Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Goodbye January

Usually, January is a slow, seemingly endless grey month. Not this year, this year will go down in history, hopefully not as a precursor to the awful events that follow but as a warning. 

So that was January.

Edith Holden

Several people who are dear to me were born in the month of January | Artwork by the Artist/Naturalist Edith Holden:

Wonderful Victorian illustrator painted these lovely bunnies...:

Elsa Beskow

Elsa Beskow~ so fresh and rosie cheek wintery sweet!:

Rie Cramer

Rie Cramer - January:

 Rie Cramer - 1939:

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Starting Wednesday

My only artistic outlet at the moment seems to be hours of browsing wonderful images on Pinterest and as lovely and comforting as that is it's not a patch on actually creating.

I miss the art class only because for two hours all I concentrated on was the painting or pastel or sketch in front of me. Being in that creative bubble was extremely healthy but I can't switch off enough to replicate that at home.

So, does anyone care to join me on this? 

Perhaps I'll only be able to fire off a quick sketch, I'm in the middle of starting a new venture in the hope that I can stop being a poor mouse but I need to force myself to take a break. I might even end up continuing my posts on artists as they are so enjoyable to collate. But I'll stick to the theme. No taking bets on when I tail off as happens occasionally (all the time) when I have such noble intentions.

January has been madness, February needs to be that moment of calm before Spring. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Burn's Night

And in lieu of haggis, neeps and tatties, this seems appropriate.

A Man's A Man For A' That

Type: Song
Tune: For a' that.
Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that.
Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that:
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
But an honest man's abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities an' a' that;
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.

In a week that saw the Scottish Parliament told they are subservient to Westminster (as always has been, as always will be until independence) then this version of the song is apt. I wonder how much more unionist inclined Scots will take before realising we need to be making our own decisions, for good or for worse. Many of them will be celebrating at a Burn's Supper tonight, completely ignoring the meaning of the words they recite. It's a strange mindset. I'd like to be in an independent Scotland as part of the EU but I'll take the former first and foremost. For a' that.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Vulpes Vulpes

The Way Through the Woods - Hester Cox:
The Way Through the Woods - Hester Cox
Uuju aka Paula (Finland) -Kesakettu (The Summer Fox) from the Fox series, 2012:
Uuju aka Paula (Finland) -Kesakettu (The Summer Fox) from the Fox series, 2012
Hello, Mr Fox - Belle and Boo
Too soon perhaps
Photo by groene_inkt on Flickr
A friend to Lucas by bobi + bobi:
Un ami pour Lucas
Photo by _bobi + bobi on Flickr

Saturday, January 21, 2017

When They Go Low, You Go High

So said Michelle Obama during the presidential campaign that, despite highlighting Trump's worst behaviours, saw him crowned as president. And yesterday saw his inauguration in Washington D.C.

There was a bit of a difference from when Obama became president, just a teensy, weensy bit.
It was the weather that kept the crowds away...or they forgot....or....

His equally abhorrent VP - Pence, who believes gay people can be "cured".

So today was the #womensmarch and it went global. If yesterday filled everyone with dread then today showed that hope is still alive. Starting in New Zealand and Australia, with the timezone differences, it grew in strength as each continent woke up, made their placards and hopped on the bus or train.

Follow these links to see what happened in Denver, Chicago, Washington D.C., St Louis. You get the idea. Since yesterday the White House website has scrapped their pages on LGBT rights, climate change, immigration, health care. Trump is going to be every bit as bad as imagined. Never mind about giving him a chance. A chance to do what? He has shown what he intends to do and it's not good (unless you're an old, white, rich man or are married to one).

A friend said to me the other day (on Trump) that the darkest hour is before the dawn. I think we have our new dawn. Now if people would just protest against injustice here like that...no?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday 13th

It wasn't the mad masked man, Jason Voorhees, who showed up to ruin the day but my own bad penny version. I wish I was strong enough not to let it turn me upside down but I guess I never will be. The worst part is that it worked it's way between Eldest son and so I sit tonight with a gut-wrenching sadness.

