Tag Archives: Exhibition

New Beginnings


Here we are in February once again and I have been so busy that I forgot to celebrate the February festival of Imbolc (pretty neglectful for someone who goes by the name Witchmountain)however, since all the light bulbs in the house seem to have popped at the same time I did light lots of candles by default…

“It is traditional upon Imbolc, at sunset or just after ritual, to light every lamp in the house – if only for a few moments. Or, light candles in each room in honour of the Sun’s rebirth. Alternately, light a kerosene lamp with a red chimney and place this in a prominent part of the home or in a window.” (TheWhiteGoddess.co.uk)

Already the drive home from work is almost completed in daylight and I passed fields that in a certain light were slowly changing from brown, bare earth to green. A good time then to be taking part in an exhibition called New Beginnings.


I drove over to Nidderdale yesterday afternoon and with the “help” of my phone sat.nav. (“GPS signal is lost” was all it could tell me)  I found the studio gallery of Frances Payne exactly where I would have found it earlier, had I just looked at a map made of paper.Once the village shop in Dacre Banks, the gallery has 4 panels of beautiful, delicate stained glass with hand painted birds and it’s the perfect setting for this tiny gallery where Frances also paints and holds workshops. In fact, its tininess gave a renewed spark to the smoldering embers of my own shed dream.


I’m hoping to make the preview evening if I have the energy and enough petrol, after work on Friday, so that I can see everybody else’s work and met the other artists; it’s been good to do something with my own work again and I’m very grateful to have been asked to take part.


And so here is a story that warms my heart and makes me happy in so many ways.Remember the photo competition that Temporary Measure held to celebrate joining Facebook? Well Emma has now made some of the entries in to a new range of Short Story Cards , including this one of little me! I feel like a supermodel ( well, not right now, or in fact ever but if I could time travel…)and the caption is perfect…although the others are very,very funny and this is much more wistful.It’s a bit uncanny because I think that is exactly what I was like as a child, probably humming the theme tune to Black Beauty annoyingly and being incredibly serious about my imaginary horse. We happened to be in Keswick on the very day they were announced so it was a perfect excuse to call by for tea and a bit of chat about the weather, infectious diseases, dealing with “the public” and the joys of self employment. The cards aren’t on the website yet but you can see them on the Facebook page… look out for Womble Girl, my favorite, and be sure to get your order in!


Sadly no mountain pictures as we were stuck down by a mystery fever that left us looking forlornly at the snow dusted,sunlit peaks, too weak to walk further than from one coffee shop to the next and contemplating a future filled with park benches,tartan rugs and thermos flasks ( get well soon Rupert! x).

Now, I promised to giveaway a print when I reached 600 followers on Facebook and suddenly there even more than that! So in honour of all those lovely supporters, my daughter’s 21st birthday and my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary I will pick a winner at random next Saturday.Just leave a comment here or on the Facebook post and I’ll be making up some surprize,prize parcels.



“I Only Want to Live in Peace and Plant Potatoes and Dream”


Pink skies and wedding cake fields have been replaced by grey and mud, a rash of molehills and the wind, trapped in the chimney. Somehow there is nothing colder than wind howling through a keyhole, not even ice and snow.

This week I have been thinking “I ONLY WANT TO LIVE IN PEACE AND PLANT POTATOES AND DREAM!”, one of my favorite Moomin quotes and perhaps the reason I am not rich and famous,with an attitude like that! When I look at the things that inspire me the most and make me happiest they are often simple things – a loaf of new bread,the smell of coffee,snowdrops discovered after clearing a pile of dead leaves, a line from a song…I was clearly never destined for a high flying career in investment banking.


While the snow kept me trapped on Witchmountain I returned to drawing bears and cutting out phrases from the Guardian like a poetic blackmailer. I was excited to receive an e-mail from Frances Payne who invited me to take part in a group exhibition in her studio gallery in Dacre Banks, Nidderdale. The “New Beginnings” exhibition opens on February the 8th and will also include Jane Carlisle Bellerby ( silk collage), Anna Lileengen (photography),Inside Out Woodart (wood art) and  Michelle of Elephantattic ( jewellery).


Another potentially exciting development is the offer to write a guest blog post for Derwent Pencils! I have written a hazy outline, a rambling piece about sulking in Keswick (because my friend bought a bigger box of pencils), sniffing fruit scented erasers in a South London stationers and falling in love with the Lake District via forced marches up mountains and trips to Ruskin’s House. If they publish it I’ll be sure to let you know!


Now these wintery scenes seem a little out of date and it will soon be time to marvel at the first signs of Spring.It’s time to throw another log on the fire and lay tomorrow’s clothes on the radiator ready for the start of another working week.


By the way, thank you all for your lovely comments, continued support and all the new “likes” on Facebook.You are much appreciated… and Rachel, how do you stop the wallpaper peeling off the walls when making marmalade!?

