Saturday, 26 June 2010


Remembering to look - the Eglantine rose in the garden has just come out.

Its all been a bit mental here lately, which is why I haven't posted for absolutely ages.  Sometimes life gets in the way.  One thing I've learnt in all this stress is how easy it is to allow myself to live in my head.  Once I do that, the stress takes over, and I become a complete basket case. Everything gets totally out of proportion and its impossible to be rational about anything, especially whatever it is I am stressed about.

The way to tackle this is to get grounded.  To go out into the garden, plant my naked feet firmly in the grass and soak up the prana.  To get inside my body, listen to it, find out what it is saying to me, what it is showing me is really the problem - like my fear of failure being about my deeper, older fear of not being loved; like my habit of leaving things to the last minute being a way of confirming my bad opinion of myself, that I am lazy, selfish, unreliable and indisciplined.  Sitting with my body, scanning which parts of me are hurting, I can find out what I need to do about it - the pain in my throat saying 'ask for help', for example.

The answers are always there inside me.  If only I don't get so caught up in the melee of stress that I forget to listen for them.

Monday, 14 June 2010


We had a busy weekend this weekend, with Pat's family up.  We all gathered in Southwold to enjoy the sea and the sights - and the marvelous 'Under the Pier Show' which, if you have not seen it, is really worth a visit.  Here is a sneak peek of my brother-in-law enjoying the 'Brainwash' machine!

Meanwhile the family photo had to be taken outside the Sailor's Reading Room, another favourite place.  Of course, it being us, we were all freezing and making silly faces!

(Picture taken by a kind passer-by)
 Since I got back, I've been trying to recover and catch up with myself. As always there feels like a mile of OUGHTS to get through, and because I'm so tired and twitchy, I can't seem to settle to anything, even resting.  So this afternoon I got out my new dip pen and had a bit of fun with it, practising the cross-hatching techniques I learnt the other day....

...on a little practice portrait of a friend.  I think it would look better in pen and wash, actually,but you can never be sure until you have a try.

 (Portrait of Kim Parkinson by RB)
I really love the dip pen, its such a new freedom from the pens I have used before, which have either been fibre-tipped fineliners or Rotring drawing pens, neither of which give you any control over the amount of ink or thickness of line coming out.  Dip pens are an adventure that I am looking forward to exploring, along with ink and watercolour washes.

Thursday, 10 June 2010


Pat's family are coming down en masse to visit the area, and will be dropping in.  All the work we have done to make the place pretty will finally be appreciated by some of the people we love most.  There are still lots of things I would like to have got done, but I needed to rest today, and so they never happened.  Never mind.
The garden is just coming to fruition in time for our visitors.  The first roses have just arrived - this is 'Winchester Cathedral'.
And this is the new hydrangea I bought to replace the bottle-brush plant that didn't survive the winter.  The moles undermined it at one point, but liberal application of firelighters down their burrows seems to have saved it for the moment!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Open Studios

We managed to catch the very end of the Norfolk Open Studios this weekend, when we went to the Art Factory (formerly the old Bally shoe factory) to see an exhibition of work including some by our friend Martin Battye.  What utter bliss to walk about in this huge echoing building, surrounded by amazing, beautiful objects.  Thank you to everyone who contributed, it was so inspiring.

There we were in Martin's studio, surrounded by a litter of half squeezed-out tubes of oil paint, and turps, and brushes, and canvases propped against the walls and, for some reason, several boxes of bottles of wine, and a huge thunderstorm broke overhead, the first big one of the season.  The room was sunk in strange, liminal gloom, and rain roared against the windows.  I stood and watched the lightning flash, and felt the thunder rattle the windows, and realised how elemental art feels to me now.  I suddenly felt so outraged that I was not the one with the studio, that I had not been able to do this myself.  And a voice came back from within, 'But it wasn't the right time for you then.'

The time is coming, though.  I can feel it.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Time Out

I am in the middle of a huge turn of the Great Wheel of Life at the moment. Big things are happening for everyone around me. A friend has just had a beautiful new baby. Other friends have got engaged. Some are coming up to landmark birthdays. Others are getting divorced. And there is bereavement too. Its all happening!

So today I am taking some time to just be with what is happening at the moment, to feel the feelings. I am experiencing big changes and emotions too, and its a lot to deal with. So right now I am just being still and honouring what is going on. Letting it sink in and percolate through me. Being with it. I'm not trying to digest it, just to experience it. It feels like the right thing to do.