Wednesday, 22 June 2011

A Brush in the Blue Paintwater Jar of June

WE ARE FROGS crouching disgruntled at the water's edge of a doubtful Summer. So far, this June feels like Mr Jeremy Fisher's slippy-sloppy larder; the air hangs damp and grey; we nip out between downpours to do late things in the garden, and nip in again to light the woodburner in a most unsummerly fashion, and to work at our desks in the warm. There were predictions of parched earth and hosepipe bans here in the South West, but standing under huge wet trees, their barks black with rain, we listen to the the drip-drip from the points of the green glistening leaves, and shake out our webbed feet, and disbelieve the weather forecast.

Here are a few painterly-printerly goings-on, some new, some past, some blue...
 

This old man in a wooden boat on a green garden sea is the Ancient Mariner, painted for an exhibition at the Imagine Gallery based around Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem. I chose to paint the old man himself rather than any scenes of ghostly stormy torment. And for canvas I found a piece of Sequoia redwood amongst the offcuts from the chainsaw carving at the wood fair, which had the heart of a branch-knot like a spear running through it. How perfect, I thought, to make this into the arrow with which the Mariner shoots the Albatross; and the slice of wood was boat-shaped too. So I fitted him into the shape of it, the albatross hung around his neck, so that the redwood arrow ran through both the bird and the Mariner's own heart. 
 
 

The original painting, in oils, is for sale through the gallery now should anyone like to own it. The Mariner's right hand holds an anchor rope which winds around his boots... echoing a sad and true story in my ancestry: My great grandmother Elsie had a sweetheart when she was young whom she called "Blue" ... but she lost him away at sea - he was drowned when his foot got caught in the anchor rope, and she never really forgot him. I still have a tiny elephant made of ivory which belonged to her, into its flank she scratched his name.


And talking of the Imagine Gallery, I'm mighty pleased to announce that there's a limited edition (of 33!) of fine quality giclée prints of a few of my works available for sale there now too... they're hanging handsomely framed on the gallery walls, and the paper and print quality is so good, even I could hardly tell they weren't originals!
 
 

At the moment prints have been made of Baba Yaga, Snowflight Under the Seasky, Anja in the Horse Chestnut, A Girl Mad As Birds, Father Christmas and The Goods & Chattels Man, and they've all been hand embellished (i.e. signed, titled and numbered) by me. This edition of fine prints is all roughly at the size the originals were painted, which in the case of Anja in the Horse Chestnut means almost A1.


I also intend to start selling smaller giclée prints through my etsy shop soon for folks who would like a posher and more knobbly paper quality. Any recommendations of companies who offer this print service with good results would be most welcome - I've been sending off for sample packs from various places, and can't decide.


There've been quite a number of interesting jobs over the past months... some of which I've waited for apter times to tell you about. This is one of them. Tess Giles Marshall, (a hearty cheerer for my work who has commissioned a clock from me before) asked me to paint a banner for her superb new site Pilgrim's Moon - a celebration of cronehood and all that that enfolds. It is a "countercultural path for women, ageing on their own terms" and it's gathering crones and crones-in-waiting left right and centre: Women who rage against the madness of trying to look younger as they age, women who are interested in the wisdom-knots and fascinations that greater numbers of years bring them, and best of all, women who have chosen to take back demeaning old-women words - crone, hag, harridan, witch - and reclaim them for the power-words they are.



These are pictures of the painting in progress - from pencil beginnings to watercolour end. A small band of motley pilgrims make their way from one village to the next under the blue of a wide wild white moon and the strains of a fiddle tune along the way. Do go and sit round the fire that Tess is building...










  
And the last painting in today's gallery was another commemoration of a loss... this one was commissioned by Janey to celebrate the life and mourn the loss of a cat she loved for many years.


As with all commissions involving people, it isn't a portrait of either Janey or her cat, but rather a painting of her sadness and of a girl and a cat that might be Janey or someone else. I rather liked it in its blue circular simplicity. The original hangs on her wall in Australia now, but you can buy prints from my shop here.





And whilst I painted a tiny ragged moth came to rest on my thumb, and then flew off again.



