I’ve locked myself into my little room again with a mug of coffee and a Mars bar. Its hard to be in the house at the moment because it’s so dark and cool, shaded almost all day by the huge Sycamores that cut out anything but elusive patches of dappled sunlight and cover everything in sticky damp gloom; they are magnificent trees but I’m starting to look forward to leaf fall! The birds are singing very loudly and it feels as though Im in the tree with them. It seems as though it has been a wonderfully long summer – so many after work adventures that the days felt twice as long but still it’s hard to “waste” a day indoors when I can see the patches of blue sky through the leaves and I know it’s a perfect September day.
September brings with it memories of the last days of peace and security in my old life, of planting Autumn vegetables and planning for the next gardening year in my little cottage on the moors. I still wake in the middle of the night and wonder where I am; who I am even, not used to living under huge, noisy trees, just the big skies of the North York Moors. A couple of weeks ago I had another terrible shock when I found out that both the ponies we’d had to give away during the eviction were dead. Sadly the person who I’d trusted to give them a home, keeping them together, hadn’t felt the need to tell me that she was having problems so that when Basil apparently “died in his sleep” she had Impy destroyed, claiming he was aggressive and dangerous. I think I will never know what really happened, she wouldn’t give me more details and claimed she thought I wouldn’t care. I’m sure she had her reasons but to me it was another slap in the face from the past, un-necessary and un-feeling. Impy was a part of our lives since he was a foal… a cheeky little bugger but never mean. I hate injustice, he was wrongly convicted and I find it so hard to accept (I’m fairly nervous about the Archers tonight too, I think I might need therapy if Helen Archer is found guilty!) Anyway, rest in peace little ponies; I’m trying to draw them but a childhood of drawing nothing but ponies is letting me down just now… I can’t capture the essence of pony!
I’ve also been trying to capture the essence of Lake District Cottage but receiving some mixed reactions. This design is now a book, card, mug and a vase, available in my Etsy shop and I’d love to know what you think.
It was good to be able to re-open my shop at last; it had taken Etsy months to fix a glitch that repeatedly changed the spelling of Keswick to Koswick which may seem like a small issue but I have enough problems with spelling and punctuation without looking like I can’t spell the name of the place I live! I’m really hoping to make a go of Etsy this time as however much I love my wonderful stockists, especially those that buy upfront and help promote my work, the nature and volume of handmade work means it’s often vital for most artists to sell directly to the customer as well (especially if you happen to live half way up a mountain). Having worked in galleries and seen both sides I know that it is so important for artists and galleries to work together and have mutual respect… artists need real bricks and mortar shop fronts as well as virtual ones and galleries need to understand that artists aren’t all dizzy, insecure divas which is why I love the #JustACard campaign as it attempts to support all parties and spread the word about the importance of keeping these small, often rural, businesses thriving. I’m really proud of the cards I design and sell… one of the main reasons for this is that I have chosen to have them printed by another small, rural business so every sale I make is also in a small way supporting another creative business in the area. Emma and her family have been so supportive and are as committed as I am to trying to keep things as eco-friendly as possible; if you haven’t seen their website yet you are missing out, go right now and look…oh no, read to the end of the page first and then go (and look out for the card with me and my dad painting in the garden!)
Well, there is still time for me to take a quick wander up the valley before getting back to work so I will leave you with this image of Rupert half way up a rock face. He is away this weekend which is why I’m eating chocolate and writing instead of attempting to be brave whilst tied to a tree on an ant infested rock (not as kinky as it sounds). Last week we walked up fells with only deer and sheep for company, swam in inky smooth, sunset tinted lakes and climbed giant rocks where fear could be momentarily calmed by the sight of a perfect, delicate, fairy toadstool clinging to a mossy ledge (and I am still recovering from the midge bites that turned me hot, red and angry even before the Labour Party rejected my application to join… but thats another story) and it feels as though we live in the most special place despite everything. I keep thinking about the title of a book by artist Sabrina Ward Harrison– “Brave on the Rocks- if you don’t go, you don’t see” and just keeping going because turning around and trying to go back is often much, much harder.
READING: “The Outrun” by Amy Liptrot LISTENING TO: “Meet the Humans” Steve Mason