Golden moment of a golden day....
Nature does it best!
Drawing that is.
These strands of marram grass, left in the fine shell sand as the tide went out on Luskentyre beach on Harris, were so beautiful. They remind me of Chinese calligraphy in their elegance and simplicity.
Every 'stroke' has such energy and vitality.
Some rather more conventional holiday photos tomorrow....
I have not yet been to the Garden Museum in London.
They are currently showing the work of one of my favourite garden designers. If you click on Green Fuse: The Work of Dan Pearson on their home page and take a look at the short video I hope you will be as entranced as I was by the beautiful camera work. The camera doesn't move, but the plants do.
For something sadder, and not so beautiful, look at this site's Coronation Wood page (top right) to see our efforts at first aid for trees!
It is 10.25pm and still not dark. I love the summer evening light and took some photographs of the garden just before dusk. I tend to take the same views all the time, so I looked for slightly different angles....
PS Isn't it easier to eat healthily when there are strawberries and cherries warmed in the hot sunshine?
A short walk today at Benmore Botanic Garden. Sheer delight, and we seemed to have all 150 acres to ourselves in the late afternoon sunshine!
Edward de Bono in his book Simplicity says:
The lazier a person is, the more likely is that person to seek simpler ways to do things.
(He might be right..)
On to Simply Beautiful - probably my favourite Category. See here, and one of my own favourite posts here.
I hope, if you have time, you will enjoy a browse through Simply Beautiful. (Scroll down to categories in right hand column.)
Does beauty sustain you?
I expect it is anything but simple to produce beautiful flowers like these in Britain in January....
But here they are 'proudly grown by Philip Collison in Norfolk'
The branches of flowering currant will blossom in the house in a week or two. The flowers will be white or pale pink indoors - beautiful!
Georgie, the Flower Farmer at Common Farm writes a good blog about growing cut flowers in Britain..
Read about it here. I think her 16th January post about how flower farmers are getting together to promote British flowers is especially interesting .
See what you think..
There are some wonderful photographers among bloggers and I am loving all the snow photographs lately.
I have always used only my own photographs on my blog, but can't resist posting this one taken recently by James Shooter (good name for a photographer?) and found on the BBC's weather page, which tells me we can expect more snow for the next three days - there were some flakes falling on my way home tonight....I still get so excited.
I shall have my camera ready, and if I ever take a photograph as beautiful as this one, I shall be in seventh heaven. The composition is superb and the subtle pattern of the snow with just the faintest trace of the trees in the background, and the majesty of the animal....Wow!
Unable to sleep I got up in the early hours of this morning, put on a thick dressing gown and furry slippers, went downstairs and stepped out of the door, onto the porch and into the chill night air.
Mist hung above the bare soil of the front garden and turned the trees into ghosts, and the tremulous Whoo-woo-woo-woo of an owl was so loud I was sure I must see it.
Looking up I was astonished to see above the tree tops a clear and brilliant sky, thick with thousands upon thousands of stars!
A good-to-be-alive moment, and perhaps the subject for some paintings for an upcoming exhibition....
A funeral today, in the midst of the festive season, was not as sad as I had thought it might be. Celebrating the long and fully lived life of a dear friend and reminiscing about, as her son in law put it, the 'Margaretness of Margaret' was both moving, humorous and peaceful. The church was filled with Christmas evergreens and a young grandaughter played a haunting tune on the clarinet as the beautiful coffin, woven from wool and covered with flowers, was slowly taken from the church.
Passing the bedroom door this morning I glanced in and was struck by the dramatic arrangement of light and shadows which a shaft of watery wintry sunshine was creating..just had to stop what I was doing and fetch the camera....
Something familiar and taken for granted can be transformed into something that momentarily stops you in your tracks.
Magic. Makes you look with new eyes.
I keep thinking there is nothing left to pick in the garden, then I remembered the schizostylus and went out in the rain to pick a few, and found a cluster of rosebuds too.
The rosebuds are quite marked by the rain, but the leaves are so perfect with their red central vein and evenly toothed edges touched with red...
Sarah, your name came out of the hat! Do send me your address and I'll post 'Getting Things Done' forthwith - hope it proves useful..
There's a sharp intake of breath each morning as I draw back the curtains - the rowan tree is so beautiful!
I've been having my morning cuppa at this window lately to make the most of it.
There is a tradition in Highland Scotland that the rowan tree brings luck (luckan rowan) and keeps evil at bay (particulary witches!) - this is my neighbour's tree, but I think it probably protects us too. It is sorbus sargentiana, a very handsome specimen.
(Shhh...today I looked at the box of wrapping paper and Christmas cards - just a quick look, and just so that I know what I have got, then back to the out-of-the-way cupboard....)
Enkianthus campanulatus is the shrub by the bridge at the entrance to Benmore Botanic Gardens, just half an hour from home.
