Monday, 30 September 2013

More Seashore Treasures

I woke up early on Saturday to this beautiful view, the sun rising over to the east.  I gazed out of the window just to enjoy the moment, as I watched the white line of the aeroplane moving across the sky, people travelling high above in the early morning light.  A few birds are singing. I need more sleep so return to my warm cosy bed. I realise more and more that it is the simple pleasures, the moments which make life special.
 I looked at the view out of the front of the house. 6 am and it is going to be a beautiful day.  
Saturday morning view of the estuary.
 There have been some high tides and I have enjoyed some more collecting trips along the shore.  More feathers, a new collection of mermaids purses, some seaweed, a snail shell and red berries. So I spent the day washing all my new treasures and letting them dry in the sunshine
all my collection still in the bag from Wednesday
The butterflies were all happy as they landed on my last flowering  buddleia , with a really sweet scent drifting in the air it soon became covered with many different butterflies.  Bees and several wasps buzzed around the flowers near to the kitchen door. Here I sat with a dish of soapy water and washed and sorted and examined all my  finds from Wednesday.

Thoughts of that day drifted through my head.  It was a really quiet day, low clouds as the tide crept into the estuary.  It  looked grey and green,   one of those days where the sky just meets the grass and no view of the hills.  The pale grey water slowly covered the wide expanse of sand,  flat lines of water and sand as you looked out to sea.  After the tide turned it left the tell tale wavy  line on the green grass, which was two shades darker after being sea washed.
I felt like there was an invisible pull on me, a need to go and see what the sea had left behind.  It was like the sea was whispering to me, Come on you know you want to,  it is all here waiting for you.
Quite shocked to see this huge chunk fallen, more erosion in the last week!
So armed with a big bag I wandered down to do some collecting.

The still silence of the shore, all wrapped in clouds which muffled the sounds.  The birds flew, white against white, huge sea gulls soaring above. A train came into the station and seemed to abide by the rules of the quiet day, gentle brakes, soft banging of doors and then very slowly and silently stole away along the tracks.
I wandered along to the line of promised treasures and found a perfect feather,  it looked like it might have just floated down from the sky.  It was pristine and as I picked it up examined the colours and the round dot on the tip.  A herring gull and another one to add to my collection, each one slightly different in size and shape.
a close up of 13 beautiful feathers I have painted 
I found five mermaids purses, a snail shell and a brown nut, twin sycamore seeds and lots of pieces of seaweed with fat bubbles.  There are always lots of different pieces after the big tides and I limited myself to just smaller pieces, one green, a length of browny orangey tones, some delicate black strands and a black bubbly twisted shape.
It was the many brown and white tiny striped feathers which really stole my heart.  The smallest feathers from the Curlew, or perhaps young birds as they were all so tiny.  I found so many and again in perfect condition, so clean and brand new,  as if they had just floated in for me.
If I  had found just one I would have been happy. They seemed to be everywhere,  each one was so beautiful,  I had to have them.
 My bag was pretty much full except for the berries.  Yes it is red berry time and you know me, I always collect the red berries, my unwritten rule. I have more than enough and maybe it is time to just enjoy the walk.  The clouds were lifting and it started to show glimpses of blue sky, so quickly the days can change.
It seems that I never tire of the same objects. I have been planning some little drawings  in my mind, the objects all look so well together. We found this tiny half eaten fish, an interesting little subject for me trying to capture it in inks.

 I enjoyed this little study, using my own handmade oak gall watery brown ink, playing with a dip ink pen and lots of drips!

 My feathers are slowly drying,  they always make me feel so inspired.
Meanwhile I have been busy working on my Lords and Ladies Zig  Zag book, have been loving this project.  Each year I see the glossy berries, they fascinate me and I just want to capture them.  My book tells part of the life cycle, maybe I will add more next year.
I had a little visitor on Saturday, delighted to see her crawling by my kitchen door.  I just watched her as she walked along my hand. Then proceeded to wander up my sleeve, a lovely lovely moment.
She is the first one I have seen this year in my garden and it was a pleasure to have her walking up my arm and then across my book.

I feel that I must cling on to the lovely warm days of sunshine, watch every evening sky as I see the autumn colours creep into every hedgerow, knowing  it will  not be long till it turns colder, grey days and the dark evenings .
My head is full of  ideas and projects,  beautiful objects surround me and I want to draw them, also to sew, to knit, to print and to use my hands and feel that sense of simple beauty in making.  So I slow down, take the time to decide, listen to my heart.  I have so many things I want to do and often it is hard to know what to do first.

  It is in those moments when I feel happy to just sit quietly drawing or sewing and feel total contentment.  I know then,  that I will create something beautiful, something I really care about and I can share with you.
It takes me so long to put all this together, if it gives you pleasure I would love to hear, leave a comment as I do appreciate it and love to read them, thank you.                                                       Millyx


Annie @ knitsofacto said...

