Friday, January 27


The Twa Corbies by Arthur Rackham

Peter Davies article in the Times this morning...(on page 30) has inspired me to write about some of my favourite birds.

Crow family...or as dad always called them in his Armagh brogue...

"The Craws".

I have a board on my Pinterest site dedicated to these amazing creatures.
One of my most loved of Aesop's fables...always to be found in Arthur Mee's Encyclopedia for Children....
( beloved books of information long before wikipedia!)
...was the one about the clever crow who dropped  stones one by one into a jug of water, until the level was high enough for him to drink out of it!  How good is that?!

Peter Davies mentions not only the intelligence of these birds, but also their sense of humour.

We  two sat last Friday in the Rotunda bar at The Midland in Morecambe watching two crows pick  stones up off the beach... up to about ten a kind of back flip and as they were doing it...drop the stones on the pebbles.
Were they trying to break open some mussels?....or was it just for fun?...either way they had a great time.
And we had a great time watching them.

Icelandic Raven.

Crows are found in so many differing cultural stories.
In Irish mythology...crows are associated with Morrigan, the goddess of war and death.
In Cornwall magpies are feared as associated with the other world, and thence the respect shown by some when they encounter one of these birds.
Norse mythology has a pair of ravens flying around the world and bringing news back to Odin.
And then there is the wonderful ancient flood saga where Noah sends the raven off to find land twice...
...second time it doesn't come back... at last!

I really think that for me the reason for my facination is actually just the way dad would say....
...."craw" ....
and there would be that smile playing conspiritorially around his blue, blue eyes!

Lots of information from Wikipedia....naturally!

Tuesday, January 24

"Extreme Drawing!"

Every now and then I try to get the people in the art group that I teach... step out of their comfort zone ...
...and have a go at something that takes them into uncharted territory!

So this week they came into the studio to find drawing paper pasted up on walls and windows.
Sticks with pressed charcoal and chalk pastels taped to the ends and different sized brushes also on long pieces of garden bamboo .

Oow! Aww! Scary!

One or two suggested that after a half hour...maybe they could revert to their safe paintings!

But I got tough!

Result?....Fun and laughter as they tried to work with their arm at full length and the bamboo held almost out of control at the very end...a bit like Harry Potter waving the wand and casting a spell!

I don't think that they will be mounting or framing any of them...
...but the end results were better than they thought they were capable of.
And one or two even got so into it that they didn't want to stop...
...but those "potters" were due in after them so all had to end.
Here are a few of the morning's attempts.

I believe that Matisse often painted  with long brushes and chalks on the end of sticks...
..certainly at the end of his painting life when often he was unable to stand...
...but I should think also to loosen up his work...
.... the tendency always in art is to " pretty" things a bit too much.

Old Friends!


Old Friends

Old year ...New year
 I still need these in my life!