After The Rain ….

We just had our second annual ‘100 Year Weather Event’ when the rain starts and forgets to stop and dumps three months worth of rain in a 48 hour period……  Coming down onto ground that is already sodden from a very wet Winter.   Coming down onto reclaimed flat land that lies at the base of the seven hills of Dunedin, land that edges up to the mighty Winter roaring Southern Pacific Ocean.   There’s really nowhere for all this water to go – except up.

So up it went.  Roads closed, properties flooded, families were evacuated and I was in my tiny home, with the blinds down, the lights on, keeping cosy and warm, with the music on and the paint and ink flowing and the kitty and the puppy alternately rocking it out with me or snoozing quietly while I worked.

I was playing with water-colours and something called an ‘Elegant Writer’ a pen that when moved with water bleeds pinks, blues and purples onto the paper.  Here’s my first, second and third attempts

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As you can see, there’s plenty of room for improvement yet.  It’s a fascinating process and I was challenged trying to add just the right amount of water in just the right place to get the pen to move as I wanted it to.  Still, given the outside events maybe me having trouble with directing water inside wasn’t that unexpected………..

It wasn’t until the morning of the second day, after a night listening to the sound of sirens passing in the near or far distance that I thought maybe all wasn’t quite as well as perhaps it should be in my little corner of the world.

So we got up and went out for our morning walk.   We haven’t missed a morning walk yet this winter and Siddy is quite keen that we keep this record up.

We missed two days last year; one during our first annual ‘100 year weather event’ and the other on a morning of severe frost and ice when I really wasn’t prepared to risk finding myself upside down on a pavement again.

Siddy wasn’t terribly impressed with either event.

It’s a bit sad when you see your otherwise keen and happy puppy hanging over the edge of a chair, hanging his head down as far as he can, because really life as a puppy knows it has come to complete and utter stand still.  Personally I’d rather pull on the pink gumboots, envelope myself in my windproof-waterproof jacket, wrap my long crocheted eternity scarf twice around my neck, pull my hat down over my hair and the rain hood of my jacket up over said hat, put Siddy’s raincoat over his thick white fur and his harness over his raincoat, attach his lead to his harness, pull on my gloves, stand erect and – whew – leave the house and meet whatever is waiting for us.

On this particular morning the world seemed quiet.  Except for the sound of the rain pattering on and, in the not-too-far distance, the sound of some kind of mechanism working.  I walked the three houses to the corner and looking further down my street, just past the  slight rise in the road that lifts my end about a metre and a half above the rest of the street I saw a gently moving slough of water making it’s way inexorably along the street and into properties.   Several trucks lined the roadside and the sound I could hear was their portable pumps pumping the water from some of the homes at the posh end of the street.

Siddy and I made our way to the park.  Here I could either practise my skills of  bog treading or walking on water.  Even Siddy was somewhat uncertain of how to procede after his first dash along his usual route abruptly became a tummy high cold bath and an opportunity for him to practise his skill at dog-paddling.  We decided to stick to the path and treat all puddles as potential water traps.

Meandering quietly along, just us and the rain, I became aware that I could hear water running along beneath my feet.  Coming to a storm water drain that was spurting and spouting like a baby whale practising breeching, I could hear the louder sound of water rushing and tumbling through the subterranean drains. Drains that were clearly only just holding their own against the onslaught.

Needless to say that after one perambulation around the outskirts of the park we returned home, somewhat sodden, but none the worse for wear.

Once there, with the dog dried off and our gear hung up to drip dry over the bath I turned my attention to Mr Google and requested information on the weather.  This was when I found out about the state of play.   Due to the widespread flooding, the City Council had run out of road closed signs.  Sixty-eight roads had been closed due to slips or flooding.   The main highway was closed in several places, nothing had been coming in or getting out for several hours.  A civil emergency had been declared.  Homes were being evacuated throughout the low lying parts of the city and surrounding towns and countryside.  A major slip had endangered homes in the hillside suburb of St Clair.

And there we were, one and a half metres above and twenty yards away from, at the worst, chaos and at the best, discomfort and inconvenience.  Sometimes I find myself having the opportunity to experience pure untrammeled gratitude!

Yesterday the sun shone and the temperature warmed up.  While myself and my immediate neighbours had all come through unharmed, three houses around us had men working on their roofs – I assume fixing leaks.  There’s that flash of gratitude again!  The empty house opposite had plumbers working inside it for most of the afternoon.   The sound of the council trucks clearing roadside gutters, ditches and drains rumbled around us for much of the day.

The sun shone again today for most of the time, but they tell us more rain is coming tonight.

I looked up from my blog post reading this morning and saw this, if there’s a sliver of sunshine to be had……O in sun Jul 25

Orlando King will have it, thank you!

O 2 in sun July 25

And they say there’s no show without Punch – or in this case, Siddy……

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Making the most of it – as always!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

Buster & Moo plus book offers galore #Buster&Moo

You all know I don’t often reblog posts – but there’s a great offer being made here and Geoff’s a good guy for an ex-lawyer, and incidentally a good writer and well, I like him and enjoy his books and I don’t think I should keep the fun to myself …… PS I really, really recommend ‘Dead Flies…’ and his collection of short stories and ….

TanGental

My latest book goes live on 15th July and I’m giddy with excitement. Well, as an ex lawyer with a iffy back ‘giddy’ is something of an exaggeration but pretty pleased certainly covers it. I hope you might feel inclined to buy a copy and have a read.

