The First Sister ...
Sunflowers and skies with clouds smudged with greys, lavenders, sometimes the softest lemon depending on the light, are very much my inspiration at the moment for painting and for flowers. Mist and soft rain are a connecting feature too. Mostly the Autumn story will be about a small sunflower and big skies, but as thoughts of work develop, sketches made, notes kept, other influences come into play, and may form a large piece of work.
As I prepare for a new exhibition for half term in October, I am mostly working on small studies. However, this delicious Sunflower in all its rich suggestive colours, may be the beginning of a large panel, painted in oils. The tones in this sunflower are similar, but much darker to the the small toffee and cinnamon sunflower that featured so much in Yorkshire. She is one of three Sunflowers gifted to me by a dear friend. A seasoned gardener who always provides the loveliest of surprises. She surpassed herself this time, by presenting me with a row of her prize ladies, offering me to cut them. I tentatively cut three, leaving the rest to continue standing majestically.
The slugs had eaten a lot of my sunflowers in early Spring and my friend knew how disappointed I was, and so kindly offered me some of hers - special moment. So as the Sunflowers will fade, I hope to capture them in paint, giving them a longer life.
If anyone has a special sunflower you are exceptionally pleased with, I would be delighted to have a photograph. My hope is to have the gallery filled with sunflowers with stories. And do remember, the smallest sunflower could be the jewel in the crown. It doesn’t have to be big to be beautiful. 🌻 It could be a tiny bud that is the beginning of a deeper story.
The Second Sister ...
The second of the three large Sunflowers…The Three Sisters ( I call them ) will be painted on three large panels, hung as a triptych… each telling a story of Yorkshire to here; the west coast of Scotland by the sea. They will be part of our Autumn exhibition of Sunflowers and other stories.
Thank you to all who wrote to me sending photographs of your sunflowers or who promised to send. This will be an exhibition woven with personal stories.
In keeping with the number 3, we are excitedly collating all information for our three gatherings in October… a day of escapism into the world of flowers and paint; a day to explore flowers and time to carefully study and paint. You can choose to paint your small bowl of flowers, or a single flower that captures your imagination, whatever inspires you.
George will demonstrate the painting of flowers to get you started and will be there to gently encourage and help you along. I will help you, if needed to arrange flowers in a bowl or as a flat lay for you to paint. We will take time to gather round the table for a light lunch, all sourced and cooked from local produce. Tea and cake throughout the day to give a little boost of energy, and because you can’t have a day out without cake - home-baked, of course!
This day is suited to someone beginning with flowers and paint, or more seasoned and looking to develop further. The day will be tailored to your needs. You will go home with a beautiful Scottish pottery bowl of flowers, a small paint box and sketch pad to encourage you on a journey of paint, capturing moments special to you… a flower, a berry, a wave on the sea; whatever the moment inspires in you .
You will also have an opportunity to enjoy our exhibition and ask questions regarding the work - about approach, technique, inspiration, or anything that comes to mind. We find guests get a lot out of that and are happy to share all we know.
The Third Sister ...
… the darkest and richest of all three. Her colour changes according to the light. Right now in the morning light , there is a hint of deep scarlet. Here, taken in the evening light, a rich chocolate and as dark as the richest black velvet icing …
This leads me to think of painting this panel. To achieve the depth of colour and tone, different shades are mixed. Something we will learn together on our gatherings. We are now a little further forward with our dates for October. We are putting all the details on our website and are also happy to email you information. Please message if interested.
Our gatherings are something we are deeply excited and passionate about. The coming together in small gatherings of likeminded people with a desire to create, exploring and learning together. It is most definitely good for the soul. One of the things George and I have enjoyed the most from previous gatherings is the encouragement each shared with the other. Sometimes you see people grow in confidence and enthusiasm before your very eyes … it is an absolute delight. We hope we can welcome you to our table with a feast of flowers, paint, good food and shared times of joy. 🌻
Now that the sunshine has come and the air is warmer, new life is popping up in the garden every day. It is always so delightful to welcome flowers back. It is a simple pleasure to slowly wander around in the morning and see who is new today and it brings tremendous pleasure and a deep satisfaction. The rhythm of the seasons is grounding and reassuring, even if a little later than usual this year. Somehow, that has made it all the more special.
We have been away since Friday seeing family whom we have not seen for a very long time. We were blessed with sunshine all weekend, and spent all our time in the garden watching our little grandchildren playing happily. The sound of children’s laughter is a tonic for the soul. Ella, our eldest granddaughter has a bubble making machine. It was magical! Bubbles everywhere being caught in dancing rays of sunshine. She danced amongst them with the true abandonment of a child living in the moment of sheer joy.
I have told George I would like one. I got a rather strange look 🤣, but I am going to get one. The child in us should never die...
This picture for me , tells many a story ...
Treasure isn’t always something to have and to hold , but very often memories, that can be sustaining, nurturing and encouraging. This picture contains a lot of that for me. A rural Scottish cottage I have always loved and chose over city life.
We had a fine dwelling house in Edinburgh’s fashionable new town, which we decided to sell and head to the country to paint and create and live more simply. The inspiration to do this was largely this old cottage you see in the background, namely Dalbuie. In the Gaelic, meaning ‘An agreeable place’, and so it is. Another meaning is ‘Yellow field’ which I suppose back then (more than 250 years ago) would mean favourable pasture. This old treasure has been George’s family holiday home for 50 years this coming February.
In many ways it has been a constant for many of us. Other homes have come and gone for different reasons . But Dalbuie was always there. It is now time for it to pass to the care of another, for new treasured memories to be made. And we wish whoever that may be as much happiness as we have known .
