A new chapter – misc ramblings and @shethreads

Hello all on this beautiful winter morning, the sky is blue, the golden leaves are glimmering in the sunshine and I am sitting in my usual place in the bay window looking out across the common. I have sat here over 6000 times in the past 20 years, minus of course the time spent in Greece, but even when working this was where I had my morning tea, wrote my journal and tried to put my tangled thoughts down on paper so I could offload the tangled creative whirlwind that lives within me and start the working day afresh. The seasons have turned now 20 cycles, the sun has risen and have watched trawl across the skies, seen all the colours from deep coral red, orange and good to the palest of pink and lilac as the sun has risen and set. The luminous full moon hanging there in the dark skies so full and abundant and her feminine glow has illuminated those dark spaces within that are hard to reach sometimes. The trees have gone from skeletal forms to exploding green buds and then to full lush verdant green swaying in the summer breeze and the then golden autumn coat is donned until no longer required for the deepest winter sleep. 2020 is just around the corner, the solstice in a few weeks time will herald the waking of the sun and slowly, slowly after the winters blanket is thawing all the work that has been going on deep deep in that dark moist magical place will gain momentum and push up through the soil. I shall be watching the spring come to life from a new view, I shall no longer be sitting here but shall overlook rolling fields as they slope down the english channel, which is very visible from most of the windows.

Happy, of course, I started this search in February and have travelled all along the Pembrokeshire coastline, the south and south and south east looking for a home with an elevated view of the sea, think I was about to give up when out of the blue my new home came into my vision, its a compromise of course as the south east is more expensive, but I shall have a lovely garden where I plan to grow veg and flowers, a large terrace and creative studio big enough to paint in and sew and make that has a balcony to boot, lovely views from all the principal rooms and an open and airy feel. Will I miss Tunbridge Wells, where I have lived since 1969, my first thought is no, but I know that I probably take a lot for granted here, like I can walk from my home across the common to the Pantiles for a nice coffee, something I shall not be able to do. Obviously I shall miss my kids and my brother but I am only 50 mins drive away and envision lovely lazy lunches out on the terrace However I shall be near the sea, not walking distance by choice but a very short car ride away. The sea has been a big draw all my life, a place to go to relieve stress, restore my energy and enliven my whole being. It is all very exciting and is taking up all my time planning, organising my home to rent out and packing for my January move.

@shethreads

So what else have I been doing, well I have been supporting my very talented creative daughter in preparing her winter collection of sumptuous woollen wreaths and garlands that are for sale, she has been so full on, I am the tea maker and confidence builder !! I just love to visit and see the wool samples and her chosen colour pallets, the test samples, hear about the provenance of the wools selected, types of flocks, the texture and so on. There was so much to get done I had no idea, all the packaging and carrier bags, display stands, labelling, ribbons, postcards, business cards, keeping track of the sales and invoices. Guess working for me for 10 years I know how methodical and organised she is and how our perfectionism makes us work so much harder. Kirsty can be found at the next Support local fair at One Warwick Park, Chapel Place, TW. on 8th December, to see them in the flesh you realise just how much work has gone into making them and just how luxurious they are . Well done Kirsty and one very proud mum. @shethreads on instagram

A path well trodden, but how much longer will it be?

Coming here to the North of Kefalonia  it always felt like I was coming home, arriving at the airport, the warm moist air enveloping me as I take the first step from the air conditioned cabin. The familiar face of Makis greeting me and taking my case to the taxi, the breathtaking views as we climb north driving ever higher.   I have been coming twice a year now for 6 years, a long time for me but for others I have met here this is nothing, Some people have been coming to Kefalonia for 16-20 years or more.    The farmhouse always held me, its wild gardens, olive groves, views across the ionian seas to Ithica, the wildlife,  the chickens and goats, this was a sanctuary away from the deadlines and constant pressure that hounded me  when back in the uk.   Now that the pressure is off  I wondered if returning to Kefalonia this time would feel different as I am no longer fleeing the pressure of trying to spin all the plates in the air, run a home, a business, staff, family issues and so on.  Its doubly hard when there is nobody to share this burden with me.  Designing interiors, mixing colours and textures, choosing original artworks, designing my own furniture pieces it gave me the  best feeling in the world and I was in my element, but the procurement  and installation , working along side architects, and building contractors and the male dominated construction industry who wouldnt know good design if it bit on the bum, all this side of designing took away that feeling completely.  Even though I won awards and various accolades it just wasnt enough to keep me fighting the design battles anymore.