I don't know whether the sun will come back again, I hope it does - we are planting vegetables, and thinking of warm evenings of summer adventure and bare feet and songs under the stars and golden picnics in August.
Even frogs like to bask from time to time don't they?

46 comments:

The Pea Pod said...

Your work is absolutely lovely and your little moth friend is cute too.

Rochelle Bee said...

Beautiful beautiful beautiful!

Genevieve said...

Your Ancient Mariner is incredible. There is a sadness to it & yet so much beauty & peace.

Vickie said...

a heart singing post - I am almost breathless reading it. your writing is as lovly as your painting and photographs. such a treat and inspiration! thank ya

Vicki's Bit-o-earth said...

Rima, I just purchased Anja in the Horse Chestnut from your Etsy. I so love your art and can't wait to hang it on my wall!

Owen said...

Those puddles look like a perfect place for a toad, as well as for frogs... what's not to like about that ???

As always, your work just blows me away, so intensely, intently beautiful, mysterious, harmonious... I think you must have been out under the moonlight in the company of faeries on the summer solstice, gathering up magic to unleash in your art...
:-)

fatmoss said...

the small, intimate feelings your paintings give off are so inspiring to me.
they feel so personal and warm. the cat painting you did has inspired me to do a portrait of me and my cat together. it truly is full of tenderness .

pRiyA said...

I have to gasp. All the new paintings are so beautiful. Pilgrims moon is simply gorgeous. The cat and the girl are inspirational. The Ancient Mariner unique. Looking at your work makes me want to better my own. You are amazing.

Charlotte said...

As ever you have the essence inside looking out through the paint. The prints are beautiful, incredible quality.
I hope the sogginess gives way to a little sunshine, we do rather need it for ripening harvests.

Hussam Elsherif said...

In Egypt we say the mouth are the good spirits of the dead come to pay a kind visit. Your work of late accosiated with the dead -blue, the cat- so I find it only appropriate to have a visit by the mouth, in her fluttering wings it brought you gifts of magic and inspiration. I love your posts and your work of late and can't wait to hear tales about the bagpippers' socities logos and the painting on the easel at Wired & Wonderful :-)

Wishing you a creative summertime

Betty said...

So much beautiful work all at once! I do love the old man with his albatross, you can see it is more than a picture, a complicated story, you have captured it well. Betty

gz said...

your paintings and words are heartsease to those in need, and joy to share, to all.

The rain is crying in relief for the earth after all the dryness, but we need yet more. Despite the chilliness of the weather the earth is warm.

Alice ~ writer, crafter, boater said...

beautiful work as always, Rima... and yes, lets hope for bare feet and golden picnics soon. Although my boat roof garden is doing rather well with all this rain ;-)

Madame Bloodstone said...

You never know, we might be lucky and get one of those blazing Septembers! A lovely post and your work looks great on those big prints. I'll also await with interest to see if any of your readers can recommend a good giclee service too :)

snippetygiblets said...

Wow Rima, that Ancient Mariner is absolutely fantastic !! I LOVE it !! The others are wonderful too, but that one really grabbed me :)

We had Tally's little birthday tea under dripping canopies in the garden of our arts cafe. Luckily the sun came out for the kids to run about and play. We're longing for some sun too.

Much love to you two from us three xxx

Heather said...

The Ancient Mariner is truly wonderful Rima. Poor Elsie - such a sad story but lovely that you have the tiny elephant as a poignant reminder. I'm all in favour of the ethic behind Pilgrims' Moon and love your drawings/paintings relating to it. I will take a look for myself shortly.
I too am looking forward to warm sunny days and evenings. Maybe in July?

suz said...

There was so much here, I don't know where to start. I love how you depicted the Ancient Mariner. Your painting tells the story beautifully. The elephant is so touching - thank you for sharing that with us. Thank you also for telling us about Pilgrim Moon-just what I've been looking for! The painting for it is perfect and I love that you showed us some of the progression of it. I truly enjoy your work.

Zen Forest said...

Your paintings just continuously blow me away.

(So keep on painting then - weeee!!)

Tess Giles Marshall said...

