December 24, 2013

Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas . . .

It's Christmas eve and all through the house not a creature is stirring . . .
The house is ready, corners sparkling in the firelight, waiting peacefully for visitors to arrive.
I'm signing off to spend time with family & appreciating all the precious small things,
for those are the ones that makes my days shine.
I wish each & every one of you a peaceful Christmas, may your days be filled with loveliness.
x x x

December 04, 2013

Some November favourites . . .

Some of my favourite November things  ~
Our annual family get together bonfire night.  We are such a huge family now and scattered all over, but everyone who possibly can comes home for bonfire night, brothers, sisters, grandparent's, nieces & nephews, sons & daughters. I love these precious times we all spend together.
Being Mom to my three & now a Granny, still amazing & one of the best jobs I have ever had.
Making time to journal, re-learning how to play with my creativity & go with the flow every day.
Autumn colours shining through & creating spectacular displays here in our little wood.

Finding snippets of loveliness on my travels on the web, such as this video of the amazing starling murmurations over at Gretna Green, something Mr O & I had the pleasure of witnessing last year.

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 ?

October 06, 2013

The Kingdom of Witches ~ animation

Beautiful Halloween animation, 
 art work by a fave artist of mine Jan Pienkowski, animation by Greg Rozeboom.
Film featuring the music of Nox Arcan.
"The Kingdom of witches"

September 28, 2013

A vardo adventure & childhood dreams . . .

Autumn crept up on silent feet whilst i was distracted elsewhere, I turned around and found a landscape beginning to glow with fiery colours.  Autumn, with its rich hues & smoky scents,  the  season I was born into and to which I feel most deeply connected. It is a  time for  looking back over the disappearing Summer and savouring the memories.
And I have so much to savour from those summer months,  such an adventure I had.
Since childhood I had held onto a dream to stay under canvas in an old gypsy vardo.
This Summer my dream came true and I found myself whisked away down South to spend nights curled up in a deep feathery bed  being  lulled to sleep by  the song of owls hooting in the forest and the gentle rock of a wee house on wheels or reading quietly whilst rain pattering on the old felt roof of a gypsy caravan that had once travelled the roads.

 Evenings we spent sat upon the steps of the sweetest Summer house watching a tiny kitten playing amongst the flowers, the heron coming in to land or the deer grazing at the edge of the forest.   Quiet times, healing times, memories to cherish.

 Our days were spent re-visiting places filled for me with childhood memories, the  Cornish lanes & byways of Tavistock, Calstock & Bude. Places I travelled to as a child on long Summery holidays staying with my Grandparents. Days spent with my siblings ploshing in the streams, building dams, hunting for jewelled caddis fly cases or evenings spent exploring the fields for plants & flowers, Grandad teaching us their names & the old country uses. Nights spent listening to old folk songs & stories that fired my childish imagination.  Visiting these places was such a lovely, very emotional trip down memory lane.

All to soon it was time to head home, filled with the new experiences & remembering old ones. On our way back we collected my daughter & granddaughter & they came to stay.  Three whole weeks for gathering the clan, my three children all home together & at times all four generations of us  catching up and getting to know our precious  new little addition to the family.  Making new memories. 
I sit here now on  this Autumn tinged evening and see this Summer was filled with childhood hopes & dreams & memories.  Where do the years go to I wonder? It seems moments ago I sat and listened to my Grandmother singing, only moments since I sang to my own children and now here I am a Grandmother singing those very same lullabies again.
So another season begins, life moves on and I cherish all the golden edged moments for they have left me with a  heart filled with love & a head filled with the memories.

August 08, 2013

Kirkcudbright Art & Craft trail & stories . . .