So her  I am and  pleased to say that the feelings, even though the first two weeks have been in the coldest ever apparently, haven’t changed a bit,  I still love the island, well the norther part anyway, south more built up and busier.   Guess the one thing that has changed  is the longing to live here.  For one ,I do not like the fierce summer heat, so July and August would be a definite no no for me and two, I have found the uk version of northern Kefalonia, its wildness, rugged cliffs and coves, forest and quiet windy roads where I feel drawn to make my permanent home.   Still visiting Evreti, Kefalonia for 2-3 months each year I can have the best of both worlds, and still continue to travel and explore the uk and of course spend time manifesting creative objects into the world.

Of course with the advancing years, 70 last January, there is that little conumdrum of how much should I be spending?  how long will my money have to last, how long will I be walking in this world?  Something one never considers when younger, there is always decades to enjoy, thing to try out and if mistakes are made, plenty of time to put it right.  Now though decisions seem more important to make as not time left to rectify anything. Do I say to myself another 15 years, divide it up and spend the said sum each year?  Do I buy a house with an income, (holiday rental cottages} and run it as a small business?  Guess I am lucky that my business was successful and have these kind of issues to contend with.  I am not having the live on a uk state pension, the lowest in the whole of Europe!  Actually there was no luck, I gave my all to my company, blood sweat and tears to make it successful!  All I know is that this is whole new chapter in my life, one where for once I have the total freedom to choose, a real adventure awaits and I am very excited to watch each day unfolds and just where this path will take me

A few pics of the past weeks

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Moel Hirradug

This painting of Moel Hirradug has had several lives, three different attempts, one all green, one multicoloured and this one I think I like the best.  Still feel the need to try again though, next time might be acrylics and pastel.  This one is oil and it shows the iron age fort that sits atop.  I have it on my friend’s authority that the view from the top is amazing, sadly I didnt even attempt it.  Far too hot.  The painting also depicts the parched earth, no rain now for 54 days.IMG_9614

Faces and Cold Wax

IMG_9515Not working at the day job today so had time to relax, breakfast on the Pantiles then back for painting and trying out a new medium, new to me anyway.  Gamblin’s cold wax, its a mix of pure refined Beeswax and Gamsol, odourless mineral spirits.  Wonderful stuff and it makes the oil paint a thick butter consistency.  Thought I would try painting the South American woman’s face I tried a couple of week or so back and this time I am much happier.  It  has colour, the paints rich texture makes wonderful marks, using long flats and egbert brushes I managed to make  really nice painterly strokes,  even painting alla prima I could still, with a light touch flick a different colour over the first layer and create wonderful colour mixes and movement to the strokes.  Blending the colour to create a blurred outline is something I am always trying, this medium it just happened without really trying.  I used Rosemary Ivory brushes, long flats in sizes 6,10 and 12

day 6 many days late

I am still taking time to be creative, but not always with colour and image making. My writing is taking up some days, spending time looking at all the books I have collected over the years and seeing if they still inspire me now.  Researching materials and storage for all the pastels, they are such a messy medium, but oh so vibrant

This paper is Sennelier pastel card, doesn’t seem to hold the layers very well.  Going to try a 400 course grit UART paper next time, have also ordered a trial pack of all the types from 250 – 800 grit

this is today’s 30 minutes of creativity

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making marks

stack of white paper, stark white canvases,  plentiful tubes of luscious colour, pastels, charcoal, pencils, ink.  The weekend has arrived, my art studio has been professionally cleaned and organised by a friend  and I am about to make some marks on all this whiteness !!

Looking at the images surrounding me, the marks I have made on paper, board, canvas and card have all been curves, swirling, entwined, marks, curvaceous  languorous limbs, swirling fecund growth with swelling fruitage, usually heavily paint laden, deep grooves made on the paper with my pencils, there is a will,  a strong will that controls not on the visual element but in the way the medium is applied.

Today will I produce something similar, without a doubt it will be “rounded and abundant” ,  this is how I think, this is how I am and this is  how I express myself.  Maybe I could try something different, or perhaps could say that I do try to make marks in more geometric, angled shapes, but it doesn’t come easy, I have to think about it and when I think about painting or what I am to do, its then that a blockage restricts  my flow and nothing comes out !!!

One more sip of coffee, perhaps sitting in the sunshine, then lets see what happens