Your feather paintings are exquisite ... achingly beautiful in fact :)

Diana said...

Oh Milly, your lovely walks and the treasures you find and create more gorgeous paintings from are so beautiful. They enrich my life when I see them and read about your walks. Thanks so very much for sharing them. I'll go back for a closer look at your paintings again. love to you,Diana

Karen Kearney said...

This post made me feel happy today... there is nothing more relaxing and therapeutic than beach combing.. your paintings are beautiful :)

Valerie Gardiner said...

Thank you for your lovely descriptions of sun, sea and tranquillity. I love to wander by the sea too and collect treasures to draw.

Gill said...

What a lovely post - I love seeing all your finds!
I'd like to have a go with a dip pen and ink - a fiend gave me some walnut ink (not homemade!) I love the colour and I'd love to try making some!Any tips??

nicole said...

Your posts are always so inspiring. I love the sea, especially beach combing. So glad that you take the time to share the beauty around you with us. Your art is exquisite!

Pondside said...

A post such as this one has to take a lot of time - but I always look forward to your posts and enjoy them immensely. While I have none of the creativity that you have, I enjoy many of the things that bring you such joy. I love to walk on the beach and search for feathers and interesting bits and pieces and while I love the sunny summer days, I also love to walk into the wind and sea spray.

Anonymous said...

I love to read your posts Milly, they would make a lovely book :)

Feathers said...

Ah Milly, such a wonderful collection of those feathers! You've done them justice with your pen--and the little fish done with your own ink--it's inspiring!I truly understand having so many different things lined up to work on--it's hard to decide what to do next. Thanks for taking time to share with us.-Anita.

Mary said...

You made my morning dear Eileen, so much beauty in your photos and your words.
I've been remiss in keeping up lately I think - I do always love your posts but life has been far too busy and perhaps my comments were never actually turned into words. You know that I love your work that's for certain!

I'm off again tomorrow. Bob is taking me to Budapest, Vienna and Prague to celebrate my soon to arrive - dare I say it - 70th!!! Stopping at Heathrow but not spending any time in the UK this time unfortunately.

Hope all is well - it looks like it is from your delightful words - and that Autumn will continue to bring you lovely days for beach combing and such.

Thanks as always for sharing the beauty Nature bestows on us.
Love from us both.

Tammie Lee said...


thank you for taking us on a walk with you. treasures galore. I love feathers too. How nice that once you have your treasures you simply enjoy the walk. Your feather painting looks beautiful.

Melody said...

I always enjoy your walks, and your finds ~ and the beautiful art work that results! I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us!
I think that as fall approaches, it awakens the need to create in many of us. I think the smells and sights of Autumn add to this need... So many projects trying to capture our attention, and yet we only have two hands and a mere 24 hours in a day....

Ruthie Redden said...

Oh Milly, your beautiful descriptions of you walk always make me want to rush for my boots and get outside. Beautiful finds, especially interesting the little fish. I'm forever collecting feather's too & have so many in my studio. I really want to have a go a t making the oak gall ink and shall have to hunt a "how to". WE went to see the Lindesfarne Gospel exhibition last week and a lot of the work in the manuscripts was of course done in it too, amazing the beautiful colour of the ink still.

Ruthies @ 5 Precious Things

Frances said...

Milly, I first noticed that you'd posted this beauty yesterday, but did not have enough quiet time of my own to look at it properly.

And so, I got up a bit early today, and have had the immense pleasure of slowly reading about your day of gathering and hours of contemplation and also seeing the resulting loveliness of your drawing and painting.

You are generous in allowing us to share that quiet atmosphere along your walk, letting us hear the hush, the birds, the water. I would also have been shocked to see the large chunk of earth that has been separated from its bank. The green is so brilliant in the midst of the other subdued colors.

Your homemade ink seems to suit your technique very well. Each of your drawings from nature certainly draws so much from your affection for your surrounding natural setting.

I cannot begin to praise this post enough, Milly. xo

Debbie Nolan said...

Milly - such beautiful work and your words and pictures just make me want to sit quietly and savor these gifts you share. I so appreciate the fact that you take time to show us your wonderful finds. I too find myself wanting to gather things for when the shorter days come. Hope you have a lovely day. Hugs

JP said...

I so love this post - your work seems to get beterer and betterer as my my grandaughter would say - thank you

Lucille said...

Lovely to be able to walk in your footsteps. I have been collecting leaves, shells and pebbles now that I can reach the shore more often. I never though to wash them! A helpful idea as some of the things are a bit smelly!

Anonymous said...

thank you for penning high-grade content like this one. keep it going and i'm sure your avid readers will stay tuned.

K.S. Chambers said...

Hello Eileen,
I stumbled upon your fantastic blog and just wanted to say thank you for sharing your work. Brilliant.