Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The Dance Shortlived

I wrote and illustrated this poem for the November edition of a local magazine.
Remembrance Day (November 11) was very much on my mind whilst drawing the imagery.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Advice and help for poem, please!!

Our Writers Group in Leyburn is joining forces with the Wensleydale Railway(the local heritage railway) to produce a booklet on the theme of trains (especially steam) which we hope to sell through their train shops.
I am writing and illustrating a section for children and here is the first draft of one of my poems.
It is for older children/ early teenage and for full impact is meant to be read out loud.
Advice and comments, please!

A Train is a...

silence taker
ground shaker

choo choo tweeter
coal eater

smoke maker
soot baker

steel stunner
people runner

carriage tugger
track hugger

piston squawker
tunnel corker

ear popper
traffic stopper

brake screecher
station reacher

Thursday, 23 July 2009

In the Evening

Another print inspired by Cavafy.
Taken from "In the Evening"-

"...again I took in my hands a letter,
and I read and reread till the light was gone...
I came out to change my thoughts at least by looking at
a little of the city that I loved,
a little movement on the street, and in the shops."

Thursday, 9 July 2009

I'm back

It's hard to believe that it is a month since I last posted something on my blog. Holidaying in Italy and the aftermath of holidaying in Italy, combined with M.E. (or C.F.S. as it is sometimes known) are my reasons. I have had this illness for 14 years. In order to manage it, I have to pace myself very, very carefully and not become over tired. Holidays ruin this. My enthusiasm to see everything gets the better of me and then I suffer later on with awful 'fluey symptons, exhaustion and aches. However it was worth it. Holidays are holidays, a break from the normal routine of life. And I have some lovely memories to treasure.
Like this view whilst eating lunch;-

underneath this canopy...


Monday, 8 June 2009

Which do you prefer?

Which do you prefer? - full colour, some colour or black and white?
I cannot decide - I keep changing my mind!

Again it is loosely based on a poem by Cavafy called "For Them to Come"

One candle is enough. Its dim light
is more appropriate, it will be kindlier
when Shadows come, the Shadows of Love.

One candle is enough. Tonight the room
must not have too much light. Immersed entirely in revery
and in suggestion, and in the low light-
Thus deep in revery I will deam a vision so

that Shadows may come, the Shadows of love.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

The Souls of Old Men

This linoprint with watercolour which I produced was inspired by a poem by Cavafy called;-

"The Souls of Old Men"

In their bodies wasted and aged
sit the souls of old men.
How grievous are the poor things
and how bored with the miserable life they endure.
How they tremble lest they lose it and how they dote on it
the confounded and contradictory
souls, that sit- comicotragical-
in their aged worn-out hides.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Ascension at Jervaulx

For over three hundred years, between 1156 and 1537, Jervaulx Abbey was the biggest influence in the dale where I now live. The monks who resided there mined for lead, grew corn, ran woollen mills and even bred horses, a tradition that carries on to this day in the nearby town of Middleham which is famous for its racehorses. They also reputedly made the first Wensleydale Cheese, using milk from the ewes. All these activities came to an abrupt end with the dissolution of the monasteries.
Now it is privately owned by the Burdon family (no relation!) who have carefully preserved its ruins. These days it is also famed for having over 180 species of wild flowers growing within its walls.
Once a year, on Ascension Day, (when Jesus ascended into Heaven) there is a church service held there. People bring fold up chairs, rugs and woollies. The sky becomes the ceiling, the grass the tiled floor. Throughout the service you hear the sounds of the countryside intruding into the proceedings - the birds singing, sheep braying, cows mooing, wind whispering through the trees, - all adding to the eternal atmosphere of the event and place.
The photo shows the members of Bedale Brass Band packing away their instruments.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Mendelssohn's Octet

A couple of weekends ago, we in the U.K. had a "Mendelssohn Weekend" in celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the composers birth. Following on with this theme, I thought now would be the perfect time to show you my painting, "Mendelssohn's Octet", which I produced last year.
It was inspired by another Anniversary. On this occasion, a 30th Wedding Anniversary which I was invited to. The husband of the couple is an outstanding violinist in the well known Fitzwilliam String Quartet and as part of the celebration, he rallied a few more musicians (including his wife) and the quartet for that one evening became an octet. We, the small group of guests were treated to a one-off performance of "Mendelssohn's Octet". It was a perfect evening which was rounded off with a very tasty meal at a local reastaurant/pub.
For me it was a wonderful escape. At the time I was going through the terrible trauma of my Mother having major surgery for Bowel Cancer. This was the second Cancer operation in three years. I did not know if she would survive. My whole world seemed to be collapsing.
Fortunetly she did survive and now has the "all clear".
It never ceases to amaze me how the power of music can transport and transform you to another place.

Friday, 8 May 2009

The Meeting

For this painting I used watercolour and gouache. It was inspired by a visit to Chateau Chanonceaux in the Loire Valley in France. I remember it as a very white, delicate building which almost appeared to float on the river as if in a dream.
A few months after I painted it, I recall reading the lively histories of some of the former inhabitants. What I discovered about Louise de Lorraine spooked me. She was married to a King Henry 111. Her appearance was described as blonde and painfuly thin in stature. After her husband was dramaticaly murdered by a monk (nothing as boring as a heart- attack) she spent the remainder of her grief-stricken life, wandering round the chateau and gardens dressed only in white.

Thursday, 7 May 2009


...and the sadness that can accompany it. Watercolour.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Eating Outside in Venice

Another Venice inspired painting using watercolours and pencils.
It is pure joy to be able to eat a meal outside. For most of the year, up here where I live, in the beautiful but droughty Dales, it is usually too cold and windy. You can still manage it, but be prepared to wear a thermal vest!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The Gossips

I'm not one of those artists who paints whatever is in front of them. Instead, I tend to paint from memory and from scribbled ideas in my notepad. For example, the inspiration for this watercolour came whilst wandering down deserted alleyways and piazzas in one of Venice's less touristy districts. I made a mental note of their postures, clothes (including a pair of super fashionable sunglasses worn by one of them) shopping baskets and general interaction. They were sorting out the problems in the world and doing a very good job of it.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Thursday, 30 April 2009


A painting of Venice which I produced a few years ago.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Early Spring

Both photos were taken in Bishopdale near West Burton in the Yorkshire Dales, early Spring 2009.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Swinton Park near Masham

1.Blossom and Daffodils
3.Saxon stone Coffins - thought to be for the nuns from the local nunnery
4. Lake - dug out in the 1760's as part of the landscape design for the Danby family

Taken on the afternoon of 21st April, 2009

Monday, 20 April 2009

Palm Sunday and Easter

Here are some recent photos taken on Palm Sunday in Redmire (a Yorkshire Dales village)
i) walking through the village
ii)following the donkey
iv)watched by sheep
v)entering the 12th century church of St. Marys