Sunday, 6 December 2015


There have been lots of moments when I had an idea to do something.
I was staying in Wales with my friend and as we walked in her field I discovered all the beautiful Elderberry trees growing in the hedgerow. They were laden with branches of ripe elderberries. This was one of those moments.
My friend knows me and she understands me. So two huge bags of berries later and armed with her biggest pan my idea is well and truly in motion. I am making some ink. They were the best berries I had ever seen and hours later I had made my ink. Some Stained fingers and a lot of mess but I had a huge jar of this richly coloured liquid. I made a little colour chart of the ink when I returned home and tried it for the first time.
I used the ink and a dip in pen to draw an oak leaf. The ink worked so well.
I recorded it all in my sketch book. The lovely poppy seed head I collected from my garden was a perfect subject for my new ink as I experimented using it to both draw and write with.

I am enjoying watching my three hyacinths grow in the bulb jars. Watching each day the moments they put down their roots into the water. After a few weeks I will see the buds form, then eventually the scented flowers of this much loved spring flower.

They remind me of a day wandering along an empty shore. It was a foggy day and I stumbled across a huge jelly fish. I examined this strange creature with long jelly like legs, now abandoned by the sea and what a strange curious creature it is.
It was such a silent place, surrounded by the sea fog on this empty beach. I collected shells, feathers and pieces of pottery, anything that caught my eye.

Treasures that all came home with me. They haven't made it into a drawing yet but they remind me of the day. Listening to the soft wavy line of the water as it crept onto the sand out of the fog.
I loved this leaf stuck in the sand, the shape and colours. A moment of beauty, perfect in my eyes.

I have closed my book documenting the time line of the Lords and Ladies plant. Maybe I will add more next year. I so enjoyed doing this little project and I learnt so much collecting my samples and recording them in all their details.
I am working on a little arrangement of my tiger moth and some other objects I have collected. I never get fed up with oak leaves. I have brought some home this afternoon I found on my walk.
Just the finishing touches and it will be complete. It feels like me, gathering beautiful natural objects together and arranging them and then challenging myself to capture them.

So it is time to leave you with a couple of moments I photographed. A grey watery world as the full moon brings in a huge tide which covers the shore.
Then, the colourful sunset when clouds turn pink.

And I have to mention all the rain water we have witnessed over the last few days which has caused the terrible flooding in my county of Cumbria. My thoughts go out to all the people who are suffering at this time.
This view from my home changes each and every day. I see something like this and I am just stunned by the beauty and so inspired. And I want to share it with you.
Hope you are all warm and cosy, happy and creative. Hope you too have some wonderful moments in your day....... Millyx


Frances said...

Dear Milly, I've been thinking of your whenever I've found time for a walk in Central Park, and have observed what nature is donating now to inspire artists.

Unlike you, I did not bring any treasures home, but still loved the walks and the close observance of what I saw.

Your berried ink/paint has such a beautiful range of shades. It makes for an unusual medium to capture the beauty of oak leaves, and the other plant's afterbloom state...but quite wonderful in your skilled hands.

It's still quite warm here in NYC, and we all know that could change overnight. I've been following news accounts of the heavy rains and flooding in Cumbria, and really do wonder what some folks resist admitting that our climate might just be in some great change. Or not. Time will tell.

The photographs of the sunset are poetic. The leaf on the shore is a beauty.

I'm trying to keep somewhat relaxed in this run up to Christmas, blending lots of creative projects, with required work schedules...and lots of sleep.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful drawings Mily :) And I love the idea of making your own ink :)

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Your post about your walks along the shore always feels like I'm there.
The leaf in the sand is beautiful as are the drawings and photographs. The jelly fishtakes a bit of time to see the beauty of the creature itself. :)

Gill said...

Elderberry ink sounds fabulous - I've been collecting oak galls to make ink!
Fablous pictures - as ever!

Jill said...

I haven't visited or blogged for ages, but your drawings and photographs are as inspirational as ever,

Starr White said...

Struggling to teach myself how to draw, I find such huge inspiration here. I do exactly the same thing here in my woods, gathering "treasures" and bringing them home, but my attempts at drawing them usually end up in defeat and frustration. The beauty of these found objects continues to inspire me though, and I have resolved to keep trying. surely, I'm bound to get better at it eventually! Thank you for what you share here - gives me a goal to shoot for :)

Deborah Nolan said...

Milly your elderberry ink is simply gorgeous. What beautiful drawings you have done as well. The photo of the jellyfish is amazing. Sorry to read about the terrible floods in your country. Hope you stay safe. Hugs!

Acornmoon said...

I love that peaceful coast line, the gentle lapping of water onto sand. I think your work echos that sense of calm.

The jelly fish is indeed a strange creature, I wonder if it stings?

suz said...

You live in such a beautiful part of the world - thank you for sharing it with us. I love your work with the new elderberry paint - oak leaves are always so wonderful to look at.

MILLY said...

To each one of you who has left a comment, Thank you.
It is so lovely to read your comments and how you enjoy my blog posts.
Hopefully see you soon with a new post.
Best Wishes

HollyM said...

Wow, such beauty! I'm thinking elderberry wine as I scroll and then, no, it's ink? Amazes me. I love that lone leaf on the sand and all your paintings. The tiger moth is special though.
There is beauty and something different to find each day if we are observant.

RH Carpenter said...

What a beautiful assortment for us today!! I love the values of the berry ink but wonder about the lasting power of it - since it's organic, will it fade in time? Lovely work, as always and I'm envious of the beautiful sea glass you find. I've never been anywhere to find sea glass and maybe I need to go to the west coast, not the east? Have a wonderful holiday season!

Claire said...

Stunning drawings Milly, such a wonderful colour to the ink too. I'm interested to see if there is much of a colour change. You'll have to let me know :) xxx

Feathers said...

Always love seeing your postings-what fun, visiting new places and gathering natural finds. Love seeing what you've been up to--Elderberry inks, quite nice vibrant colors you've achieved with it too. The leaf in the sand is especially beautiful, and your drawings are lovely.

Pondside said...

There's such a lot to savour in this post. First, the ink - how satisfying that must have been...the creative process from the very start. I love the photos of your coast. It's so different from our views yet the sky is familiar. I am sitting in a hospital ward with a client and it made him smile to see the image of the jelly fish. I liked the leaf!

Anna said...

Such an interesting post and beautiful drawings.