On Monday The Wild Swans has to go to press. I have worked so hard since getting home from Scotland and visiting the bears. Day after day painting, and crafting and re-painting. Sending off images, talking about spaces, moving text, reworking text. I finished the final painting last week, and moved on to working on jacket designs for The Liveships books by Robin Hobb, long overdue, delayed by my inability to find the key to unlock the images for The Wild Swans for months. This involved tidying away papers to begin with. In the process I discovered proof pages from The Snow Leopard. These I will auction, soon, to raise money for The Snow Leopard Trust.
Today I did a ‘final read through’ and in order to get some peace I drove to Whitesands Beach in my van, which is a moveable writing shed. The tide was high but we walked along a small section of beach then I climbed into my van with Ivy and settled to read.
I read, with Ivy beside me, warm against my leg, then resting her head on my arm. Lost in the pages, checking and reading sections aloud to taste how the words sound, and as I read the sea rolled back.
At some point I looked up to see Ann at the top of the slip, looking out to sea, so I put down the text and went out to see her and Fly and Ivy came too, and Ffion and Sarah. We walked on the beach, the wide wild beach and the sea had rolled back so very far. Wind, tide and equinox conspired to make the lowest tide for 30 years.
I have new brushes. These days I do 95% of my work with a series 7 No4 Winsor and Newton sable brush. Amazing creatures, they hold a point like no other brush and spread a wash so well, but I paint so much I wear them out. When I get new ones even the feel of the handle, smooth in my hand is wonderful. By the time I have finished with them the gold words are worn away from the black.
Time to make a new start. New directions.