You can buy it here

Amazon.co.uk

Smashwords

But to encourage you to enjoy a good read anyway, I’ve decided to make all my other books

Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle

My Father and Other Liars

Salisbury Square

Life, In a Grain of Sand

free to air on Kindle and Smashwords from 14th to 18th July. And should you prefer a paperback copy of any one or more of them, then I’ll happily send one to the first 25 people who contact me by email requesting it. As you would, I hope, expect, all I ask is an honest review on one of…

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The Mystery on the Easel: 2:8

Okey-dokey!  For the last time folks – here we go

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It was around about now as I flipped through the process pics yet again that I suddenly realised I had painted my life – it’s all here in little vignettes that maybe only I can understand.  It was a shock, then I laughed and looked through it all again, yep!!  – I painted my life!!

Well that turned out to be a really good experiment!

The daisies each represent a time when my life changed – being me, always done dramatically, but always leading me further on up the road so to speak.

The daisies are important so I just kept on playing with colour and form and light and shade, building them up……..  I often don’t know when to stop and almost a whole day went past……

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The background was deepened and earlier layers were built up, allowing them to add their voice to the final canvas. More gold was added, eventually it edged the entire piece and mixed into leaf and calyx.

And as the sun set, I finally called it done hdr

You can’t see all the glimmery, shimmery bits sadly.  But here’ s a couple of close-ups. maybe you might catch a bit in there

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Thank you so much for sharing this process with me – I’ve loved reading your thoughts and Geoff’s increasingly wild and wacky comments as it’s gone on.  I hope you enjoyed all that too.

Oh – and for my Canadian friends – Happy 150th birthday!  Here’s Siddy doing his bit for the celebrations and honouring his favourite Canuck aunty Kelly

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Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

The Mystery on the Easel 2:7

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As I’d arrived at form so abruptly – and quite unexpectedly –  it was time to bring some life to the daisies.

I should say a little something about daisies.

They are arguably my favourite flower.  I love all manner of daisies from the minute daisy that intrudes itself into immaculate lawns, to the slightly bigger erigeron that spreads wantonly given half a chance, through wonderful marguerites to the fabulous shasta.  I love their bright cheerfulness, they have no pretensions, no super breeding – they are just plain old daisies, the flowers of the fields.  They always make me happy.  They keep on flowering, they keep coming back they keep waving their sun-filled centres about in garden or meadow or by roadside and they remind me that just being who you are is enough.

My friend Bekki, who appears in the comments here as a little knitted woolly lamb published a lovely photo on her blog a week or two ago of a field of ox-eye daisies and that picture has stayed with me through our dim, cold mid-wintery days.  I had also painted a daisy picture in my art journal recently and I wanted to do something more with that idea – with hindsight, I see it has influenced steps on this painting prior to the appearance of the flowers hdr

So, it was time to set to work.

Spotify randomly delivered me Diana Krall and Norah Jones today – separately and at their best, thereby proving to me that inanimate objects can know exactly what is required to get the job done!

 

They were followed by one of my favourite Van Morrison tracks

With small dabs of yellow, green and orange on the palette I lightly played about with beginnings and endings, light and shade to bring more shape and form into the  daisies.

I used my trusty charcoal stick, sketching lightly where stems and leaves and buds might go……….

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And put down the first layer of colours, alternating between leaf, stem and flower

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And, feeling pretty happy with progress, that was that for the day – we had other things to do.

Loving your thoughts my friends, thank you for your support and inspiration!

The final outcome shall be posted tomorrow 🙂

 

The Mystery on the Easel 2:6

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Jesse Winchester’s delightful ballad ‘Sham-a-ling-dong-ding’ was playing as I looked at the poached eggs.  Letting the music take the lead, keeping my head out of it as much as I could, I picked up a wet baby wipe and my trusty scrap of sandpaper and began to wipe and scrub gently at the canvas, removing most of the white and black paint and revealing once more some of the under layers.

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Finally I felt happy, threw the used wipes into the bin, washed my hands and called it done for the day.

But a thought had crept in and a few minutes later I was back, white paint on the palette and an itchy finger ready to add some quick strokes around the canvas

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The canvas got turned upside down in the doing of this part and I quite like it this way …..

Are you still with me?  Any thoughts?

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

The Mystery on the Easel 2:4

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The soaring notes of the Lacrymosa of Mozart’s Requiem reverberated through the room.  Orlando fled – he’s not a fan of the classics.  Siddy looked vaguely interested then settled onto his chair with his teddy bear and a sigh.  I looked at my paints.  The metallics looked back at me and I chose first bronze, then gold and turned to the easel.

Using my fingers I stroked long bands of bronze around the top and right edges and dragged and smudged them into the canvas.  It looked too heavy to me, so I swapped for the gold.  Gold is a go to metallic in any of my paintings – it sparkles and shines and I love it.  My finger traced stripes of gold around the blocks of colour, slowly, quietly as the music filled the room.    As the music moved into the Domine Jesu I finished laying down the gold and turning, picked up the white and began to paint random circles and spirals and somehow found myself enclosing them with black paint.   By the time I was done with that the Sanctus was reverberating around the room and  I picked up the metallics again and built them up some more, allowing the colour to bleed over and blend into the circles.

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There was no dancing today and I’m not at all sure about those black marks –  we’ll see what tomorrow brings!

Any thoughts to share?

Thanks for coming by today I love that you did!