Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter Tightens Its Grip

Well, we are still deep in snow at the moment. This is the second fall we have had this winter. The first day was exquisite but it has gradually gone down hill since then. Our friendly neighbourhood birds are voraciously hungry and I am having to restock the bird tables twice a day. It makes me laugh to see them expending valuable energy chasing each other away from the food even though there is plenty for everyone. Interestingly enough, they only seem to chase their own species.

I decided to give the paints an airing this week so this is a watercolour and gouache piece called Pale Winter.

and here is the sketch where it began. The geese trio I photgraphed on one of my forays to the local park in the autumn.

This is a digital piece called "Deer Archetype" although the deer is rendered in pen and ink.

The beautifully surreal paintings below are the work of Irish born artist George Callaghan. He now lives in Tasmania but returns to Ireland regularly. You can find lots more of his work here and here at

The Antrim Coast, Moonlight

Down By The River

Village In The Snow

We went for a lovely long snowy walk yesterday and fed the birds along the way. The fast moving rivers were unfrozen but the lakes had a covering of ice. The sky was heavily overcast and we were expecting snow all day but only a very small covering appeared overnight. The children are all back to school now after an extra, post-Christmas week off. We had a brief snow -free week and then we had an even heavier fall to replace the first one, but there might be a hint of a thaw in the wind over the coming week.

These snowy pictures are from our first heavy fall of snow.

I often buy Magic Patch magazine even though I don't quilt. It has some beautiful photographs of quilts and this month I spotted a very talented fibre artist called Lorraine Roy. Lorraine is a Canadian who is greatly inspired by nature and she brings that love into her gorgeous quilted wall hangings. She has developed quite a complex technique which involves lots of tiny pieces of fabric and thread. I won't go into detail about this because she explains it very well on her website. Her website displays her work beautifully and if you click on the thumbnails you can get an enlarged version. She has worked lots of tree designs which I find particularly interesting. You can find her site here.


Red Mulberry

I read about The Keeping Quilt on another blog and as the author was very impressed with the illustrations I decided to get myself a second hand copy from Amazon for less than £2.00. It is a delightful story of a Russian Jewish immigrant family who pass the quilt down four generations and it is variously used as a wedding canopy, table cloth, blanket etc. The beautiful illustrations are pencil and only the quilt is coloured. It is a lovely book and I am very pleased with it. It is by Patricia Polacco and can be found here at Amazon.

Like lots of folk I love the beautifully graphic folk designs of Sanna Annuka and I couldn't wait to buy the biscuit tin in M & S with her design on. The biscuits were pretty special too....! The tin is now home to my large collection of pens, pencils etc.

The beautiful ceramics below are the work of Lisa Katzenstein. She hand paints her lovely designs of flowers and seeds on each vase. You can see Lisa's website here.

Leaning Vases

Tall Vase and Large Vase

Michael Rothenstein was an artist of many parts including oils, watercolours, collages and mixed media but it is for his printmaking that he is best known. He began printmaking at the age of 40 and also taught the discipline to others. Much of his work is abstract or semi abstract but it is his figurative birds and cockerels that I particularly like. I love the powerful colours and bold, graphic lines. You can find lots more of his art here at Michael Rothenstein.

Bird And Sun

Forest Birds

Cockerel Turning Round

Whirling Feathers

Red Leaves


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Such wonderful treats here as usual! I do love your snow. We were fortunate enough to experience a snowfall of our own last week. Edward was thrilled, as was I. But the cold! Incredible!

Dolores said...

Oh Cathy, once again, what a feast for the eyes. Great inspiration. Pale Winter - my favourite colours, blue. Thanks for showing the sketch for it too. I love trees and Deer Archetype is wonderful. I have followed Lorraine Roy's career for years (trees again) and actually talked to her this summer when she was at an art fair that takes place at City Hall every July. As for Patricia Polacco, I love her work and read quite a few of her books. Thanks for introducing George Callaghan to us. I will be checking out the links.
Snow doesn't last forever so enjoy its beauty while you can but stay warm.

Aarti Badamikar said...