As a small aside I would like to appologise to the reader (who shall remain anonymous until I have permission to publish his comment)  and anyone else, who was not aware that “black dog” is a well known metaphor for depression (used most notably by Winston Churchill) and assumed I was calling him a poodle. It is never the intention of this blog to upset anyone or use it as a platform for ill informed,personal rants…. x

It’s a Jungle Out There

I am in charge of a small dog this week; he reminds me of someone from Moominland (” the dweller who lives under the sink” perhaps?) and he looks at me reproachfully from under his Byronic fringe.Wandering through the woods and fields with a short legged animal I realised how lush and overgrown everything had become, viciously spikey thistles,taller than me and only the waving of the bracken tops to hint at Hamish battling through the undergrowth beneath. Everything seems to be either green or purple; the moorland heather almost ready for it’s moment of glory and the verges lined with foxglove,harebells,knapweed and self heal.

Also last week, amongst the chaos of boxes from the parent’s attic, visits from lovely college friends and trips to the sea for a spot of swimming, I got carried away with Photoshop and the sewing machine. I made this purse for a friend’s 30th birthday, featuring her two pet rabbits ,Bilbo and Binky. I’d done the drawing last year and am proud to say that in just over 3 hours I had gone from original drawing to finished product…I’m hoping for a flood of commissions and possible job offers…….no? Anyway it was a great party, so nice to be staggering home at 5am for a change with aching feet and a fuzzy head; I do miss those nights, they are a balance to the everyday solitude, green tea and yoga.

I also had a shock. I had totally forgotten that I had an exhibition booked at the Dutch House; well, not forgotten but not actually realised that it was August already and the exhibition starts NEXT WEEK! Last night was frantically spent with bubble wrap and stickers, printing out labels and lists so that Sara could deliver all the framed work I could find on the one day the car was free.My first “one man show” folks so if you can get there it would be great to hear what you think. If you haven’t been to the Dutch House its well worth a visit, if only for the fabulous coffee and Dutch treats such as poffertjes and speculaas biscuits.

So, a belated Lughnasadh to you all. I’m about to make more coffee before doing some more work on this commissioned piece ; I may sit on this bench if the sun stays out and the dog stops looking at me in that please-take-me-for-a-walk-or-throw-that-ball-for-me-like-Jane-does kind of way.

Reading:- “Dumb Witness” Agatha Christie ( on Sara’s Kindle) Listening To:- “Love Letter” Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

“Reasons to be cheerful…”

Even the cat was sulking.

This morning I was woken, not by my alarm ( which I had set for the wrong time and day) but by a huge clap of thunder which shook the house and also woke Sara who needed to be on a train within the hour. Drawing the curtains revealed sideways snow and a fairly decent covering of white; good grief, what is going on with the weather this spring?! We did make it to the station and I waved goodbye to my lovely daughter as she embarks on the last few weeks of her Art Foundation Course. I am very proud of how hard she’s been working and even prouder that she has offers from both Bristol and Leicester to do a degree in Illustration.

I’ve been getting myself into a grumpy state, wondering why my attempts to drum up support by social networking never seem to reap the same rewards as others doing similar things. In fact I got home from work last night exhausted and sulked in the bath, planning a whole new (anonymous) blog called “Bitter Lemons” or something ,where I would rant about Damien Hirst, The National Park, the price of heating oil and the evils of craft fairs. And then I had an epiphany…I had set my painfully slow internet to load a page while I was in the bath, not Facebook or Twitter but a favorite blog written by a lovely creative person on the other side of the world …

Katy Keuter had been to something called Artfest where she took part in various workshops and generally had FUN being creative. The joy in her descriptions of Artfest were infectious and moving and by this morning I had come to the conclusion that what I value most is passion,originality and art with a soul. Give me Tracey Emin over Damien Hirst any day! I have therefore decided that I will draw the winner of my Giveaway on my birthday, April 23rd.In the spirit of Bilbo Baggins I shall GIVE gifts to celebrate rather than demanding anything in return ( except of course you have to leave a comment or I won’t know who you are). One of the things Katy was asked to do in her workshops was draw something from her childhood: it was quite revealing and I felt moved to show you this funny little etching I did when I was about 11…

I think I had become a bit obsessed with “The Moon Stallion”, a children’s TV series from the 1970s, so there are moon symbols everywhere( no horses weirdly) and what must have been my dream home back then. Like Katy it is quite eerie how my childhood drawings have some strong connections to my adult reality – the house looks just like Witchmountain, even down to the big oak tree.Spooky.
So,I’ve had a few setbacks this week ( the National Park aren’t keen on my plans) but I’ve also had lots of reasons to be cheerful; one of them being this…

Well, not quite this but one very much like it. Sometimes the generosity of people is humbling and I’d like to thank Graham and Toni again for giving me the beautiful Heartland Sweetheart woodburning stove that is sitting in the shed waiting to be brought back to life. I’m going to be taking inspiration from this blog I think, it looks like I may need some advice from a kindred spirit!When its fitted I shall welcome power cuts and fill the house with the smell of bread and woodsmoke, I shall look like this…

However mean the NYM National Park are with planning ( sticks bottom lip out) they at least have good taste in artists and I was excited to receive my invitation to this celebratory exhibition. It runs from May 13th- July 17th at the Danby Moors Center. Will you be going?

