Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Heart Shaped Leaf

I've always thought the leaves of cyclamen are beautiful,
so seeing these sitting in their pool of passing morning sunshine,
on the magical kitchen windowsill* 
as I came into the kichen first thing,
I had to move in to take a closer look.

Then, the illusive trip switch was flipped,
and I really "saw" them for the first time.

From the wonderful precision of the notched edge of the leaves
I saw the miracle of veining,
(which is such an integral part of the beauty),
tracing it's way back to the central heart of the leaf.

The path from the heart to the outside is clear to see.

All those connections from the outer to the inner.
Some running near the surface,
some going deeper.
Simple, yet complex,
in the deep action of the cells and structure
of not only the leaf,
but the whole plant.

How had I not seen it before?

Prov 23:7 says "As a man thinks in heart so he is."
(Need I say that man is the generic term for all of us,
- male or female)?

No matter how we may like to think we appear to others
the truth is, we unconsciously
show more of our nature than we would like.
Burns had it about right when he wrote,
"Oh wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us. 
To see oursels as ithers see us!"

Fortunately for us the judgement on our inner heart 
doesn't lie with those
who may well judge us as harshly as we are prone
to judge ourselves.

1Sam.16:7 says
"The LORD does not look at the things people look at.
People look at the outward appearance,
but the LORD looks at the heart.”

It s a great comfort to know that
the eyes which alone can look deep within our true heart,
with it's profound longings,
and strange machinations,
knows and understands us so well,
and stands ready to forgive,
to love,
and to welcome us home 
to His own heart.

 So, when we are feeling a bit ragged around the edges,
or heart sick,  or at any moment, we can be confident to pray,

Lord Jesus,
give us grace to come to you,
and through you,
to know the breadth and length and height and depth,
of the Father's constant and welcoming love,
for we ask knowing this is your own heart's will for us.

God Bless 

P.S. The * in the text refers to the "Green Fingers at Last" post in this blog archive.
         For some reason the link back isn't working.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

An English Garden

As Blogger seems to be up-loading photos a bit more readily,
I will post a quick tour of our end of July garden, 
to show you what is thriving on neglect and dry weather.

 Hubby has just left
for a bowls match 
and I'd quite like to 
wander around some garden's
this afternoon.

 Much as I love my own little patch, 
it's always a delight to see what 
somebody else is growing.

There are some allotments at Warwick,
that have been renovated and kept
in the Victorian style I believe,
so I may take a trip over there
as I am now fit to drive again.

I think there's a small tea room there as well.
Sounds better every minute doesn't it?

The other option that
 springs to mind is the National Organic
which are even nearer,
and bursting with wonderful ideas for a healthy garden
They have a really good restaurant too.

Strange how the idea of some little tooth full of refreshment never seems far from my thoughts isn't it?

Pulling myself together and thinking gardens again, 
I love the hot colours of this red crocosmia, pictured below. 
I think it's called Lucifer, 
which is a tad unfortunate though apt.
Some more hot colours put together in this planting of
pansies, and geraniums.

And last,
( because in reality Blogger is still acting up,
and I have a painting on the easel 
which might win over going out to view gardens after all),
here is a little Welsh poppy 
which seems quite happy where is has seeded itself .
Much like me really.

Wherever you find yourself this weekend,
God Bless.

P.S.  I know some of you post the most glorious macro photos of your flowers, and have more exotic plants to boot, but I hope you've enjoyed  this glimpse of  our little plot.  Do leave a comment it you've got time, because I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Zentangle Challenge #32

Sorry there have not been more posts lately.
Post op. recuperation is a strange uneven time for getting things done.
For those who know me.
  Yes, even more uneven than usual!

Any old how I've tackled this week's guest challenge from
Do click on it and have ago.
It's great fun, but addictive.

This week we have to use four specified tangles, and here's the results.

And here's a little rough and ready afterthought.
Really was surprised that the heart appeared.

I must say that Blogger is acting up pretty badly 
and it's getting almost impossilble to get images uploaded these days.
If these are on the page I will be pretty pleased with myself because after dabbing around with previous solutions I had to resort to HTML publishing.

Still it does seem a waste of limited energy.
Especially as I've added Disqus to the site
and so that if you leave a comment I can now REPLY and we can have a discussion, 
or start a stream,
but as yet nobody's left a comment.
Not even a negative one, which would be something!
Boo Hoo!


