August 30, 2016

A garden of flowers, travels and midnight strolls

I can hardly believe Summer is almost over and September just around the corner! I've been so busy with exhibitions and art trails it passed  in the blink of an eye, but I did find time to enjoy some of the beautiful weather pottering in the garden. It's coming along beautifully now, it was so sad and neglected when we moved in last Spring.
I have loved bringing the garden back to life and it is so rewarding to hear the buzzing of the bees now there are lots of flowers for them to visit. Did you know that in Deeside,  the old name for bees was 'Foggie-toddlers - 'fog' being old Scots for moss or grass and 'toddling' meaning meandering with a gentle sound. Lovely!
Flowers have filled my studio with their perfume this Summer too, some from my garden and some gifted by a fellow artist, the very same lady who provided me with so many delicious cutting of plants last year so that I could stock our new garden. How  rewarding now  to see them growing and filling the beds. The wee posies of flowers below were another gift, left on our doorstep by the sweetest faerie girls who lived next door. They have now spread their wings and flow off with their family for adventures far afield and I will miss seeing their cheeky faces appearing over the fence.
Thinking of wee smiles, I got lots of those  from my wee Granddaughter a few weeks ago when myself and my two lovely daughters spent a week under the stars down South. Very posh camping as you can see! We spent every waking hour in the fresh air and when we weren't cuddling dwarf goats, blowing bubbles or exploring we were sitting up late into the night snuggled in our woollies and under blankets, playing scrabble, and watching the stars. Precious times.
I got a second weeks holiday after that too, when Mr O took me off exploring in Yorkshire. We stayed in an old inn built in 1613 and slept in what must be the comfiest bed I ever knew! We spent our days exploring places that caught our eye, like Hardcastle Crags, Gibson mill, and the lovely town of Hebden Bridge, stopping for cake and tea and mooching through second hand shops!
On our last day we visited the lovely  old village of Heptonstall, once a centre for hand looming. It's cobbled streets were discovered in 1980 when the paving was lifted.  Of course I had to have a peep at the ruins of it's original church, founded in 1260 and once dedicated to Thomas a Becket. All together we had a lovely few days away.
Whilst away Mr O and I remembered how much we love walking. When did our days get too busy to go walking regularly! So we are trying to do a walk every day again and are already feeling the benefit, feeling fitter and healthier for being outside more.
 I haven't shared with you before my 'In the gloaming' painting have I, I finished it earlier in the year and the original has already sold. The word 'gloaming' comes from the old English word for twilight 'glom' meaning to glow, what a perfect description for that magical time of day when the setting sun leaves gives it's last whisper of light to the evening. The painting is available as  limited edition prints in my Etsy shop here

 So I shall leave you with a taste of 'the gloaming' and some images that I caught on my full moon walk down the lane last week,  I love walking in the evening it is a magical time! Such lovely silhouettes to inspire new paintings I hope!

May 09, 2016

A new studio and a faerie Queen in the making . . .

Hello my lovelies, it's been a while! In fact it's been almost a year since I last blogged!
How did that happen, and where did the days disappear to? Being a creature of habit, it has taken me a good while to settle after our move last April. A new wee house to grow accustomed to, new lanes, fields and shore to discover, a new place to create in. Lots of busy days have passed and it has taken all my energy to settle into the new pattern of our life. Now at last I feel like I'm waking after a very long Winters nap, waking into the warm  May sunshine full of stories, happenings and creations to share!
I have so much to share, so where do I  begin?  Slowly I think, as it feels strange to be writing here again, like meeting with a long lost friend and not knowing where to begin in the catching up!  I have missed this blogging, and the connections with all you precious readers,  it feels so good to be back!

One of my most exciting happenings this year began with  a chance discussion with a fellow artist, that revealed the possibility of some local studio space becoming available. Having recently discussed the need for such a space with the very patient  Mr O (who never grumbled as he shared our home with an ever increasing array of paint, paper, brushes, pens etc) it was decided  I should go ahead and apply for a space. The WASPS Artists Studios is 'a charity that provided affordable studio space to artists and arts organisations across Scotland'. They are currently helping 800 artists, 12 art organisations and have 17 buildings. What a wonderful idea!   
Well I am very excited to say I am now the proud owner of a space at the WASPS studios in Kirkcudbright, a lovely light and bright space where I can have all my arty paraphernalia to hand. It has made a huge difference and feels lovely to go 'out' to work each day. It has made a much clearedr definition between home and work as well and means when I'm at work I am not distracted by weeding or dusting that is calling to be done! And when I'm not distracted I get to finish pieces that have long been in the making! 

