Walking backwards, moving forwards…blog update

I have always loved reading: as a child I was a voracious reader, thinking nothing of reading a book from cover to cover in one go (kept me quiet for hours!) This love has stayed with me; there’s nothing quite like opening a book for the first time to discover the delights within! I will probably have two books on the go – one quite ‘deep’, whilst the other will be somewhat ‘lighter’ in nature – my mood determining which I read!

At present, I am reading just the one – Robert MacFarlane’s ‘The Old Ways’.

The Old WaysIn his book MacFarlane combines walking and the landscape, with history and discovery, all told in such descriptive language that I am loathe to put the book down! Following paths, tracks – holloways made by man or weather – he investigates the landscape, learns the stories of our ancestors and meets the people who walk these paths, who have such a connection to the landscape that they are not just in the landscape but part of it.

MacFarlane describes his travels in a poetic, lyrical way, reminiscent of the rhythm of walking, and the language and terminology he employs is a joy in itself. His use of local dialect words, be they Gaelic or Arabic, adds another layer to the book -and I find it particularly interesting when he explains the derivation of some of our common English words (book being a case in point!)

I too, love the landscape (and history and words….), and although I cannot profess to be as seasoned a walker as MacFarlane, i do like to go for a wander now and then – and yes, walking does help me think, to meditate…

Following paths and trails, I find myself focussing on the ‘lines’ of the landscape (MacFarlane does reference Tim Ingold’s book ‘A Brief History of Lines’ – a source of inspiration for my Connecting Threads!); in particular the ‘anticlines’ – geologically, an axis or line from which strata slope or dip down in opposite directions.

Quick sketches whilst out walking have become the possible basis for a new body of work; I have been playing around with ideas whilst trying out some samples of Stillman and Birn paper from Jackson Art Supplies. (I also tried Jackson’s Handmade at Two Rivers watercolour paper – fabulous!)

Drawing boardIt’s these lines and anticlines that interest me, the strata that provide a history of the landscape. I have an idea in my head of how I want these works to look – now I just have to experiment and see if I can achieve it!

Talking of words, I came across a fabulous one the other day – obambulate – meaning to ‘walk about’ or ‘wander aimlessly’ – I have been known to do quite a lot of that in my time!

Capturing The Essence…blog update

Sitting here in front of the computer, whilst outside the grey skies and raindrops envelop everything in a gloomy shroud, I can’t believe it’s only a few days since we returned from our holiday  – it feels like an age!! So to brighten my mood I have been looking at our holiday photos (wishing I was sitting with my coffee and apple cake at the Bar Illeta whilst admiring the view…)

Scrolling through the pictures got me to thinking about how images can capture (or not) the essence of a place; admittedly sound and smells along with taste also have their part to play e.g. to me, tapas is sitting in a little square in Palma with the Tapas del Dia por dos persons(?) and a cool drink whilst soaking in the atmosphere of the church on one side and the port on the other. Are you beginning to get the picture…..?

Whilst I am a sucker for the bigger picture, the mountains, the coastlines, the dales, moorlands…it’s also the little things that do as much to evoke the memories. Last year in Almeria, it was the windmills that stood out for me (admittedly not so little) whilst this year in Majorca, well see for yourself!

Ancient olive treeGroves of olive trees, their trunks all twisted and gnarled, the olives beginning to ripen…





Old doorwaysHoney coloured buildings with weathered doors and windows leading to cool interiors and shady courtyards…







Talking plantsAnd outside the honey coloured houses were luscious pots…





Even the bark had to get in on the show…Not sure what this tree was but it had the most beautiful patterns…







Iron MuleIron Mule








This Iron Mule in Estellencs had such an inquisitve look on it’s face I couldn’t help but smile….

And it wouldn’t be me without an old building or two –







on a blisteringly hot day we climbed (the book said it was classed as ‘easy’ – ha ha!) to the watchtower on a neighbouring headland. Because of Majorca’s position in the Mediterranean watchtowers were built on all the strategic headlands to ‘watch’ for invaders. Although not all of them have survived there are still a good few to explore…The honey coloured stone against the blue of the sky is a wonderful combination and the rough hewn stone adds another texture…



These are just a few of the things that for me capture the essence of our recent holiday…..

Capturing the essence of a place is something the following two artists do exceedingly well! And what makes their work even more special for me is that they both love South Wales, particularly Pembrokeshire, and North Norfolk, which along with the Yorkshire Dales, are two of my favourite places as well!

Chris Prout is based in Northamptonshire, and although he lives almost as far away from the coast as one can get in the UK, he loves the wild, emptiness of North Norfolk, the marshes and lonely cry of the curlew, as well as the rugged beauty of the Pembrokeshire coast. His wonderful  impressionistic works in acrylics, mixed media, inks and watercolours capture the essence of Norfolk; their watery skies, low horizons, muted colours and textures evoke such memories that I can almost hear the rustling of the reeds and the haunting birdsong. For a Leicestershire landlubber like me, his works are the next best thing to being there! Equally, his images of Wales’s rugged coast-line, although totally different in nature to Norfolk, again capture the sheer power and grit of the area. I can almost feel the wind in my face as I walk along the coastal path.

Chris Prout                  A Big Sky And Evening Walk In Silhouette, Chris Prout

Brynley Stallard is a new name to me (apologies Brynley!!) He lives and works in South Wales. Unlike Chris, Brynley captures the essence of the place in oils, loving the transparency of the medium. Almost abstract, his work strips nature down to its minimalist best. Etching and scraping into the layers of the paint, his work, to me, is all about the raw power of the ocean, the crashing waves, the moodiness (is that a proper word?) of the sea. Again, I can almost feel and taste the spray of the saltwater as I stand gazing out into the distance.

Brynley Stallard                           Port Eynon, 2014 Brynley Stallard

For me, any work that makes me feel as if I am actually standing in a particular place, drinking in the sights, sounds and smells, has definitely captured the essence and atmosphere – lovely work Chris and Brynley, you have certainly succeeded!!

Hope I’ve managed to acknowlege everything correctly and all the links work – apologies in advance if I haven’t! Really wish I had been able to get to Chris’s recent Open Studios but it clashed with our holidays – maybe next time Chris!!

Dare I admit to it – I have never painted in oils, and my experience with acrylics is very limited, so I am not sure how I would get on ‘capturing the essence’ of my recent holiday in those mediums……….

Am I an artist now?…blog update

Been a little quiet recently as we have been enjoying a wonderful two weeks in a quiet corner of Majorca. Lots of sunshine (with a few spectacular storms thrown in!), swimming in the sea, tapas….you get the picture. A great way to re-charge the batteries!

The exciting news on my return home was that I had actually sold a piece of art work! Although I have exhibited the installation Connecting Threads around the UK, I have never sold an actual piece before so I am thrilled to say the least – I know , little things and all that!

‘Bowed But Not Broken’ was one of a number of works I have in the ‘Make Your Mark’ exhibition at Blue Owl Art, Grantham – thanks to Jette and Belinda for all their support! Check the link to their website for more info regarding the exhibition and future events!

Bowed But Not Broken

I am positive that those of you who are artists can vividly remember the first piece you sold and I am sure I will do likewise! Of course, that raises the question, now that I have sold a piece of art, does that make me a ‘proper’ artist? Why do I need someone else’s validation to make me consider myself an artist? I would be really interested in hearing your views!