The Luminous Angel
Where shadows beset your eyes and ghosts snatch hope, there will the angels’ wings fall, to douse the discord.
Unconditional and selfless.
A poem by my son, Hasan.
The Luminous Angel
No day is left unheard, no voice falls silent.
Where shadows beset your eyes and ghosts snatch hope, there will the angels’ wings fall, to douse the discord.
Unconditional and selfless.
A poem by my son, Hasan.
Wow it’s already 2019. These years seem to be flying by… 2018 felt like a couple of months ago. Isn't it funny how days seemed to go on forever as a child? I think it’s because children know how to live in the moment and absorb all the details around them. As adults we are more preoccupied with worrying about the future, never fully occupying the present. I love this quote from Bil Keane ( an American cartoonist);
“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.”
I think we can all learn a lot from children and Bil Kean. From now on I will try to live my life savouring each minute, focusing on the brilliance that exists within each moment and be grateful for the time that has been given to me.
Enough reflecting on time, let’s move on to a painting I did in the summer last year from a photograph I took in Cornwall, a few years back. My husband and I were taking a walk along the Cornish coast, during a warm but breezy morning. The sea was a beautiful turquoise colour with waves making a thunderous noise as they crashed onto the rocks. We came across a narrow path which led down into a small ravine with boulders covered in moss and flowers and a bubbling stream. It was quite magical. The sound of the waves disappeared as we descended further down into the hollow. We found a narrow path and decided to follow it. After a few minutes it led us into a type of tunnel that was made of rambling plants, it was striking and mysterious. Of course childlike curiosity got the better of us, we were captivated by what we might see at the end of this dark tube. Upon entering the tunnel the ceiling was quite low and specks of light peered through the gaps in the leaves leaving a mottled effect on the floor. As we walked along the path the anticipation of what we might see was in the front of our minds. At last the light was visible so we rushed to get to the end and were greeted by a stunning cottage surrounded by a luscious garden and a breath-taking view. I immediately took a picture of it as I knew I would want to paint it one day.
So folks, here it is ‘A quiet corner of Cornwall’, I hope you like it. I will end this blog by saying I really hope that this year is a special year for all of us, bringing us health, wealth and wisdom and where we are given the opportunity to live in the moment, gathering many joyful memories of 2019.
I have been very busy with a project over the past couple of months. My eldest son is an avid D&D gamer and commissioned me to make scenery for his miniature models. Well my mind went into overdrive. You may recall I made a fairy house a while back which was a big hit with everyone who saw it. I thought why not make a multi-tiered scene.
I adore trees especially old ones because, as I have said before, they have witnessed the passing of time and generations. How I wish I could pick their brains and find out what they have learned over their lifetime. Also, I love Lord of the Rings and was inspired by Lothlorien, a beautiful woodland valley where the Elves live in harmony with nature. The thought of living amongst majestic trees with the spiralling staircases and bridges linking the different levels, just got me thinking. I could use wood from my garden. We just trimmed our trees and I had some awesome branches drying out for such an occasion like this.
After many sleepless nights thinking about how I was going to do this, I finally came up with a plan. It involved card from empty cat food boxes, clay, paper mache, twigs, leaves, sawdust from my sons wood work projects and last but not least fairy lights, thanks to Christmas. As usual my husband bless him helped me with the foundations, then left me to it. The whole project took just over two months to complete. I have to say I was happy with the end result.
I learned a lot from this experience, for instance, do not agree to do anything like this for my eldest son again as I now have a long list of projects to do for him. Moreover, under no circumstances use tacky spray glue to secure artificial grass, made from sawdust, as it will never dry. Also, a glue gun deserves more respect otherwise you end up burning a hole in your hand. Lessons learned time to move on….
Ok folks enough of my rattling on, here are the stages of development. I have to say the pictures do not do it justice, but, oh well I presented it to him for his birthday present. He was overwhelmed with happiness. His face was priceless when I switched the lights on…. Will they ever grow up?
I was commissioned, a short while ago, by a friend, to paint a beautiful Siberian husky named ‘Bo’. This was a challenge as I had never painted a portrait of an animal before. The nerves took hold of me and the little voice in my head said, “Don’t do it, it won’t be good enough, what if she hates it.” But I have learned over the years that this voice stops me from progressing in life and if I want to develop as an artist I must put my fears aside and push myself. So, I somewhat reluctantly agreed.
I knew I had my work cut out for me. The only reference picture I had was from a mobile phone. I practised and practised, watched countless videos on how to draw animals and paint fur. Taught myself how to use the grid method for accuracy. So, this little project forced me to expand my knowledge in art techniques too… MINT.
The first thing I did was a pencil drawing of Bo, just to familiarise myself with his features. Then finally, it was time to start. I painted the back ground and sketched the outline of Bo onto the canvas. The first step is always the hardest. Once I started I couldn’t stop. I spent around 6 hours a day for a whole week adding layer after layer trying to get texture, perfecting and tinkering with details.