Back in 2014 I had the idea that I wanted to do a companion piece for Autumn Bounty, inspired by references to magical things in  Shakespeare's  'A midsummer nights dream'. 

As I started to doodle and sketch, a 'Faerie Queen' began to appear, as did other fae folk, a magical hare, a drowsy bee and Summer time flowers.
She is the Queen of the faeries and leads the merriment on Midsummer's eve. 
If you are awake late on Midsummer's eve, you may happen across the faeries dancing by moonlight in ancient circles of stone, a wondrous sight indeed.
 But remember, do take care, you don't want to be caught or these fae may just cause you mischief. It is said that if you carry a sprig of rue in your pocket it will confuse those wee folk and you can be on your way!

Faerie Queen - Midsummer Magic' is available as limited edition prints in my Mythweaver shop.
I am so pleased to have finished her at long last and can't wait to see what my pencils will sketch for the next painting in the set 'Spring'

It feels so good to be blogging again and I look forward to next time, but for now I shall leave you as the garden is a calling, it's a glorious afternoon and I have seedlings to plant. 

June 26, 2015

Settling in and a sketching group

The sun is streaming through the window, and I can hear the birds singing in the garden as I sit looking out from my new wee studio.  I always feel that the setting down of new roots and making fresh memories, the things that make a new place feel like home, take a wee while to happen and need quiet times and pondering times and so I have allowed the moments to tick by here as I have allowed those things to happen.

We have been exploring, wandering through still woods as the sun begins to set and  glimmer through the trees. We have climbing sheep strewn hills to catch  glimpses of sparkling sea, and we are feeling very blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world here in Dumfries & Galloway.

The May blossom has been so late this year, it almost seemed as though it was waiting for us to settle and find time to appreciate it's tiny blooms. But at last the hedgerows are bursting into life all ready for the coming of July.
We can't wait to see what the coming month brings in the garden after all our digging and weeding and planting and a-building of walls. Next stop the vegetable patch!
June saw me run the last of my workshops for a while, so ending a wonderful first half of the year filled with meetings of  lovely folks all getting creative. It has been such a pleasure having the opportunity to share my creativity with so many and watching them spread their wings and start to discover the joys of creative play. Thank you each and everyone for coming along and helping make the workshops such special events. ( How beautiful is the bouquet of flowers I was given by the lovely ladies from Gretna!)

New workshops and happenings will be announced in September.
The 'sketch-a-day' facebook group I set up is going from strength to strength, and what began as a personal challenge to encourage me to stick to the task of sketching for the 365 days has now grown into a group with over 60 members from all around the world. It has proved so popular that numbers have had to be limited as we were overwhelmed with requests of people wanting to join and I really want it to stay small and friendly and manageable. 
The group is now run by three sketchers, the lovely Valerie (who has a real eye for detail), one of my nephew's Stu (who always finds a fab and quirky way of representing a topic) and me!  Every day a new topic is posted to be interpreted freely by the groups members and then shared on the page. We have covered really varied topics and each one comes with it's own unique challenge, it makes you tackle subjects you might normally avoid! (sketch topics: Above~ hot air balloon, red and fox. Below: favourite film character, Japanese, self portrait))

I am a little astounded but very happy to announce so far we are up to sketch 173 already!   There is something very inspiring about doing this challenge with a group and there is much  encouragement and sharing of information that goes on too. I have learnt so much already and developed my style in leaps and bounds and look forward to the next 173 days!
My sketches will be on show at the 'Kirkcudbright Art & Craft Trail' from 31st July to 3rd August at my corner of the event at venue 16, the beautiful historic Broughton House.

If you feel up to the challenge of sketching daily topics such as a strawberry, a Hamsa or  some canal art and improving your sketching in the process do get in touch as we do have places to spare!

April 30, 2015

New beginnings, a move and silver linings . . .

