Monday, 22 December 2014

A home at Christmas

We went for a walk on Sunday and it felt so cold and damp and grey. The hedgerows are all neatly cropped and I only found this one holly berry on a mostly chewed up leaf. I brought it home in a bag with a bunch of ivy with clusters of their dark reddish berries.

I put water in a big jar and placed my ivy inside, with ideas to decorate the house. And to my surprise not only did I have a red berry on the holly but a beautiful ladybird on the leaf. I was amazed to see it and marvelled at it's tiny form, an unexpected guest for Christmas. It was certainly a precious gift. Either way I suspect she was hiding in the ivy which was growing on a stone wall and found her way to my home.

She was photographed and taken to my little ladybird hotel out in the garden. It is all the hollow stems from plants in the garden which I cut to size and put into a plant pot. I must have known we would have some guests because a few minutes later another ladybird appeared as I sorted out some dried seedheads I had collected a while ago and were in the jar I now needed for the ivy.

So she has also gone to the ladybird hotel for Christmas. While I was outside I collected long branches of green ivy from my garden. I always like to decorate with natural plants. It just feels right. Each year I twist the ivy through the old picture frame and add it to the mantle piece and let it dangle amongst the lights. Each year out come my postcards bought from an art gallery I visited on a holiday, together with my collection of favourite cards. A few simple lights, two new white candles and the greenery and I have transformed our living room into a cosy home for our quiet days over the festive time. It is so quiet and peaceful I can hear my finger tapping as I write this.

It is so dark and grey outside, it makes it seem even more cosy and warm. A warm fire as the wood burner glows.

I have been painting on a piece of firewood, I couldn't resist having a go and to see if it would take the acrylic ink. I used this branch of red rosehips.

I have left it for now and will work on it with fresh eyes.

And I have been painting a holly leaf postcard. I like the connection that this leaf was picked from my garden. I planted this variegated holly bush a few years ago in the garden and I am still waiting for it to grow bigger and be covered in berries. I used a berry I found on the shore.

Added another berry and then another. I was pleased with how it turned out.
As it has gone to a new home for Christmas, in New York, I hope it has arrived safely.
I did this sketch of a seedhead with my homemade ink and a dip in pen to try it out. Over the holiday I am going to find the time to try and draw with all of my homemade berry inks. This one is a brown walnut ink. My friend in Wales has a walnut tree in her Garden, so I asked her to save the walnuts for me. My jar of ink seems to have changed to a much darker brown colour so I am looking forward to trying it again with the same subject of the cow parsley.
So one day I went for a walk to a place I know where the cow parsley grow and are untouched by the hedge cutters. I wandered down the footpath to see if the cowparsley was still there and how it looked. I was pleased to find some nice specimens. It is quite a lonely place and it was lovely to know a little robin was following us along the lane. It was singing in the tree and as I was standing watching it. The photographer managed to captured it.
I really love this photograph. It is little moments like this, magical moments I feel so grateful to experience and I want to share it.
So this is my Christmas Card to you all
Wishing everyone a happy and peaceful time.
Milly x
With thanks to the photographer, my husband, for all his encouragement, and help with his beautiful photographs for my blog posts. X


















RH Carpenter said...

What a beautiful post. Thanks so much for sharing your holiday decorating and painting at this time of year. Thanks to your husband for the lovely little robin! Happy holidays and may 2015 bring you joy, peace, creativity and special finds on your walks!

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Milly!

Mary said...

Such beautiful drawings and paintings Eileen - it's amazing how the winter garden still offers us so much to use for decorating. I've been cutting sprays of pyracantha berries, ivy and variegated privet - all so lovely mixed with the Christmas tree clippings picked up for free at the garden center!

Yes, your hubby takes great pics of your art - bravo to him.

Have a very Happy Christmas - best wishes for the coming year, may it be full of many blessings, including more offerings from the seashore and hedgerows.

Hugs - Mary (and Bob)

Maywyn Studio said...

Thank your for the charming holiday post. Very enjoyable reading and beautiful photographs. Maybe the robin was hoping you'd pull something up and expose some robins treats.
Happy Holidays and Peace in the New Year to You & Yours!

valerie greeley said...

Happy Christmas to you too Milly and thank you for filling our days with beauty. I had to smile about your card display, I do the same and my collection has Marianne Stokes too! Great minds think alike! xxx

Julie Clay Illustration said...

Beautiful illustrations as always, a lovely post. The robin is so lovely, I am a bit crazy as I like to whistle back to them and we can have decent long conversations, its quite easy to do :)) they are good fiends.

Diana said...

Thank you for this beautiful post Milly. Wishing you and your loved ones, a happy Christmas. love and hugs,Diana

Melody said...

Merry Christmas to you!
I LOVE the berry painting on the wood, looks like you could reach down and pick it up!
Wishing you many peaceful moments with pen and paper... :)))

MILLY said...

Chained Gypsy said.......
To a beautiful stranger I met yesterday (24-12) in our local library, its amazing who you meet and what a small world it is. Books and reading are two special things people take for granted, you never know who's behind the pages, and what makes that person want to read that book. Thank you for your kindness. And your art work is beautiful, you have such a wonderful talent, I have really enjoyed looking at them, people seem to forget what beauty we have.

MILLY said...

Chained Gypsy.
I am glad you found your way into blogger. Thank you, I am pleased you liked my drawings.
It was lovely to meet you. It was such a nice quiet place away from the busy shops. Surrounded by books it was some good quality time. Our chance meeting, yet such a small world, as we got to know at the end of our chatting.
The time passed with your company, such a nice quiet time to talk, and think. So Keep in touch.
I tried but never found the poems!

Claire said...

Beautiful holly and berries and I love the painting on wood. The walnut ink will be great too. Hope you've had a wonderful Christmas and that the new year will bring happiness and lots of time to draw and be creative xxx

Frances said...

Oh Milly, I am so delighted to have the very painting whose creation, inspired by nature, is shown in this post.

It is beautifully observed. Appreciated. And your drawing and painting have created a uniquely lovely image that I treasure..

How honored I am to have this painting!

Now... on this Christmas Day, I look forward to many more Drawings from Nature posts.


Debbie Nolan said...

Dearest Milly - your peaceful living room and the lovely decorations just invited me right in. I think I will sit for a spell and enjoy your beautiful art and share a few of my cookies with you and maybe have a cup of tea. Hope you had the most wonderful Christmas and wishing you a blessed New Year. Hugs Debbie