Monday, 23 February 2009

Words please

words required for Ian's latest snowdrop prizes for guessing where the words may end up...

Pheasant equinox

I thought this may to enlarge...although I have yet to find out the deep significance of pheasants at the does make a great image...thanks to Ian

As Fi pointed out in the comments Wordle has its little eccentricities...and the FAQ may well have been generated through Wordle itself...I am happy to try answer any questions I can as long as they don't involve applets or stemming

When I looked at my word cloud again the alphabetical sorting option had thrown up some interesting random juxtapositions...mary means rabbit ...for example

Sunday, 22 February 2009


I thought I would investigating the symbolism and mythology of the equinox...very useful...but as frequently happens I have just discovered another way to distract myself.
Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you here to try...but don't say you weren't warned.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Yule burns in some forgotten corner

Yule for me alludes to ancient festival/folklore around the time of the winter solstice incorporating fire.
The holly and ivy touch multi-memories/traditions, be it the carol, the use of these two evergreens as decorations/symbols or the Ogram alphabet Sally introduced me to. Perhaps subconsciously the yellow background (sunshine?) reflects my long held feeling that the longest day is the turning of the year towards the brighter days of Spring which reaches the conscious towards the end of January.
One of the attraction of this project is the chance to try out ideas/techniques with total freedom, while finishing this piece I stumbled across a new (to me!) technique that I fully expect to be returning to. Extra reason to get involved... come on, take your shoes off and get your feet wet!
IoG AKA Ian of Gort/Ian Gorton

Three books a tarot spread....past, present and future? Maybe....or just foretelling another day out of the studio
Katherine Tyrrell wrote about The Art Atlas which is as she says “an excellent and unique reference book for anyone interested in art history” , you can read her review here

Tarot Wisdom is the latest Rachel Pollack book. Tarot has been part of my life for a very long time and anything by Rachel Pollack is essential reading.

Tarot leads to the final book, South East Asia, on a budget (very important that bit). Last year Jan and I had an amazing month in a luxury spa in Bali...she was reading the cards and I was painting..all expenses paid. Next winter we plan a couple of months travelling... Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Much as I have loved the snow another winter maybe too much of a good thing!

All in all maybe not much to do with The Celtic Year...but can’t be sure till I’ve read the books.

Sally x

btw I’m now operating a one in one out policy for three have to go...difficult but they are The Magus by John Fowles, The Zahir by Paulo Coelho and The Cloning of Joanna May by Fay Weldon. All excellent books...if you would like one or all of them leave a comment below or let me know Sx

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Oak King and opals

I have been thinking about a recent post in Australian artist Hazel Dooney’s blog. She describes some of the simple gifts and found objects that have meaning for her. Click here to read her post.
These opals are meaningful to me. They are gifts from my first trip to Queensland in 2005. The reason I love them so much is that to me they symbolise the four elements water, air, earth and fire.
I have been intending to take them as a starting point for some abstract paintings.
The next event in the Celtic Year is the Spring Equinox. One of my favourite myths associated with this date relates to the Holly King and the Oak King. One ruling the winter, the other the summer. They battle with each other endlessly through the Celtic year. At the Spring Equinox the Oak King begins to get the upper hand until he once again defeats the Holly King at at the summer solstice. Remembering this and looking at the opals again...all be it on a rainy day here in the forest I see how they could tell this tale.
I feel an Equinox Oak King painting coming on....

Monday, 16 February 2009

Imbolc afternoon by the Derwent

Liz has sent these beautifully atmospheric photos of her Imbolc walk. More here on her blog Impact Volume Two

I loved the poem in the comments of her post

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Gedesa A Prose Poem

Hi all,

I was looking at Sally's Solstices 1 and 2 (entitled Solstices Past in this blog), when I saw-in-one-then-didn't-in-another what I first perceived as a blue-she-wolf, but then I realised of course it wasn't, it was ... the subject of the prose poem that I've written in response ... it was supposed to be just a few lines long, but the story was complex than I first thought ...

it will be valuable to view Sally's images in reference to the poem ...

and I've a strong feeling that the prose poem formatting I've applied has not travelled well to the land of blog ... ne'er mind, you get the picture ... :-)

I hope you like it Sally!?


A Prose Poem


Slipping through the bindings of a spell she has fallen to the wetland edges of the riverside meadow overlooking if she cared to the sandbanks and the mudflats and the tiers of the salty-marsh.

Not yet a goddess but a godling in the making. A budding elemental. Responding to the pull of an ancient kinship to the rivers and the seas and to the all that lies above them and below, to the all that lies behind them and within.

