1st December. All day hanging exhibition at The Refectory, with the help of Gaz who took much of the strain of lifting and carrying, and was very patient when after hanging one wall I just shook my head and said no, and everything came down and then different paintings went up and then back down and eventually it all came together. So now I just have to write up the price list and then I can get on with work again. Not that hanging and selling isn't work, but it isn't painting. My studio looks cozy, cats are curled around each other by the fire and the idea of a few days when I can just paint and don't have to worry about anything else at all is so appealing.
Then someone told me that Christmas is in three weeks time! And it is not really that Christmas is a time I don't really enjoy that much, but, how did that happen? How can it only be three weeks?
It is definitely time to curl up with a cat by the fire and then try and find some peace of mind. For more alternative biogs follow the link again.
3rd December. Beautiful pools of silver filled every dip and valley between here and St Davids last night. Mist lit by moonlight. Today Terry put a porthole in my door and I signed a big pile of books for the cathedral shop and did some drawing. Unfortunately the books I ordered for the weekend have not yet arrived. If they don't come tomorrow I will have a curious range of books for the weekend show.
Jules at 7 Impossible Things sent me a link to an amazing interview that they did with me. Beware their website. It is too interesting and has links that will send you off into a labyrinth of wander, so, put the kettle on, make yourself some tea or coffee and then make sure you have a golden thread so that eventually, when you surface out of their web of wonder, you will find yourself back home! 7 Impossible Things.
6th December. When Cathy unpacked her sculptures for the exhibition it took my breath away because they were so beautiful and so peaceful. The show looked splendid. What a shame that so few people came, though it was very good to see the people who did come. So today I took pencil and paper and got on with some drawing. Clinging to my comfort blanket, but I did enjoy it.
8th December. Today small fragments of pearl gray sky are trapped between the wind twisted winter bones of trees. Mosaic patterns of light and dark. This is how my mind feels too.
On the beach, black feathers. Iccarus spreading his wings again. It is cold. The rain is sharp. Stones shine.
In Bramhall near Stockport paper boats decorate Simply Books, each carrying a wish from children who made them. In America the Snowleopard has inspired this beautiful drawing . A wild thing in the heart of a home.
Meanwhile a blad has been made of the jacket for Ice Bear, complete with the biog chosen by my publisher.
9th December. Took delivery of a shipment of gold, walked by the sea and watched light and water play, found a fat seal pup on a beach of stones, watched jackdaws fly and a kestrel hang on the edge of the wind, saw a man reading my bank statements as if they were music, delivered daughter to school and was amazed by the incredible irony of George Orwell's 1984 on Kindle. Thanks John Naughton, for pointing this one out. Imagine if the man from the bookshop came and took your book back off the shelf in your house when you were halfway through reading it!
10th December. Things that are beautiful; shooting stars, sunlight on water, birds like leaves on the winter-bone branches of trees, cat's fur in sunshine, to look up at night and see the whole of the night sky filled with stars, to look up in the early morning and see the bone white quarter moon in a lightening sky.
11th December. Early rise. Coffee in a beautiful cup. Dying moon smeared with cloud veil. Yesterday Maurice sprawled across my knee, heavy cat, struggling to breathe, fire-bright, beautiful. When you are young there is something dangerously attractive about brief life. Byron, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean. I think it is myth woven by media. Imagine what Byron could have written with the benefit of a few more years in the world, with a little more of the taste of life on his tongue. Off to the vets with Maurice again. This morning he seems bright enough and circles like shark cats with the others at breakfast time.
I am back in to focused work on The Ice Bear, working on a piece that has failed 3 times so far, hoping that this will be fourth time lucky ( just has a quick and sneaking glance out of the corner of my eye and it looks ok so far, but there is still plenty of time to spoil it) And loving getting back to drawing.
Later, and I have watched the day come to light and then darkness return. Raven seems to be working out ok, but now I want to rework the front end paper and it seems that I am not happy now unless I do each piece at least twice.
The first of the hare drawing has run away to a gallery in Long Melford, where it is keeping good company. I love the snowy owl and the winged shoes. I have such a wish for wings.
The catblog has a following of 300 now, and growing. Took Maurice to the vets today. Sitting by the fire with him last night he struggled so hard for breath. Already he breathes more easily following injections, though he gets so stressed from the ride in the car. On Tuesday he goes for another x-ray to see if there can be a better diagnosis, but I fear it is mostly for the sake of curiosity rather than cure.
12th December. Clear skies with bone white sickle moon. South wind, bird song and across the fields the cows low. All night they have called, like some prehistoric beasts. Perhaps yesterday their calves were taken away. Their song is so sad.
Today I found that Tell Me a Dragon is on Google Books. Is this a great add for the book? Does this mean you can get it on Kindle? Have they settled with authors on a copyright fee? If people look at the book on Google Books does it encourage them to buy it? This one doesn't work well on Google Books as the pages are double spreads. But do Google realise when they go home to their beds and read their picture books to their children that authors and illustrators earn their money by making these books?
I think I have an absess in my tooth.
Julia Mills who did the glass that is in my kitchen cupboard doors is having a pre Christmas sale.
13th December. Things I have learnt about the fire: Using wood for the fire instead of coal can warm you twice, once when you chop and stack the wood, once when you burn it. Wood burns best on a bed of ashes. To grow a fir you need to start small, a bundle of papers, some kindling and a match, then grow the fire until it flowers with warmth. If you dampen a sheet of newspaper and dip it in the wood ash you can clean the glass of the fire so well. Wood burns away to leave barely any waste, but although it can take years for a tree to grow it can take hours or minutes to burn. Flames from logs release the energy stolen from the sun over time, their colour so like that of amber. The scent of wood smoke is beautiful. The dance of flames mesmeric.
14th december. I am thinking of offering gift vouchers throughout the year, not just at Christmas. £100 for books ( including post in the UK) and £400 for prints ( though this would work better at £450 as I only have a few prints that are £400 ( again including p&p in the UK). Email for details.
Painting snow, the Northern Lights, arctic fox and owl and keeping going on anti biotics and pain killers.
15th December. I begin to sound like a wingeing thing as the pain doesn't seem to lessen despite anti-biotics and pain killers. At times I do not know quite what to do with myself. Re-stocking the wood pile close to the house strangely brought some comfort today. Carrying logs, chopping the larger ones with the axe so that they would burn quicker and hotter, stacking them beneath the dresser so that they would be close at hand. Kath has taken Maurice to the vets for me for his x-ray. I should have been Christmas shopping today but this pain is too much to add that to. So, work, and if all else fails I will try and thread my way into the world of nursery rhymes.
Have added new images to the 'send a card' feature on my website.
18th December. Things that are white. Hailstones. The edges of waves and seabirds that dance over them. Snow falling in curtains out at sea. Ice on shallow puddles, white against black wet roads. Lapwings' breasts, soft feathers. Snow flurry falling in an ice old wind.
19th December. I was going to wait until the new year to change to a new blog format, but as time is an abstract concept now seemed as good a time as any. So from now on my journal will live at Drawing a Line in Time. As yet there are no followers so if you want to sign up get in there quick and you could be the first, and the first to leave a comment. It took too long to choose a title. In the end I opted for this as this year I have rediscovered my love for drawing. From now on my journal will live for a while at drawingalineintime.blogspot.com until I can work out how to pull it in to my website. To see larger versions of the images simply click on them. Over time the links will grow, a list of places that I love to visit online.