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Hello again! I did not mean to be gone for so long. Nor did I mean to post twice about my cards (an error in the scheduling process-eek) but thank you for your hip-hooray’s and kind words of support.
I nipped off on a little mini-break (ala Bridget Jones!) to one of my favourite places St Ives, Cornwall. For those not in the know (or country) it’s on the North tip of the South coast and it’s famous for its artists in the 20′s Alfred Wallis, Ben Nicholson, Christopher Wood and Naum Gabo and it’s potters and sculptors like Barbara Hepworth and Bernard Leach.
View from our window.
We enjoyed mad weather like everyone else in Britain at the moment; the full range of mist, drizzle, sunshine and showers.
But it didn’t spoil things in any way because the scenery is always gorgeous whatever the weather and the town is busting with galleries, shops and places to eat and drink not to mention the wonderful Tate gallery.
There was lots of wildlife – mainly these noisy creatures on the look out for pieces of a Cornish pasty!
But we were also lucky enough to see a seal and her pup come in really close to shore.
This gives you an idea how close. I think she was enticed by something that the children were crabbing with on the harbour side. She stayed for ages and gave us great photo’s like a celebrity seal on the red carpet!
It’s always exciting to unexpectedly see an animal in its natural habitat.
But not these ones – nice colours but too aggressive and big for my liking. Oh, and noisy at night too.
The Island area of St Ives was full of wild plants and flowers all enhanced by the beautiful backdrop of turquoise sea.
And did I say there were a few seagulls around ? I think this one got tired of me stalking along after it!
We also went to Barbara Hepworth’s sculpture garden and the Tate so once I’ve sorted through the photos I’ll come back and show you.
I can tell you about my week through my ‘painting-a-day’ paintings.
An orchid from the salad at our Thai meal to celebrate being wedded for twenty whole years – yes I did take a flower out of the salad and yes, I did say 20 years!
A pale pink, double-headed Aquilegia which was the only casualty of having a new fence put up down one side of the garden.
A raspberry pink, candy striped Dahlia bought on impulse at a grocer’s shop in Ledbury.
I was in Ledbury (which is a sweet, quintessentially English market town) to drop off some paintings at Shell House Gallery.
Saturday 26th May is the opening day of “Artists Garden” – a group show. I love painting flowers from my garden and so was delighted to be able to join in. While I was there I bought these dahlias and some other fabulous bedding plants to paint, so the cycle continues.
The back garden of the cottage we stayed in, in Wales, was full of primroses – pale yellow, pink, cerise and magenta.
The hedgerows were also full of them on every side. Such a beautiful display made all the more charming by their natural re-population.
Hard to catch a picture of in the blustery wind but of the zillion photo’s at least few aren’t blurred.
I particularly love the star-shaped centre and sweet-heart petals.
And up close you can see natures cleaver drainage hole in the centre of the flower – just like a sink without a plug!
I happen to find this little jug for 50 pence whilst thrifting one day (loads to be had in Wales and I bartered hard, but more of that some other time). And then in a moment of serendipity the flowers went with the jug, the scale was just right and it rained so hard we stayed in and I found time to paint them.
A must do trip for the earnest crafter loose in Pembrokeshire, is a trip to the mill of Melin Tregwynt.
This has been a working mill for the last 100 years and is still owned and run by the same family – no small feat in this day and age.
It was fascinating to see behind the scenes..
…especially watching the loom being prepped and threaded with yarn ready for it’s turn on the automatic loom. The girls had a pattern sheet to refer to (much like a knitting pattern repeat ) but what a responsibilitly!
The Twisting and Cone winding room was full of yummy boxes of yarn, named in the most evocative colours.
Best of all, you could buy a bag of off-cuts in the shop.
These worked out to be £1 a piece which I think is excellent value.
They are made with colours which reflect the natural environment.
Now I must ruminate on what to make with these gorgeous woven pieces.
We are just back from a lovely break in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
This is a place where you can really see the sky (I live in a city and hardly ever see the horizon.)
And the skies here are really worth looking at constantly because they change all day..
They are even worth braving the cold on the beach to capture,
and worth getting up early to dog walk, be inspired by and come home and paint.
I can see why the landscape has, and continues to inspire artists, with its patchwork colours and textured furrows.
Nature always seems closer at hand when you’re on holiday, maybe it’s because we slow down and observe more…
or maybe it’s because it pokes its head over the gate to say hello!
A couple of weekends ago we celebrated a wedding in the beautiful surroundings of The Gower Peninsula, Wales,
and walked the beautiful Rhossili beach the following morning in glorious sunshine.
It’s one of the best shell-finding beaches that I’ve scoured recently and I found a washed up receptacle to fill, in order to bring some beach finds home to paint.
Yes – I have even been keeping seaweed alive in salt water in the studio sink so that I could paint it. The smell in the studio reminds me of fish and chips!
Paris is full of beautiful shops and the window displays are awesome!
They are highly inventive and eye-catching, whether it be in a simple or multi-faceted way.
Shops are specialist’s at what they do. There doesn’t seem to be the ‘corner shop’ mentality that we have in the UK where you can buy everything under one roof.
These shops, at least in the city centre, are excellent at baking bread or patisserie, making olive oil or herbs, cheese or wine.
And they are all beautifully and immaculately displayed.
It put the chic in shopping.
On a Sunday the Flower Market becomes the Bird Market.
We weren’t sure whether to expect the best (alive) or the worst (some dead French culinary treats.)
But it was the most charming little market of twittering, fluffy, cheeping birds ever.
I was totally charmed by it all and if I could have, I would have bought a handful because they were so adorable and such lovely colours.
It looked like you could just turn up and sell any bird you may have. Groups of men stood round their cages, shaking hands and chatting.
It was quite a contrast; all these macho men selling these delicate little creatures!