All the best laid plans . . .
Here we are at the very end of April already, Spring has sprung and things are a-changing. New life, new beginnings, new things a-growing.
I had such good intentions this year to make lots more art, to write more, blog more and share my happenings, but you only have to be distracted for a  moment and along come all manner of things to send you off on other paths.
 Sometimes a path can be a little misty and you're not very sure where it will lead, it's an adventure, a little scary, yet intriguing and exciting too.
 As you follow the path, you come across unexpected surprises, some good, some not so, but you keep on going, you don't look back. You wonder what waits around the next corner.
If you look in just the right places along the way, you will discover unlooked for treasures, the silver linings, the pots of gold.  The stars will twinkle and the sun will shine and as the mist begins to clear, you will see a whole new world laid out before you and know that life has taken you off on a completely new adventure. 
I wonder if you guessed? Mr O and I found ourselves on a misty path these past few months, setting off on an adventure, not at all sure where we were heading as we packed up our worldly goods. It turned out we were going over the hills towards the little artist's town of Kirkcudbright, to a new wee hoose. All rather unexpected and very quick, I think in a matter of six weeks we discovered we were to move, we found a new home,  moved out and in again! 

As you can imagine, all is a bit of a blur for now but we will 'coorie doun' and gradually begin to feel settled again as we grow into this, the sweetest wee cottage with it's glorious gardens just a-waiting for us to make our mark on them and nurse them back to life.

It will soon feel like home, things will find their place and I know we will be happy here, I can feel it in my bones.

 We have been surrounded by lovely folk helping out, moving us, feeding us, working to fix up the cottage and the garden, folk sending beautiful flowers, cards and other loveliness and want to send out  a huge thank you to all, we couldn't have done it without you.

Whilst we have been such busy bee's, amidst the un-packing, the planting and the exploring I have squeezed in some sketching here and there for the sketch-a-day challenge, but I am longing to get properly back into making some art.

My workshops however, are still running and there was much wonderful creating going on at the print & pattern and the journal making events. There are more workshops a-happening soon...

Introduction to HeART Journaling Workshop
5th May 2015 ~ 6.30-8.30pm ~ £15pp, incl refreshments.
The Art Room within the Old School, Dumfries.

Collage ~ A garden of love  Workshop
12th May 2015 ~ 7-9pm ~£10pp incl refreshments
The Franca Bruno shop, Gatehouse of Fleet.

Playing with colour Workshop
19th May 2015 ~ 6.30-8.30pm ~ £15pp incl refreshments
The Art Room within the Old School, Dumfries

 Journal Making Workshop
21st May 2015 ~ 10am-12noon ~ £10pp
Castle Douglas Community Centre, Cotton Street.

For full details visit

(The last photo is the magical view from our new wee garden, down across the fields to the sea.)

February 23, 2015

Creating with HeART ~ workshops & journals

What a whirwind February has been, filled with creativity, writing and workshops.    

I mentioned back in the Autumn, my first HeART Journaling workshop and why it was something I really believed in & wanted to continue (see here). I am happy to report that five months on, I have lots of workshops lined up.
 There is always much chat and laughter in the air at the workshops which makes for a great atmosphere, helped along by lovely folks such as Franca,  the owner of the Franca Bruno shop  our Gatehouse venue.  She not only keeps us topped up with cake,tea and coffee but endless supplies of clean painting water too!
 It brings me immense pleasure to share my creativity with others, encouraging them to let go and play, and what wondrous creations they make. The pieces below were done at my 'playing with colour' workshop.
 I often hear folk mention they haven't 'played' for years, some since childhood, so it it a joy to stand back and watch those creative muses showing face at last, being allowed free rein to get messy and have fun with all the delicious art materials to hand.
Hearts seem to work appear often, I wonder is it anything to do with the fact it's called 'HeART Journaling perhaps!   This was the  'Introduction to HeART Journaling' Valentines workshop.
 Last year I was asked by storyteller, author and poet extraordinaire Renita Boyle,  recently  appointed  'Reader in Residence'' for the year for Dumfries & Galloway, to see if I would be interested in running my 'HeART Journaling' alongside her own 'Memoir in a month' workshops, part of an innovative partnership between Dumfries and Galloway library service and the Scottish Book Trust. Renita is a wonderful, whirlwind of enthusiasm and inspiration and I just knew it would be a pleasure to work with her, so dates were duly set.
 I have held two of these workshops so far in Castle Douglas and Whithorn (there are more on the way) and they have proved such a huge success that I  have been asked to return and hold monthly HeART Journaling workshops in the community centre in Castle Douglas which start on 12th March! .

Many of the folk attended both mine and Renita's 'memoir in a month' workshop, and I was right, we have all been hugely inspired by her teaching, words and readings of her magical work. There has been much wonderful writing a-happening, and a coming together of folks over it, but that is to be saved for  another day.

