Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The Turning

Fernworthy Reservoir reflects our gratitude for the blue. But it has shrunk during the long days, and as it has pulled inward, old bones have surfaced.

An archaeologist's eye traces the lives of a village: hearths and paths of an old way which has been lost. No, not lost; drowned. Important people needed good water to drink. This village was emptied and flooded. Now we wait for a dry year to admire their stone huts-turned-circles. I find a chunk of clear quartz as big as my hand, offer a song in its stead. Has this rock been held before? These views, balm to wind-whipped minds, were once the for-granted frieze from door to door. It is a mixed place. It is a mixed day. But the sun is giving way and the water will rise again, smoothing sharp corners until all is soft and free as dust.

The turning is tangible. Led by the huge horse chestnut which stands alone, fire, stolen each moment from the sun, creeps across the leaves. The world is still green, but closer in...

...the chlorophyll crown is slipping and we are dripping in gold. Kicking up piles of gold. Laughing and kicking as the leaves rain down and the sun shines its fading hardest.

A girl, behind bars in a floral lane, sits alone in a stone courtyard, feeling the sun warm her back and staring forever into a handful of this last light. Soon she will be gone; sold.

A slow worm of pure gold visits us on its journey into the dark. Losing speed as it loses heat, a flickering tongue explores tiny spaces where it can be still for the long, cold months.

And I, drawing in and seeking the darker spaces, find the quiet voice of poems and paintings, prayers and passion, sounds louder now, and so, this:


My shaggy green coat hangs heavy.
I nod, blind, high over
the scatter of chattering charms
as they try to outshine their own fade.
I am gaunt, untidy,
out of place
in this trove of trinkets.
And then.

And then, in a burst of rapture
that opens, opens my eye,
the late light
blazes gratitude through me
and I am heliotrope,
head held high.
I stare unblinkingly
into the greatest eye of all.
The bees
desert the browning pretties
and come hungry to me.
I suckle them throught the bright times
and as the eye lowers,
flocks replace swarms.
The light is less and less.
I tire.
My head,
heavy once more,
and I lean
until the earth
takes me back.
I dream of my children
as they open:
standing tall, tallest,
holding the gaze,
shining a beacon of bounty.

Monday, 12 September 2011


'In the Flow' by Lunar and Pickle:

I’m writing and I’m in the flow.

Then, ‘Mama, Mama,’ my girl wants to suckle it out of me.

I stop, suppressing a sigh, and scoop her up.

I give her the good milk.

Another rose is about to bloom outside my window and it is raining again.

Two nights ago my husband was rushed to hospital with big chest pain.

Now he is home and can’t give me another half hour to find the undercurrents.

I am blessed and confused.

I am human and hungry.

I am typing this with one finger while removing scissors and expensive sketching pencils from my girl.

She wants to press the buttons.

I’m going to let her just as soon as I’ve saved… 

yfvfhgllyhyyt,uh6                  es’;kgthttp://www.youtube.com/watch?feat0075re=player_embedded&v=DltqY2XBZJ0055

and here we have creativity from the whole family on one piece of paper. I have contributed a flower, a balloon and two poems in embryonic form; Thomas has given us this marvelous duck and tractor and Pickle has taken a more abstract approach:

The second poem came during the night, although I didn't write it until first morning milk:

Pinned awake
by the searchlight moon
reading my soul

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


Yesterday I posted this poem and how we met.

Today I have completed the canvas for it:

Later, I'll take it to The Courtyard, Chagford and hang it with the others.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

In Residence and Under a Rosy Sky

Yesterday I was 'in residence' at The Courtyard Cafe, Chagford, where my exhibition's hanging throughout September.

At first my husband very supportively came with me, but as the cafe was busy, that meant us all squashed along a high bench with Pickle squeezing her juice carton and sending jets of sticky every which way. No way was I getting my canvasses out. I decided there was no point me being there. Thomas wisely decided I was trying to avoid it and should stay and see if there was a point. Sometimes he's so annoyingly right. (When he's not annoyingly wrong, of course.)