Eventually, it was time for the great reveal. I did not sleep all night wondering if she was going to like it or if she would wish she’d never asked me. Anyway, it was too late I couldn’t turn back now, onwards and upwards. To my delight she liked it…there is a God… sigh of relief.
So, thank you Angela for inspiring me to paint animals. I went on to do a pastel drawing of my cat, which turned out pretty good. I will be doing some more animal portraits, so watch this space.
Through this experience I have learned not to give into fear and face it head on. You will become stronger for it.
Here you go folks ‘Bo the Siberian husky.’
The Great Outdoors
It’s that time of year when you just want to sit outside, delightfully daydreaming the day away until the sun goes to bed, listening to the bees buzzing and the harmonious sounds of the birds singing and watching the swifts playfully fly overhead.
During this time of year I try to get out as much as I can especially on weekends with my whole family if possible. One of our favourite haunts is Dovedale in Derbyshire, near Ashbourne. Here you can walk alongside the river Dove surrounded by mesmerising views of the hills. If you are brave enough you can walk on the stepping stones over the river, but just be careful if you have children. This is a place of adventure and wonder, with mysterious caves waiting to be explored and paths leading to who knows where.
I have been here many times and always took pictures hoping that one day I would use this spectacular scenery to inspire me to paint a landscape. Well, that day came and I painted a scene showing people enjoying ‘The Great Outdoors’ which is the name I gave to my painting. Whilst I was painting it I decided to throw in a splash of colour by adding a blue blossom tree. It had to be done as it was looking a little bland. You know me and bright colours… just love them…
So here it is ‘The Great Outdoors’. It is 24”x 30”, painted in acrylics. Enjoy.
It’s been a long time since I have written anything. Had a lot on my plate, another story. Just wanted to say the sun has got his hat on hip, hip, hip hooray… Finally… it has been a long grey winter and it feels wonderful to go out into the sunshine and enjoy the warm weather.
As you may already know I have a tradition where I make elderflower cordial every summer. Well this year my husband made a discovery at work. He found a pink elderflower tree. WHAT!! I never heard of it before, but yes it exists… well you learn something new every day… It is called ‘Black Lace’ or the Latin name is Sambucus nigra. The flowers are exactly the same, but have a pink hue. However, the leaves are completely different and resemble a Japanese maple leaf. Have a gander at this picture, it’s quite stunning, not mine though.
After a little research we realised that it was perfectly fine to make a cordial from them. Of course I was excited about seeing the splendid colour of the finished product and wow, I was not disappointed.
I found that there was no change in the taste of the cordial, but the colour, once diluted, was a gorgeous pale pink. So here it is for you folks, Sambucus Nigra cordial…Yum…
Well here we are, 2018. This year for me personally, started off very busy. I've had nothing but parties every weekend, mostly birthdays and so far, things are looking good.
During the holidays, I managed to pick-up my brushes and decided to try out a different background by making random brush strokes on the canvas. I believe Van Gogh used to use this technique. I knew the colours I desired and the fact that I wanted to paint a colourful bird. So after much deliberation and research, decided on painting a bird from Tanzania. So far I have painted mostly peacocks, robin and a hummingbird for my father-in-law. So this folks was a new challenge for me. Trying to get the colours to look iridescent was tricky, but I feel satisfied with the result. Also trying to get the fluff on the legs was something I was not familiar with. Oh well, after many trials and errors I accomplished what I set out to do. Also, I initially thought about painting pink flowers, but realised that blue would tie the whole picture together instead. So here are the stages of the painting.
I hope it inspires you to have a go yourselves.
Wishing you all a wonderful 2018.
Well here we are, at the end of another fantastic year, 2017. The highlight of this year was that I managed to go and visit Rome… finally… What a great holiday an experience I recommend to everyone. My next adventure was to John o’ Groats, the top of Scotland, UK, also on my bucket list… check…
2018 is almost upon us now, let’s see what it brings for all of us. So, before I go into next year, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New year.
A friend asked me to paint angels a while ago. To be honest I haven’t painted many of those in my lifetime, so I looked around for some inspiration in books, online, but just couldn’t find myself to paint anything that resembled an angel. I did many sketches too, but nothing took my fancy and l left it for a while. I only like to paint something when I feel passionate about it otherwise it just doesn’t work, and the painting is left incomplete and collecting dust on my shelf.
A year had passed, I had some time on my hands and a longing to paint. Right, I thought, it’s time I painted an angel. I only knew the colour scheme I wanted to experiment with, warm and cold colours. So, I went for colours ranging from yellow orange to red, a fiery background and a blue angel. I just thought that the background could represent difficulties in life and the blue angel was the cooling, calming element that remained constant amidst upheaval and turbulence. I went into the zone and just began painting the background. When it came to the angel I just let myself go and went with the flow. I painted the face of the angel in a very serene manner, unperturbed by everything around it. I also added some fine glitter to enhance the wings.
