Monday, 30 May 2011

A Bientot - (and a postscript )

View from my kichen window

As I'm hoping my scheduled surgery will go ahead on Tuesday
I thought I'd leave you with a glimpse of our English garden 
'til I get back.

As you can see it's quite small,
but space is limited for most of us on our little island.
No strawberries in this planter
but some sweet pansie faces to brighten our patio.

You can see how unseasonally dry our spring has been.

It comes as a shock to have to get the watering can out
at this time of year.

We even have to keep topping up Boris the bird bath.

Spinach, lettuce, broad beans, 
potatoes, spring onions,
we go in for a kind of eclectic mix and match kind of garden.
We thin out as we go and use the tender young produce in the kitchen.


Hope you can spot the bees amongst the blossoms. 
Thankfully they seem to love the garden and are busy everywhere just now.

When I get back I will be eager to 
see what changes have taken place in our little patch.

Hopefully I'll soon be able to get down to some planting out,
 and filling gaps the hard winter made.

Hope to have your company again via this wonderful w.w.w.

Until then,
God Bless 

P.S  Following the thoughts of yesterday's post about how anxiety and worry can be a part of caring, and loving, I thought these words may come in as useful to you as they have to me in certain circumstances.  They have much to do with our own feelings that we think we know what's best for those we care for: and actually they, like us, may well be their own worst enemies, but if our attitude towards them is this, we won't go too far wrong because it means we love them as they are.

"I leave you free to be yourself:  to think your thoughts, indulge your tastes, follow your inclinations, behave in ways that you decide are to your liking."
(Meditation 6  "Call to Love"  A de Mello)

This is after all the freedom God has given each of us.
  Who are we to disagree?!

Sunday, 29 May 2011

How Do We Show We Care?

 Due to the events I outlined in my last post I've had many messages of concern and support,
and this lovely bouquet came yesterday. 

A lovely way of showing care.
 I am really blessed by such thoughtfulness,
but a recurring theme among the messages is 
how worried we must be.

Thinking about this I got to wondering how much we equate caring about somebody or something 
with how much we are worrying or being anxious about things.

Yet we know it doesn't achieve anything.

New International Version (©1984)  Matt. 6:27 says:-
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 
It certainly helps if we can be assured that we can care deeply without being burdened by fear and worry. 
At the moment we are full of thanksgiving 
that our grandaughter is somewhat improved,
and that Little Zachary has settled well with his grandparents. 

I  truly believe it's looking for, 
and concentrating on what we can find that is good,
that enables us to be free to go on caring deeply
without being overly worn down, 
and shows us where God is at work.
I'm not saying I've learnt this lesson perfectly but 
I am learning.
For more on this theme of constant thanksgiving which helps us through the tough times, click on
God Bless

Friday, 27 May 2011

One of Those Times..

 Yesterday was one of those strange days which began 
as a scramble to get to the doctor for an urgent appointment
to get a slight ear infection cleared up before I go in to the hospital for surgery on Tuesday.

 Later to the hospital with my daughter 
who needed an ultrasound examination,
and is now a-waiting an MRI scan because the ultrasound 
didn't find anything out.

On the way there the heavens had opened and I'd switched 
on my headlights. 
Arriving back at the car I found that I hadn't switched them off again when I'd parked up,
so the battery was flat. 
Yes, that's me "Brain of Britain (failed)"!

Then another item entered this little scenario
when my daughter got a message to say that her daughter, 
(my eldest granddaughter), 
was at A&E at the same hospital,
being admitted with a suspected kidney infection.
Now on a drip and feeling very ill, 
she was anxious that we go to the nursery school 
to pick up her little son Zachary, who is three and a half.

It's at that stage that I went in search of,
and found,
a ministering angel.
No!  Not that one!
Mine came in the rugged form of a security car park attendant
who exuded calm common sense, 
and held up the traffic in the hectic car park, 
then gave me a push so that the engine was jump started. 

My granddaughter is still very weak,
and we are uncertain what the diagnosis is at present but there seems to be possibility of surgery for her 
as well as for me in the coming days.

Zachary is staying with my daughter and son-in-law
and my youngest granddaughter who is home from Uni,
and seems over his initial upset, 
and getting to grips with Mummy's absence.

It's one of those times we all have to go through
when we bounce, (or reel), 
from one thing to another, 
but what I want you to notice with me,
is that when we are up against it from somewhere,
an angel appears. 
And yes, I do know that the guy at the hospital 
was just doing his job. 
It was how he did it that was the gift.

Over and over again when I've come to the end of my tether somebody, something turns up. 
I wonder how many of us have
"entertained angels unawares"? Heb13:2 
They don't all come with wings and hover a few feet above the ground! 

Perhaps we've even been angels to other people ourselves
and never even known it.
What an exciting world of possibilities it is.

God Bless

Thursday, 26 May 2011


This morning I was sitting at my laptop checking mail when I came across this challenge,
from I am the Diva
and couldn't resist it.

The challenge consists of taking a given few lines and interpreting them under the title
"String Theory".