What a whirlwind of a few days Kirkcudbrights 10th art & craft trail was.
A wonderful weekend filled with perfect weather, the sun shining all the way. 
(me & some of my work at the Tolbooth)
 We loved our space upstairs in the Tolbooth, with its beautiful old stone walls,
plenty of light & the doves that serenaded us daily outside the window.
(Mom ~ Jean Redden & her paintings)

Mom & I spent Thursday setting up, I had 1corner of the room & she the other,
Mom paints wonderful landscapes of the surrounding countryside, flora & fauna.
The doors opened on Friday morning for 4 days of visitors and my did we have plenty of interested folk & interesting conversations.   I am ever fascinated by the stories my work evokes in the people who connect with it.  One lady stopped at my dandelion clock painting and shared a lovely story it reminded her of.  When she was small her Grandad told her  dandelions were called "bus clocks" he would tell her to blow the dandelion to see what time the faerie bus was coming along. How lovely!
(I did manage to persuade my Galloway Faeries to attend!)

 I had some fascinating conversations with children (such imagination) about making art & stories & creating.  One lovely sharing was the wee 4yr old who told me "I'm an artist you know".  When i asked her what she painted she replied "I paint things like this (with huge sweeps of her little arms) and then people have to decide what it looks like" ~ what a sweetie. 
( some of my woodland sculptures & a selkie)
 As we packed away at the end of the 4th day I decided I was happily exhausted in the nicest possible way, felt I could sleep for a week and was grinning from ear to ear from the loveliness of it all.
A huge thank you to each & every one of you who took the time to pop by the exhibition over the 4 days ~ you all helped make it a most amazing event. So many fascinating connections, conversations & new exciting possibilities have come from it.

 Now I have much catching up to do & blog reading & visiting so I'm off for a well earned rest.  Have a lovely rest of the week folks.

July 30, 2013

An exhibition at the Tolbooth & Faerie creations . . .

For the past while there has been a bit of a whirlwind a-happening in my wee studio.
These last few months have seen me scribbling & sketching, making & painting. 
 I have been carried along on a flow of creativity, desperate each day to get back to  my desk and
not enough hours in the day for all i want to do for the exhibition that is fast approaching!
Many moons ago  i learnt to pattern cut & sew and designed & made clothes for a living! Above, some of my designs from way back. My threads, fabrics & ribbons have long been gathering dust so I decided it was time to bring out my collected treasures & start again.  It has been such a long while since i did any sewing so you can imagine how excited I was when ideas began appearing in my sketchbook of faerie creatures & tiny costumes, bedecked with feathers & bells & shining things!
 I have had such fun making tiny heads & feet & hands, learning to make little dolly wigs. Stitching ribbon & beads, feathers & shells onto faerie costumes. Watching these wee creatures taking shape.
Now at last I am very happy to announce my latest creations ~ my "Galloway Faeries".
 Still in the final stages of finishing & adding & tweaking.
If they can be persuaded (for they are rather shy creatures) they will make an appearance at the upcoming Kirkcudbright Art & Crafts Trail 2013, now in its 10th year.

I am really rather excited about this event as my dear Mom & I are to be exhibiting here at the beautiful old 17thC Tolbooth art Centre, in Kirkcudbright, Dumfries & Galloway during the art trail. We are venue 27, upstairs on the top floor, in what was formerly the debtors prison!

Kirkcudbrigth Art & Craft trail website here
Dowloadable brochure here 
I made it into the brochure this year ~ thats my hand shown below painting "The Travellers".

As well as my faeries,  my paintings, sculptures, driftwood creations will be on show, and prints & cards. So do drop in to venue 27 upstairs at Tolbooth to say hello if your about.

formerly the debtor’s prison is now used as a gallery - See more at:

July 18, 2013

a wee hoose on wheels project . .

I've ever loved the idea of a life trundling along on the open road,
 pulling up in the gloaming in a quiet spot to sit and eat supper whilst listening to hooting owls.
So with such excitement may I present our new wee project . . .
A wee hoose on wheels (top pics).
Our little caravan was a steal at £75, big thank u's to Mr B for that find! 
It was neglected and sad, but im going to turn it into a sumptuous bohemian get away 
(bottom pics = inspiration)
My aim to do it on the smallest budget possible, so its a make & mend & find project.
Perfect cause I do love a challenge, such exciting stuff!

July 04, 2013

Playing hide & seek with my muse . . .

