April 1st. Sunshine, bluesky, birdsong. Finishing another circle of hares in bright light and studio chaos. Birds tap beaks on the studio window to let me know that their feeders are empty. Time goes by.
2nd April. The day began in a cool haze of gray fog ad for most of the day smoky cloud swept past the studio window, where I escaped from commissions and books and work into the realms of fantasy with first attempt at painting a jackalope, part hare part deer, a horned hare of mythology.
In the evening we drove to The Shed for supper, and on the Dowrog at 7 pm a barn owl quartered the moorland, golden sunlight, golden grasses and golden owl in silent flapping flight.
3rd April. Early morning walking to find snowdrops, but time has passed and the flowers have all gone to seed and around them ferns curl and campion rises. It is warm , and on the way back a clump of late snowdrops drip with heavy dew in the early morning sun. The valley is loud with birdsong, blackbird, wren and chiffchaff.
Later hunting for owls in the twilight evening as the sun sets golden over the Dowrog. At last an owl flies its slow wing flapping path over the scrub willows, not the bright moon-white of last night's barn owl. Maybe a longeared owl, or short ear. On the way home the lanes were full of bats.
4th April. A parcel arrives in the post, beautifully wrapped in cat patterned paper, from Lyn Morris, a signed copy of Philip Pullman's new book. A lovely gift. At night the sky was brimful of stars and shooting stars burned a path across the ink dark sky. The windows were patterned with moths.
7th April. Early waking watching light and listening to birds. Caught a rough image for the musicians benevolent fund Christmas card, which should have been finished by now. A short walk on the beach before work became a long walk to the top of the hill, finding flowers, campion and early thrift. Most are in bud, waiting to bloom. Ravens, buzzard and chough call across the valley.
The plans for my proposed new studio arrived, and so it is time to start a new page tracking the progress of the plans and of the building work, once it begins. Life in a National Park can sometimes be difficult when planning applications are made.
14th April. Sky larks make stepping stones of music on the old airfield as they set up nests in the swift growing meadow grasses. Painting steadily.
15th April. Today I tried to count the larks that filled the air with music, but lost count at seven as their song became a river, a symphony, an exultation.
Walking through the wood with Evie again and she looked at the trees, stretched out her arms, wiggled fingers and said, "The branches look like ribbons blowing in the wind". Lovely.
16 April. Distracted from work by early morning climbing walk with orange cat Elmo.
22nd April. Days like this are made for distraction. Walking in sunshine and the air feels like cool silk against my skin. Over the water, calm as a millpond, a buzzard wheels and dances then lands on a tumble of twigs, a nest precarious, clinging to the cliff. Flowers are everywhere, squil and campion, vetches and thrift. Fulmars crouch together on impossible ledges. Bliss. Washing on the line blowing in the sunshine and breeze. The smell of the laundry dried by sunshine and wind reminds me so much of being a child.
24th April. Painting small dragons through warm days full of sunshine. Shocked a few days ago by a speech by Hilary Clinton . She just wanted to let Iran know that is she was president and Iran attacked Israel then she would have no worries about obliterating their country. Whilst I would not wish Israel to be attacked I was horrified by her language. Does she really think that it would be right to obliterate a country and all its women and children, animals and plants because of something their crazy leaders choose to do? Does she have any idea what such an act could do to the world and its fine balance of perfection? Should she really be running for president? Am I the only person horrified by such language? Heaven help us all. Meanwhile the BBC is running a program called World on the Move, tracking migrations of animals around the world, from butterflies to whales. A magical program it makes me realize how primitive a species we really are, as does Hilary's nihilistic statement.
Here there are swallows and swift and butterflies and the birds are nesting. Still waitiing to hear the first cuckoo.
29th April. Days of headaches again hold up life, and then it is Robin's birthday and the sun shines. Bluebells in Abermawr are beginning to make the wood shine with their colour. Yesterday I saw the first orange tipped butterfly of the year and on the way to Abermawr a cuckoo sat on a wire. We have a new cat, at the moment called Cinnamon or Kiffer, brought here to escape the traffic and certain death in the jaws of a dog. She has already worked her way through at least three of her nine lives, but seems to be settling in here. More of Kiffer can be seen on the catblog.
Deadlines pile up to tumble over each other and I have to rework the dragon for the Robin Hobb cover, which is fine as I could live in these books for a great deal longer, but this is the last of twelve covers, and meanwhile the dragon book is three years behind, I need to do more work on Starlight and the MBF card needs to be done by the end of May and so does the Terry Pratchett calendar. So, feeling like a rabbit in the road, not knowing which way to turn, I peeled myself from a patchwork bed of gingercats and headed for the cliffs instead of the studio.
And on the cliffs they were dusted with the butterfly blue flowers of squil, and distant cliffs golden with gorse. Raven and chough fly and dance in the air and the clouds are cliches, tall castle clouds against blue, blue sky.
The image above clicks through to the invitation for the exhibition in May.