Hurrah the pics are up, but I still dont know why they're blue!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Zentangle Challenge 31

The Zentangle challenge set up on
 this week is to make an environment
for a fairy to live in.

Fortunately though I am not a seasoned tangler I am highly qualified to portray the environment of fairies.
(I presume you have heard the saying about being
"away with the fairies" )?

Though the fairy folk of Ireland are well known,
the fairies in my native Wales are much less keen on publicity.
These Cymri fairies prefer to keep a low profile in the hills,
mountains and green meadows which, 
being so often wreathed in mist, 
is their perfect home. 

As a child I was familiar with their habitat and so
these drawings are, 
of course, straight from memory.

Though they are very shy it is well known 
that they frequent their own magic rings,
which they most often fashion from grass circles
where they love to set up market or hold a dance.

The one above was unusual 
in being made entirely of mushrooms 
which they can use for shelter in bad weather, 
so may be there had been rain at their gathering.
We are talking about Wales after all.

This is a fairy ring which,
using the plentiful rain,
has functioned as a swimming pool.
I fancy the entrance to their changing room
is at the foot of the tree.

As they usually prefer to stay near the deep shade of trees,
or the crevices of dry stone walls,
this seems set right at the edge of the woods
to catch the sun.

The more sun,
the quicker their wings will dry. 

This last one shows the spot where an acorn cup basket has been abandoned by some elves in their hurry away from human eyes.

It seems the English fairies are just as shy as the Welsh,
as I have never come across even a trace of them
in all the years I've lived here.
Or perhaps it's just that grown up eyes
aren't as quick to pick up signs of the little folk.

God Bless

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Faith =Trust

This is a painting I began a while back.
The real subject was meant to be the dish in the upper left corner.  
It is one of the individual serving dishes in what used to be called a "fruit set"  when I was a child.

That was way back in the dark days of the second world war, 
and here in Britain the most exotic event desert -wise, was when the fruit set came out, 
(for high days and holidays),
and there might be the wonderful sight, and sound, 
of golden slices of peach slurping, syrup -coated,
out of a can, into the large bowl.

These treasures would have been hoarded from a food parcel 
sent from Canada by my father's aunt Gwladys.
(That's a Welsh spelling not a typo).

More usually our fruit desert would consist of bottled pears,or plums, or stewed apples,
which again would emerge infrequently from the dark shelves of the larder under the stairs.
I do not mention the bottled gooseberries
because I never could class that strange mushy jell as a fruit either then or now. 
The painting began because I wanted to make a record of the pretty dish 
that to my child's mind was beautiful in itself, 
but especially wonderful when filled with memories of happy anticipation,  
juicy fulfillment,
and the cost behind a caring love I did not then fully appreciate.

I began the painting in my usual haphazard way, 
so that, relying on my intuition it would grow "on it's own",
and I could just enjoy the experience of
 "getting it out there".
(Yes, just lazy I guess).
As I painted the dish, 
my uncle's apple tree from which much of our fruit came, 
found it's way into my mind.
With it came the happy memory of those swinging rides when, 
swooping through the air between earth and sky,
I almost felt I could touch the fruit hanging above me.

Then underneath the dish appeared Mam's prized best tablecloth, 
the creamy flowers matt against the silky orche background.
Such richness!
The pears just came to begin to bring balance,
and because I have always loved the elegant shape of the home grown pear, 
not to mention the sweet, 
chin-dribbling flesh beyond the roughness of the skin.

So memories and impressions came flooding back as I worked on the painting, 
and again gratitude flooded in too.

There was so much pain and  fear in those war-riven times.
My father was away at the front. 
My mother,s life was hard on many counts,
and even then I was clear sighted about the harshness of life as it was.

No,it is not sentimentality that colours this painting, 
but a deep gratefulness for all we were given, in and through the hard times.

So what has all this to do with trust, and faith?

In child-like faith I trusted my mother to provide, 
and to be honest that provision wasn't always what I was 
hoping for, 
or even what one might have judged necessary 
for a healthy outcome on many levels,
yet I continued to trust.

