger! Not only bigger but I could see all their different colours and variations in size and oh gosh, they twinkled – really twinkled! 

a little picture arrived, just a quick one...

" Not just beautiful, though--the stars are like trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And, they are watching me. "

Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore