Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The making of Rosa and the Seal

Well, Easter has been and gone, the clocks have changed, time flies and now all of a sudden it's 'Get-Your-Boat-Ready-And-Back-In-The-Water' time.

Boatwork is weighing on my mind.  Obviously I should have been doing it all winter but I haven't. There are a few brave boilersuited souls tinkering in the yard but I am leaning towards wimpishness and waiting for warmer days.  The thermometer keeps hovering around six degrees which is decidedly parky.  No matter,  there is indoorsy stuff to do,  an empire to build and a blog to update.

Indoorsy. Isn't that an awful word?

Quite a lot has been going on at Leafy HQ,  a big achievement has been finishing a new picture, Rosa and the Seal.  This is a deep and dreamy classic illustration of friendship and trust. The finished Rosa can be found over in my Etsy shop (click link), do look, but here (nervously laying my soul bare) are her sketchy beginnings.


Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Fifty One Degrees North

I have been doing the do in West Mersea Yacht Club this morning moving two little dashes I painted two years ago.  They have been in the wrong place for two whole years.  I am feeling a little bit mortified about this.  I should have known better.

When I was first asked to paint the latitude and longitude over the club bar it was 2014 and no-one could agree what the coordinates actually were.

Quite a few variations were being bandied about so I decided to have go at plotting the position myself.  Using parallel rules I counted out the degrees, minutes and seconds from an old Admiralty chart in the lifeboat station. More likely I think I just stared, sucked my pencil and dreamed of heroically navigating across oceans whilst our LOM (Lifeboat Operations Manager) worked it out. Before I knew it he'd done it.

I was elated and thought I could smugly tell the Commodore,
"Look! These are they",  but back at the Yacht Club they had yet another answer. I was given a new set of correct coordinates with a decimal place.  A decimal place!  There's nothing romantic about a decimal place.  A very clever electronic box and a satellite had worked it out, the computer must be right, this must be where we are.

So, I painted the numbers with the decimal places, with a nice compass rose inbetween.  Now, what with there being a decimal, there weren't any seconds anymore, just minutes and points of a minute.  And me being a stupid artist and not knowing anything about GPS, and not really knowing anything about old school navigation either (despite having passed my Yachtmaster shorebased three times -it's about time I went to sea but that's another story)  I put the little dashy apostrophe mark that denotes minutes right at the end of the number when apparently it ought to go before the decimal.

Either everyone was terribly kind or nobody noticed or nobody cared.  No-one said a word until today.  Anyhow, tis rectified (but a bit squashed in) and all is well with the world.

About the Yachtmaster. I think I'm going to have to do night school and make it a fourth time...    now I have a boat and the whole world is just across the water but I am full of angst and not feeling quite brave enough to leap off and go.   Re-yachtmastering will surely bolster my beans !

This is dangerous talk.   Announcing here that I am going to do something sort of makes me actually have to do it.  And I know that thing that once you begin something it is never quite as terrifying as the thinking about doing it beforehand, but all the same, I might just hop round the island to Pyefleet Creek before I tackle the Horn.


Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The Birds of Lady Grace

Hooray! I have managed to change the fontsize (and font) of this blog. It's still nigh on impossible to read on a phone, but hopefully easier on everything else. I really should have done this years ago. 

The New Year has catapulted ahead full of busy-ness.

I have spent a lot of January hunkered down over fiddly teabag-sized watercolours, my colouring pencils and my computer screen.  I did have plans for oil paint and canvas, for chunks of wood, for boats, for Pierhead(ish) paintings and sailor(ish) tattoos but things changed and their time will come.

So yes, lately I've mostly been drawing birds; natives and visitors (birdfolk not humans) to our Essex marshes all spotted from the Lady Grace.

Stacey is the skipper of Lady Grace.  She is a good waterfront ally (it's a man's world out there), you can find her at the end of the hammerhead jetty running boat trips around the creeks and islands.  If you're lucky she'll be dressed as an elf or even a pirate.  You can also find her here.  (And here and here.)

This is Stacey's picture, not mine.
This is Stacey's picture, not mine.

Stacey is having a new kitchen you see,  and the grand plan is to make her some tiles (with birds on).  Not knowing anything about ceramics it's been a bit of a worry finding the right person with the right sort of kiln to do the right sort of tile making.  Every ceramics trail leads us to Stoke-on-Trent, the home of the pottery industry, but surely there must be somewhere nearer?

Well, plans are afoot, the ball is rolling and we shall see.  

I am dreaming now, of tiles and mugs and plates and...   Oh the possibilities are endless!

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Bye Bye 2015

On top of the world with Ed and a patchwork of otherness.  All pics are mine except Jack Lowe's (can you spot it?) and another (an oldie) from my mother's album. Jack's looks like the oldie but it's not.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Death, Despair and Rainbow Crackers

This is my blog.  Sometimes I am here and sometimes I am not.

Not being here has become a bit of a thing lately,  glaringly obvious from the title of my last post  - Happy Easter. It's almost Happy Christmas, for goodness' sake !

Lost dreams.

Lost loves.

There has been a lot of dying going on which has filled me with sadness and made me lie low.

Dad died first, slowly, stoically, horribly, accompanied by an agonising illness.  After years of pain and struggle we grew to expect and even welcome death, but when it finally came it was gut-wrenchingly awful and a shock.

Then all of a sudden it was Ed's turn.  Ed died suddenly and in tragic circumstances.  I thought he'd be here forever.  I loved Ed.  He was my rock and a bastion of strength and support.  Then one day he just disappeared from this earth,  shockingly, quickly and without warning.  Just like that. Tuesday all smiles and chats on the 'phone,  Wednesday gone.  Bang.

Both deaths beyond awful.

I am all at sea.

Grief changes you.  I feel more inclined to hide,  I have a new and more cynical view of life and a greater impatience with people who are unfamiliar with loss.
In a bubble,  here on this earth but not really connecting, functioning but not really feeling.  Heavy hearted but not entirely hopeless...  I have held my daughter's head above the waves,  although sometimes I think it is she who holds mine.

I shouldn't harp on about it so much, for heaven's sake !   People die, I will too. We all will. Get a grip, Leafy.

I have an uneasy relationship with character bolstering quotes (surely they are for the weak and needy) but privately I am an addict;  here are some words that are helping to shake me from my reverie,

I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.

Scribbled in marker pen inside the cabin of his ocean going rowing boat, thank you Alastair Humphreys (a newfound hero of mine -absolutely NOT weak and needy at all), but original thanks must go to William Ernest Henley and his poem, Invictus.

Onwards with high hopes for a new chapter,
And sending love, happy Christmas wishes and thanks too,
Thanks for all your looking, browsing, following, buying and general spurring on, I really do appreciate it.

Christmas cards of the image above (and others) are still available to buy (click here).  You could put some in the cupboard for next year perhaps...

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Friday, 20 March 2015

Ring Out Wild Bells!

Ring Out Wild Bells!  ...I've opened an Etsy shop!

IN AND OUT OF THE SEA,  the artwork of Leafy Dumas.

Purveyor of fine quality cards and prints;  illustrations for grown-ups and children (boats, maps and the English seaside).

I find it slightly terrifying that the whole world (well, those connected to the internet at least) can now click and buy something Leafish from www.etsy.com/shop/leafydumas if they so wish.

Marching onwards and upwards I am carrying on regardless.  I will be listing more items in the coming weeks.  Do keep checking in...  greetings cards are a comin'!

And a big thankyou to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, for his wonderful words.