You could say that's all the child can do.
Hope and trust in the one who provides, 
and of course the scripture has Jesus saying
 "I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. .... (matt. 18:3)
(emphasis mine)

The Lord only knows though,
how often I have trembled at even the thought of trusting Him
with some heart stopping situation,
and asked that He help me in my unbelief, 
but faith has to admit in the end,
Ps.25 "Whom have I in heaven but you?
   And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
   but God is the strength of my heart
   and my portion forever".

So, long in the tooth though I am one,
of my oft repeated prayers comes by way of this psalm 
of child-like trust,
though I do have to ask for grace to cover the first verse's 
opening statement!

Psalm 131
A song of ascents. Of David.
 1 My heart is not proud, LORD,
   my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
   or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
   I am like a weaned child with its mother;
   like a weaned child I am content.
 3 Israel, put your hope in the LORD
   both now and forevermore. 

At times it may seem to my partial sight that like my mother,
God has not always seemed to come up with the goods I've either wanted, or needed.
Still, even this side of seeing "face to face",
I know I can trust the love that has never let me down.

God Bless

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Green Fingers at Last

I am doing this brief post
because I need to limit my time on the laptop 
due to post -op. problems,
but wanted to keep in touch in case there is anybody out there!

Thanks to all those folk who are there,
and to those who aren't just there but who let me know they are,
Thanks a million!

During my illness I've been blessed to receive many bouquets,
and bunches of flowers,
and they've all been lovely.

I've received many pot plants too,
and I have to confess to a slight sinking of the heart at each one
because my record with keeping these lovelies alive is
not good.
Dire in fact.

But hey presto!
Something has changed.

I have African Violets that have died down
(instead of just died off!)
and then bloomed again, 
which is unheard of.

I have Cyclamen which are also coming into bud
for the second time,
and now a wonderfully flowering Begonia, 
which if truth be told
looked none too good when I received it,
but has now stopped it's habit of shedding 
cardboard coloured blooms,
and become positively glowing.
 The secret of all this success?
Judicious watering of course, -
just a little each time the compost gets to feel really dry.

However it really must be the light on my kitchen windowsill 
which is the real fixer
because each time there's the slightest signs of a plant
not being at it's best it gets a session there until all is restored 
and the job's done.
There's a lesson there somewhere.

Something about being in the light...,
but hey,
despite my opening words this post has been too long already.

Will I never learn?!

God Bless

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Zentangle Challenge #30

This week's challenge was to make a tangle of our initials.

I don't know what this says about my ego-centricity
but this is the first challenge I've
done more than one of!
First attempt

Couldn't resist a bit of colour 

Looking at the finished item which,
like all the others just seems to grow on it's own,
I was reminded of the opening verses of Psalm I 
1 Blessed is the one
   who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
   or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
   and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
   which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
   whatever they do prospers. 

How grateful I would be if that were true for me.
 Last effort  based on lower case initials.

God Bless

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Weekend Bubbling

Finishing writing my morning journal and couldn't resist a quick drawing of the pansy prunings I'd cut yesterday 
and stuffed into various bowls and vases around the house,
one of which was sitting in front of me.

Then, because bits and pieces from the studio
have crept into all the rooms in the house,
I could reach for the quick fix Caran d'Arche crayons 
sitting on the dining room table and add some colour.
- And all whilst still in my dressing gown.

"Oh!" I thought. 
"This is one of the joys of convalescence."

Second  thought. 
"Why just convalescence?!
I'm retired for goodness sake. 
I can do what I like, 
When I like". 

Well as any retired folk will tell you,
that's the theory anyway.

Sound like a long weekend to you?

May your weekend find you hanging loose.
Doing your thing, and being re-newed.

In other words,
God Bless

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Zentangle Challenge No. 29

The Zentangle challenge this week is to make your own string 
( I'm getting to sound so knowledgeable),
by letting a weighted string of some sort fall randomly 
to make your template.

This is my random string, 
but I must admit to trying to coax it to falling into something more interesting,
but no,
this was it.
I did incorporate the shadow lines into the schema,
but that's what I had to play with,
and this is the end result.
Strange what happens isn't it?

If you want to try your hand click on

God Bless

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Still Bubbling...

Just to keep you up to speed here is the mixed media interpretation of the same subject as yesterday.
Click here to follow yesterday's post

"Speed" is a good word actually, because I always work quickly,
just kind of throwing myself at the work,
as somebody once commented
"in your usual ebullient style". 

