Monday 27 September 2010


Over the past few days, I have been thinking about my choice of palette for an upcoming series of collage-paintings.  Even though we are have just entered the season whose rich, warm colours most inspire me, I've been finding myself drawn to the colours found in some items we have lying on our window sills, or sitting as mementos on my desk: driftwood and a pebble from the Isar which runs through the city; granite stones, sheep's wool, and a crow's feather from my last trip to Dartmoor;  hazelnut pods whose forms seem like some kind of strange clawed foot-nest; and a wishbone from one of last week's dinners.

These colours, which sit fairly close to whites, blacks, and neutrals, have a stillness and depth that I feel an urge to explore. If I have any success with my attempts, I'll post images over the next little while.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Why Bracken?

When trying to come up with a title for this blog, I felt the same excitement and exasperation as when trying to come up with a title for a painting or a short story.  It's a challenge, but a fun one.  I  brainstormed, jotting down words and images and ideas that seemed to be in keeping with the direction this blog might go in. 

Ferns have always been a magical plant to me.  Perhaps it's where they live: on the floors of Rackhamesque forests.  Perhaps it's how they look: unfurling their leaves until they become a green sea of delicate, yet sturdy plants harbouring all manner of magical creature.  

Bracken, that quite special type of fern, I have only recently encountered in the flesh.  On a visit to magical Dartmoor last November I found hills covered in a beautiful mauve-brown plant.  As I approached one of them I saw that it was a type of fern lying in a tangled mass against the granite hill.  I asked someone about it and was told it was bracken.  On a return visit this past June, the hill was transformed.  Gone was the mauve-brown mesh.  Instead there was an army of green ferns on spear-like stalks almost as tall as a person.  The transformation was incredible. 

The idea of being "beneath" the bracken, submerged in the secret world within it, a world which could transform itself so completely, appealed. 

Then I tried to think whether I'd encountered ferns in fairy tales.  The only one I could come up with was in the English folk tale "The Fairy Widower" (a variation of  "Cherry of Zennor").  The girl of the story is holding a fern leaf when she meets the fairy man, and he makes her seal a promise on a fern-leaf. 

I'm sure there must be other examples of ferns as a motif in folk and fairy tales.  I'll keep my eyes open.  If anyone else knows of any, please feel free to add a comment. 

Tuesday 21 September 2010

First Post

This feels really odd. 

Sort of the computer equivalent of walking down the street talking to yourself.
I was thinking that I should probably go into a bit of detail about why I've just started a blog, but posing that question to myself made me realize that I'm not quite sure why I have.  It was a bit of an impulse thing, really. 

I do want to have a place to give exposure to my paintings.  But then why not just a website?  Perhaps the biggest reason for starting this blog is that I've been following  a few blogs over the past couple of years, and have been completely, overwhelmingly inspired by them.  There's a great community of interesting people out there sharing stories and having discussions about such topics as fairy tales, myth, nature and its landscapes, art, literature, music, and how they interact with one another, play off one another, feed off one another.  

Guess I just wanted to jump in and see what happens.
Welcome, to anyone who ventures by.