land kissed by salt…

August 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

I have been on the Isles of Scilly for 10 days, listening to the Rough Island Band, swimming in the sea in various states of sobriety, going for long lazy walks, talking to old friends, and generally having a wonderful time. I knitted a lot, and sketched a bit.

The title of this post, by the way, is from Esta Spalding’s poem August, which I’ve mentioned on here before in this post here. It is beautiful. The whole sequence is here, and I recommend it.


Spanish sketchbook

April 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

I have spent the last 2 weeks eating and drawing and swimming and lying in the sun in Southern Spain. It was glorious. Here are doodles…

Things I would especially recommend…

  • Visiting the Alhambra, as much as possible and at all times of day, but especially the Nasrid Palaces at night – I felt as though I had stumbled into a fairy story.
  • Eating churros and chocolate until you can’t stand up.
  • Walking around the Real Monasterio de San Jeronimo in Granada, where nuns have painted the inside of the chapel. All over. In a sort of glorious and slightly terrifying choas – corpulent cherubs and impressionistic pastoral scenes and multicoloured Moorish-inspired patterns and trompe l’oiel monochrome work and simulated marble textures in the style of bad 1980s DIY magazines and actual beautiful ancient marble and carved wood and hideous Catholic statues and beautiful sinuous elegant arches and stained glass windows and a towering eyeful of gold leaf, all crammed in together. Prepare for visual hangover.
  • Being stunned by the caves at Nerja, which are huge and surreal and magic.
  • Eating cane honey in Frigiliana.
  • the Picasso museum in Malaga – joyous.

what seas what shores what granite islands…

April 13, 2011 § 2 Comments

The music and the company were both spot on, the sun has baked us brown, and the gorse was riotous with blossom. I had my first outdoor swims of the year (cold!), and a number of ridiculously tasty egg-based breakfasts (hot). There were moments of incredible beauty (listening to harp and violin in an ancient candle-lit church), bits of indefensible silliness (banjo trio, anyone?), sweaty introductions to Cornish dancing, and some magical sessions that made me feel privileged to be alive with ears that work.

Here are some pictures:-And here is the amusing-but-slightly-sick-making thing the musicians did with royal wedding stickers:Nice. (I’d like to point out that this is not my work.)

Also, these words by Tove Jansonn are evocative and lovely, and seem relevant for a week of folk music:

‘They were gentle, sad songs about things that go on and on and that nobody can do anything about’

the ice book

March 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Just came across this magical little video on Andy Davies’ blog – visit his blog for a much more condensed and polished example of Nepal-inspired imagery (mine is here in all its sprawling scribbly chaos. His is here looking composed and evocative and vibrant.), and watch this because it’s delicious.

(by Davy and Christine McGuire. Marvellous.)

Also, I have been knitting and knitting recently. The jumper featured here is now a whole garment. I am over-excited about it, and will upload some pictures soonish.

among the lakes and fells

March 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

I didn’t draw anything at the weekend. Instead, I ate pancakes and delicious Swedish semla buns (looking up the spelling just then, I discovered that in Sweden today is called Fettisdagen – Fat Tuesday. Brilliant!), and walked up hills in the Lake District. Spring is springing like mad there, and it looked like this:-

Bliss! And since today is International Women’s Day as well as Fat Tuesday, here are some lakey hilly words from one of my favourite woman poets:-

If you fancy a change from pancakes today, give these a go – and have a lovely Tuesday x

the Nepal sketchbook

March 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

The recent appearance in my life of Michael Palin’s Himalaya series on DVD, coupled with how much I enjoyed going through my Arran sketchbook last week, have made me think it’s time for the scribblings of last year’s Nepali adventure to appear here.

    For anybody that’s interested, I spent time in Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktapur, Bodnath and Pokhara, as well as trekking in a slow and leisurely manner from Lukla (Google the airstrip. It was one of my life’s more exciting landings!) up to the Gokyo lakes and back (highly recommended – I don’t think I’ve experienced beauty so directly or fiercely anywhere else). It was life-changing and marvellous, and here are some pictures:-

    If my itchy feet are contagious and you fancy doing something similar, check out Nepal Dreams for friendly and helpful advice/bookings/serious eye-candy in the photo gallery section. And feel free to drop me a comment. I can ramble on about the mountains ad nauseum.

    Ayrshire, Arran, and a handmade book

    February 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

    I’ve just come back from five days up in Scotland, where I got wet with rain, failed to climb Goat Fell on Arran (it was too too too misty), ate too much for breakfast, and generally had a lovely time. Here are some bits from my sketchbook…

    …and here is the book itself, which I made from a pattern by Sarah Edmonds (if you fancy doing something similar, find out more here. It’s amazingly satisfying working in a book that is so completely your own thing.) When I wasn’t stomping about enjoying emptiness and mountains and ocean and sky, I went into Glasgow and then got a bus out to see the Burrell Collection. Anybody who is interested in anything and happens to be near Glasgow should definitely do the same. It is a joyous mixture of Gorgeous Things (pottery so old it made my head spin and original Degas drawings and Ming vases and Suzani embroideries from Central Asia and big awe-inspiring tapestries and tiny delicate teapots and more and more and more…) housed in a gorgeous building in the middle of a country park.

    At the moment, they are also exhibiting China Through The Lens of John Thompson. I don’t know when I was last so excited by a collection of photographs – go and put them into your eyes!

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