What an eclectic post... loved every bit of it.
The Deer Archetype illustrations is awesome, lovely colors and the complimenting minuscule texture to it. Just perfect.
And even I am going to buy the book- The Keeping Quilt. Superb illustrations and a real treasure of tradition. There is another book called Ralli-The Quilt based on similar lines.
Thanks for sharing all...

Cathy said...

Glad to know the snow is being shared around a bit Pamela. I bet Edward had a whale of a time playing. Dogs seem to love snow and cats hate it. Our two definitely look down their noses at it and wish that it would go away.

Cathy said...

How wonderful to meet Lorraine Roy Dolores. I think her work is amazing - such talent. I haven't come across Patricia Polacco before reading about The Keeping Quilt but I will keep an eye out for her other work.

Cathy said...

Thanks for your lovely comments on my work Aarti. The deer archetype took me longer than practically anything else I have drawn but I am pleased with how it has turned out. I hope you enjoy The Keeping Quilt as much as I have.

tess stieben said...

I love your illustrations with trees, geese, deer, they are so light and joyous. To put it short and sweet "they make my heart smile".

andamento said...

I bought that biscuit tin too - I stuck in the cupboard as an emergency present I hoped I didn't have to use... and it's still there full of biscuits - thanks for reminding me about it! I also hadn't realised the design was by a recognised artist so thank you for that information. I always learn something new from your posts!

Pomona said...

You are so clever at finding all these lovely images - and even a tin like that in M&S! I do love the colours of your pieces at the top.

Pomona x

Cathy said...

Thanks very much Teresa. That is good to know. They give me a good feeling to draw and paint them.

Cathy said...

Hi Anne. Now you will be able to enjoy those gorgeous Swiss biscuits and still have the lovely tin. Sanna Annuka is half English and half Finnish and her designs are extremely popular.

Cathy said...

Thanks Pomona. Perhaps the tree is a bit leafy for winter but you can do anything when you are the

Chatters said...

Hi Cathy

What beautiful artwork, always enjoy simply looking at your posts. All the artists you choose do such stunning work.

I love the The keeping quilt illustrations, the pencil lines with the colour just here and there are so gorgeous.

Your pale winter is really beautiful too.

Crafty Green Poet said...

what beautiful things you've shared as ever. I love your pale winter painting and the photos. Glad to hear you feed the birds so much too.... Our snow has mostly melted away now...

tammykingdon said...

Another exquisite collection Cathy. I love your archetype image. it's funny you say you don't quilt, because the tree in that particular image drew my eye and I thought how beautifully it would translate into some textile piece.

Cathy said...

Thanks very much Amanda. Glad you like the posts. I love The Keeping Quilt illustrations too.

Cathy said...

Hi Juliet. Yes the cats and birds come first in the food line in our establishment. We have had masses of them down during the snowy weather. Ours is melting now too.

Cathy said...

Thanks Tammy. I am probably missing out by not quilting. I do needlepoint but I haven't done any for quite a while. Perhaps it would look nice in needlepoint too.

Gillian said...

I really love the colours you've used in Pale Winter - the watercolours are wonderful! Thanks for introducing me to George Callaghan - love his style. Oh and I really coveted those Swiss Biscuits in M&S over Christmas so I'm delighted to be introduced to Sanna Annuk too! Thanks Cathy! G

Cathy said...

You are welcome Gillian. Sanna Aunnuka is one of my favourite artists. I like everything she does.

Holly Zemak said...

Hi Cathy - I love the way you used the pattern of the leaves on your tree in Deer Archetype. And the photos of the snow are lovely, seeing the countryside covered in white. We are about to get rain and ice, yuck.

Cathy said...

Sounds horrible Holly. All our snow has disappeared now and the temps have increased to 8C.

Kat Mortensen said...

Hi Cathy,

I love your geese paintings; they are beautiful!

I'm also really impressed with the Irish landscapes of Callaghan. I had not heard of him, but I really like his work.


Cathy said...

Thanks Kat. I only recently came across George Callaghan's work. It really is stunning.