stories and illustration

Hens in the Garth

hens in the garthii

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Walk from Coldstream to Lennel Cemetery II


I walk up part of the steep path which goes from the gate by the Tweed up to Lennel village (and by steep I mean very steep, it is a test of stamina to get right to the top); but today I turn thankfully to the right and enter the woods, which in the spring are alive with rooks cawing, with the treetops full of their big nests – today I can hear some crows, but the woods are pretty quiet this fine November day:


The path climbs, the Tweed is further away, its water shining blue between the tree trunks:



aalen24The fallen leaves lie undisturbed.  Very few people seem to walk up here, which is a pity as it is a lovely walk, so peaceful.  At the top the trees part, and there is a fine view looking down over the Tweed, and the fields beyond.  Strange how the natural world mixes its colours so nicely:




I climb higher, I am nearly at the cemetery, and can hear below some fishermen from the East Midlands telling what is obviously an hilarious story.  There voices come up to me very clear, but not quite clear enough for me to get  the gist, which is a pity.  Since there are a lot of trees intervening I take a picture of them (yes, they are down there). I can’t understand this business of sound, really – we live just a few yards away from the town clock, but from the bedroom I have never heard it sound, and yet when I am a mile of so away from Coldstream, walking by the river, I  can count the quarters clear as anything:


Up in Lennel Cemetery I walk around among the monuments and graves.  The grass has grown long.  The sun shines on one particular spot, but it is sinking fast:


aalen32I walk out through the gate at the top, which says: Please Shut the Gate – but the gate does not shut, in fact it doesn’t really open properly either, I have to squeeze through sideways:

aalen33I look back towards the pylons which stride towards Oxenrig,there is a fine cloud made pink by the reflection of the sun:



It is getting cold.  I arrive at the crossroads at Lennel, before the hill down to Coldstream:


I pass Lennel House, which is where Beatrix Potter used to stay, and which is now a Care Home:


It is getting dark even though it is really still afternoon.  This is what a friend of mine used to call The Light of Twi:


It doesn’t take long to get back to  Coldstream by this route, I go down Nun’s Walk, keeping well away from the edge, and take a couple of last photographs (see mad woman in possum hat photographing  the gloaming), then walk up the path, turn the corner, and go home:



November 21, 2013 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Picture for a Story: The Midnight Hare



This is a watercolour painting of the Midnight Hare and a boy flying over the Borderlands.  It is an illustration for a text I have written about a brown hare, a boy, and the Midnight Hare. The Midnight Hare is a psychopomp, a charismatic intermediary between two worlds.  In the painting I am trying out a new technique which does not involve much use of pen and ink, because the sepia pens I have been using for a long time are no longer available; and besides, I feel like experimenting, since I have no deadline, unless I set one for myself.

In illustration many different media can obviously be used in the same painting, but I want to get an overall technique that uses line without the usual pen outline  In this painting I have got nearer the feeling of which I want than in any of the previous work I have done for this story.  I think I need to plan out paintings more carefully; then paradoxically, it will be easier to be spontaneous. I want to keep the colour clear and unmuddied by overwork, and have a good structure, even in the softened elements of the landscape.

For the background I will use the Borders landscape, including pictures taken from the air. The Hare flies with the boy to a place very like, but not exactly similar to, the Alnwick Garden, which is not far away from here.  It is not going to be a book set completely in the night, there will be daylight and fields in it as well, which of course will be taken from the landscape around me. I have photographs taken on my walks this year, and they will give me details to work from, so there will be poppies, and wheat, and the river, as well as the boy, the brown hare, and the Midnight Hare.

July 17, 2013 Posted by | Illustration, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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