Sketching Cider Apple Fairies

I have been Drawing Cider Apple Fairies! The sketch is now as complete as it’s going to get, next stage is to get it onto watercolour paper and get the paints out. This was done on a tablet – not as nice to draw on as paper but what it loses in tactile pleasure it more than makes up for in the ability to move and alter different elements of the drawing until they work together. You can’t see much of this process here, but there was a lot of faffing at the start once I had a pose for…

Ditch Dragons and the Westcountry Bestiary

A quick update: I have written and sent the blurb for my solo exibition at Ilminster in July, it is now definitely called ‘A Westcountry Bestiary’. So I need to steam ahead a bit and paint a few more creatures, beasties and denizens of the Westcountry.  This evening I am drawing Ditch Dragons. They are a thing, honest. Medusa is finished, and when I have time to stitch the scans together I shall post her but for the meantime, it’s dragons in the undergrowth…  

The Opium Fairies - sketch

Papaver Somniferum

There are gaping holes in my ‘Poison Flower Fairies‘ painting series. This suspicious selection of characters so far includes some toxic, medicinal and aggressive types of fairies, but I have yet to add two blindingly obvious ones. One of the omissions is Atropa Belladonna, a.k.a Deadly Nightshade, both notorious and medicinal, and this is partly because I don’t know anywhere hereabouts where it grows though it must be somewhere around, and I do like to draw a plant from life even if it’s sometimes hard to track down the fairies. The other one is almost so obvious you wouldn’t believe…

Witches' Knickers and Knickerless Witches - sketch 1

Progress interrupted by Witches Knickers!

Yesterday somebody told me the about “Witches’ Knickers”… a wonderful term for plastic bags caught in teees and bushes. It appears to be Irish in origin, and, living as I do in pretty unspoilt, knickerless rural Somerset, it’s not greatly fitting into my scheme of a “Westcountry Bestiary”. Still, I am not really convinced about my Silver Street drawings of my previous post, and now I am throughly distracted by drawing witches’ knickers… and knickerless witches. I think the idea might fly. The first three drawings also vaguely conform to the very witchy tripple-goddess Hecate as maiden, mother and crone….

Silver Street scribble 2

Every Street has a Silver Lining

Is it only me who has a bit of a thing over the name ‘Silver Street’? Ever since we moved to Somerset I have been noticing them. Actually I know it’s not just me, I cam across a rather exhaustive essay on the possible derivations of the name, several possibilities including Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian names, no conclusions were drawn. One website for South Petherton claims the origin of its street name was because there was a mint situated on the street, but that in no way explains the other 36 Silver Streets in my Somerset Atlas. The author Lindsey Davis…

Flying Pig 2

How Pigs Fly

‘If pigs could fly’ is of course the standard declaration of scepticism, however in my quest to document some of our local Somerset magical creatures, it has come to my attention that the little village of High Ham, a mere 3 miles from here as the pig flies, cannot have got its name for no reason. This being the case, how is it that we refuse to believe that pigs can fly? The confusion may lie in a misunderstanding of pigs’ wings, always shown in fanciful drawings as exactly like birds’ wings, stuck on a pig. This is of course…

Sketch: Pollarded dryads

Pollarded Dryads, and the Secret to Eternal Youth

How many limbs would you sacrifice for eternal youth? None? not even a few fingers, some little toes? Very wise, this only works with trees, but I bet some out there would be prepared to donate a digit or two… I am pondering some of our local Westcountry creatures – the ones you don’t usually see. The rhyne mermaids, ditch dragons, hedge trolls – more investigation is needed. However, one collection of creatures that I am sure are out there are the Pollarded Dryads. Dryads of course are tree spirits. And willows, like all trees, must have their dryads –…

Cat-and-dead-rat sketch 3

Memento Mori

Not-so-cute cats (mostly). Do not fear, there are no dead cats in this post, but perhaps rat-owners might be advised to look away and to skip this one. Continuing with my little series of cat mezzotint prints, I felt it was important that I didn’t end up with a series entirely comprising nice cute cat pictures. Cats are lovely, but lets have the Compleat Cat. Therefore, I thought at the very least there should be the classic cat-washing-bum pose, and at lease one dead rat. We have chickens and where they live has become so badly undermined with rats we…

Thoughts on Winter - in pencil

Thoughts on Winter

These are a few very much work-in-progress (or even work-barely-started) sketches as I think on a picture for en exhibition entitled ‘Winter’. I wouldn’t have posted these so early, but if I don’t post something else soon, this blog is going to look as if all I do nowadays is Spelling Animals! (There are more of those to come…) I am thinking around naked winter twigs with just a few red berries hanging on after the leaves have gone and, because I like people-things, translating them into the idea of a gathering of Dryads. Stark black against a winter white…