The longest day of the year is almost here. It's light very early in the mornings (and was even more so when we were up on Skye). I keep intending to sew blackout fabric onto the back of the curtains but never quite get around to it. Joe, however, has blinds and lining. And he's still awake with the birds.
We're enjoying being outdoors. After school we walk through the field behind our house, currently knee-deep in meadow grasses and wildflowers. And I've been collecting plants and flowers for printmaking. The picture (above, left) is some scrap left over from part of the mono printing process. Destined for the bin but I actually quite like it.
Some plants and flowers work really well (like the vetch on the right, and the horsetail on the left). The latter was a bit of a surprise but I'm really taken with how it looks. Bluebells, sadly, didn't work too well. A bit too fleshy.
Much of this kind of printmaking is experimental. You get a lot of fails and a few successes. I roll and burnish everything by hand, which makes it a bit more challenging - one day I'll have an etching press (and the space to house it)...
This past week has been a busy one: taking photographs and writing for Creative Countryside, making line drawings for a client and today's printmaking session. I try and organise my week on a Monday morning - everything goes into a desk diary but that invariably changes. Some of it depends on the weather (if I need to collect plants or take photos) or the light (again, photos - particularly indoor ones). Other times things come up; this afternoon I'm going to see Joe in his last ever Reception class assembly.
When your work's as bound up with the seasons as mine it's strange. On the one hand you quite literally have to slow down and notice the little things that punctuate the year as it progresses. But everything else in life is so busy that before you know it your little one has almost finished his first year at school, seemingly in the blink of an eye.
Not too long after Midsummer, it'll be summer proper: six whole weeks of no school at all. I'm thinking of keeping a notebook just for ideas. Perhaps the front half will be for things for Joe and I to do together during July and August. And the back for projects that will have to wait until September.
It's all about balance. Right now there's an equilibrium between work and play. But just as later this month the balance tips back towards longer nights and shorter days - well, those six weeks in summer will be all about parenting and not so much about writing and art.
There's no point trying to do both simultaneously. I'd rather commit fully to one role and enjoy it. And there are always evenings, should inspiration strike...