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December 07

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December

Into the future, 2009

Further back in time, 2007

Dim and distant past

Only a memory

 

studio with drawing board, working on dragons. The swan above the table is by Katherine O'Kelle.

Pixie cat with St Davids and sea in the background

1st May. Sunshine after rain, warm. Walked the cats to the top of the hill to see how the bluebells were but no sign yet of flowers. Yesterday drew and worked towards drawing out the MBF card and today letting the drawing settle on the paper and working on the dragons. Turned my tables around and tidied up a bit to try and make order out of chaos, but now I can't find anything. But then I couldn't find anything before! In the post a parcel of books, Korean edition of The Snow Leopard looking beautiful with its Korean script.

The swan in the photo of my studio is by Kathryn O'Kell, carved and painted limewood.

New cat settling in well and Maurice seems very taken as more than once he has brought her a mouse.

Korean edition of The Snow Leopard. Has beautiful endpapers, deep blue with teh painting just showing through.

Also yesterday I finally phoned Jackie in Welwyn Garden City. She was kind enough a few years ago to let me visit her beautiful leopards and draw and photograph them. Ever since the book was published I had been meaning to send her a copy, so I called to get her address. Among other things she told me that Shadow, the leopard I based the paintings on, had died last year. He was a magnificent creature, with a deep dappled coat of silver and wild eyes.

work in progress, small dragons flying on whisper thin wings, for Tell me a Dragon

work in progress, small dragons flying on whisper thin wings, for Tell me a Dragon

2nd May. Trying to keep sunshine and wind in the sunflowers picture, working hard. Walked around Porthlliski Farm along he cliffs and watched kestrel hunting.

cliffs near Porthlliski with thrift and campion and golden gorse smelling sweet of coconut.

Later, evening light on the Dowrog searching for the silent flight of owls. No owls, but kingcups and lady's smock flowers, mud and deep pools, grasshopper warblers and the sound of an owl, and the first cuckoo I have heard this year, clear and calling across the moor. Picking Hannah up from work at 9.30 stood on the bridge by the refectory watching bats dance in and out of the light in swooping flight. Now the kids are home and in their rooms, pretending to go to sleep but reading books. Perfect day.

evening light bleaching out the golden colours of the Dowrog, looking towards Rhodiad y Brenin

Stone bridge over a drainage ditch on teh Dowrog, looking ancient wrapped in lichens, ditch full of kingcups and golden gorse on the banks. Needless to say the dogs did not use the bridge and seemed to be having a competition to see who could carry the most mud.

 

3rd May. Sunshine and warm wind.

In the field of black and white horses new foals arrive every day. This one just born. Gypsy vanner horse and foal, black and whitehorse with feathered legs

6th May. Warm day full of sunshine and gentle hot winds. Woodland brown butterflies and this morning a cuckoo called from over the moor. Painting, reading, walking and playing the urban version of "Dances with Wolves", a game called "Struggling with Cushions" as first I remember where the laundry basket and spare sofa cover is, at the laundrette since before Easter, and then I struggle to put the clean covers on. The cats are worried that small dragons fly through the bushes outside. All day they have sat and watched for them.

Have been working on too many paintings at once and so decided today to finish one as I have four different paintings at different stages. Today, dragons.

dragonfly painting for Tell Me a Dragon, almost finished.

7th May. Walking on the old airfield where the sky is full with lark song, and whitethroats and linnets. The grass is long and dotted with yellow cowslips and I remember as a child picking buckets of these yellow flowers to be made into sweet heady wine.

cowslip flowers

Help to move 140 horses from their winter grazing to the farm, a river of horses flowing and the sun so warm, then home to try and stay in the studio and paint. Too much to do.

gypsey vanner horse herd on a sunny day

gypsey vanner horse herd on a sunny day

dark bluebells in a twilight wood at Abermawr

8th May. Red kite over Treginnis today and it was a day for hawks. Kestrel, kite and in the evening a buzzard flying low beneath the twilight leaf canopy in the woods at Abermawr. The heat of the day has pulled out the sweet smell of blue, and in the twilight gloaming the flowers look dark. The wood is awash with blue and birdsong and emerald fresh uncurling leaves. The twilight chorus is as beautiful as the dawn chorus. Driving back over the Dowrog no sign of owls but cuckoos compete in song.