Hydrangeas, I have known all of my life. My Grandparents' garden, parents' garden, never in mine because I found them too blowsy, and the most dreadful show offs. But the years have softened me, and probably mostly entering the flower world, where my eyes were opened to see beauty in a new way. Constance Spry always encouraged it. They are now a best flower friend and provide both Summer and Winter floral inspiration. These lace caps are a little less showy, and very lovely. Lots of cuttings being taken. And lots of the blowsy girls too!
What a wonderful weekend it was ... my first and last wedding of the year ... and I could not have had a lovelier bride to work with. From the first time Amy and I spoke, I knew instantly that we were perfectly suited to create and style her beautiful wedding together.
Like so many couples this year, Amy and James had their disappointments with their wedding being cancelled in May. So, it was all the more special that this day be perfect for them, and it was; absolutely perfect.
Here is a little snippet of the flowers being created in our studio gallery. I had designed meadow boxes for the church windows , and here they are being created. My dear friend Carole took this dreamy picture. Not only is she a fabulous cook and stylist, but pretty nifty with a camera too. Carole has always loved photography, but she has taken her craft to a higher level. I so appreciate her discipline and dedication to perfecting her photography, through lots of practice and some tuition. I love what she is doing now. Carole came on board for this wedding to help. We had the best of fun playing with flowers and styling to our hearts content .
It was very important to me to make this wedding as beautiful as I could for Amy and James, and I am happy to say they were delighted. I felt my vision was realised, and both these things have made me very happy; but mostly Amy and James' delight ... and not forgetting Amy’s beautiful Mummy . One of the most stylish ladies I have met and a sheer delight.
Cosmos gently blowing in the breeze in early Autumn light always reminds me of being tucked up in the north of Mallorca, meandering through the market in the old square of Pollenca old town. A most delightful old town.
I would gather up fresh vegetables gently packed into a locally made basket and fill my arms with a flowing bunch of Cosmos in every shade of pink and creamy whites from the flower lady. All grown in her little yard. I would then stop and have a coffee and a slice of the the most delicious lemon tart, watching the world go by before wandering through the quaint narrow old streets to the villa we were staying at.
My vegetables neatly packed away to be used for some long and delicious lunches under the almond trees in the orchard, I would then place a beautiful pottery jug bought from a local ceramicist on the dining table and fill with the frondy, dreamy Cosmos.
Hoping for a warm afternoon soon, where I can set a table for lunch outside, and cut some of my own Cosmos for the table which will be placed into a beautiful jug made by Pauline of sea drift pottery.
And, I will be hoping for some lovely dappled light to photograph...
A lot of thought going on at the moment trying to decide what to plant in this lovely old hand carved urn ... and where to place it.
I recently created a new little area for a garden seat, but this urn is most definitely trying to claim the space. Once in it’s place and planted up, with the anticipation of a beautiful oversized floral bowl next Spring to sit by and enjoy in the first of the Spring sunshine ... I will post a photograph of it flowering in its new home.
It would also make a lovely drinks chiller for a small gathering - suggested by a friend. A little heavy to carry to gatherings though ...
This old trunk has found a lovely new home at Kilmartin Castle. It had been in my family for many a year; travelled to Africa and other continents back in the day when you journeyed by ocean liner.
I used to have the ship's menu, which is heavenly, but right at the moment I can’t lay my hands on it. Hopefully it will turn up in all the clearing out we are doing.
When thinking of a new home for this old friend, I thought of my friends Stef and Simon up at the little castle.They love things with a story too, and I have to say it looks better than it ever has in this fabulous setting.
I have used it as a coffee table and a prop for styling shoots and to fill with flowers for some floral theatre.
Oh the hand painted stripes and initials had us at hello! It’s not only beautiful and with a great story but SUPER USEFUL. It’s already full of our summer clothes to make way for winter jumpers in the closet. Thanks Gill
Sometimes a simple little jug is enough to start the day with ... Hope you all enjoy this beautiful sunny day ... a time to be still.
Beyond the garden gate, has taken on a new meaning for me and I am sure for many others. Whether it be a gate, a fence, a window, life has changed for all in a very short time. For some, it has been a time to breathe , to slow down and catch breath; an opportunity to tidy and reorganise, to garden, to plan. And for some just to be.
But not all are so fortunate as to have a house and a garden, or a rural location. Many are stuck in flats in city centres with children to entertain and the pressures of home schooling, made more difficult with the lack of opportunity to exercise, to run free ... get rid of steam. There are elderly in care homes with families unable to visit. Elderly and young alike living in isolation.
So, it is for all those in difficult circumstances that my thoughts and prayers are with this Easter. Easter is a time of hope, of new life , new beginnings. We look forward with hope to a brighter day when lockdown is a thing of the past and families and friends and school children re-united, when once again our doors can be flung open to welcome widely, or to step freely from our homes.
Wishing all a peaceful and blessed Easter 🐣.
Stay home, stay safe, save lives, look after our NHS , and other vital public services 👏
A work in progress and a long time coming!
Finally a little break in the weather, three days in a row ... Winter flus and blues gone ... three little windows of opportunity ... of rain free moments to finally let you all know who we are!
Or some of who we are ... lots more to discover and be discovered ... creativity is never stagnant ...
Just saying, my fab husband created this freehand ... no need for stencils or the like ... just a little bit of creative mapping out, and there we have it!
Would love your feedbac ... And please do come in for a nosey, and a chat ... kettle is often boiling too.