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2007

Hannah and Floss on the beach at Abermawr

1st Jan. Away from home and waiting. To start work again, for life to return to a normal balance. At home paintings are stacked in the back room, wrapped and silent, waiting to be shown again. Dogs are waiting, waiting to be walked and fed, waiting for us to come home,for the fire to be lit. The house is waiting for light and life and music, cooking and living and shouting and laughing.

 

 

2nd Jan. Homesick and work sick. I miss painting so much and panic is setting in as have so much to do.

 

3rd Jan. Home and after being at my parents, which is very tidy it looks as if my house is inhabited by bog trolls. Lighting the fire doesn't improve things much and having wanted to be home it all feels quite depressing. Then at night I walk the dogs around the village and finally feel at home. The sky is full of stars, sparkles with colours, planets, constellations, Milky Way, and shooting stars fire across the darkness. The beams from three lighthouses sweep across all.

And all is quiet. The lights from St Davids glow in the distance. Ships light's shine across the bay. The tall towers of fire at Milford are like something from a dark story at night.

An owl calls, loud in the silence. A fox barks an answer. Now I am glad to be home.

4th Jan. To wake up again in your own bed and hear the quiet peace of the place, broken only by the waking birds, tucked under a warm red velvet dreaming quilt, and watch the light drop into the window is a great and perfect pleasure.

Unfortunately the rest of the day failed to live up to this promise as I wrestled not only with the bog trolls and the filth in the house, trying to restore some order while the Christmas tree attacked Hannah who was reading by the fire. Then trying to reorganise the journal on the web site proved too taxing for my brain and retreated back under the quilt at midnight, frustrated and angry and hoping for better and enlightenment and the help of fairies to do the housework!

And in the middle of this day walking in the woods at Abermawr with children and dogs and bright sunshine, birds calling through the trees, shadows and then fossil trees on the beach where the sea had pulled back the blanket of sand to show twisted legs of wood.

ruined house in the woods at Aber Mawr, Pembrokeshire
painting of a rook, watercolour and gold leaf, Jackie Morris

5th Jan. Frustrating day struggling with the web site trying to make things happen and feeling like my head was stuffed with cotton wool. Then found peace at last painting and walking the dogs. The landscape was held in a flat light, pale, and everywhere there were birds, a woodcock, two magpies arguing with a sparrow hawk over some territory, kestrel and raven, snipe and fieldfare and all manner of small twitterings.

By night time the wind was rising, hopefully to blow all manner of wondrous things into tomorrow.

photograph of neolithic thob on StDavids Head

7th Jan. Korean edition of Mariana and the Merchild arrived in the post and it is lovely. There is an audio tape of it too which I would love to get hold of.

8th Jan. Up early in the morning and out walking to try and catch the moment when night becomes day. The light is coming in from the east but in the west the night still clings and stars hang in the sky. Daylight slips in gradually with a flatness, reflected from the sky. The stars fade as more and more comes to light. Birds begin to wake and when the sun lifts over the horizon flooding the landscape with red two ravens fly across the valley.

painting of woman sleeping with a bear for a pillow, watercolour, Jackie Morris

9th Jan. Walking at Whitesands to Porth Celau today and the fields have lapwings calling "pee-whit" from them. They rise when they see us walking, with their flapping flight, chased over the winter fields by yobbish seagulls.

The wind blows from the south-west. It has taken me 44 years to get my bearings. But over the last few days, no matter from where the wind blows, it blows cold.

 

watercolour and gold leaf painting of a barn owl by Jackie Morris
painting from the Barefoot book of Classic Poems, illustrated by Jackie Morris

15th Jan. Late waking. Chaos typing lists for paintings, finding and organizing which to send, converting prices into Euros. The dogs ran wild on the beach in the wind. Time slips by.

Hannah has two teeth for the tooth fairy. Earlier her room was so full of cats there was little space for her. Every night Martha lies beside her and sings her to sleep.

Feeling lost without Inkspell to read.

17th Jan. At Abermawr wading birds small enough to fit into a child's hand, rise and hurl themselves along the tide-line to land and disappear again among the pebbles on the beach. The sea is a duck egg blue and the sky mirrors its colour, a soft ceiling of cloud.

 

18thJan. Lost the fire this morning. Having a fire is like having another animal in the house. It needs feeding and tending, gentle care to keep it alive. The day is unseasonably warm. A bumble bee flies heavily across the path when we are out walking, and the house holds its warmth until the evening. A ghost of a shadow is cast long across the hillside by the low winter sun and evening comes in early with drizzle. Time to clean away the remains of the old fire and kindle a new one into life.

The arts centre in Waterford sent through the exhibition preview card, which looks lovely. For an invitation to the exhibition click here.

waterclour painting of woman and a bear, Jackie Morris
watercolour painting of herons and owls and fairies flying for The Stolen Child, Barefoot Book of Classic Poems, Jackie Morris 21st Jan. The moon is late to rise. Working hard, painting. The sky is full of stars. There is the constant sound of surf on the beach echoing off the houses, each wave made into one by the distance from the sea. A distant dog barks across the winter fields. A lighthouse beam sweeps the sky. The night smells of cold.

29th Jan. A day full of warm sunshine. Walking from Porth Clais to Porthllisky heard skylarks sing and saw a bumblebee and a butterfly.

31st Jan. Cold night woke into a gray day and outside in the morning the world was still. Only distant bird flying across the gray landscape gave it life. At Abermawr a soft moss coat of frost covered the stones on the beach. Each sparkled in the sunlight with a thousand diamonds of light .

 

blackbird singing, watercolour painting for The Boy's Song, Barefoot Book of Classic Poems, illustrated by Jackie Morris

photograph of Porthllisky and Ramsey Island in the distance on a sunny day in January

next...........


©Jackie Morris