Back home trying to concentrate on Christmas card for the MBF and read 'Assassin's Aprentice' by Robin Hobb again and even the second time around the book is compulsive and the weather so warm and the bench in the garden by the honeysuckle beckons, and swallows are singing and the cuckoo is calling.

MBF card, unfinished but full of colour and detail

detail from MBF card 2008
detail from MBF card 2008
detail from MBF card 2008
detail from MBF card 2008

detail from MBF card 2008

9th May. Apple blossom heavy with dew in the morning garden. Coastal bluebells, deeper in colour than the woodland flowers, dark blue stems, heavy with water drops.

coastal bluebell with the sea as a backdrop, heavy with fresh fallen dew

Visited a friends and they have built the most beautiful chicken house of stone and wood with a living roof and places for ferns to grow.

a palace of a chicken house like something from a story book. Magical

a tomb with a view, neolithic burial chamber overlooking Ramsey Island

looking back towards home from the top of Garn Y Wlad and the medieval field system threaded out in the early morning early summer landscape

14th May. A few days illness finally floored me, but not before I had walked to the top of Carn Lliddi, also known as Garn Y Wlad on old maps as people thought that you could see the whole of the world from there. On a clear day you can see all the way to North Wales and Ireland. But this was an early misty morning walk before the heat could bite into the day, past the old tombs that look out towards Ramsey.

Yesterday the cats were visited by Sunila from Switzerland, an illustrator who loves cats and dragons. They took her for a walk to the top of the hill and there was a red kite circling slow. Beautiful.

Red kite circling ouver the fields between the rock at the top of the hill and Pen Berry. He came in very close and low. Beautiful.

MBF card almost finished and feeling better though no energy. Staying awake is a challenge.

MBF card, almost finished and very difficult to photograph because of its shape.

15th May. East of the Sun and West of the Moon is with two publishers at the moment and I have promised myself that if it gets a publisher I will be profligate and indulgent and commission a weather vane from Greens Vanes who make the stunning weather vanes pictured below. Each picture is a link to their site. I always think that it is good to wake up and know which way the wind is blowing.

barn owl weather vane from Greensvanes
huntress weather vane from Greensvanes
hare and moon weather vane from greensvanes barn owl weather vane from Greensvanes

17th May. So, after almost a week of feeling unwell out onto the cliffs with book and above Ninewells the ancient fort is a soft bed of flowers. What better place to sit and write while choughs wheel overhead. The valley is in a snowdrift of may blossom. My head is full of swans and witches and nettles and hounds.

 

More or less finished the new circle of hares. To see a larger version click on the image. This one will be made into a limited edition print soon.

three hares running in an endless circle on a background of snowdrops. Watercolour. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Yesterday I took my camera to Narberth to the Celtic Vision camera Shaman. For a while I have had black specks on my images, and have dirt in the camera. Ivan suggested that as I am a messy person (not quite how he phrased it) that I would benefit from a tool called an arctic butterfly. With such a romantic name how could I resist. He showed me how to keep the shutter held up so that I could brush the dirt off my sensor with the arctic butterfly. Brilliant lesson. ( I still claim it was mostly ginger cat hairs!)

31st May. Sometimes the world flows by too fast. Illness and an exhibition have kept me from the computer, not serious illness but wearying. The exhibition was hung and looked wonderful with Cath's stones complimenting the paintings. The preview was busy, and the days that followed. St Davids Cathedral rang with music. Good friends came to stay and food was cooked and shared and the kids are all growing up lovely and beautiful. In the garden tents were put up for guests and then the rain poured from the darkest clouds. Cats sulked as there were teenagers all over the sofa, taking up space.

Jane made new prints for me, the three hares with snowdrops, a new big bear print, and just to see what would happen a huge canvas version of the three hares about a meter square. Next time I have an exhibition I think I will have two or three large canvas prints.

Elizabeth looking at the Little Bear paintings in the exhibition in St Davids Cathedral

Hay festival was interesting, signing books in the Redhouse Childrens Book Award, but I decided that I do not like driving very much, although I did see a red kite at Brecon.

 

Hay festival lowering in the rain

next.....

 


©Jackie Morris