Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Something to look forward to ...

On cold, wet, damp days it's always nice to have something to look forward to.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Watching the traffic go by....

I passed a Peregrin Falcon today, perched on a fence post by the side of the road.  I couldn't quite tell whether he was watching the traffic go by or looking for breakfast in the grass verge.

The Mendips had a light covering of snow and looked beautiful. More snow is forecast tonight.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Day of Rest!

Actually it didn't seem much like a day of rest to begin with.  I woke up at 7.00am this morning and suddenly decided that I needed to check the bird feeders as they were getting low.  Couldn't have our visitors going hungry.  Then off to the kids club for half and hour.  I rushed home so that we could get ready to go to my brother's but the boys weren't ready.   Finally got off to Weymouth at 11.30am.

I didn't take my camera so no photos of my walk today, but I have listed what I have seen that has made me happy today.

1.  A wagtail
2.  A Heron standing in the middle of the field at the edge of our village.
3.  My brother, his wife, and kids.
4.  The view of Weymouth Bay as we went for a walk.
5.  The kids playing with the last traces of snow.
6.  My dog enjoying his daily exercise.
7.  Home at 7.00pm - leaving some time to relax before bedtime.
8.  Reviewing my latest lino cut print - Crow

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010


It's taken a while to do this sketch as other things kept getting in the way.  I haven't drawn for quite a while so I'm a bit rusty.  I did enjoy it though and must do more .... more often.

A Puzzle

I love finding something new and intriguing..... On my walk today I came across this little fellow but so far have been unable to work out what she/he is?  Can you help me?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Two Faces of Morning

The view from the Sun-room looking East at 7.00am this morning.

The view from the Sun-room looking West at 7.00am this morning.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On my walk today....

1.  Lots and lots of Starling singing at the top of their voices, gathering to take part in their aerial display.
2.  A cat on a hunt.
3.  Field Rose and Old Man's Beard.
4.  The last of the bales.
5.  An aeroplane drowning out the birdsong.
6.  A crow's nest.
7.  An apple tree holding onto it's crop.
8.  Two "Margot" Magpies - Oh Joy!!
9.  A neighbour's chicken & ducks.
10. A "Jenny" Wren.
11. Four Chaffinches.
12. ..and finally five pigeons.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Small Pleasures No 3 - Red Sky at Night

As I close down my computer from another day at work,
I drift into an inner world of music, art and storytelling.

A quick turn on the clarinet,
a practice of Ave Verum Corpus ready for my next lesson,
and as I play and imagine a whole orchestra behind me,
I find myself drawn toward an illumination outside,
being orchestrated by nature.

The birds are bowing out for the evening,
taking their evensong with them as they head of home,
blackbirds, blue tits and crows.

Their backdrop is a beautiful red sunset flaming through the trees,
telling me its time to take the dog out for one final turn of the fields,
before snuggling up in front of the log fire for this evening.

What a beautiful sight to see at the end of the day!

An early start, and then came Robin

I couldn't work out whether I had got up ridiculously early or whether dawn is getting really late but this was the sight that greeted me this morning when I let the dog out for his morning wee.

We had a new visitor to the bird feeders today, cheeky little thing was watching and waiting for me to move away from the window so that he could eat.

However, he was such a welcome sight that I obliged!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Small Pleasures No 2

1.  Having a lie-in until 9.00am
2.  Taking the dog for a walk in the fields
3.  Feeling the wind against my face
4.  Listening to the birds talking to each other
     (although they were quieter than usual)
5.  Spending time with the family
6.  Listening to my son read
7.  Drawing - a new one started
8.  Listening to music (Florence & the Machines & Mozart - I know, a strange mix)
9.  Playing my clarinet
10. Drinking a cold glass of Somerset Cider.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Where are the nuts?

I crossed through the spinney on my way to the playground.  It was pick-up time and G would be waiting.  A little bundle of fur suddenly appeared.  She made her way across the car park stopping here and there to see what was going on around her... am I being followed?  Well, she was.  I took my camera out of my bag and began to stalk her in between the cars.

I couldn't find her so I gave up and continued towards the play ground.  Surrounding the car park as a number of really tall trees and my attention was drawn to a dark patch on the trunk of one of these trees.  There she was!  Making her way up and up and up.  She stopped to review something in a small hollow picking some small items up and putting them back.  Is this where they were?

Then onwards and upwards she went until I lost sight of her.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A roost of starlings

I gather with my friends, singing loud and clear, let the world hear us.  We rest for while before we set off on another aerial display. I know my place in the throng and movements well.  The walnut trees are an old friend, providing a safe resting place.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


1. A comfy sofa to lie on, close my eyes and daydream a story.
2. Drawing paper and pencils.
3. A great novel (currently Kate Mosse's Winter Ghosts).
4. Great blogs that I follow.
5. Special friends who pop 'round for coffee.
6. My beautiful and very special dog.

I couldn't help myself, I was supposed to be paying attention to the speaker on the other end of the 'phone.  I was taking part in a meeting being held on teleconference but I happened to look down at my dog who was asleep in his basket.  Before I knew it, I had turned over my notepad (supposed to reflect the actions from the meeting), picked up my pencil, and was sketching my dog.  Unfortunately he didn't let me finish the drawing as he woke up and moved!!!

Here is my doodle;

I still managed to remember the meeting actions!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nature's Art

Mother nature watches as the ice forms on the dark curved surface.  With a soft, gentle hand she makes an impression in the film of ice forming.  A stroke here, a mark there, she creates a masterpiece of beauty for us to see when we emerge from our warm home to take children to school, or begin our commute to work.  Beautiful!

Click on the picture to see the feathers!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A little bit of shelter!

