Friday, September 29, 2017

Two cats

Last month, through sad circumstances, we became guardians of a 13-year-old, semi-blind, semi-deaf cat, for an unknown duration. We quickly fell in love with her. She teaches us mindfulness, as John puts it, since she moves in such a slow and considered manner, and it is lovely to have an animal sharing our home.

The day we were asked whether we would look after her we were hanging out with the cat in the second picture, whose portrait I posted to the cat-parents this afternoon  - a precarious walk along the prom to the post office in a gale that turned the parcel into a wing and lifted my dress (after all this time I still have not learned to dress for the weather). I got drenched - the parcel was waterproof, thankfully - but by the time I reached home, the wind had dried most of my clothes.

Usually I do not post pictures of commissions online before they have reached the recipient, but I am pretty sure that in this case they have no idea this blog exists; I never tell people about it.

This cat lives above a beautiful historic cemetery in London that includes the graves of William Blake and Daniel Defoe, so I had to use it as the background.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


 Three feet



1|  Pink shoes you can walk in for miles (because they are Ecco), to the pub and back, for example

2|  Alternating cooking and eating apples from the garden in this apple frangipane tart

3|  I have photographed the view from the kitchen window in this house and in my old place so many times, always with grand plans to paint the particular colour combination of sky-land-sea, and I have done the latter four times in all those years. Sometimes we are in the car on the way to work or home, and the bay is sublime, and I make a mental note to get the morning or evening light down on paper or canvas or snap a hasty photo. One day soon those scribbled lines of 'fuzzy strip of indigo above pale blue water, flat sky' will be translated into paint.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Mapping time

When we were in Germany in June, John found this 1952 map of the Kattegat in the basement of my mom's house. It belonged to my dad, who died fifty years after this map was printed. He loved the sea and spent a good chunk of his life on the water. My mother was more than happy for us to give this map a new life, and we got it framed for our hallway.

I joined Spiddal library a few months ago and have been reading a lot of good books lately, from said library, from our own bookshelves, as well as new purchases, and quite a few of them about art. How to be Both was a gift from John, and it was such an immersive and affecting pleasure reading it. I loved Smith's reimagining of Francesco Del Cossa, whose disembodied voice narrates the first or second half of the book, depending on which version you have, the form of the book mirroring the exploration and reversal of the binary forces at play in the novel.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Bubbles, chickens, cider

Blowing bubbles - sketch of my nephews

A summer holiday visiting our family tends to come with good weather and thus involves a lot of outdoor pursuits for my nephews, including playgrounds, the inflatable pool and swing in my mom's garden, blowing bubbles, listening to the church bells (much more active than it may seem) and visiting chickens.

We are thinking of getting chickens, so we were interested to see how my mom's neighbours keep theirs, and how they deter rats (supervised feeding of small quantities. There are more elaborate methods, for example a self-service pedal-operated feeder). We got a box of fresh eggs, a cucumber and a fennel bulb from the garden, and my nephew was given a sunflower for my sister.

This year my mom is successfully growing tomatoes out in the open, whereas our plants didn't take off, despite our polytunnel. But the potato yield has been high, and we regularly have meals with three or four different types of produce we have grown ourselves, which is immensely satisfying, though I cannot take much credit for it. Last year we contributed a few boxes of apples towards a local cider-making project, and this summer a few bottles of the result appeared on our doorstep.