My creative muse is a fae wee creature, she wont be hurried, she takes her time & tarries along.
 She is flighty & when my days are filled with otherness she often goes into hiding
To coax her out I have found the very best thing is to be still & quiet & spend time in mother nature.
The perfect solution presents itself on the rare balmy, beautiful days we have had here in SW Scotland.
Then I pile my sketchbooks & pencils into my basket, make myself a coffee & step outside to work,
to the accompaniment of the bees, the birds & the babbling brook. It often starts the flow again.
When a spark of an idea ignites I carry it with me like a precious jewel savouring the hows & the whys & the what if's.  
Yet there is part of me that  holds back from setting it free, for my paintings are the  essence of me,
they come from somewhere deep inside and each time I wonder can I make it, will it work, what if?
 A sly shove from my muse & I let that idea go then real work begins, as I try to capture it with my brush & pen.
 It has to be just right & so often causes me heartache when a painting goes awry.
I start a piece & often find I have to set it aside until the time is right to add finishings.
"The Travellers" above & below was one such piece & has taken me more days than I care to count.
Brought out & then tucked away again as I hummed & hawed this past year or so.
I wanted it to carry the essence of companionship, two travellers walking in the gloaming, a peaceful moment.
Now finally it is finished & I can breathe a sigh of relief & happiness.
"The Travellers" is now available as prints here at Mythweaver, my Etsy on-line store. 
The painting is dedicated to my dear Grandma Day who told us endless stories & sang to us as children.
It was she who sang to me the beautiful song "The Wraggle Taggle Gypsies"
 and it was this song that first roused my interest & led me on a path to discover
more about the fascinating folklore & song & the history of travelling folk of old.

The Wraggle Taggle gypsies performed by Eliza Carthy, Martin Carthy, Norman Waterson & co. Beautiful.
 Some loveliness to share from my garden too x

It is not always an easy thing to be creative and many stages must be passed through before a thing of beauty that fulfills the dream is born. There are ups & downs, highs & lows, but through it all is an unending yearing to give birth to the product of your imagination, in whichever form it takes

Thank you certain folks for prompted me to ponder my own creative process a little more. x

June 11, 2013

A sparkle of magic in the air . . .

Things have been very busy around & about here lately,
so not a great deal of art has been made, but instead
lots of waitings & ponderings & travelling!
We drove down South and spent a few happy days pottering about,
climbing steps of the Glastonbury Tor,  & soaking up its magic.
Some say it is the home of the faerie King  "Gwyn ap Nudd"
 You  can feel the essence of folk who have walked there before you
We marvelled at the view, it was so windy up there, I nearly flew away!
 We meandered around the beautiful Chalice Well gardens
where flowers in full bloom danced in shaded corners
and people gathered to feel the peace of this ancient place.
We were enthralled by so many magical items on display
in the wonderfully named shops in the high street
and we sat & had delicious coffee & homemade cake in street cafes 
whilst we happily pondered some wonderful news & happenings. . .
because at last, after all  those months of waiting
we got to hold our brand new, tiny Grandaughter Freya in our arms
Mr O & I are very proud Grandparents indeed.
Oh the wonders of falling in love with a tiny brand new being!
x x x

May 07, 2013

Glen trool magic . . .

To walk in  Glentrool Forest is to walk in a place
that has the magic to soothe the soul & clear the mind.
Discoveries to be made include the martyr's grave tucked into the woods
with its tale from long ago of 6 Covenanters killed by soldiers
while they were holding a service in Caldoris Wood in January 1685. 
read more here (from pg 399)

Discovering the mist laden hills as they climb above the trees.
Sitting at their feet, beside the stillness of loch trool
simply being and hugging a warm cup of coffee,
was to be enveloped in a sense of peace & wonder
The quiet only broken by the call of geese as they circled overhead
and the breeze as it stirred green branches.
So much beauty, just on our doorstep!
Our walk took us on the circular route around glen trool
three hours later, we returned to the start feeling as though we
had emerged from another time & place and making
promises to return very soon to taste the magic again.

April 11, 2013

Rebecca Vincent landscapes . . .

I do love the work of Northumbrian artist

Such beautiful pattern and earthy, Autumn colours
They have a wonderful patchwork, textile feel to them.

Find her website here and on Facebook here.