Monday, December 9, 2019


I began this post back in July...but didn't get terribly far.  I think I will just post SOMETHING even if it isn't in order, because when I try and get organised and chronological I find that so much time has passed that it becomes an insurmountable challenge, and then I don't actually get around to posting at all.  So here are a few pics of what I've done this year, probably not in proper order, but...perhaps it doesn't matter so much!

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It's Winter here now, though sometimes you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise, as we've had some extraordinary days of warmth and sunshine.

I miss my little blog.  It seems to be so hard to find the time to write, and I also feel too, that blogs may be going the way of handwritten letters, no one seems to have the time or the attention span, they've all moved to Twitter I think.  And I find even with myself, as someone who grew up before personal computers and the internet, that my attention span, my ability to concentrate on ONE thing without being distracted, has been affected.  I don't know what the answer is.

But, I'm here now, and I have things to show.  Strange that my desire to move to the country for a 'quiet life' seems to have actually had the opposite effect.  I specifically decided not to commit to  a solo project for this year's 'Brave New Works' Arts Festival in my little town, because I really relished the thought of a winter spent percolating some ideas quietly and without a looming deadline.  But there is always something happening, I always seem to be going somewhere or doing something, so I've not had much in the way of sitting quietly and writing by the fire!


A dear friend and marvellous writer and poet, Linda Bradbury and I put our heads together and created a 2 woman show, Windborne, for the Denmark Festival of Voice 2019 in June.  Poetry, stories, songs old and new...of exile and belonging, of finding refuge, and being turned away...and how we are all immigrants in one way or another, searching for home.  The lovely photos were taken by Hazel Blake.


Three paintings, three stories, all feathers and birds, tales turned around and looked at from a different point of view.  Perhaps the brothers in The Wild Swans grew to love their wings, and the freedom flight gave them.  Perhaps, in this day and age of exile from nature, banishment from the more-than-human world, it's not so mad to want to escape human company and hold counsel with birds as the mad King Suibhne did.  And in the ancient Welsh tale of Blodeuwedd...was becoming an owl really a punishment to a women who had been called into existence solely to be given to a man she knew nothing of...did they stop to ask her what she wanted?


The Great Southern Art Trail is a major event on the calendar of any artist in the area, coinciding with the September school holidays.  The Butter Factory Artists' Collective chose an exhibition theme, LAND+MARKS, to be interpreted in any way we felt seemed right for us.  I considered the marks we make upon the land, and the marks the land leaves upon us.  'Love Letters to a Wild Planet' was an attempt at saying something, using non-literal 'calligraphy', creating poetry or prayers or love letters that might say anything you wanted them to, about your love for this wild green place we call home.

Oh yes, and somewhere in the last few months, I began making jewellery!


I think I began in May!  Some time ago my dad gave me some recycled copper electrical wire.  I KNEW it would come in handy for something...just wasn't sure what.  And I still have all the beautiful sea glass that my friend Sophia, who so sadly and suddenly passed away last year, gave me before she moved to Scotland.  It finally dawned on me that I could do something useful with both at the same time.  That led on to further experiments, and a fair amount of web research and YouTube watching to learn more.  So I've finally found a use for all the weird bits and bobs of old jewellery, interesting beads, and thrift shop finds that I have collected over the years.


Brave New Works Arts Festival came around again, and though I was intending to have a quiet time of it this year, it didn't quite turn out that way.  The Denmark Storytellers' debut performances saw me providing incidental music and sound flourishes as nine storytellers wove their original and adapted tales to rapt audiences.  Nine Tales, told over four performances, three half hour stories per show.  Some of them had never done anything like this before, and it was marvellous to behold as they held the audiences in the palms of their hands; confident, charismatic, beautiful.

The theme for BNW #26 was LOVE...because even if it seems cliched or sentimental, there was such a strong feeling that this is what we need now, this is what the world needs desperately now.  But I did struggle to wrap my head around a way of creating work for an exhibition with a theme as open, as broad, and as emotional as 'Love'.  But serendipity or synchronicity, or both, stepped in as it always seems to when you need it.  I did a Screen Printing workshop and because of misplaced emails, I had to rush at the last minute to find a subject to use as my artwork.  So I did a quick digital drawing of a 'Tree Heart' and used that as my rough guide.  I haven't done any screen printing for over thirty years, but I was quite pleased with the result (though the photos could be better!)

But I needed something else...a big piece as the centrepiece.  My friend was in Frankfurt for the Frankfurt Book Fair in October, and she described it in a text as a mini 'Metropolis', and I couldn't resist a little joke..."Superman's or Fritz Lang's?" I asked.  And across the miles, on opposite sides of the world, we discussed via text, the 1927 classic silent film.  And she told me the quote that comes right at the end of the film.  "The Heart must be the Mediator between the Head and the Hands." And suddenly I had my image...and it became this...'Head, HEART, Hands.'  A large piece on heavy watercolour paper, in charcoal, pencil and acrylic ink.  And it went home with a very lovely man who bought it as a Christmas present for his wife.

I liked the technique/style so much, I did another one.  I wonder if any readers remember this picture, from, oh, about ten years ago?!

Well, this one was based on the same 'model', only she's a lot bigger these days.  It's not really a portrait, but a likeness is there.  I can't believe how fast time little munchkins are 18 and 15 now.

'Let Loose Your Wild, Green Heart'

Phew!  And now Christmas is only two weeks away and there is always so much to do this time of year!  But perhaps I'm sort-of up to date now.  And if you don't hear from me before Christmas, have a wonderful festive season, and here's to love and joy and good news in 2020...because the world so desperately needs it.

Peace and Goodwill to all of humanity, and to all the more-than-human world too, for we are not separate.


Els said...

Such amazingly beautiful work !!!!
lOVE it all !!! (especially the last ones !)

Ms. said...

Hey from Manhattan NY. Nice to see your incredibly productive year! You are a dear one to remember to share with us your very beautiful works in all their manifestations. Wishing you the best for this and all Seasons. Just this past week, I checked in to 'manage' the blogs I follow and eliminated ones I've not heard from for some time. I'm so glad I didn't eliminate you. I remembered that you post infrequently and that I always enjoy your posts.

Mo Crow said...

(((Christina))) thanks for sharing your beautiful work for this almost done year!

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