09 July 2020

Poetry Thursday - Urgent by Sheila Wingfield



Villages pass under the plough
In England, where there was plague,
And lets time slide over parishes
The way hedges are torn out.
Bulldozers flatten a hill:
Even continents slip.
Everything must elide or kill
As the wild aurochs died.
And our elms. We have
Barely a minute now.

Sheila Wingfield (1906-1992)

Because both her father and husband disapproved of her interest in literature and poetry, it was only after her husband's death in 1973 that Sheila Wingfield was free to write openly. As a child she educated herself by secretly reading a literary classic each night and writing verses in the early morning, and during her marriage she wrote her poetry between 3am and 7am. She inherited and renovated two large houses in Ireland, and wrote three volumes of memoirs and seven books of poetry.

07 July 2020

Drawing Tuesday - shelfies

Which shelf? I have so many to choose from, starting with dozens of bookshelves (boring) and including built-in and free-standing shelves. This one, a hanging shelf, has been in my possession since 1971, bought at auction in Durham -
Getting started was taking its own time, so I did a little warmup of the current drama that's playing itself out on the table (a story for the inner child) -
 And then off we went, starting with pencil and eraser and adding watercolour in a slow, pernickity, and kack-handed way -
Watercolour needs practice, and it needs knowing a few tricks. I'm still at the childish stage.

From Carol - Considering how much time I look at this wall unit (because the telly is on part of it) I was surprised at how ‘treasure blind’ I had got to the little things in it – all things I once held dear. Lovely task to do today.

From Sue S - Here’s my Work room window ledge of green bottles & glass pendants - done in pastel to force a looser technique!

From Richard - Shedshelfie. Pencil with a little caran d’ache. It could bear another couple of hours to bring out the light contrast better. 

From Sue B - What a great exercise!

From Judith - a watercolour. The background when I last zoomed with my young grandaughters. Enjoyed doing the toys!

From Ann - Here is my shelfie...a home -made dinosaur standing on a pile of books by a stone African lion...on a shelf in my grandson Leo's room. Happy memories of painting and making with him. 

From Joyce - Here is my shelfie, treasures from family trips etc.; vase from Gozo, sand picture in a glass paperweight from America, Japanese pot, picture made from butterfly wings from my husband’s grandmother (wouldn’t be made now) and a Fimo model made by my daughter 40 years ago. Brought back happy memories

From Mags -  It wouldn't be a 'shelfie' without books so brought up to my studio a selection of ones that have been a big influence and some I wrote to add to the basket shelf. The baskets on the left all have an orchid work connection : the tall Indonesian one was part of a display at World Orchid Conference in Glasgow 1993 and after admiring it , I was thrilled to be given it. The small 'pot' woven from pine needles was acquired in Mexico in 1997 when teaching an orchid propagation course. The Rwandan lidded one came from Writhlington School premiere screening of ' Plants Behaving Badly' which I was involved with as well as students from the school.

From Gill - I set myself the task of keeping the pencil moving along the paper without lifting it off. The dining room shelves drawing was done late at night and my nail varnishes on my bedroom mantelpiece drawing was done in the morning. The colours are the actual varnishes. These bottles remind me of my former social life a 100 days ago.
P.S. my new social life is drawing with you lot! Thank you for sharing.

From Janet K - Treasures on a shelf.

From Jackie - recipe books with hand sculpture and clock and ceramics(top shelf). Watercolour and pen

From Najlaa - This is my shelfie  from my oldest daughter's room where I stitch, sew and draw.

From Janet B - Haphazard books, a tardis and three cat teapots.

From Sylvia a bathroom shelfie

05 July 2020

More cheerful reading

Addenda to the list of books at https://margaret-cooter.blogspot.com/2020/03/cheerful-reading-mostly.html

South Riding - Winifred Holtby

The Owl Service - Alan Garner

Lucy Boston's Green Knowe books

Alexander McCall Smith's Corduroy Mansions series, and the Bertie books

The Diary of a Nobody - George and Weedon Grossmith

Three men in a boat - Jerome K Jerome

The Young Visiters by Daisy Ashford

The William books by Richmal Crompton

Heidi - Joanna Spyri

For those of more serious intent, Middlemarch (George Eliot); Crime and Punishment (Dostoyevsky); Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall series; Innocence by Ian McEwan and Pachinko by Jin Min Lee

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

Thornton Wilder - The Bridge of San Luis Rey

Barbara Trapido

Bill Bryson "tongue in cheek observations of people generally on his travels.. nostalgia mixed with humour from an Ozzy point of view"

"I would like to put in a word for my favourite book as a football fan that should really be read by anyone with a heart and soul and sense of humour. It’s all about people, wonderful people, and football is just the lens. It is by J. L. Carr (he of A Month in the Country) and is called How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup."

The Rosie Project (Graham Simsion) is very funny and heartening, likewise The Humans (Matt Haig)

The Persian Pickle Club – by Sandra Dallas About a quilting circle in the time of the American depression

The Shipping News - Annie Proulx

Paddington Bear, Winnie the Pooh, The Cuckoo Clock by Mrs Molesworth

Jane Harper is brilliant at catching the ‘Australian’ aspects of the settings she puts her crime stories into. The environment makes up an entire agent in the plot.

(Thanks to Old Owl, Judy, Linda, Liane, Jan, Sue, Ruth, Jean, Jackie, Lesley, Ruth, Miriam, Jane, Sally, Erika)

04 July 2020

Studio Saturday - Dolly

The summer sun is at the right angle to catch the leaves of the peace lily - yet another possibility for a woodblock print -
- but not yet, the grandbaby must have a doll.