As I started to doodle over the lines I remembered all that stuck with me about this theory of particle physics is that it posits the theory that different time/life strands could all be running concurrently in an infinitely small space/time continuum.
- I'm no scientist as you can tell but it kind of blows your socks off doesn't it?

Anyway that's how this little world, rough and ready as it is,
came about.
At least the little guys in their flying saucer look cheerful.

God Bless

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Now You See It....(Finishing What I Began)

Some posts back, (" Now You see It...")
I mentioned the puzzlement people often expressed about abstract art
and boldly said I'd follow through with some my own thoughts about why I
"Do that".

Well typically I fell into a chronic phase of over-thinking the issue. Got to classifying the schools of painting
I'd need to wade through.
The examples I'd need to show the development of this and that way of exploring
the 2 dimensional world of painting I love.

Instead here are some simple examples from my own work to merely explain why I feel the need to work in an abstract way.
It's just one way; not even the one I always use, but a partial explanation for working in this way.

It is very simple.
Because I love to draw, most days there's something going on in the sketch books or on an old envelope.
If I don't have the materials I draw in my head, to try and fix some Align Centrenuance of composition or light.
Say it's flowers, it will be something like these pencil/ gel pen drawings or water colour sketches.

Sometimes it's crayon drawing.

Just depends on what's at hand, how much time I've got, what I want to get hold of in the moment.

At the moment these are the sketches I've got photos of,
so that's the sample of what I've termed as,
"Now we see it..."

It's the representation of the "realities" our eyes are seeing.
(I'm steeling myself not to go into a lengthy digression on the philosophical and physical debate on what "seeing" means, and how utterly subjective it is.
You can tell I'm a hopeless case, whose motto really should be "Keep It Simple Stupid")

So there are the flowers we see, which I try and capture in memory and on paper, as much for the joy of expression as anything else.

Then there are these flowers which
"Now you don't" see
though there are a few clues more than you may get in other paintings as to what this is all about.This painting is more about the actual joy that the flowers my friend brought me gave, than the flowers themselves.

More often than not when it comes to painting I want to say something I can't find the vocabulary for in straight forward representation of the subject,
but the constant practice of representational work somehow stocks up my inner vision
and provides the substance for the abstraction.

Of course that's not the way everybody works, but usually it is my way.

If then, you are amongst those folk who can't really see the point of abstraction in art,
I wonder can I tempt you to look again?
To perhaps let go of the familiar world of
"Now You see It..."
and venture into exploration of the world of the
"Now You Don't."

God Bless

Sunday, 22 May 2011


I'm sorry that yesterday's post probably didn't make much sense, given that the colours I wanted to share didn't transfer to the screen at all well.

I once went to an art history lecture where the constant refrain by the lecturer was,
" This isn't the best slide to illustrate what I want to show you but I've left the right one at home".

It irritated me no end, so I know how you must have felt if you read the post;
- and if you did read it and still came back,
I can only say
thank you for your patience.

I get so thrilled by things that I want others to see them too, but I promise to count to ten,
and make fairly sure I can get my enthusiams across,
before I set fingers to laptop in future.

Hope you had some beautiful colour of your own
in your day,
and that even better,
you found somebody to share your joy with you.

God Bless

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Colour! (cont'd) and a Bit About Art.

No, this still isn't the the mini exploration of representational,
as opposed to abstract, (or even conceptual art),
that I mean to tackle.
This is still more about the colour around us that excites,
and stimulates.

Above you see an exciting blending of amazing colour,
(trust me on this, - yes it is)!

For me it's exciting on two counts.
Not only has it these marvellous subtle colours,
but this is the first and only Sant Pauli
a I have managed to keep alive,
and look!

it's blooming again!

I realise you may not be as excited as I am about my budding (sorry
) horticultural prowess,
so to get a bit more into the pure colour look at these colour blends and contrasts.

It doesn't matter if they are
out of focus. This is about the COLOUR.

(Just checked out a view of the photos on the post and they don't
come up as vibrantly as I wanted, so my recommendation is go and find a vibrantly colourful plant of your own somewhere and just LOOK.
Some countries are so blessed with wonderful and exo
tic plants you may wonder why this Britisher is so knocked out by this anyhow).

As it is, looking at these little chips of colour doesn't just make me wonder why folks just don't "get" abstraction in art,
but also reminds me of Jeff Koons "Puppy" outside Bilboa Guggenheim.

Now that's a case of REAL horticultural art.

I've got a photo I took of it somewhere in the files.
I,'ll dig it out and post it next time,
as this mammoth piece of art is delicious,
and worth you seeing.
As for now I'm sitting here in my dressing gown
and it's Sat. morning when I
should be doing other things.
I'll really have to learn to curb my enthusiasms!
-Especially as I'm not sure if any body else shares them. (?)

P.S.Found my photo to upload

At least I got some colour
in the post at the last!

God Bless

Friday, 20 May 2011


This isn't the post it was meant to be
but I couldn't resist sharing these colours with you.They are quite subtle so I hope you can see them via camera and the web.

If you read this blog at all regularly you will know
how I hate to throw away any prunings from the garden
when they might conceivably fit into any sort of receptacle for the house.
(see "Learning How to Feel Easy Wasting Time").