At times like this, I feel adrift, that I wish it would end. Even though I'm aware of how completely unreasonable I'm being. Ten years on and I should have moved away from this but I can't and that's something I have to deal with. Perhaps it's me. It's probably me.

I mustn't leave it like this so here is a comforting image from Elsa Beskow. I've lost my inspiration to draw and paint, I need to get that back, for my own wellbeing. Let that be the anchor that holds me fast when all is churning around me.

Elsa Beskow:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

It's Cold and January

You would think that being a winter month hints at the temperature to expect but thanks to mild winters caused by climate change (oh, yes) we've been lulled into a comfortable laziness over the cold.

And it does feel colder today than it has for a while. And I hear people in the shop today moan at how chilly it is. It's been just over six years since scenes like this stretched from November until early March.

I admit to having wished for a snowy winter every year since. Especially as, unlike last time, I won't be expected to drive through storms late at night to get to work.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Green Woodpecker ~ Charles F Tunnicliffe

Familiar to anyone fortunate enough to own vintage Ladybird books or to those old enough to have read the originals, Charles Tunnicliffe illustrations brought each subject to life.

He was much more than the illustrator of children's stories, as wonderful and inspiring as those little books were. Born in Macclesfield, England in 1901 he studied at the school of art there before winning a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in London. He later moved to Anglesey, Wales.

Known best for his naturalistic scenes, he worked in several media - including watercolour, woodcut and oil. As well as the Ladybird books, he illustrated many RSPB magazine covers and was a recipient of the RSPB Gold Medal.

After his death in 1979, his personal collection of work was bequeathed to Anglesey council as long as they were kept together and made available for public viewing.

They can be seen at Oriel Ynys Môn gallery.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Of all the things to come across during a browse on YouTube but one which features a very brief glimpse of little me. It's very strange to see but I remember my mother (who took the photo) talking of local historian and film-maker, Eddie Smith, wanting a copy of the photograph which graced the wall of our living room and now is probably tucked up somewhere in my attic.

We lived in the little cottage next to the large white building, which had been a subscription school but was a community hall the entire time I knew it. Sadly, I think it's privately owned now. Our house had been built in 1806, weird that I know the history of each building in my little row.

Lots of familiar faces in this video and I'm sure my dad and mum are in a couple of frames but too far away for me to be sure. It looks like it was always raining, I promise, it wasn't, but what a great name for a blog...

(I'm the wee girl at 4:13 in my natty white jacket and orange bag.)

Sunday, January 01, 2017

A New Year Resolution

Gillmorehill in Snow (circa 1930)  by Tom Maxwell, Scottish, 1870-1940:

Gilmorehill in Snow (circa 1930) by Tom Maxwell, Scottish, 1870-1940

Yes, I know, resolutions are a bad idea but bear with me. 

Every day I want to do something creative, even if it's only sharing someone else's talent (in fact that's possibly the better idea).  I have an entire Pinterest board...okay, several, full of inspiring images. This world is going to be difficult and tumultuous enough this year so, for the sake of the mental health of all then I will persevere. 

Let us begin with a Scottish artist and a scene that will be familiar with Glaswegians, that impressive building is Glasgow University. This etching is from around 1930 and is so wonderfully atmospheric, you can hear the crump of footsteps, muffled in the heavy snow. For such a simple piece it conveys the scene entirely. 

I sound like I'm about to disappear into that awful artistic elite speak, I'm not. When you see a piece of art that reaches out and keeps you looking, long after all the details have been taken in, then it's a talent to be appreciated.

Tom Maxwell is not very well-known, which is a shame. He was an illustrator for the Evening Times, a daily newspaper in Glasgow. His home and studio were based in Elmbank Street, Charing Cross, Glasgow. If you go on Google Maps you'll see the street has some original buildings left. The Glasgow City Council town planners have a lot to answer for.