Thursday, 19 October 2017


Good Morning to you,

Oh my, oh my.... this English weather of ours.

I had fully intended to update you on the progress we have made in our garden, but the weather interceded and I had to change my plans. The rain just keeps pouring from the sky and it seems to be never ending.

.... and on Monday we experienced some very strange weather.  At about 2.00 pm  an eerie haze appeared in the sky, it felt more like dusk than early afternoon. We watched for a while, thinking the haze would pass, but it stayed for an hour or more.  Later that evening we discovered the haze was due to sand from the Sahara Desert, travelling on the wind, mixed with debris from the dreadful fires raging in Portugal. It was certainly an odd thing to witness.

Although this is not the first time we have experienced this phenomenon, as a similar thing happened when we lived in Cyprus. During October, we would often wake to discover trees, shrubs and paths were covered in fine red dust and it was a devil to remove from the car, but interestingly the dust never effected the sky.

Then yesterday we endured the last throws of Hurricane Ophelia. I still went to my sewing group, but my goodness, it was difficult to walk, as the wind took my breath away.  Then today the rain has poured from the skies.  I was keeping my fingers crossed for a break in the weather, but it didn't appear.  So I had to have a re-think what I was going to do today.

I was sat on my settee, looking out at my garden, when the penny dropped.  I could not show you my garden, but I could show you the art work around my home.  It was the colours from the garden that gave me the inspiration.

Now art work is subjective.  You might love the pictures which hang on my walls, or you might not, but what I think you will agree is that our collection is very eclectic.

We are all very different when it comes to deciding what to hang on our walls. Some people, find that wallpaper provides the colour and interest they are looking for, whereas I  prefer adding pictures  and objet d'art, as each piece provides a memory of our years together. I can look at a piece and remember exactly where we were when it was bought.

Our art work is mostly inspired by our travels and sometimes from rummaging around junk shops. It is amazing what can be found. Sometimes the most perfect picture can be found in the most unexpected of places.... such as a charity shop. Maybe the frame is wrong, but the picture is perfect.  This can be easily remedied by replacing the frame to fit in with your decor. I genuinely never tire of each and every picture which hangs on our walls, each individual piece  is still loved, as much as it was the first moment it was brought into our home.  The pictures may change their placement, but to be honest that does not happen very often, once something has found its home, it tends to stay there.

For instance, I love hanging pictures in my kitchen, if there is a space, then it is filled. You can tell that I am not a minimalist. My current kitchen is not as large as my previous kitchen, but there is still plenty of wall space for me to cover,

and this vibrant Matisse print is perfectly placed in my new kitchen. I love this print because it reminds me of the days when we lived in Cyprus.  It really fills my heart with joy when I look at it, as the blue is the colour of the summer Mediterranean sky and the lemons remind me of when we grew our own lemons.  I remember the first time I made houmous (hummus), I picked the lemons from our tree, I squeezed them to release their juice, forgetting how juicy fresh Cypriot lemons were, yes you've guessed it,  I added far too much lemon juice and my houmous (hummus), well, it felt as if I was actually sucking on the lemon.

My new kitchen is an L shape kitchen, so I have plenty of space to enjoy these Cambodian dancers by Auguste Rodin. Whilst I  cook I can imagine the dancers swishing their sampots as they dance.

I love how they have been drawn, they are almost ethereal. As I love dancing around my kitchen these are the perfect prints to be hung on my kitchen wall.

This photograph makes me happy and sad at the same time.  If you have ever visited a Middle Eastern spice market, then you will know how vibrant the colours are, but there is a tinge of sadness to this photograph, because the market is almost empty, it makes me think of all the displaced families in the Middle East.  This should be a spice market which is filled with noise, with people busy buying their spices.

.... and in complete contrast, I did say I had an eclectic mix of pictures, are these two beauties,

which I bought in Italy. They are both hand painted and the frames are handmade in wood.   Because they were handmade, I love the thought that no two paintings are the same.  I adore the large frames because they make me feel as if I am looking through a window, actually, I would say I would be discreetly looking between the beautiful plants sitting on the windowsill.

Now this piece of art, you may love as I do, or you may dislike it, as members of my family do.  This was bought in New Dehli from a cooperative. Villagers would bring in their goods and the cooperative would sell them and make sure that each piece was priced fairly.  The brass has been hand beaten to create this beautiful design and I love the fact that the beauty of the brass is offset by the dark wood.

I loved visiting India, it is such a beautiful country with so much colour and vibrancy, but it is also a country with huge poverty levels. When I look at the picture it reminds me of the extreme poverty I witnessed and each day it reminds me to be thankful for the quality of my life.... it also reminds me to focus on what I have and not what I wish I had. 

Now these beautiful young ladies were bought on a visit to France.  I loved this print at first sight and knew exactly where I wanted to hang it.... but there was a problem.... there were two different prints which I loved as much as the other.  But as is always the way, money comes into the equation and I could not afford 2, so I had to choose which one to buy.  So after much consideration and a lot of mind changing, I chose these two lovely girls.

We brought the print home and the minute it was placed on the wall, we fell in love with it, all over again.

.... but I also had the perfect space for,

this beautiful girl who was left behind.  Now I was not the only one who loved these prints.... George did.  So a month or so later, George decided to go to France for a day trip,  in the hope that this young lady was still waiting for us.... and do you know she was still hung in the shop waiting to be bought.  It was destiny, she was meant to come and live with us.

.... and the final piece of work I want to show you is,

this 1960s inspired piece of applique and embroidery.... I absolutely love it.  I was a teenager during the late '60s and I vividly remember the use of oranges and golds.  In 1970 these colours were popular for the home as well as clothing. I remember having wallpaper with large orange and yellow flowers, I think this was the only time we had wallpaper on our walls. That was a feast for the eyes.... popular then, but nowadays I could not imagine living with such bright colours, although I do believe they are coming back into fashion.  Phyllis said when she visited our first home, the living room was so vibrant, it felt like she was visiting a discotheque.... do we even use such a word nowadays. 

.... and guess where I found it?

At a car boot sale a couple of years ago.  It was propped up against an old mangle.  Well of course the mangle caught my eye first, because I thought it would be the perfect garden ornament, but the vendor was asking far too much money for it. Which was a shame because George remembered, as a child, his grandmother using a mangle in their backyard and he had the same thought, as I did, that it would be lovely to have climbing roses scrambling through the mangle, but it was not meant to be. So I decided to walk over to look at this piece of embroidery which was propped up against the mangle and I loved it.  

At first glance it looked like a 'naive' piece, but in actual fact it is a well thought out piece.  When I looked on the back of the frame it came from the Grant Iveson Ltd Gallery in Whitley Bay. There is a lot of light and shade in the piece, which, disappointingly,  I have not been able to capture.

I am sorry that you can see the roof of my conservatory, but I tried every which way to take a good photograph.  I propped it up on the end of the sofa, whilst I lay down so that you would not see my reflection.... but that did not work.  I lay it on the floor, again that did not work.  I lent it against my unit, but the vibrant colours could not be seen, so I tried my trusty mannequin, my wicker chair, and whilst you can see the reflection of the conservatory roof, I feel it doesn't detract too much from the design and the colours are perfect.

Actually, each piece I have shown you, had to be removed from its usual home, because of the reflections which could be seen in the glass.  I really must change the glass to non-reflective glass.... maybe someday I will get around to it.

This is just a small proportion of art work I love and I wonder what you feel it says about me.

It is an eclectic mix, but each and every piece I absolutely love.

How about you, what sort of art work do you love? and have you changed your style over the years?

Take care and I will catch up with you next Thursday.

As Always

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