After its completion, I couldn’t think of a name for it. I sat down one evening, with my husband, and deliberated on what to call it… nothing came to mind. I decided to sleep on it. When I woke in the morning… it came to me… Halcyon! It’s funny how the brain stores words and at the right moment regurgitates them. I had heard this name before and knew it had something to do with being peaceful, so I googled the meaning. It was perfect! The definition described it as calmness, peacefulness, and tranquillity. It was also a name for a mythical bird associated with a kingfisher that had the power to calm the wind and waves as it nested on the sea. It fitted the painting perfectly. So here it is for you… enjoy.
I love all things fairy and so a few years ago, my husband brought home some pieces of tree stumps that his workplace was getting rid of. It was later, after the wood had been left in the shed to dry, we decided to make a Fairy House. One Sunday afternoon, my husband made a start and built the foundations for it and stairs to the first floor. It was left after that and sat in our front room on display in our fireplace from 2012 right through to the first week of August this year 2017. We never got around to finishing it off, until this year. Many inquisitive people would look at it and wonder what it was. Every summer holiday I would make plans to complete it, but would get distracted by other things. Finally, three weeks ago, after coming back from a wondrous holiday in Rome, I was inspired and insisted we get started on the completion of the Fairy House.
I was so excited at the prospect of making the fairy house. I was transported back to age 6 when I remember always wanting a doll house of my very own. I could recall getting empty cardboard boxes and stacking one on top of the other to make the floors and using bits from around the house for furniture: matchboxes; sticks; old pieces of cloth; sweet wrappers etc… such fond memories. My tiny hands would try to fold thick cardboard strips into a fan shape for steps. My mum sewed a lot and she would get through cotton reels quickly, so I would collect them and turn them into stools. Wow, I was quite good at improvising even at that age. We didn’t have much so imagination was essential to get rid of boredom in those days without television.
We went to the countryside looking for bark, dry pieces of wood and moss, anything that would enhance the earthiness of the house. I wanted it to look as natural as possible. We brought a bag of small stones from our local DIY shop, and enough glue sticks to build a multi-storey tower block. THEN WE WERE READY.
Firstly, the walls were built, using small stones and glue. This was the hardest part as we spent around 15 excruciating hours squeezing glue from my glue gun, whilst my husband carefully placed the stones into the lava liquid, gaining a few blisters to show for his effort. I stayed up late into the wee hours of the first night trying to complete the walls as I was desperate to get started on the fun stuff. During the day, while my husband was at work, I would begin on the house around 11am and would be standing all day until 12pm. I was so engrossed in the fairy house that I would not notice the time – it seemed to fly. As well as using material we collected from the woods, I also raided my art cupboard and bead boxes and made cute bottles, vases and lamp shades for the bedside table, the dressing table, and the shelves in the sitting room. I used wood skewers to frame part of a greeting card to look like a painting hung on a wall. I also carved out two small pencils from twigs, made a writing book again from an old greeting card for the cover, inside I wrote a cute message from a fairy. My son cut branches of trees into small circular cut offs with his electronic saw thingamajig… sorry not the technical name for it… he also cut out roof tiles too… so handy... I had to use my sewing skills to make a quilt and pillow for the bed. I even made some hangers out of wire that hung from cufflinks that were given to me by my hubby… so kind… he was really getting into it. He would come home weary from work, but could not wait to see what progress I had made. Then he would make comments like – “how is the fairy going to climb the steps if they are wonky?” “The space around the bed is not big enough for the fairy to walk around.” The remarks just amused me no end and I would have to remind him that we were not going to have real fairies moving in to it any time soon. It was as though he had morphed into this small child. I thoroughly recommend this for those of you who want to bring the child out in someone… do it… I dare you... Oh, by the way he wanted to make another one after this one. Who would’ve thought eh!
Overall, in total, I spent around two weeks with an average of around twelve hours a day on this project. It was a labour of love and worth every minute spent on it. I want to say thank you to my hubby for thinking practically and burning his fingers for me and my son for being the wood cutter for the day.
I have had some wonderful feedback from friends and family who have seen it. Especially my eldest son who was on holiday when I put the pictures up on Facebook and could not wait to see it. He went gaga over it and commissioned me to help him jazz up his DND gaming board which has buildings and various scenes on it. Here we go again, another project in the pipeline.
So here it is, my first very own Fairy House. It was a long time in the making, but well worth the wait. It is now standing proudly on a small table in my front room, measuring just over 3 ½ feet high. Here are some pictures of the different stages of development.
Hope you like it
I am a self taught artist who loves and appreciates art and photography. Both capture moments of life with great meaning and beauty.