I love living in a place where I can walk out of my door and hear a cuckoo calling.
I’ve been home for a few weeks now and it has been blissful not going anywhere and just working in my studio day after day. Hannah is away, and she left her cat and her dog with me, and I have been falling in love with Little Fishheads, as he is now known. Right from the first he came walking.
And The White Cat came too.
Leaping the rocks, coloured like his fur, both cats shine in the sun and sparkle, as if the stars of night caught in their coats.
I’ve put out some stone to walk between, like marker stones, and I am hoping they will stay and I can see how long the gold remains.
Mostly The White Cat walks. But sometimes he does still like to hitch a lift on Robin’s back.
There’s so much to say, and some I can’t tell. Soon I can talk about a new book, or two. Now I can talk about The Lost Words Prom, to be held on 25th August in London at The Albert Hall. And some of the work I have done I can show, but some remains secret, for a while still.
I painted, at last, the woman who walks with fish in the world’s winds. This is for a book, and more on that soon. It will, I think, be called The Unwinding. Because that is what it is. For there are times when I should be painting things, but other images step forward and demand to be realised.
And I have been steadily gilding pieces worked for the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital. Here, heron rises, carrying the twilight under her wings. White gold glimmers.
And here, the soul of a kingfisher is stitched in gold leaves, literally.
There’s a lp version of Spellsongs. It is possible to ‘upgrade’ a purchase, if you’ve bought the cd, but want to change your order to the lp. It’s a limited pressing, though there may be more. A double album, with the sleeve-note book enclosed in the box.
Next year’s calendar is Spell Songs themed also. This will be available from Graffeg, and we hope to have some at Hay Festival. How can that be, that next year is 2020?
Today the Carnegie Greenaway team posted the film of me talking, in my studio, about The Lost Words. I’m really hoping this will be useful to schools. There are so many schools working with the book, so many children writing and painting inspired by it. I’m so glad, but have been inundated with invitations to visit schools, and cleave so much to home, to my brushes and paints and creature friends. So I am hoping this will help, be useful, inform. My desk looks so cluttered. I keep meaning to clear it, but then I just paint.
Nicola Davies and Dan came to visit, oh so very briefly. We walked together to the top of the hill and sat and watched and listened to birds. So lovely to see them both.
Another few weeks before I set forth again. This time to Hay. The walk I am leading is sold out, but Spell Songs has been moved to a larger venue, so more tickets have been released. It is our hope that we will have the cd’s by then. It would be great to play to a full house so please, help us spread the word. It’s a beautiful place to visit, and Hay Festival is a tonic for the tired soul. This year the exhibition will be Axel Scheffler’s Drawing Together show. And Axel is being awarded the Hay Medal for illustration. I remember when he first came to collect. Even then his work was a delight.
I’ve more news to come, but for now I think it is time to curl by the fire with cats. And think about how to finish and then what to do with this.