I sat in the sun room watching a fine drizzle of rain coming down. (There's an oxymoron!)  These two Eurasian Collared Doves are a regular sight in our garden and they were taking shelter in the cherry tree.  As you can see from the next picture, I don't think they stayed very dry!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I set out to survey my world
Shrouded in a cloak of the deepest black
Floating on the thermals watching as the world below me wakes up at first light
Starlings gather on the Walnut trees feeling safety in numbers
I glide past them and come to rest on the old apple tree which was here long before me
The last of the apples cling on desperately fearing the long drop to the ground
Here I take my feast and after rest
The black collared doves watch me carefully
For I am crow, I am King.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sampler in Black

Take some paint and spread it out on the tile.
Push the roller back and forward making sure the roller gets and even cover of paint.
Roll up the template with the ink making sure you cover it well.

Lay the paper on the template and then press down evenly.
Take your burnisher (wooden spoon) and make small round circles on the paper to help the paint transfer.
Finally, when you think it's time, take the paper off the lino block and review your sampler.

I have taken 3 prints - as you can see the 3rd print has the most ink however, some of that ink has gone down into the grooves.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Experiment No 2

Familiarity is a friend in this endeavour - I have started to practice with patterns and textures.

16 little squares are drawn on the lino block, each ready for their own design. 

I'm still getting used to the cutting tools so this is still quite rough, more practice required.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Small Pleasures

Watching a shrew cross the road before my car reaches it!
Watching a squirrel crawl down a tree and run across the path at school.
Watching the leaves shake and the branches bend to the will of the wind.
Listening to the woosh of the wind as it makes its way across the countryside.
Hearing the horses whinnying as they run 'round the field.
Clearing the cobwebs from my mind as I walk along the lane.
Watching the blue tits and chaffynches feed from the seed tubes.
Watching the last of the apples fall from the apple tree in the garden.
Collecting small treasures to draw.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Printing Bench

List No 2 - Layout the Printing Bench

1.  An inking slab of plate glass, ceramic tile, perspex, smooth stone
2.  An ink roller
3.  Printing Ink
4.  A Palette knife
5.  Old rags and turpentine substitute for cleaning up if using oil based paints
6.  Printing Paper
7.  Old newspapers or recycled paper
8.  A burnishing tool (wooden spoon) or a press
9.  An apron if you are really messy!

Roll up, Roll up!  Put a little ink onto a corner of the inking slab - less than 2.5 cm.  is ideal for a number of proofs.  Use a pallette knife to work the ink to a smooth consistency then transfer a little to the middle of the slab. 

Use the roller to spread the ink out further but don't cover the whole slab.  Roll backwards and forwards in different directions until there is a thin film of ink on the slab and on the roller.  Make sure the roller is evenly covered with ink.

Now ink the lino block, to stop it slipping around the table, place the block on some newspaper and hold the block steady with one hand.  Pass the roller over the block several times; going in different directions and pressing hard enough for the ink to stick to the surface.  Make sure the whole block is covered in ink.

You are now ready to take your first proof.

With the inked block facing upwards; lay a sheet of paper onto the inked block and apply sufficient pressure to take a print.  Use either a wooden spoon, a purpose built burnisher, or a printing press.   If using a wooden spoon or burnisher work your way over the paper in small circular motions, making sure that all the paper area is covered. 

Carefully lift the paper off the lino cut - voila! your first print.

If you wish to take more prints ensure the lino block is inked again each time.

Once you have finished, clean the lino block and roller carefully to ensure all the paint has been removed.  Then allow them to dry thoroughly.

First Cut

Introductions... so I pick up my cutting tool, try to get the measure of its weight and become comfortably acquainted with it. 

I put my piece of linocut on the bench hook, a piece of wood with a lip underneath and about to stop the lino moving around the table.

Soft linocut is easier to mark than normal linocut; the latter requires 'warming' before cutting. 

I make my first mark, careful to cut away from my hands and body as the cutters are sharp and menacing!

I use all the tools I have to see what marks they make. 

Finally I have my first cut block ready for printing.


My material needs:

Linoleum - pre-cut blocks or rolls
    - a medium V shaped tool for cutting lines and describing the outline of a shape. 
    - a medium gouge to create a range of textures.
    - a larger gouge for cutting away areas that are to be left white.
    - a smaller V shaped tool for cutting finer lines.
Inks - oil based or water based; the latter is easier to clean up after.
Printing papers

Friday, November 5, 2010

Explore and Discover

The things that haven't been done before,
Those are the things to try,
Columbus dreamed of an unknown shore,
At the rim of the far-flung sky.

Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A small spark ingnites the imagination..

With my feet up, I embark on a glorious half hour of 'me' time.  Mug of tea in hand, I reach for the Country Life magazine, borrowed from a friend. 

Ecoguide; Travel light spirits me away to the Spanish countryside of Sierra Nevada.  References to pomegranates, gigs and medlars made my mouth water and conjure up all sorts of pictures in my head.    The basketmaker article takes me back to the Somerset Levels and the basket shop near Burrow Mump.  Each basket espouses a sense of purpose and reminds me that I need to organise the closet again.    The article entitled Autumn Glory talks of Britain's wonderful woodlands and again I am spirited away from my armchair to another place.  I love autumn and the fantastic spectrum of colours. 

Pumpkins on parade remind me of the efforts of the Gardeners’' World presenters to win the largest pumpkin competition. 

Finally I arrive at the Seasonal Inspiration article and I stop here.  I am drawn into the tiniest detail of each picture and soon find myself scanning down the lists to find out where a particular item has come from.   Green Meadow by Angie Lewin draws me into the picture.  It is a beautiful picture and I spend what seems like an eternity looking at every detail of it.  I am entranced. 

Green Meadow

The magazine is set aside for the computer.  Who is Angie Lewin?  Well, see for yourself.

For me a new journey begins... I am inspired.