This just blows me away!  

I thought as this comment had just come to mind I'd look up exactly what he meant when he said it, although I was pretty sure I knew.

Well, free online dictionary says it means
1. Zestfully enthusiastic.
2. Boiling or seeming to boil; bubbling.
How about that! 
Don't you just love it when something like that happens!

I guess I can stick to the title I'd already given the post then.
Now, back to the piece of work.
Started with some resist.
White on white, - not clever!
Then just let it grow like Topsy.
(Wasn't Uncle Tom's Cabin heart-breaking)?

As you can see I'm already beginning to move towards abstraction willy nilly 
and some of the work was done away from the subject
with new shapes/colours creeping in.

My favourite bit of the painting?

Can't help it.
That's the way I am.

God Bless

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Let It Just Come Bubbling Up...

This is this mornings page from my journal, and yes, it does say 
"Let it just come bubbing up",
but  the inner critic stays out of the journal, right?

My question to myself was
which direction do I take with the creative flow of my life?
Doesn't matter if you don't see yourself as the creative type.
All life is creative isn't it?

I know of at least one leading business architect for an international financial firm,
(she knows that title gets me every time)!
who reads this blog and has to struggle daily with targets, 
and outcomes,
and plans, 
and personality differences,
and stuff even more incomprehensible to me than that.

When I read her Masters dissertation however I could see 
the main thrust of her findings were based on 
seeking and fostering creativity. 

So wherever you are and whatever you are doing today 
how can you find the way to let your creativity come bubbling up?

There are always so many ways we could begin to
unfurl our wings and fly a little.

Trying something we've always put off perhaps?

Doing something different and new?

Something that has that same toe wriggling freedom about it as kicking off our shoes.
Wearing my "art" hat I kicked off my shoes yesterday 
for 30 minutes to give myself time to work in a way I never do. 

I made a quick pen drawing of these roses, brought by a friend,

Then I did  a sort of off-grise wash with some Caran d,'Arche.
(Found the pen wasn't waterproof 
as it declared itself to be, in the process). 

I love colour so much this feels somehow very strange
but I can see it has a certain merit of it's own.

Today with the roses rapidly opening I'll come at it 
from another angle
in pursuit of my "truest" approach.

Maybe you can let me know what you think at the end of the exploration?
I have felt so encouraged by the Zentangle folk who have left comments it has made me realise how much I long 
for feedback of any sort.

Be Blessed

P.S.  In that strange synchronicity that often happens when we let ourselves merge with the flow, after writing this post I came across these words from Julia Cameron as she writes how repetitive actions in ordinary life can be the gateway to creative thinking:- "Showering, swimming,scubbing, shaving, steering a car, - so many s-like-yes-like words!... Solutions to sticky creative problems
may bubble up
through the dishw"ater."
Julia Cameron, "The Artist's Way

May the dishwater of your life be touched with the delicious freedom of creativity today.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Zentangle Challenge

I really wasn't going to do this week's challenge
because I just couldn't seem to get "Tripoli" to work,
then I read that ledenzer had written about this,
"For some reason this challenge does elude me....but challenges are meant to be done..."
Now anybody who sees ledenzer's work will know she is a master,
and I realized that I wasn't in her league as much because I was ready to give up easily 
as for any other reason. 
Thank you ledenzer.

So I had a go, and again couldn't get it to work. just kept losing my way.

As I realised the way I was thinking, and the terminology I was using I just let go,
and let the little triangles bunch and drift as they would. 
It wasn't tidy. It wasn't what I wanted.

Little pathways opened up where I wasn't expecting,
and things I thought would go one way went another as
I began to connect with the "zen" of Zentangle.

Then came some colour, 
 and without taking you through every stage I took the paper 
through layers of colour almost to destruction. 
(I often work that way, 
and a friend once suggested I should be psychoanalysed,
because sometimes I just leave work at the destruction level). 

Then I began to bring it back,
highlighting ways through the pattern and generally letting it emerge as it would.

It dawned on me for the first time that this reflects the way my life has gone. 
Often feeling on the brink of destruction and then, 
the return to health and wholeness before the cycle seems to repeat itself.
And I'm still here.
So, not a great tangle, but great zen perhaps.

God Bless