November 03, 2013

Autumn reflections & creations

As Autumn has drawn in I have found myself distracted from my work, so many other bits & pieces to start & finish, never enough hours in the day.  One such "other" project I had in mind was to make a book for all my favorite poems & sayings saved & lost in the depths of the computer. I printed them out and collected them together in a wee book, whose margins & gaps shall be filled with scraps of collected favorite images from magazines etc & scribbles of mine too. A work in progress me thinks, but such fun and a joy to look through .Earlier this year a school in South Africa contacted me asking if they could use my thistle image for a project the pupils were doing about Scotland. Of course I said yes! They divided the image up and each pupil had to interpret their section in their own way. The result a beautiful collage that they then used on the cover of their school year book.
I had forgotten all about the project, then months later a copy of the book popped through my letter box, a lovely surprise, they even included a wee thank you inside. I love the different interpretations, and think the students have done a grand job.
 I have had a bowl sat on my desk filled with petals from my Moms Bourgenvilla bush all Summer waiting patiently for some attention.  They have now been threaded onto string and hung at my studio window where they catch these last Autumn rays of sunlight through their delicate petals.
I took time out to go foraging in the forest during these beautiful Autumn tinged days and lost myself amongst the quiet of the trees, and the beauty of patchwork fallen leaves.  We found goodies a plenty and my new favourite makes  are  blackberry & apple chilli chutney &  Elderberry liqueur!

 I am endlessly fascinated by shadows & silhouette where light is chased into corners & things take on an ethereal quality.  The clear skied evenings have given us such spectacular Autumn sunsets this year, casting magical shadow puppet shows through the windows, edging all with gold and tinting with pink. 
On a visit to the local neolithic site of Cairnholy, one such sunset inspired me to begin work on a new painting. I wanted to capture the mystery & essence of times long past that I felt at this ancient burial cairn.  It is a Clyde chambered neolithic Cairn, meaning it has upright stones on either side of the entrance and is thought to be one of the earliest type. Finds from the site included a leaf shaped arrowhead and an axe with jadeite, a rare green stone that came from the Alps. The axe is now in the Royal Museum of Scotland In Edinburgh. More info on the cairn here & here.


 At last it is done “At the end of the day ~Cairnholy” and now available as prints here in my Etsy store.     For some reason on my laptop it looks much lighter than the original & prints.
As Autumn rolls by and peaceful evenings descend upon our wee cottage it is always a time of reflection for me.  This year for a goodly while I have felt off balance & out of sorts, I realised my work & my art had all got a little too serious & un~enjoyable, something I hear happens to so many creative folk. 

After much reflection my solution is to take a chunk of time out.   I am hoping I can learn to play & get messy & be imperfect again with my creativity, to feel inspired again.  So with that in mind I have signed up to try one of  Jani Franc's  e~courses, exciting & scary, but already proving to be great fun.  So I am settling in for Autumn here in our wee cottage, looking forward to log fires, cosy evenings,  and  much getting messy & playing. 

 I wonder what does Autumn mean for you, do you find it a time of reflection, feel the need for a re-charge, If so what practices or rituals do you find help you ?


  1. Hello Ruthie, many of your creations are quite unique and will be in demand. Watch out for internet theft though, there are still lots of people around that think images and videos are fair game for stealing. A while back a thief in Turkey was downloading my video clips, cutting the title and credits and re-uploading them as his own. I'm glad that Google now has an image search that can check if someone's using your stuff without the credit.
    That's a fabulous collage and your painting's a wonderful depiction of Cairn Holy.
    Lovely post, have a great time on your Jani Franc's e-course.

  2. Ruthie, I love your eye and your creativity in exploring and playing with what it sees! Good for you for recognizing your creativity losing its spark...and taking the time to let it recharge. Go in ways of wonder...

    1. Thank you Jeffrey, I am so looking forward to it.

  3. Me again Ruthie, after writing my previous comment I thought I'd do a random Google search of a few of my pictures.( I usually tell people it's OK to reuse if I'm asked first.) It wasn't long before I found a Scottish firm of all people using one on their webpage without prior permission. I'm awaiting their reply before I decide what to do.
    Rant over !

  4. What lovely images!! Your work is lovely and magical, as usual. Love the students' work with the thistle, great!! Autumn is a lot of work around here, but the work becomes an important ritual of preparation - stacking wood, raking leaves, cleaning up the garden, putting pots that shouldn't freeze undercover. I'm late on raking and that creates some anxiety!! When all is done and the studded Norwegian snow tires are on, I walk and sit in the moss garden, feeling my roots go down into the Earth. Helps me even when the ground is covered in snow.

  5. an array of memorable things, natures and your art, sometimes combined. It is good to step away for peace and quiet space.

    thank you for sharing.

  6. Hi Ruthie,
    It will all come back, go ahead and get messy. Live life, smile a lot, giggle even. Love the collection of favorites above and your new painting! [this one is huge by the 'wee' about it]
    Happy Autumn,

  7. Hi Ruthie
    I love the little book you are compiling and the Autumn Sunset viewed from your window. Your new painting is very atmospheric. I love Autumn, my very favourite time of year. It's a time for lining your nest and getting ready for winter. Jacqui x

  8. hello there! this is my first visit, coming via the lovely mistletoe oak and i am taken aback by the beautiful painting...and your blog as a whole, i can see i will spend many a happy hour here thank you :)

  9. Just found you through Jacqui Galloway, like what I see on your following and will be back.

  10. Love your little book of favorite quotes... I have them written on scraps.. and stashed all over, tucked here and there ~ what a great idea to keep them together and enjoy them ~ in an artistic way no less!! The students version of your thistle came out great! Very nice of you to share your art, and nice of them to send you a copy and note of thanks!
    I also love the colors of the sky in your new painting....
    I enjoy the fall season, as it melts into hibernation season... the beautiful colors, with the accompanying scent of fallen leaves and wood smoke, and crisp air.
    I too get/feel off balance sometimes... with my mind swirling like the autumn leaves, and there isn't time for everything I want to do, or worse need to do; before I can think of doing what I want to do.
    My mind needs to be calm and at peace to create ~ and so often these days, it is hard to achieve that!
    Much luck with getting into the groove of some fun creativity! :))))) Happy Autumn to you!

  11. What a gorgeous post Ruthie, and what a marvelous story about your thistle image! ' Cairnholy' is fabulous. I hope you have wonderful, creative fun in your class - it sounds great. Have a wonderful autumn in beautiful D&G........x

  12. So much creative eye candy!!! I love visiting your blog. So interesting about the whole seriousness thing. I think I need to play again too, in my art.

    I love autumn. I am having fun going through all my photos from my trip in October to the East Coast of the US … the colors were spectacular. I might need to play around with those, as studies. The weather here in Southern California can't decide what it wants to do. Sometimes it feels like fall, and sometimes it feels like summer is back!

  13. Hi Ruthie. Such a beautiful picture of Cairnholy. I visited it once, if it's the same site, in 1980 ! Blimey, it seems so long ago. Is there 2 sites close together, and a view across the sea ?


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