Conclusion:- Quality not Quantity, Soul not just Sales Talk, Generosity not Greed. I hereby swear to be less bitter and draw more bears. *******THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR EXTREMELY KIND COMMENTS **********


Diamond Days in the North York Moors

I’ve been thinking about the importance of landscape recently, how surroundings affect mood, motivation and even character.So, while my latest creations rest, half finished , on the table next to me I thought I’d share a personal love story about the North York Moors. It may seem strange to those of you who know me as someone who lives in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by sheep and solitude, but I actually spent the first 14 years of my life in London. Visits to Grandparents in “The North Riding”  were idyllic and now seem tinted with that golden, over exposed hue of 1970’s photographs- Flying box kits on the moor, building dams in the River Esk, gritty picnics on Sandsend beach and jumping out of the car to drink icy water from a moorland spring and to breath in the sharp brackeny air at Goathland after a long , cramped, car journey from the South.

So the landscape kind of seeps into your bones and now, much as I love my trips to the city ,and proudly claim to be a Londoner, North Yorkshire has become a place of deep roots and family history, in the same way as  a tree grows angled by the prevailing wind I am now more more shaped by the North than the South!

This year is the 60th anniversary of the North York Moors National Park and I’m getting quite excited by a new exhibition this Summer that will include works by 5 artists including Joe Cornish, William Tillyer and Len Tabner whose work is all connected by a love of the North York Moors. Obviously ,for me, the work of William Tillyer has almost become my default way of seeing the moors around me, the atmospheric skies in particular, and is one reason why I never attempt to paint landscape!

The exhibition will include a re-issue of “The Furnished Landscape” , a  series of photographs which now document a lost way of life. Who can remember milk stands at the end of each farm lane? Some things don’t change though, the honey scented air when the heather is purple in August, the lichen covered drystone walls,wild garlic and bluebells in the woods in spring, curlews calling mournfully while the lapwings threaten to dive bomb anyone who comes too close to their nest.

Have I tempted you to visit this beautiful part of England? If you came between August 8th and September 16th you could also visit the Dutch House, where I will be having a little exhibition! And better still, my lovely friend Sam runs a fabulous website which gives you just about all the information you might need to plan your escape to the North in your very own North Yorkshire cottage!

So, it’s time to return to the sewing and the sketchbook after losing myself in a little journey around Gods Own Country. After singing its praises so much I think I’d better get my boots “Dubbined” and go for a bit of fresh air tomorrow!

Dancing in The Rain


Part of my display in the cabinets at Golden Brown Coffee

I’m sitting in a steamed up kitchen on Midsummer’s Day, cooking beetroot and considering lighting the stove.Heavy rain is battering the windows from a flat grey sky ~ Happy Summer Solstice ! Its been a busy few days with lots of exciting events. Sunday was the opening of the new gallery at Golden Brown Coffee in Darlington. Jane, David and I have been rushing about getting things framed and agonising over pricing, artist statements and picture hooks.

To my shame I can’t remember the name of the other two artists taking part (I will find out I promise) but all together there are five of us in the fantastic purpose built space above the  coffee shop. Sunday was very quiet unfortunately, I think we could have done with more publicity,but we had a lovely time eating delicious toasted sandwiches and alot of coffee, watching the insanely heavy rain turn the street into a canal. Who needs the Venice Biennale !

Pink champagne was available as well as coffee

David and I were feeling a little fuzzy having been at the Willowman Festival the previous two nights dancing in the pouring rain to Alabama3, System7 and Here &Now. I did a quick change from heels to wellies as we headed straight from the gallery back to the fields .The festival was only a few miles from home so I didn’t camp, but if I did I would love it to be in a lovely bell tent like Lisa Igo‘s. This great little mobile children’s book shop/story corner/arts club  visits festivals and is a beautiful cosy space full of bright cushions, rugs and BOOKS. I do really love festivals and always come away feeling inspired and hopeful that there are alternative ways to live , to be creative and to see kids freed from their electronic devices!

Lisa Igo’s “Eco Arts”  Bell Tent

Sara and I also treated ourselves to a fishy pedicure at the festival ( partly to get out of the rain) which was weird but actually really nice ( and very effective) The lovely San told us she would be at WOMAD so we’ll definitely be going back for another go!

Don’t forget the GIVEAWAY closes at midnight tonight…x

“When You’re Falling, How D’you Tell Which Way Is Down?…”


Ok, I know it’s been a while…is anyone still reading? I stopped saluting at magpies in the hope that my luck would change, and it has , in strange ways; though not always in the ways I’d wanted.

These pictures are from an exhibition being held this weekend in Jane Thorniley-Walker’s newly revamped shed. It’s in aid of Street Child Africa and will hopefully be the first of many.


Here is the work of Heidi Turner and below are some of Jane’s landscapes.Jane also showed some lovely mosaics one of which is an owl which I would have loved to buy if I was a bit richer.


Meanwhile, it looks like a few galleries are interested in showing my work later in the year so I’m hoping to pull myself together and get some new work done.

Please keep reading, I will try to be a bit more reliable in future! x

(Reading: ” The Bedroom Secrets of The Master Chefs” Irvine Welsh, Listening to: “When You’re Falling” Afro Celt Sound System)