Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Up The Garden Path: A Couple of Gnomes!

Hello everyone

You might have noticed we don't get out much, so with the improved weather and lighter nights we have been making a conscious effort to make the most of it.
Imagine my delight to discover that every year, on the summer solstice of June 21st, The Edinburgh Botanic Gardens is open until 10.30pm!! With free entry to the glass houses and aquarium. Yippee!!

I have lived in Edinburgh for 18 years and only just discovered this.

Happy Camper 1.....

Happy Camper 2......

My all time favourite glass house. I was tempted to leap frog!

Leaving you with this toe-cringing photo of myself looking shockingly like a crazed garden gnome!

Speak soon x

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Up The Garden Path with Joyce Gunn Cairns MBE

Hello everyone

Last time we took a closer look at artist Ruth Addinall's work, this time it's the turn of Joyce Gunn Cairns MBE. In particular this lovely piece:

'Up The Garden Path', oil and pencil on card by Joyce Gunn Cairns MBE.

This slinky looking feline is Nannie, a former companion to Joyce Gunn Cairns.
Those who know her well, know that Joyce is an animal lover and has a particular fondness for cats. She admires there intelligence and loyalty, but at the same time their independent spirit. Put it like that and I see why they tick a lot of Joyce's boxes!
Many years ago, Joyce took her sons to the cat and dog home with aspirations to pick out a really striking looking cat......but came home with Nannie.
Poor Nannie was no great beauty, indeed she was a sorry looking wee thing, but her talents laid elsewhere. In sensing that she had just come across 3 good natured humans, she endeared herself to Joyce's boys by circling round and round their feet. Being youngsters at the time, the boys instantly feel in love with wee Nannie and of course she went home with them. Joyce, slightly disappointed with the choice, soon grew to love her too and believing it was meant to be never looked back. And so it was that Nannie came to be a loyal and loving companion to Joyce and her sons for many happy years.

I really love this painting of Nannie and the story that goes with it. It's a fitting tribute to the old cat to see her immortalised so sensitively. For me the work has a familiar feel to it, almost like a memory.

I think this is the reason why:

This is my good self many, many years ago cuddling my own kitty at the time, 'Birdie'.
Similarly, I remember my mum being a little disappointed in our new puss at the time. She'd come from a litter that were born in a haulage/truck garage which was also home to 2 huge guard dogs. On a visit there my dad took pity on this tiny kitten squeaking from the jaws of one of the hounds. That little kitten miraculously disappeared from that garage....making her way to our home.
She was a poor thing too, filthy, fleas-ridden, underweight and somewhat 'mismatched' in her markings, but I loved her to bits and she was my best friend for many years.
She also turned out to be a first class hunter. Indeed, 2 minutes after that photo was taken I stood, bare foot (it was a gorgeous summers day) on one of her victims. I still remember the horrible sensation of standing on the tiny mouse!
On further inspection, there turned out to be close to 10 little corpses in that part of our garden.
I never went bare foot in Birdie's graveyard again!

Hurry back to see who we're going Up The Garden Path with next.....

Friday, 14 June 2013

Up The Garden Path with artist Ruth Addinall.

Hello everyone

I hope you have all been enjoying the much improved weather!

So, our Up The Garden Path exhibition continues and is proving to be a perfect fit for the time of year....fingers crossed that the fair weather continues.

There are 10 artists contributing to this mixed exhibition, and the first that I'd like to take a closer look at is Ruth Addinall. I have picked her out as she has been instrumental in this exhibition, even providing the inspiration for the title of the show.
3 years ago I visited Ruth in her studio and I remember the experience well:
It was pouring with rain on a Sunday morning, and all in all the day was looking quite grim. However, walking through Ruth's front door, my spirits were immediately lifted - I was instantly struck by how calm and peaceful her home was. As she showed me round her home, I remember getting excited every time I came across a cracking wee painting casually lying against a wall, hanging on a wall or in progress on her easel.
There was something of an aura in Ruth's house which was very relaxing and brought a sense of contentment to me. I guess it was Ruth's aura. She is a warm, gentle and thoughtful person and I think this radiates not only in her home, but in her work too. Take a look at this:

'Hellebores and Ivy in a Mug', oil on paper by Ruth Addinall.
A seemingly straight forward still life, it sits perfectly and is almost humble in appearance; it is gentle in subject matter, sensitively rendered and endlessly rewarding to look at. It makes me feel relaxed and content to look at.
Apart from her paintings I discovered another masterpiece at Ruth's house, her garden.
Having moved in 6 years ago, she has worked tirelessly to transform her outside space from concrete slabs and overgrown jungle into her very own oasis of calm. This is Ruth's first garden and there has been a great deal of trial and error, which I'm sure many a gardener will recognise.  But after a lot of hard work and commitment, the results have been well worth it.


from chaos.....

comes order

and peace and tranquillity.
Leaving you with this:

Not content with being just a pretty face, a great artist and being green-fingered, Ruth Addinall is also a brilliant pianist who tutors youngsters on how to get the best out of the ivories.
This is her piano in her front room looking onto that lovely garden.
Often when I look at Ruth's work I imagine her sitting peacefully at her piano, mainly in the evening and making beautiful music.

Have a lovely weekend all x

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Up The Garden Path

The month of June sees us tending to our gardens:

What will you fine up the garden path?

Join us for a summery evening to celebrate the wonders of the flora and fauna (and much more) that inhabit our gardens.

See you tomorrow!