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on hope

Exploring hope again.

So I am continuing work on my essay, writing about hope in the work of visual artists, but I’m also thinking about hope in my own work. How that might be.

I have started a short writing workshop , and have been introduced to a powerful poem by Denise Levertov, ‘For the New Year, 1981’, starting with the line

‘I have a small grain of hope-‘

The poet also compares hope to a piece from the root of an iris, where she says

‘Please share your fagment
so that yours will grow.

Only so, by division,
will hope increase’

Feeling my way towards the fine-grain texture of things, and the surprise of colour up close, and how that feels like hope.

For example, the flower of gorse in December, how a plant can flare up yellow in the grey-blue dusk light.


spindle trees

I planted trees just after I moved here 14 years ago. I planted the trees in the area all around our back garden gate, on the land that belongs to our local authority – it used to be coal board land. I had grown them all from seeds and cuttings with a friend where I used to live, and I brought some here and I dug holes and I stuck them in the holes. It used to be a metal-workers yard, it is quite hard to make a hole, they were more like shallow scratchings, but I did my best.

I didn’t ask pemission. I didn’t use any special methods or technologies. I didn’t make a fuss or care for the trees in almost any way. But I do pay attention and watch them grow.

The poplar that I planted is the furthest away. It is taller than the houses and has huge silver leaves that turn to gold at this time of year.

The crabs have an abundance of apples each year, and their blossoms are a local landmark by now. They were from the same batch, and planted next to one another, but their shapes are almost opposite. One is tall and graceful, one short and solid. They were labelled damson anyway, so that puts me in my place.

The horse chestnut and the beech and the birch are all tall and beautiful young trees now.

The willow and the dogwood might be my favourites. They grow their branches across the track, which scratches the caravans of the man who parks all his caravans up the top end of the track – in the area he has marked off. He cuts the branches back. I think the fences and signs made him feel like he owns the land, but it will be there long after he is gone.

And the spindle trees. The spindles have had a set back, after being cut to the ground gratuitously by a man from the council in a tractor digger. It meant that they had to grow back – and that means that they are not as tall and stately as they might be. But I have enjoyed their colours so very much, and I have little else to show you for today, although I feel like something is coming into fruitfulness – something that I will try to share very soon. So anyway, here is to the spindle trees.

art drawing painting

garden paintings, 2020

Just to let you know, I have added a page to my project pages on this website – for my garden paintings of earlier this year.

These mixed media drawings and paintings, looking close-in at very small growing things. They were made in my garden during the coronavirus lock-down here in Wales.

To put it simply, they are about drawing attention to ordinary things and opening up to momentary joys, and the feeling of being in love with the world.

art painting

painting a pumpkin

Painting a pumpkin today with the lovely Gwendraeth Arts Lab on-line group.


evening workbench

I had many many thoughts and ideas this evening, and I wanted to write some of them down. There was nowhere to write them though, because I have reached the back cover of my beautiful electric blue sketchbook – and they are the kind of ideas that belong in there, and not in my black notebook.

I need my books and the differences between them. Lets just say because this is part of what I am like, and one of the ways that I manage to show up and work. Colour coding and indexing my notebooks (and knowing where they are at all times) is a way that I can see and keep track of what I am doing.

Running out of room in my electric blue book is a good thing and well timed, because I am certain now that I am standing at the beginning of many things.

I knew immediately what to do. I wrote a few important things down on a scrap of paper with a plum coloured felt-tip pen. Then I prepared the papers and sewed another book right away – if I glue it now, it will be dry in the morning. I have not chosen yet what colour I will use to cover it, but I have some orange book cloth, so that might work.

art drawing

evening workbench photo

art drawing


I am very happy to report that it has been PLAYTIME today, with the marvellous Gwendraeth Arts Lab online drawing session, run by Roz Moreton .



Working with watercolours today, as part of collaborative project with local artist Suzie Ross (@suzieross007 on instagram).

Memory, landscape, connection.

Struggling with the colour palette, working on top of Suzie’s colours. Its so interesting, working with another person, they don’t do what you’d do; so responding is always stepping into the unknown.

art reflection

shipping joy

An outline business plan?

What would that be like?

Why do I feel so happy?