The avenue of sequoiadendron giganteum - Wellingtonias - takes your breath away. Those tiny figures are only about two thirds of the way along which gives you an idea of the scale.
I love the ghostly colour of this long needled Bhutan pine, pinus wallichiana, and the beautiful texture of the rough bark.
On this sunny Sunday the glades of green, the varied patterns of the bark and the golden leaves of sorbus alnifolia made an idyllic view.
And the reflections in the pond! Nearest is acer palmatum 'Osakazuki' and beyond cercidiphyllum japonicum, also known as the Katsura tree.
This looks very similar to Sorbus hupehensis (but I don't know yet how to tell the difference..)
I think this copper beech, fagus sylvatica atropurpureum, was probably my favourite this visit - such richness and variety in the colours.
Benmore is the western outpost of Edinburgh Botanic Gardens and as you can see, well worth a visit. (In springtime it has a spectacular show of rhododendrons.) Find out more here
In one of the drawers I'm decluttering I found these leaves..
With a candle and a few rowan berries they make a lovely and subtle table decoration. I think sometimes when you keep it simple you notice the subtleties more - the colours in this are very muted.
I love photographing things on the white glass table top.
The berries with their blush of pink and pink stems are Sorbus hupehensis...I think.
Now is a good time to press some leaves - just put them between sheets of newspaper and tuck them under a rug or a pile of books....
The Northern Lights were beautiful, but not here sadly, though I did spend a couple of utterly peaceful hours in a cosy chair by the firelight, facing the window and contemplating the stars!
This morning however, when I peeked out the front door, I was met by the beauty of the first real frost of the season...
Booking has begun for the Drawing for Non Artists course www.drawingfornonartists.weebly.com I'd be most grateful if you would pass this on to anyone you think might be interested.
The banner picture is the view from The Boathouse the other day..
Another blog holiday coming up, so I thought I'd leave you with some images of the Scottish Sculpture Park at Caol Ruadh where I've been artist in residence for a few weeks now. I'm going to be at The Boathouse the weekend of Cowal Open Studios 21 -24 September, showing my paintings with Tighnabruaich Gallery, including some new ones done while I've been there, and I'm planning to teach Drawing For Non Artists there as a five day intensive course next summer. (Details soon.)
Isn't it beautiful? I've loved my time here.
Papaver ruprifragum seeded itself here on the gravel area when I used to sell plants from this patch.
The bees find them first thing in the morning, before the petals have even uncrumpled themselves - fourteen flowers, seven bees this morning....
..sometimes three bees in each flower. We reckon to have about 2000 flowers from this clump each year!
Having been pollinated early in the morning, the flowers drop their petals throughout the afternoon, but for the whole summer each day brings a dozen or more new flowers.
The sculptors at Caol Ruadh (see yesterday's post) are often inspired by the natural landscape and the Sculpture Park is the kind of place which heightens your awareness of form and texture to such a degree that when walking back to my car I was more aware of the beauty, the colours, the patina and quality of light on the land than I was when I arrived - it is all art, and life enhancing, whether shaped by human hand or natural processes. Surely this is one of the purposes of Art....
Well done, Caol Ruadh.
These are my favourite images and sculptures by Illona Morrice:
I missed the opening of Caol Ruadh (pronounced 'Col Ru') as it clashed with the opening of our garden, but I drove there today.
With more than 40 pieces of sculpture from artists working in Scotland, it's been created by landscape designers Karen Scotland and Anne Edmonds in 20 acres of varied and beautiful garden in Colintraive, Argyll.
The two works here are by Tom Allan.
I thought this sculpture by Angela Hunter was beautifully placed..
As was this disturbing piece by Kevin Dagg....
(the rest is already submerged!)
The figure on the shore by Rob Mulholland is about life size and gives you a sense of the scale of the place (though for me it's too Anthony Gormley- like).
There is a surprise inside the door of what was a fruit store, and the boat house to the right is in the process of becoming a gallery in conjunction with Tighnabruaich Gallery - I'm delighted to have been asked to show there on July 28th when the garden opens under Scotland's Gardens scheme. Click here for details.
See Caol Ruadh's informative and attractive website here, and Tighnabruaich' s equally good site here
Neither should be missed if you are in this part of the world!
My own favourites were by Danish born Illona Morrice.
..more images tomorrow....
We love the mini meadow (we simply allowed the grass to grow). It gives us pleasure quite out of proportion to its size and reminds me of the award winning French film Microcosmos which was a great success on general release in cinemas about 1996. Watch a trailer for it here
These photographs were taken at 10.30 the other night and it still wasn't quite dark...
The Purkinje effect is the name given to the way we see at this special time of low light (it occurs just before sunrise too, I'm told) when certain colours, especially those in the blue spectrum, seem to glow from within.
See yesterday's post and read more about this fascinating phenomenon here, and here, and look out for it just after the sun has set and before it gets dark.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)