Ah, thank you both for the lovely words about my fireside (which have already attracted some new wanderers for me to cherish) and for the sheer gorgeousness of the painting you did for me.
And I love these new works. The Mariner and the Girl/Cat share a sort of stillness.
Stunning.

Jessie said...

Your header looks beautiful on the Pilgrims Moon site and what a wonderful idea for a site, it about time!xx

Lunaea said...

Koshka and her cat made me cry -- my own loss of cat friend is still a fresh sorrow, and I am so touched by this painting.

Sweet summer days to you, Rima!

ramona said...

I so love that you included the little ragged moth.
Your work is brilliant!

Angela Bell said...

Dear Rima I have been following your blog for a while now and never fail to be enchanted by your beautiful work and your openess of heart. My husband Steve and I love Chagford and drop in our our way to relatives in London.It is our lunchtime treat as we drive from Cornwall.Thanks for posting your unique work for us to see. Feel free to drop in on my blog which is really a diary if you have time.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Gosh, I do so love the new paintings.
And that wonderful colour of green that the rain stirs up.

Crafty Green Poet said...

what beautiful artworks, I love the header for Pilgrim's Moon (which is a lovely site too, thanks for the link!)

Anonymous said...

thank you for your generosity of spirit, in sharing all the things you do, you inspire and lift me up when i visit your little corner of the universe!
thank you!!

Heidi said...

Beautiful work as always, Rima. And I finally remembered why your name was so vaguely familiar to me the first time I saw it: I spent many an afternoon in my younger years reading W.H. Hudson's Green Mansions, and the story of the gentle wood spirit, Rima, made a definite impact on the way I feel about the natural world.
Oh, and by the way, if it's sun you're after, I'm happy to switch places with you. It's gotten into the 110 degree range here in Arizona, and not a cloud in the sky. I would be happy with a Jeremy Fisher atmosphere right about now! :)

acornmoon said...

It is always lovely to see your new works in progress and all the wonderful creative things you conjure up.

Larisa said...

Will there be a print of the Mariner for sale in your shop? It and the way you used the arrow knot are some of the most beautiful things I've seen ever. It touched me in a way something magical does only every few years.

Erin said...

I've been away a long while. Have been catching up and I am pleased to have finally had the time to do so. Love your new work. Lovely and thought provoking. keep on, keepin on.

Rima said...

Gosh.. thank you everyone so very much! I am, as ever, mightily touched by your kind words...

A few folks are asking about prints of the other paintings... There may be prints of them available in due course.. it's nice to know people are interested if I do make them. I shall keep you posted :)

And Heidi... yes the forest spirit Rima in Green Mansions is my namesake - or rather the sculpture of her in Hyde Park by Jacob Epstein is... I was named as my parents walked past it :) Well spotted!

And today we have hot sun in this corner of Devon!
Cheerio til soon friends :)
Rima

Nana Go-Go said...

Hello Rima, I`ve come over from my friend, Betty the Wood Fairy`s blog and ergo have had a most interesting look at your beautiful art. Could you tell me a bit more about the story of Baba Yaga? Was she a kindly Grandmother? I`m off to have a look at Pilgrim Moon now too. Some would say I have been a `crone` of some description or another for a very long time!Thank you for sharing, Rima.
ps I can`t seem to find a `follow` button for you. Or perhaps Blogger is just playing up again!

Funjuice said...

Hi Rima

Thank you for always sharing so much of yourself and your life with us! As always, your work is wonderful! Love the blue watercolours!

Victoria said...

I always read you while listening "Scarborough Fair"

You're amazing (:

Julie said...

Rima,
I am eager and excited to see the clock you are working on for me. I dream of opening my mail and seeing a message from you. The joy will be in the surprise!
Love,
Julie Cottrell

rebecca said...

i really do love the tiny moth so very much. so small. so easy to miss if one is not looking ....

also, regarding the . beautiful . crone journey painting-
as i have aged i have felt the internal transition from unintentional attraction to fiery "sun" (I used to LOVE to collect various artworks with the sun in/on it)
to the calm, cool, peace that i now connect with the moon.

on a practical side, are your boots comfortable? have they lasted? i have seen them in other photos when you were wearing a dress/skirt. i am on a mission to find some functional brown leather boots with a wide to box... what has worked for you?

peace on the journey,
rebecca

Pom Pom said...

