Inspired by my Dream World

This is me trying out a ‘less is more’ loose style of impressionistic painting, basically imagining a simple landscape idea in my mind and putting it down on paper. It’s a sloping field of yellow and white flowers behind a fence, with a clump of trees in the background and a grass verge in the foreground – so far, so good.

But the trouble with drawing my initial inspiration from my dream world is that my painting remains unfinished because I got this far with it and don’t quite know where to go next. It’s a bit of a dilemma for me right now – if I’d used a reference image I’d probably know exactly where to go next, but I know I’d also have got all tied up in knots trying to make my painting look ‘correct’, and it wouldn’t have looked anything like this!

So for now I find myself with a growing collection of two types of landscape paintings – those taken from the real world (via reference image) that I’m dissatisfied with and often give up on because I try too hard and they tend to become over-worked and boring, or those taken wholly from my imagination that are often brighter and lighter and more dynamic and I like better on a creative front, but generally remain uncompleted because my imagination only takes me so far…

I’ll keep going with attempting both for now, though, in the hope that one day I’ll reach a happy medium where I can comfortably adapt and reduce reference images to suit my impressionistic imagination, and will also have created enough ‘realistic’ landscapes to know which extra details to add to those initial big-picture landscape ideas of my artistic mind… 🙂

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Dream World

Truthful Tuesday: Tradition

Di asks for this week’s Truthful Tuesday:

How do you feel about your own country’s traditions and customs? Do you think they still hold a place in modern times?

Here in the UK we’ve all just finished ten days of national mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, who died suddenly aged 96 on 8th September and was finally laid to rest yesterday after a formal State funeral attended by numerous dignitaries and Heads of State from across the world.

Earlier this year the Queen celebrated 70 years on the throne – her Platinum Jubilee – making her the longest reigning monarch in British history, so for many of us she was simply the one reliable constant in a crazy world of chaos. So with the Queen’s death, her eldest son Charles immediately became King, and the whole traditional process of the formal transfer of power from monarch to monarch began.

It feels odd right now to have a King instead of a Queen, and I can’t help but feel slightly anxious at what comes next for our national identity? Change is so often difficult to deal with, unsettling and fearful, but for me this is exactly where tradition helps instill a reassuring sense of continuity, a soothing stitching together of the ragged rupture to the fabric of life created by whatever the particular change may be.

For example, familiar funeral rituals help ease us all into life without our loved one – they give us something pseudo-solid to cling to at a time where our world has tilted so violently on its axis, tipping us off-balance. We can hang on to these rituals and follow them almost on autopilot, going through the motions we know so well and finding comfort in the recognition of repetition. They help us get through a tough time.

And I feel that’s exactly what the last ten days of traditional mourning for the Queen and smooth transfer of power to the new King has done for us as a nation – it has given us a formal framework to adhere to, to help hold the country together in what feels like could be a time of constitutional crisis. It may not be a structural form many of us have seen before in our lifetime or are familiar with, but seeing it already in existence from the past, ready and waiting to be called on and carried out when needed has helped enormously.

So I definitely think that some social and cultural (and ceremonial) traditions still have a pride of place in our modern world, as long as they do not exclude or cause harm to anyone else. Of course even the oldest of traditions can over time be updated and modernised, creating a balance between old and new that allows for those familiar feelings of continuity while also making space for an acceptance that sometimes change is a necessary part of keeping things going into the future.

In the same way as many modern brides still choose today to have a traditional white wedding with a long dress and veil, and be ‘given away’ by her father (or other male family member) and handed over to her new husband, no-one truly expects the bride to really be part of the general goods and chattels passed between men. Marriage today is about partnership not ownership, so the ceremony itself is a symbolic nod to tradition, not a wholesale belief in every single aspect of the ritual they are taking part in.

And so it is with our Royal family and our national identity into the future. I’m sure the coronation of King Charles III when it occurs will in some ways be a very different coronation to that of Queen Elizabeth II 70 years earlier, while still honouring and retaining enough of the traditional historical importance to keep it reverentially recognisable as the sombre and solemn occasion of state it will inevitably be.

Share Your World: 19 Sept 2022

Are you an early riser or a late starter to the day?

I’m definitely an early bird, always have been…

Do you adopt ‘Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dine like a pauper’?

Nope, sadly I tend to adopt comfort eating at all hours…

Do you have a sweet or savoury tooth?

Both – see above answer 🙂

Would you prefer a hot relaxing bath or a massage?

Hot bath every time…

Share Your World

Catafalques and Crowns

I learned a new word this week – catafalque.

In all my (almost) 59 years on this planet it’s never occurred to me to wonder what is the proper name of the thing-the-coffin-sits-on during a funeral service or a lying in state. And this week I found out I found out by watching TV as the Queen’s coffin was borne into St Giles cathedral in Edinburgh and laid on a beautiful light Scottish oak catafalque.