I found a pattern, and dug out some recycled linen and a remnant from a favourite dress -
Failure to re-read the instructions led to some tricky moments attaching the head - "next time" I'll sew it on to the body as instructed, rather than stuffing it first!
 We got there in the end -
The tricky part is the hair; the scary part is  the embroidered face. This, I decided, is too much detail, and could so easily go wrong -
Better to leave the child to decide whether she's happy, sad, etc -
Dolly was well received -

Apart from Dolly, a new woodblock is under the knife.

02 July 2020

Poetry Thursday - Beech by Elizabeth Jennings

Beech - Elizabeth Jennings

They will not go. These leaves insist on staying.
Coinage like theirs looked frail six weeks ago.
What hintings at, excitement of delaying,
Almost as if some richer fruits could grow
If leaves hung on against each swipe of storm,
If branches bent but still did not give way.
Today is brushed with sun. The leaves are warm.
I picked one from the pavement and it lay
With borrowed shining on my Winter hand.
Persistence of this nature sends the pulse
Beating more rapidly. When will it end,
That pride of leaves? When will the banches be
Utterly bare, and seem like something else,
Now half-forgotten, no part of a tree?


Elizabeth Jennings was born in Boston, Lincolnshire in 1926, and lived most of her life in Oxford, where she moved in 1932. She was educated at Rye St Antony and Oxford High School before reading English at St Anne’s College, Oxford, where she began a B.Litt., but left to pursue a career in copy-editing in London. Returning to Oxford to take up a full-time post as a librarian at the city library, Jennings worked briefly at Chatto and Windus before becoming a full-time poet. Her second volume of poetry, A Way of Looking (1955), won the Somerset Maugham Award, which allowed her to travel to Rome, a city which had an immense impact on her poetry and Roman Catholic faith. While she suffered from physical and mental ill health from her early thirties, Jennings was a popular and widely read poet. She received the W.H. Smith award in 1987 for Collected Poems 1953–1985, and in 1992 was awarded a CBE. She died in Rosebank Care Home, Bampton, in 2001 and is buried in Wolvercote Cemetery, Oxford. (via)

Poetry Thursday - A Portable Paradise by Roger Robinson

"... its piney scent ... "    Clearing by Dan Hays (via)

A Portable Paradise by Roger Robinson

And if I speak of Paradise,
then I’m speaking of my grandmother
who told me to carry it always
on my person, concealed, so
no one else would know but me.
That way they can’t steal it, she’d say.
And if life puts you under pressure,
trace its ridges in your pocket,
smell its piney scent on your handkerchief,
hum its anthem under your breath.
And if your stresses are sustained and daily,
get yourself to an empty room – be it hotel,
hostel or hovel – find a lamp
and empty your paradise onto a desk:
your white sands, green hills and fresh fish.
Shine the lamp on it like the fresh hope
of morning, and keep staring at it till you sleep.

Sent by a friend as "a poem for today in every sense"

30 June 2020

Drawing Tuesday - Favourite shoes

My warm up - after a prolonged breakfast, due to looking at shoes on the internet - was quickly drawn with the felt pen that lives in the little notebook, and wash was added with coffee and a finger -
My shoes are kept in rows on the bedroom floor. I chose the least dusty ones -
(top to bottom) Designer trainers;
Red "Tom's" canvas shoes;
Now my "studio shoes", one of the first Arche pairs bought in Paris, 1990s 
 ... and then remembered that all the summery shoes are still in the cupboard. Here are some of them, rendered with charcoal and, again, coffee for colour, but with a paintbrush this time -
Impulse buy at M&S last year, very comfy and walkable-in

The first shoes that I bought in Paris, early 90s -
"The Silver Sandals", love 'em.

From Ann - Grandson Leo's new shoes ...and look forward to seeing him in them soon!  Also my old riding boots from Derbyshire horserides, Scotland and even Grand Canyon! Deserve to be drawn...Happy memories...

From Richard - Pastel boots, then caran d’ache shoe and stretcher. Still trying to push the speed for spontaneity and inevitably that works better with the pastel - I can’t hide in the detail!  When will it feel safe to take the boot back for resoling?

From Judith - More boots! Also view from Bangkok skywalk 310m above street level tweaked to include my boots.

From Sue S - Here are some favourite shoes - some of which are now too tight (sadly) having been sitting overlong in a box waiting for a special occasion! Rendered in aquacrayon & caran d’ache.

From Janet K - One of my favourite pairs of shoes - yellow suede. I very seldom wear them so decided to draw them 'in situ'. Bought 22 years ago in a designer discount mall in LA. I was in LA to make a series of Levi's ads with a puppet called Flat Eric - who is yellow.

From Sue M -  Why did I pick some with laces?

From Jackie - These shoes were made for walking and that’s what Leo did…
 he finally took his first steps..ready for a while before then, he couldnt steady himself until grandma went on a shoe shop trip with the family….
He is now five and leaping about at all opportunities….intrigued that he once wore these! 

From Joyce -  these are the trainers I wear to Paracise and Zumba gold, will I ever wear them again?? Interesting patterns on them that I hadn’t noticed before.  

From Janet B - These sunshine shoes have already appeared twice on the blog, on my feet. I drew them yesterday with a 6B but decided that their glorious yellowness needed to be celebrated so I’ve had another fun morning in the garden colouring in.  

From Sue B  (introduced by Janet B) - We did art A level together and life drawing classes at Camden Arts Centre. Like me she left a long gap before taking up drawing again although she opted for landscapes. This is only her second close up since school.

From Mags - Last year for 30 Day Sketchbook 'footwear' prompt I drew my 20 year old sandals that I wear around the house ,giving just an indication of the patterned leather. Scaling up from A6 to A4 I should have stuck with that idea, it started well but spent way too long today shading in. Still , taking a rubbing of the sole was fun

From Gill - Feeling bold this morning. Son said I’m too fiddly so he gave me this oil stick.