Wednesday 15 May 2013

Rhymes and Pigments of May

CAMPION, Stitchwort, Celandine, Jack-by-the-Hedge, Forget-me-not, Cow Parsley, Vetch, Bluebell, Pink Purslane, Kingcup, Wood Anemone, Yellow Archangel, Cranesbill, Bittercress, Buttercup, Daisy, Ramsons, Primrose, Wild Strawberry. May's Flowering is welcomed in: an incantation of names; at all the margins a bright jostling for the sky.

This time of the year rings like a happy bell in me. The hedgerow calls loud again, painted in bright daubs, scintillating in sun-patches. Flowers turn and wave. The Plant Names say themselves over and over as I learn new ones and my feet go one after the other, and Macha sniffs for scuttering things in the undergrowth.

The light wakes us all up for the long coming days of summer doings and Mother Goose turns a page in her Rhymebook.

To welcome in the May, we meet with our people at the top of a hill to drum up the Beltane Fire.

May comes in fast when it comes. All the sharp new green rushes up around me. I take joy in it, lane-stomping without a coat in the warm green breeze which rustles the oak. And, wanting to while away the lengthening days out in the No-Longer-Winter, I remember all the things I should have been preparing for ages before now!

Every year the summer trails begin in May, with my favourite fair of the season - Weird & Wonderful Wood in Suffolk. 

I have been making some little paintings on wood to sell from my stall this year. An odd trio - just two or three inches in diameter, these are painted on pieces of Yew and Beech I got from a furniture maker at last year's fair. 

They're colourful, story-full, and a little bit strange. 

The Sleeping Tree
Sky Riddle
The Kerchief
I also have a new stall sign half-painted, to be completed somehow between now and Friday, in between driving nearly 400 miles! Tomorrow we must pack the van with tents and wares and chattels and set off toward the sunrise. This photo below, by the way, is taken in my new trapdoor-accessed studio space in which I have been spending happy painting days, May sunshine pouring across my drawing board, nesting birds chattering outside the window. I shall tell more of this place anon, as promised.

Further on in summer, there are exhibitions, storytellings, gigs and festivals to fill our days. I shall whet your appetite with this poster for a show I'll be taking part in down here on Dartmoor at Greenhill Arts Gallery in Moretonhampstead with quite an array of talented and renowned artists from England's South West (six of whom are local to this village!) : Alan Lee, Brian & Wendy FroudTerri WindlingVirginia LeeDavid Wyatt, Hazel Brown, Paul Kidby and Neil Wilkinson-Cave.
There'll be some wonderful events running alongside this mythically-themed exhibition, which you can read about on the Green Hill Arts Gallery website. Tom and I will be storytelling, as will the wonderful Martin Shaw of the Westcountry School of Myth and Story, there'll be puppet shows, music, talks, craft workshops, coffee with the artists, and many other wonders. It'll be on for over a month, so do come and see if you're down this way in the summer. 
Widdershins lettering courtesy of me :)

And with that I shall leave you. We have miles to go and much to do before next weekend's fairing. Hoping for sun, good roads, full pockets and interesting byways, we go East...


sarah said...

Such a beautiful place, so beautifully honoured. And I love your art - as always :-)

Janel said...

Since I am wayyyyyyy over here in the States, might I inquire about purchasing your three little paintings?

I would love love to someday attend a faire such as this. I have a dear friend in Manchester so perhaps I can make this happen for next year. This year is booked up in way of vacations.

Thanks for the lovely post and photos Asa always!

Teresa Kasner said...

I loved this post full of flowers, life, love, nature, art, adventure and the promise of exciting horizons. I await more... love from Oregon, USA. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Charlotte said...

I just love the rhythm of the wildflower names. Where did you find the field of bluebells and euphorbias? That blood red, fire orange euphorbia is so beautiful. Though the humble wood anemone is still my favourite. Do you have one that you look for first?

Ms. said...

Ah the fairs--the fairs and Beltaine come again. May the road rise up to meet you and all good fortune fall at your feet.

Heather said...

It has been a strange spring this year with early flowers arriving late and late ones coming early - they have suddenly all bumped into each other.
Your photos are as wonderful as ever, whetting our appetite for seeing the countryside in all it's glory.
The tiny paintings are delightfully quirky and your new sign looks very handsome.
I want to follow Macha down that lovely lane. Good Luck with all the summer fairs.

Ronnie (RR) said...

Hoping to see you on Sunday if I can make it. Hope you do really well at the fairs.

A Magical Whimsy said...

Wish I could be at the weekend fair with such amazingly creative souls. I will be there in 'spirit' thinking of the gifts the fairies will be bestowing upon all who attend. Your circular art on yew and beech are simply wonderful.
The Beltane May 1st celebration photos looked very magical...even the fire looked as though it were offering up magic...the flames were so symetrical shooting up into a perfect blaze.
Wow, you get to rub shoulders with Brian and Wendy Froud...very, very special. Of are the best too!!!
Have an extraordinary time at the fair!
Teresa in California

ann @ studiohyde said...

I love it when everything starts to grow, all fresh and clean and new, bringing with It hope of the summer to come. Have a great time in Suffolk.

Rima Staines said...

Thank you all for your sunny words :)

Janel - you many inquire... :) These paintings will be for sale on my stall this weekend, but should they not sell either there or at my exhibition, I shall most likely put them up here for sale, so keep your eyes peeled :)

Charlotte - ah, Euphorbia! I was wondering what it was - the blue and red together delighted me. It's not wild tho - it's growing in a garden down our lane :)

Warm Maytime wishes to you all x

LeeAnn at Mrs Black's said...

How I miss those Devon hedgerows! Such wonderful photographs, and those little paintings are fantastic! Enjoy your travel adventures and good luck at your stall. Minerva x

Priya Sebastian said...

What I would give to buy and possess one of your beautiful paintings on wood.The amount of thought and imagination that goes into each piece is immense. Small intimate jewels these are. The fact that they are small means I would carry it everywhere with me and keep looking at it. Very very beautiful Rima.

Tiffany Davidson said...

Your new paintings are just as stunning as ever. I can't wait to see how your new truck is coming along.

Best to all of you,

x Tiff

Vinara said...

Hopefully going to make it to the fair on Saturday (first time ever!), exciting :D


Joana Su said...

The "little paintings" are stunning and precious...
Wish you a wonderful time in the fair... and good sales of course!... That fair that I know I will be able to visit someday!...

Velma Bolyard said...

good travels and sunny skies and oh my gosh those small stories are grand.

Anonymous said...

Good roads to you Rima, have a wonderful summer!

trish said...

I so wanted to go to the weird and wonderful wood fair, but alas my daughter was ill. Maybe next year I shall be able to go and see your beautiful creations in person.
I do hope you had a wonderful time.

gz said...

A good celebration. Here in Ayrshire it only just feels that May has arrived and it has nearly gone!

Rhyme Girl said...

Amazing pictures of the woods... just awesome.