These lovely wine coloured leaves were some prunings
which were simply too lovely to go in the compost
so here they are as a perfect foil to a few alstroemeria.

I hope you can you see how the delicate petals carry the same burgundy colour, flushing to deep pink, at their hearts?
Not a great floral arrangement, but one that gladdens my heart.

Put down in front of one of my paintings,
with a chubby burgundy candle which was a gift from my daughter,
it draws together the essence of so much I love.

So no, this isn't the post I meant to write about
"now you see it and now you don't" ,
exploring the difference between a distinct image of something in art.
i.e. "seeing" the world faithfully represented in such detail
that we know what the artist was looking at,
faithfully recording,
and wanting us to see,
- and abstract art that can be colour, (or not),
and shape, and movement,
that leave us to work it out, (or not),
for ourselves.

Sometimes the colour alone speaks if only we can give ourselves time
to stop, look, and listen to what it says,
uniquely to us,
in this moment.

God Bless

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Now You See It . . .

The house is still filled with the scent of flowers
as the last of the lilies in my birthday bouquet open.

I love an arrangement like this that's stuffed with buds,
because each morning there's the joy of discovering the newly opened flowers.

It's a bit like walking down the garden while the dew is fresh
and seeing what new things have happened overnight.

At present things are so extraordinarily dry and warm in the garden
that we are about a month ahead with all the plants,
- and being asked not to use our hoses.
Unheard of in an English spring when the one thing we can usually
count on is

As we were struggling to dig some roots out of the hard dry soil the other day
I noticed this little guy sitting in the shade.

Quite hard to spot but isn't he handsome?
Well I say "he" but I can't really tell because the tell tale front thumbs are hidden.

He got a bit warm after we'd removed the shade and
after I'd taken the camera in
(wouldn't you know it?)
turned to face us and began to pant,
opening his mouth in a wide pale green smile.

The creases under his "arms" were a lovely green too,
and his underside much more pinkish red than brown.

To think we almost didn't see him sitting so much like a dead leaf
amongst other dead leaves.

Like so many other species these
"common garden frogs"
are becoming anything but common.

It's too awful to think we might lose this little jewel of the garden.

One year I found one floating in the watering can
and, thinking it was an old brown leaf,
put my hand in to scoop it out in case it blocked the spout.

I don't know which of us was most startled
but the frog jumped further than I did.

While I was thinking how good he was at making himself invisible
I began to think about the
"now you see it now you don't"
aspect of painting.

Some work is so strictly representational that they could be photographs.

Other work gives us very little, or no graphic clues at all,
and usually there is a polarity between who likes what.

I have friends who have asked in a puzzled way why I
"Do this",
pointing to an abstract piece, when I can
"Do that",
meaning a representational work.

Perhaps I'll try and explain why, next time I post.

God Bless

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

That was A BIG Birthday!

It was war time when I was growing up,
and what with rationing, my father away at war,
and her own ideas of priorities of life
my mother never made any sort of fuss about birthdays.

My first birthday cake was my 50th,
so you get a fair idea of how I regarded the importance
of celebrating my birthday too.
(I did ensure everybody else got a cake, lest you get the wrong idea).

Oh while I'm preventing misunderstandings
that was the Second World War not First, I hasten to add.
Things are getting serious enough on the age stakes
without adding any more years willynilly.

Anyway this year was a biggy so there wasn't just one cake but two,
and it was a truly beautiful day.

The celebrations began with a bouquet from my brother arriving at the door
quite early, (hence the dressing gown), the morning before my birthday.
- And that's when I began to feel all wobbly inside, and distinctly weepy.

All that day on and off I just felt like having a really good cry, and at first I couldn't understand what was going on, and kept asking myself what on earth was wrong with me.

Then the truth dawned.
Down the years I have had some serious illness.
Twice wasn't expected to live, and the medical prognosis was not good following that.

I had been laid in bed for two years, in my teens with a rheumatic/heart condition.
I have had myasthenia gravis in my twenties,
with resultant on-going muscle weakness,
and yet here I am having reached my three score years and ten,
having lived a full and active life!

I realised that at some level I had believed the prognosis I'd been given
and subconsciously never expected to reach this age.
And this despite living in the day to day knowledge
that God has done a terrific healing in my life

and completed what medical science began,
but could not hope to offer me in the fullest extent that I have received it.

I don't know where you are today in your hopes and expectations,
or in your fears and disappointments,
but wherever you are I can offer you the truth of my own experience.
Look beyond the realities that seem set to crush you,
and set your eyes on the promises of God, in Christ.
He alone knows the plans He has in store for us.

New International Version (©1984)
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God Bless

Saturday, 7 May 2011

The Dancing Line

I said I might post a few of my pen and ink drawings.

In the event here are a few pencil and mixed media examples from the sketchbook as well,
to show
the walking line can
easily become a dance.

Matisse said,
"If drawing belongs to the Spirit
and colour to the senses,
you must draw first to cultivate the Spirit,
and to lead colour
through the paths of the Spirit."

Have a good weekend

God Bless