You are so talented, Rima. There is so much beauty here.

by Teresa said...

Dear Rima, I deeply love your art. I've been an artist my whole life but have flitted from one media to the next. I wish I'd have stuck with painting. I'm a sailor so the Ancient Mariner touched me, as did the tiny ivory elephant and the story... lovely. I invite you to visit my blog.. I live in Oregon on 5 acres and have been enduring a very long, cold, damp Spring also. The sun came out today and is promised for a week at least. Finally!
((hugs)), Teresa :-)

rossichka said...

Hello, wonderful Rima! I haven't commented for a long time again, but I do read your rich in words, emotions and images posts. I always postpone to write here, because it's not that easy for me. I want to tell you so much... Do you know that I usually use the vocabulary, while reading your blog? Why? Because your style of writing is so rich, that I don't want to miss anything!
I adore that boat in the sea of grass! The figures are so beautiful in their silence and pain (the piece of wood found you, didn't it?)...
The love story of your great grandma is very touching and that tiny elephant is so very precious!
I'm so happy about you and your paintings, being exposed at the Imagine Gallery! People love your art and that's why they do their best to show it to the public in the most appropriate way! I wish you good luck, in which I do not doubt!
"A Girl and a Cat in a Hug" is a drawing that says a lot - it's full of warmth, fidelity and love!
Oh, I like everything, everything - the banner for the site wears so much joy and energy...
I'm sure the Sun will show its face again and you'll have your golden summer days and nights... Be happy!:)x

Boat Wife said...

Your work is magical, with an other worldly quality. It's inspiring to see someone obviously following their true path of what they're here on this planet to do. Your blog was recommended to me by Fanciful Alice. I was interested to see you live by Dartmoor; I am from that area myself.

charisse 'dadis' melliza said...

You're art is truly inspiring and magical...even your writing and photography..what an amazing artist you are!

steven said...

summer rain is falling outside as i write. i love its soft fullness. warm and kind. the plants and animals seem to take in its fullness. there are lots of baby plants and birds.
i like the mariner's telling of his story and then too of elsie's. the helix of your own work wrapped so tightly in with hers. steven

SuzyJaneB said...

I just found your blog and I couldnt stop reading and gazing at your beautiful art :)

Anonymous said...

.

I’ve been following your work for some time now and I applaud your paintings on wood.

But as a furniture maker one thing puzzles me.
You paint your clocks on through oblique slices taken (probably) from branches or slim trees.

I know from experience that this is probably the most problematic piece of wood that there is because it is inherently unstable and tends to crack and distort all over the place as it dries and remains so throughout its life.

There are ways of pickling wood in chemicals (polyethylene glycol, or PEG) to make it stable – in fact the Mary Rose in Portsmouth is being preserved using a similar method – but how do you deal with the tendency of the base material to distort and split?


Anyway, keep writing - you are always a great read.


Howard In Wild Wales


.

daneastside said...

Hi Rima, you have the coolest site, love your art. I will be following :)

Rima said...

Returning belatedly to answer a couple of questions here -

Rebecca - yes they are extremely comfortable boots! An ebay find, and gift from Tom :) I think I will not wear any other footwear until they wear out!

Rossichka - I'm really delighted to hear you use a dictionary to read my posts... thank you!

Howard - thanks for your question - the wood I use for paintings and clocks is sometimes given, sometimes found, and often has been seasoned for a long time in someone's shed, or, as in one case, was a charity shop find and had once been a varnished cheese board... But the wood I find in the woods or cut myself I try to season over time indoors before painting on it and it does move and crack a little, but I like this - it's very much a natural process... and I like to use the cracks as part of the work. Maybe it isn't conducive to my paintings lasting for centuries (!), but I've got pieces hanging on my walls at home which haven't moved a jot in the years since I made them, though they were slices taken from fallen trees. I'm always interested in expertise and thoughts about such processes though, as I pretty much make it up as I go along... :)

Thank you as ever, friends, for your lovely lovely words here, so very appreciated.

Rima