Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Apple Day


here are some english apples. Because it's Apple Day.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Saint Melangell and the hare

It was in the work of Kay Leverton that I first came upon the story of Melangell and the hare, and wanted to do my own version. Melangell was a recluse in the hills of North Wales, and was being all spiritual in a thicket one day when a hare took refuge with her, and she protected it from the hounds and the huntsmen that had been chasing it. The local prince, on arriving on the scene, was struck by her saintliness and gave her the valley where her church, and the village of Pennant Melangell, are now situated.

I thought it would be nice to portray her as a bit of a hunt sab. So this picture is loosely based on a friend who fits that description.

I was trying out some paper that Neil Hopkins of Two Rivers Paper gave to me (thank you, Neil!) It's handmade by him, and rag-based; and very different from what I'm used to using. It's very forgiving; you can lift watercolour off the surface and try again if you goof, and you can layer it up to make quite intense colours. I worked on a very small scale here, which was a mistake; but there you go, we're always learning, hopefully...


Saturday, 14 October 2017

up the Bradford Flight


It was time to go up the Bradford Flight, that majestic series of one single lock that marks the frontier between the upper and lower West End of the K&A. Below, the cool wooded valley; above, the broad, sunlit (or windswept, depending on the season) uplands. 

map of West End of the K&A

On The Street I failed to get alongside at first, as it was so shallow; breasted up on Fairy's boat for a while and scouted out the stretch further along. The Netties had found a nice spot by the winding hole, where there is some hard standing that you can get alongside; but our friends on Pathfinder, moored close by, were stuck way out into the canal because of the lack of water under the keel.


I admired the artwork on Recalcitrant, and considered hanging around until they moved off on their way to Bristol. I met this boat some years ago in Tewkesbury, where it had been left high and dry by the winter floods of the Severn. Really very dramatic, as you see.

Tewkesbury

...but Astral Dave was moored right there, and life is never quiet when you're moored near Astral Dave and his cosmic dog. 

So I sailed on and found a nice spot between reeds, where I was able to get close enough alongside to use my gangplank, and yet far enough away from it to be able to pull the gangplank in at night and feel secure behind my moat defensive... because this is the badlands here, and there has been a lot of thievery and wanton destruction over the summer; two bridges have been damaged by having great blocks of stone pushed out of their parapets down into the canal.

the old Bowyers factory, as I cycle into Trowbo
But that aside, it's a nice enough spot and there are good neighbours; and the kingfishers perch just opposite, and if I look out of the galley window while washing up, I see the water vole nibbling industriously away by its hole.

  

Friday, 13 October 2017

getting out and doing poetry

Bristol poets on the loose; Deborah, Colin and Pameli

It's been a busy week or so. Last Friday I was guest poet at Can Openers, Poetry Can's monthly open mic lunchtime event at the old fire station in Bristol's Broadmead. 

I looked up the very first time I'd read a poem in public; that was also at a Can Openers, in Bristol Central Library that time, eleven years ago. I walked in and the first people I met ("are you here for the poetry?") were Annie McGann and Alan Summers, the very first to welcome me into Bristol's poetry scene.

This time, I was reading from Drawn Chorus; and suffered the sort of pre-event nerves that had me retching that morning. 

It went pretty well, though, I think, and it was nice to catch up with some friendly faces I'd not seen for ages. Sadly, no photos.

Monday's launch party was at Monty's, a rather nice cafe run by May Colquhoun in the Montpelier area of Bristol. She also kindly invited me to display the illustrations from the book, so I had a frenzy of ordering up prints and buying frames from IKEA ( as you do). 



And the evening also went very well; there was a nice crowd of people, some of whom had travelled a fair old way to be there, like Adrian, Carol and Lorraine here, friends from the canal.


...alas, no other pictures. 

Colin Brown, Deborah Harvey and Pameli Benham also read some of their poems from the Gert Macky back catalogue and elsewhere. Thank you!

Poetry Can is a great organisation, doing good things in the Bristol community. And they've lost their Arts Council funding. Which is a right bugger.


Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Drawn Chorus - an alphabet of birds - launch party



As part of Bristol Poetry Festival, there's a launch party for the new book, at Monty's Cafe, 62 Bath Buildings, just off Picton St in Montpelier. Monday 9th October. Starts at 7:30. Wine and nibbles and stuff, and guest readers. 

There'll be an exhibition of the illustrations too. 

It's a really nice cafe run by May Colquhoun, fresh back  in her hometown after a couple of years of adventurous cooking in Australia. 

I'm also guesting at Can Openers this Friday. More details on this and the rest of the festival, over at Poetry Can


Thursday, 28 September 2017

unherd

DSC_1058
So many sheep, if asked, would tell
you how they’re wild and free
and independent minded. Hell,
they’d say, you won’t catch me
consorting with the common herd.
I’ve even grown a fine goatee
and listen to Coltrane and Bird,
and read the works of well-known potes.
I think conformity's absurd.

But when they round up all the goats
they'll hide inside their woolly coats.

for National Poetry Day, which is today, and this year takes 'Freedom' as its theme.

Friday, 15 September 2017

home to roost


I picked up great piles of pictures yesterday! Minuteman Press had finished the new greetings cards, the magpies and the starlings, which you can find on the Etsy shop. And then over to Niche in Stokes Croft, where I collected a gert huge pile of prints for the upcoming exhibition. Unfortunately, IKEAL were out of the frames I'd been hoping to get, so framing is slightly delayed.

What exhibition? I hope you're asking. Why, the one to accompany the launch of Drawn Chorus as part of the Bristol Poetry Festival, down at Monty's, the fine cafe down in Montpelier. Full details to follow, obvs. Lord, exciting times.