Saturday, July 25, 2015

British Isles #17: Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle looks so Medieval and foreboding perched high up on the volcanic Castle Rock. It looks like one giant stronghold. In truth, it is many different buildings built at different times - more like a small walled town. For me, once I got into the castle grounds, it was less impressive than from afar. It still contains some beautiful buildings and has witnessed a lot of history, but each building now holds a little museum or exhibit - I think something is lost by this. And the place was incredibly busy for the off season. I cannot even imagine summer months here. We aren't used to the crowds, as we are often spoiled by being the only people present in many old castle ruins. Still it is surely a place to visit, with wonderful views of the city. We seldom take the guided tours but here it may have helped us appreciate the value and history of each building. Instead we just made our way around and visited the buildings or exhibits that interested us. My favorite building was Saint Margaret's Chapel, which is the oldest part of Edinburgh Castle, in fact, the oldest building in Edinburgh (from the 12th c.). It is a tiny, plain stone building but inside is an ancient Romanesque chapel with lovely stained glass.

Stained Glass of Saint Margaret in Saint Margaret's Chapel inside castle grounds.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

British Isles #16: Bannerman's

Bannerman's Bar was our choice hangout while in Edinburgh. It was just a few blocks off the Royal Mile, at the corner of Cowgate and Niddry Street. A little cavern of a pub with stone arches, little alcoves, a fireplace, and drinks a plenty. There was live music in the front when we visited, but Bannerman's also hosts a lot of live music in a vaulted room in the back. This place was a great mix of modern and ancient, laid back and edgy, traditional and rock n roll.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Summer Painting

Some businesses are already gearing up for Back to School! So in the hot, hot summer sun I painted these two windows. The apple trees even have an air of Autumn to them, but I don't want to rush summer away. And below...a belated patriotic window I painted for the 4th.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Wild Blue Wonders

Under this full Hay Moon of July, wonders have been brewing low beneath my gaze, from the great cauldron of earth, decay,and fecund forest floor. I've been finding the most miraculous mushrooms including an Indigo Milky, a blue & edible mushroom! Also some incredibly colored ones that I've yet to identify. The berries are ripening too in their thorny fortresses, here and there and often hiding. These wonders of the natural world so small, so often overlooked, can make a soul swoon with love if only we take the time to look.

Indigo Milky

Indigo Milky
Edible Chanterelles


Friday, June 26, 2015

Dueling Horns

Sealed Watercolor on Canvas ; Gift for Musician

Scattered Shears

Here is some new painting I completed for Inviktus Salon in Republic, who recently moved. I did the logo on the wall and about 20 or so shears of varied size and shape all across the floor. Here is just a peak.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

British Isles #14: Edinburgh

We were in Edinburgh, Scotland for two days and nights and it quickly became one of my favorite cities. We stayed in the old town just a block off of the Royal Mile. The old town is just teeming with sooty Victorian buildings and tiny wynds (alleys between buildings - or snickelways). That and the constant fog and mists lent a creepy & ancient feeling to the town which I adored. Throw in some Medieval Gothic architecture, some ghost stories, good pubs and cobbled lanes: perfection.

In Edinburgh we did a lot of roaming, down this wynd and up this staircase, into this little shop and that dark pub. But we also visited some of the main attractions, the most well known being Edinburgh Castle way up on castle rock. We toured the spooky underground vaults, walked through Greyfriar's Kirkyard, visited St. Gile's Cathedral, & had a spot of tea. I'll delve into many of these a bit further in subsequent posts or else this one would just be to the brim with photos. At the bottom of the post is some quick information about our stay in Edinburgh.

I think that is the spire of St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral through the mists.

Edinburgh Castle & castle rock above the Victorian row houses.

Scott's Monument - a Victorian neo-Gothic edifice to honor Sir Walter Scott.
Largest Monument erected for a write in the world! One can climb stairs to the top, though we did not because of the fog.

Lovely bunting down pedestrian Rose Street

Interior of St. Giles' Cathedral

Hotel: Ibis Royal Mile
Favorite Pub: Bannerman's on Cowgate/Niddry Street
Favorite Shop: Canongate Crafts - on the Royal Mile. Everything in here is made in Scotland, mostly art or crafts, but also some books and appearal (tweed, wool). Could have spent hours in this tiny place. Blue shop front says "Crafts, Celtic, Knitwear."

Monday, June 22, 2015

Return of Quills

I have finally got Quills back in my shop for you lovers of letters, of bygone eras, of Gothic castles, and Medieval towers. These striking turkey quill feathers and rustic cedar stands are available in medium and large now. All sets come with quill, cedar stand, a lined writing grid and paper. I have many so they should be around for some time unless they just fly off the shelves. Visit my shop here or click on photos for listings.

Medium Quill Set 

Large Quill Set

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Midsummer Sun

Happy Solstice and welcome to the hot, humid official start of summer. This Ozarkian summer is off to a lush, wet start. Our brooks and springs are running, creeks and rivers are raging, mushrooms are popping up and the wildflowers are rejoicing. I walk the woods, gracious for summer rain and the fecund wilderness all around, limbs heavy with green, briars with nearly ripe berries, the woods awash in brilliant summer hues. It's time for cool dips in rivers, stargazing in earnest, deep breaths beneath shade trees, & blackberries on tongues. I try to complain less about the heat, the humidity, the swarming bugs and see the miracles that dwell in summer, like home grown vegetables bursting with flavor, a nest of bunnies in your garden, or like a field flicking with fire flies.

Blooms of a Prickly Pear Cactus, Missouri native