A brindled mare at first and fleeting glance, she is secret and lost twin to Pegasus. Like Pegasus, conceived in the mingling of Medusa's blood as it flowed across a shoreline, with the sea foam that was saliva from Poseiden's tongue.


Travelling by deliberate choice and random chance, her journeys have been far across distance and time. But for this next and greatest adventure of death and rebirth she is here on the Stroatian banks of the Severn.

She falls through the spellbound skies during an hivernian-solstice, at the setting of the sun.
She lays on her riverside cot deep in entranced sleep, hidden from the eyes of mortal and immortal worlds, until the second day of February when she awakes to an imbolcine dawn.

For a further seven days and nights she is compelled to hold curious court with a solitary courtier, Parascheva. Saintly Parascheva, blessed inspiration of embroiderers and spinners, seamsters and weavers, trips to and from her celestial haberdasheries to collect enchanted silks and satins and fantastical fabrics made of moonstone and cat's eye, turquoise and larimar, robin's egg and aqua.
Completing the charm Gedesa folds the clothwork over and over and over inside of itself, creating with phyllian artistry a breathing textile that knits with her skin, merges with her flesh. Until it breathes as a part of her, an organic organza, a godling's supernatural livery. Until Gedesa becomes magical-feathered and mystical-finned, able whenever she will desire it to fly like a bird through the skies or swim like a fish in the oceans.

On the morning of the seventh day Parascheva takes her leave
Gedesa lies on the riverbank waiting for dusk and the night's lunar eclipse.

Gedesa gazes into the sky. She sees the echo-reflection of a constellation of stars where her brother will shine one day.

Kalliope, Melpomene and Kleio
Terpsichore, Erato, Polymnia
Thaleia, Euterpe, and Ourania

Gedesa knows of the nine Muses who are her twin's joyous fate.
But she has had no Bellerophone to lead her.
She has followed her own path to fortune.

When the hour arrives, the earth's shadow creeps across the full moon whose skin from forehead to chin turns a coppery red as the last rays of sunlight stream around the body of the earth to stroke the face of that special moon

As she stands at the riverside, listening to the urgent cries of dunlin and redshank, of whimbrel and plover, and the rush-whisper-rush of lamprey and shad, of salmon and sea-trout, and the ripples of returning elvers

she feels Medusa's fingers combing out her hair
and Poseiden's breath on her neck,

and she hears the song of the sirens,
Muses of the sea
as they call to her

and in the sweeping wave of a high spring tide
fulfilling her own unprophesied destiny
finally free

she is gone

Monday, 9 February 2009

whats new...

I have a new collaborator in the studio...he often helps out when I work outside...but perhaps like me he's a bit fed up of the snow and today he popped inside

hard to spot but he was most helpful

just like I of G who has designed a new logo for us... above is first version...we both approve and it has since developed to the sparkly new blog header...I of G now has permission to post to this blog...if he messes it up I'll ask the feathered one to help

It must be a day for messing around with websites I know someone just up the hill from me has been busy too

Saturday, 7 February 2009


Between The Lines - Words In A February Pond

Reading you both
the echo of a folk song flies through the winter sunset air and
lands like a snowflake in the middle of a pond made of moonlight

Gentle as the landing is
ripples start to spread across the pond

My young love comes to me
On our wedding day ...

The echo stops there
and I struggle to remember
what else
what next

While I am struggling
a second snowflake drifts from Karl Jenkins' Palladio
and alights on the moonlight pond
mingling and merging with the echo of the folk song

and pushing the musical ripples
further across the platinum waters
that stretch out in front of me

The face of the moon appears between the lines
and I know I don't have to have the words
for the songs to be always mine.


(As it came, an immediate response to Liz and Roger's words. Thanks honeys!! )

First response...

Saturday Afternoon

snow outside
the bash of rugby on the screen
clever that blue sky
teasing something thats hopeful
when all its breath has been shaping icicles

slow these words
like the hours
a week of time
reduced to allowing nature its head

unlearn, simplify
stand so softly, the moon is at work
watch more often, take less steps
inhale centuries, count your onions.

Roger Drury

Liz thanks for your poem, I hear many voices within it, a group hovering above, lashing tongues to clouds of warm breath, spirit speech bubbles? and music and water cracking and dribbling down rock

a poem and comment that Roger sent in reply/reponse to the previous post...