There was something so deeply dignified in the beautifully carved but bare wooden stand, the Queen’s coffin draped with the Scottish version of the Royal Standard, adorned with a gorgeous wreath of white flowers and all of it crowned so reverently with the Honours of Scotland – the ancient crown of James VI of Scotland, who later became James I of England.

Through the Queen’s final journey from her summer home at Balmoral to the Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh, from there to St Giles Cathedral, and then on to Edinburgh airport for her last ever flight, I’m just so proud that due to the time and place of her death, everyday Scottish people too were able to pay their respects in person, to a beloved monarch on their home soil.

I know the Queen has returned to London now and will remain lying in state in the traditional historic splendour of Westminster Hall until her funeral next Monday, but I remain quietly grateful that the people of Scotland have so solemnly and dutifully played their part in the formal, national process of laying our beloved monarch to rest.

And now I know what a catafalque is… 🙂

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

So tomorrow we find out who will be the new Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party, replacing Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

The selection process has been carried out over the last few months, first by Tory MPs deciding on which two candidates they preferred to go forward, and then all registered members of the Tory party voting for whichever of those two remaining candidates they wish to take over the job.

Sadly the rest of the electorate have no say in the matter.

I’m delighted that Boris will no longer be Prime Minister but I’m not too keen on either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak, so it doesn’t really make too much difference to me who wins – it’s still going to be another Tory, not my party of choice regardless of who the leader may be.

One way or another I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place… Roll on the next General Election…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Selection

Things I’m Learning

Things I’ve learned about painting over the last couple of weeks include:

  • I like painting mainly landscapes and flowers so far
  • I like impressionistic rather than realistic paintings
  • I like to paint recognisable subjects, however loosely interpreted
  • I like some things about watercolour paints, but not everything
  • I like some things about gouache paints, but not everything
  • I like to use strong vibrant colours sometimes, and soft translucent colours at other times 🙂

Weekly Prompts: Review

Share Your World: 15 Aug 2022

Do you prefer to live in a single-storey property like a bungalow, a high rise apartment, or a house?

Right now we live in a lovely 1930s bungalow – our personal choice, this is hopefully our forever home so we wanted to be sure to buy somewhere without stairs we could safely grow old in. But over the years I’ve lived variously in houses, bungalows, farm cottages, and a first floor flat – never in a high-rise though.

If you won a large amount of money on the lottery, would you want publicity or keep things quiet and low key?

I’ve often wondered that myself? I’m not generally someone who likes a fuss made about things so quiet and low-key sounds more like me, but if it was a particularly large amount of money that would alter the rest of my life completely, I’m not so sure… Maybe then I’d want to share the news of my good fortune with the whole world, who knows?

How do you like your eggs?

Ha! I’ve shared this one before, so some of you may have heard it already – but honestly, it is a true story!

Back in my younger single days, on one occasion I was invited over to spend the evening with a man I was quite keen on at the time. I told him that sounded fun, but asked how late was he expecting me to stay? He smiled a knowing smile and said ‘Well put it this way, how do you like your eggs in the morning?’ to which I replied, dead-pan, without missing a beat, ‘Preferably unfertilised…’ 🙂

If cars were no longer available, what would be your choice of transport?

Taking the question literally, we don’t own a car now, so how we travel depends mainly on distance – for short distances we walk, for medium distance trips we take a bus, or for longer journeys a train. Or for going to America to visit my in-laws, we take an airplane. But if the question relates to a future world with no engines using up precious energy at all, I’d walk, or own a horse, or sail away into the sunset using wind power, just like everyone did in the past…

Share Your World

My Last Day on Earth…

What a surreal provocative question Fandango has come up with today – he asks:

What will your last day on earth be like?

Ideally I wouldn’t actually want to know it was to be my last day on earth, because that feels like it would put far too much pressure on me to get it just right and I’d risk messing it up somehow, somewhere along the line.

If I knew beforehand, I’d feel obliged to say I’d want to see absolutely everyone I love and spend some quality time with all of them before I go, but of course that’s a really stressful ask for only one day and as well as the sadness of saying goodbye there’s always the problem of the inevitable ongoing family tensions between different people getting in the way of things running smoothly enough for my liking.

So instead I think I’d hope that my last day on earth fell on a regular, random day I simply wasn’t working and had nothing pressing to do other than enjoy the nice weather kicking about in my beautiful garden, enjoy a lovely evening meal with my husband, and then after a lazy day of laughing and loving and living my life fully with a very private and understated passion, finally fall asleep in my warm cosy bed and just not ever wake up again…

Of course, taken another way the question might be asking about a last day on earth in the sense of moving to mars or something equally ‘out there’? So in that unlikely scenario (as someone who’s not generally a keen traveller), I’d make sure I’d packed my intergalactic passport along with enough universal currency to see me through my journey and a few days more just to be safe, make sure I’d put all my affairs in order well beforehand and tidied up a bit more than I might otherwise, then probably spend my last day pretty much as I’d indicated in the previous scenario… ❤

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Passion

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Surreal