So off they went and I slowly got out my little canvas and we stared blankly at one another for a while. I was briefly spared this public block because the corner table cleared long enough for me to hang a new piece:

 Under a Rosy Sky

Then some words happened. Now, this is when being 'in residence' becomes tricky. I'm supposed to be arting, but now I've fallen into a words space and I can't help that. So I wrote for a while. The small proportion of words not crossed out at the end were these:

In the comforting dark,
a presence.
Oh no.

By the glinting flame,
an eye.

Under the beaming moon,
a voice.

With the warming dawn,
a hand.
Yes, please.

It came from my desire to be alone right then, but also reflects the antisocial side of me which could merrily live under a rock, speaking to no-one. It's taken me so long to learn that much of the comfort of being alone is really an avoidance of the anxieties I have in company. In fact, it may be premature to be putting that in the past tense. And that last line speaks the slightly desperate delight I feel when real connection is made. For all my barriers I am hungry for that. Who is not?

The words had broken the freeze spell and I did some good work creating a background to support this poem. (Uncomfortable with that word - it's what proper poets write.) Meanwhile I got some good feedback on how I could clarify my pricing and some nice comments. I was more distracted than at home, but the distractions were brief; no-one demanded milk from me!

Exhibition including Under a Rosy Sky

This is what the exhibition looks like now. And the great news is that, as well as a very slow trickle of prints and postcards, I have sold an original: Tree in Sunny Field

On that happy note, I shall wish you all adieu and attend to my whistling kettle.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Exhibition, duck herding, puppets, etc.

Ta-dah! At last, the exhibition's hung. All I have to worry about now is the increased risk of people seeing my work. Yikes. If you're in Devon, it's in The Courtyard Cafe, Chagford all September. And do take a look at some of the great work being created in Devon Open Studios.

2011 Collection

We spent a day at Lustleigh Village Show. Many are the wonders to behold there, but the duck herding is possibly the funniest.

Phenomenal birds of prey were on display. I had a quick stroke of this one, but flinched away when he looked (hungrily, I thought) down at my fingers.

And while we're on birds of prey, I strongly recommend you visit Coyopa and read an extract of 'The Falcon's Child'.

I was pleased to spot this woman knitting as she walked. She's a professional weaver and actually only looked down at her hands in shyness when I was taking her photo.

We watched a hay rick being built in the traditional way, with help from Ed and Samson (below) from Chagfood.

The kids had plenty of traditional entertainment too. This Punch and Judy show gathered a huge crowd. You can probably see from the photo how dark the story is, but the kids (young and old) were having a grand time yelling warnings and encouragement to the characters. I'd like to know more about the origins of this tale of a man, his wife, a crocodile and some sausages.

Hot sheep waited, nose-to-tail in a truck until...

..their coats were whipped off in the sheep shearing speed trials. If a shearer nicks the skin of a sheep, his time is disallowed. There's genuine competition, especially between the old hands and the young upstarts, although everyone acknowledges not enough people carry this skill now, so outside the trials there's huge encouragement to the men (exclusively, it seems) who want to learn.

Pickle went on a merry-go-round for the first time. She had so much fun and couldn't stop grinning afterwards.

Last night we were at Yuli Somme's Bellacouche preview. In typical Dartmoor style, apart from the usual dogs and kids, a friend had brought a pony.

And on the way home the sky was shining fire. I'd felt odd all day. Maybe it's autumn slinking into my bones, maybe it was the magical company the night before, or the early morning stroll through the sculptures in the Mythic Garden. But something is shifting in me; taking a new shape and creeping up, up to speak with a new voice. We never know who we'll be tomorrow. All I know is to face into the strongest wind and keep walking.

All I know, is that when the Wild God visits, I will give him the best I have, and listen hard.
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