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November 25, 2011

Patient Fox




We hear a dog fox being very territorial most evenings and sometimes the cats come scuttling in with their fur on end, ears back and eyes staring to the point of dropping out. We think they’ve probably encountered a fox. One of our cats is especially sensitive to any spoor in the garden. I’d say lawn but that’s stretching things a little.

I’ve only seen a fox once since I’ve been here which is interesting as our neighbours have indicated that you can’t step outside without falling over them. As far as I can see it’s not actually true that all the fields round here are knee deep in foxes, jostling to have room to sit down.  The one I saw had plenty of room. In fact I think it was waiting for me to go away or to run off itself if I got any closer. What I actually did was sit down and just look.

In the end I got stiff and chilly and went. It’s a bit lowering to realise you’ve lost a staring competition to a fox. I may have underperformed there.

It did prod me into making this panel which is just painted oak board. I think the fox corresponds pretty closely to memory.



November 23, 2011

I defy anyone to not feel that small mice are cuddlesome when they sit about in your bathroom, practicing to be voyeurs when they’ve grown up a bit.

Our cat, who knows he’s a cat and does things like hunt, keeps catching mice, bringing them inside in a slightly sucked condition and then releasing them as a toy to play with later. I think he prefers to hunt indoors now Autumn has arrived properly. In the last few days I’ve caught and released four and himself put a baby one out last night and another adult tonight. It’s eyes were so wide they were halfway down its face.

My preferred method is to corral the cats in a separate area and put my hand down until the mouse hops onto it. That way they are a bit less stressed and don’t bite.

Harry Mouse


This mouse which I’ve christened Harry, spent a harrowing morning being chased and sucked before it ended up in the bathroom where I could shut the cats out. It was very still and so I had a chance to draw while it calmed down a bit.

It was very cute with huge liquid eyes and almost translucent toes. Its little face was whiffley with a couple of whiskers making a break for freedom. It was actually a little burst of happiness for me though probably not for Harry. I was quite sorry to have to let it go. It was so light it felt as though I was closing my hand over nothing.

I took the precaution of letting it go next to our neighbours spiky hedge so it would have good cat cover. I hope we don’t get any more tonight or tomorrow as I’m a bit tired of sacking the cats.


November 21, 2011










We’ve been to the Tatin museum at Cosse Le Vivien a few times  now and it’s a place where you always see something you missed on a previous visit. I love going and may have to go again before Christmas.

It’s the garden and his house that fascinate me. He used all his building skills in such a personal way to make a garden that must have reflected what he saw in his head. It’s an amazing construction  The dragon is one of my favourite bits at the moment, I change favourites with what mood I’m in.






The actual house is a work of art too.





I’ve been reading about his life and it’s interesting how he was a skilled artisan and artist . I’m constantly surprised how he fitted so much into one lifetime.

It’s definitely a place to visit for yourself if you get the opportunity. These pictures are just a hint of what it’s like. It’s fun tracing the different influences in his work.





These are a couple of paintings and a sculpture I shouldn’t have taken photos of but it was too late by the time I was told.


It’s somewhere where you can spend a whole day as the grounds are extensive and interesting as well as the actual museum and any exhibitions running. The current exhibition is brilliant but no photos.

Check out

Flying Hare 2 and3

November 21, 2011





flying hare1

Sketch in charcoal and pastels. .

flying hare1

Sketch in pencil and pastels. These are companions to Flying Hare.


November 19, 2011


Flying Hare


flying hare


This is from a series of sketches made over a few weeks. It’s done in poster paste, pastels and watercolours. I think this has the same feeling of freedom as Running Hare and makes me smile remembering the hares clearing the ground as they galloped up the meadow. I’m being very restrained here about the sensational way they seem to almost float for a split second.  


November 18, 2011

Roger’s Zone




This is obviously for Roger who may well feel constrained to do a small but elegant deal concerning chainsaws if I’m lucky. He has bees as a thank you for saving my wall bees because if he’d said he wanted to exterminate them then I would have agreed rather than risk him and Paul being stung. It’s also because he can’t appropriate Paul’s plaque and I don’t want him to feel deprived. The slate itself is a beautiful colour and an interesting shape. The oil really makes the natural colours sing.


This is one of the cats being helpful while I was doing the lettering. It’s always nice when a cat fulfils its role in life. The supervising and sitting in the wet paint  was so tiring for him he had to go for a little lie down under our duvet to recover.

Wood 6

November 17, 2011

Autumn Hare




This panel is part of the Running Hare series and is a companion piece for Hare Today. It’s from the same sketches as the cards. Again the shape and grain of the oak pretty much dictate the composition and are used to position the elements. I know where this is going to end up which is a nice feeling as it will be in exactly the right place.

I’m up ridiculously early because I’m about to start work on Flying Hare. It’s been floating about in the back of my head for days now and I’m going to have to do something about it or my head might explode. There seems to be an awful lot sitting in the back of my head lately, it makes it a kind of superannuated Tardis. I have a bit of a difficulty in that I’ve damaged my back which makes my hands a bit wonky at times so I’m going to have to work fast and at the right moment.Now seems a good time.