Brigid whispers softly through chill tar night
Gossamer herald, prophetic promise,
Guardian of spring and Heaul’s healing

Festival fires spark, shadows dance

Snow petals kiss bare earth with icy touch
Disturbed ducks fluster, skimming chill water.
Raven’s craw, clack-chatter in bare roosts

Stalactite cloths cling to hedgerow

Ancient longing fills the stooping spinster
Building hope in her hearth for miracles
Forging the poetry of omens

Maidens honour the straw bride’s bed

Heavy breasted ewes cry to cloud streaked stars
Sprinkled twigs snap as the goddess passes
Her lonely vigil meets dawn’s bleeding

Smoored embers await Brigid’s step

The light bringer’s birch wand protects the chosen
Swollen full moon lights tomorrow’s harsh path
Portents in Brigantii sacred grove

Bridal feast sustain and heal us

E Worlledge

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Living in the Past

Hello and welcome
I thought you might like a Celtic contribution (at last!).

Its a nod to the ancient practice of bone fires around the end of October when livestock (and people in some instances) were walked between two fires. It also recalls the November 5th tradition and the importance of fire in many ancient beliefs. (Or some such stuff).

Not the one I'd exhibit but this is better for its simplicity.
Onwards to Yule...then Candlemass..... just in time for Christmas 2100?

Ian of Gort

Monday, 2 February 2009

coming home for Imbolc

I came home to celebrate Imbolc at St Antony's Well, deep in the Forest, where
our local sheep are all heavily pregnant and preparing themselves for lambing...
Imbolc, I am told, celebrates the rising Spring energy....
Associated with holy wells, sacred flames, prophesy, healing, Brigid goddess of poetry, sheep and the hag goddess; it was a beautiful sunny day with a waxing Snow Moon in the sky....
the legend associated with the well has it that if you visit on this day and drink the waters, you can predict the weather for the rest of Spring...
I drank deeply, the sky turned yellow and that evening the largest snowfall for 18 years arrived ....
Imbolc closes for us two Sagittarians with a symbolic closing of the door on Winter
Music by Kinobe & Bonobo

"I'm afraid you'll have to do that again Nigel !"

and my Imbolc

a look into the studio today...

work inspired by Nick talking about heat, the warmth of the sun...this is a painting developed from an old photo I took in Nice flower the winter...good and bad memories....and like Alison using art to recognise a new stArt


Imbolc Light

Today a new light arrived.
Tony has combined my inspired by Ian's photograph of snow on the road to Hay-on-Wye into a light column. The photograph doesn't do it justice it really glows when the light inside is on. Light comes out at the top and through the canvas just need something to illuminate on top...another of Sally's sculptures on top will be perfect...just as well as she has a new one for me....the one shown here was Whispering Head...but we agree on its change of name, here in my garden where she lives now she's Listening ...listening to the secrets of the Forest.
On the other side of the Imbolc Light is my Forest favourite boys carried it back from the Forest and I love to sit on the Balinese bench beside it and admire the view and the Star...thank you



A is for advancement
A is for anticipation
A is for acceptance
A is for antelope
A is for acacia
A is for ant
A is for amour
A is for arresting
A is for almond
A is for arc
A is for ambition
A is for ambience
A is for achievement
A is for anthrosopophism

To be played in the key of A major (concert pitch) Each person thinks of something in this list and plays and we see what happens.


One of two of Alison's compositions. They will be played at a workshop at Birmingham Conservatoire next weekend.
Recording to be posted later....I can't wait to hear them.

Imbolc Down Under

It occurs to me that Imbolc is an anticipation of spring. When I grew up in England it was the first crocus poking out of the frost; a promise of warmer, longer days. After the grim winters it was wonderful. My brothers and I would compete to find the first one to delight Mum. Then there were the daffodils, the bluebells, Mum accepted them all with charm, except when I nicked a wreath from Hornchurch cemetery.

After 30 years in Queensland the ache of England ’s winter has faded, but at this time of year we have dissimilar things to celebrate and even fear. The heat of summer has dried the bush. This is bushfire season, particularly south of here. Perversely this is when we get the rain: destructive with the cyclones in our state’s north, invigorating rains in the outback that cut them off for months. In the SE Queensland that I love it’s hot and humid, trees and rocks fall over tracks confusing us, the bush is full of life, grasses grow to impossible heights, the snakes bugger off, the storms come in after lunch and frighten us, we sweat and drink a lot.

At the end of this uncomfortably warm day I reckon I’m happier doing Imbolc in Brisbane than Bristol or Brussels . But hey, I ain’t seen a crocus for awhile.