 There is something very soothing and therapeutic about putting things down on paper whether it is words or images and since I began creating in my own  HeART Journals I have learnt to be brave let go and had great fun in the process and so it is wonderful to see that my workshops are now inspiring others to do the same. 
Talking of journals, I have a real passion for them and wanted to try making my own using materials I had lying around.  It was great fun and I loved the outcome, particularly the fact that I had found a use for those often discarded cardboard boxes, used pieces of wrapping papers etc, I am all for re-cycling!

Of course this inspired my next workshop 'Journal making' which is on Tues 3rd March, The Franca Bruno shop in Gatehouse of Fleet.

If you would be interested in coming to any of my workshops you can find a complete list along with dates and info over on my brand new,  re-vamped website, which I hope is much easier to navigate.    I hope to see some of you very soon.

January 13, 2015

Sketching daily, a new years intention

Where do the days disappear too? I'm sure I only blinked and its January already! So a belated Happy New Year to all in blog land and beyond.  May you find moments of loveliness in the coming 365 days!

This year I felt drawn to set myself  words to live by to help me keep on track and 'Clarity' & 'Focus' were the words that fell into my lap. Perfect, for I needed a clear vision for what I wanted from my year and  I needed to be able to focus on my goals for my business and home life too. It is so easy in this busy, busy world to get distracted and  lose your sense of direction.
  A good long stroll on the blustery, sparkling beach cleared away the cobwebs and I began to form a picture of what I wanted more than anything from this new year.   More creativity, more art making! When I looked back at last year and saw just how little art I had made it made me very sad. After all I am an artist and an artist should be making lots of art. So I promised myself I would make some plans this year to change that. 
I began my new HeArt journal and set down the ways I want my creativity to manifest itself this year. With painting, photography, crafting, writing and sketching. (I have to mention that the mandala in this piece was inspired after a wonderful workshop I did with the lovely Julie Gibbons in December.) I have made lots of plans and have many things in the pipe line and cant wait to get started again.
Firstly I have set up a private 'Sketch a day' Facebook group, where every day I post a new topic to be interpreted freely.  It's a place where we arty folk can share our sketches done for the days topic and encourage each other in the process.  I am loving the challenge and discovering there is something very encouraging about doing this challenge with others. Last year I tried it by myself and lasted a week!
 These are a few of my sketches so far ~ Topics such as : Breakfast
 Something Blue ( I do love blue & white china)
 An eye (mine)

 A mug

 Already I have re-discovered how much I love pen and wash, how looking hard at something to sketch it just pulls you in and you begin to see more and more, and also how fascinatingand inspiring it is to see the interpretations and works of others.  So if you would like to join us do hop on over here, you will be made very welcome.

Another resolution to myself this year is to be a better blogger, so I shall be back later in the week to tell you all about the new workshops I have coming up!

October 29, 2014

Autumn poetry, pictures & paintings

 The golden hues of Autumn have danced through the trees surrounding our wee cottage and trickled their way into my sketchbook. You perhaps already guessed that I love this time of year, it always fills me with the joy of being and ignites my creativity.
Walks in the ancient woodlands fill my pockets with treasures aplenty, each taken home and placed in pride of place on my studio 'seasons'  windowsill to bring me smiles through the darkening days.
 For me autumn feels like a comfortable ancient cloak wrapped about my shoulders, familiar & cosy an old friend to be greeted with joy after the longest of partings.
 Mr O tells says my hair is like "Autumn" and that as we walk in those quiet places I disappear into the surroundings, ha!  so it seems I am indeed an Autumn lass.
 I stop at every turn to take my photos, forever astounded by the hues and textures Mother Nature provides, inspiration for my paintings for years to come.
 Every once in a while I catch a glimpse of wee messages left by fae folk, hearts hidden here & there if you remember to stay still awhile and look for those secret places..
 Even the sunsets seem imbued with Autumnal colour.  It seems the perfect way to say goodbye to the day, to stand on our doorstep and watch the sun slowly sinking into the night leaving velvet darkness.
So I am away back to my paper and my paints to try and capture the essence of Autumn, I'm not sure yet who will appear on the page, but she does have glorious hair.  I shall leave you with some words from one of my favourite Autumn poems by Thomas Hood

"I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like Silence, listening
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn;
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
  Pearling his coronet of golden corn."

it can be read in full here