Friday, 13 July 2012


Juxtaposition  [juhk-stuh-puh-zish-uhn]  

                Definition: The act of positioning close together (or side by side)”

                Origin: 1655–65; Latin juxtā  side by side + French position

I have always been interested in and fascinated  by the way even in the most urbanised or industrial setting, nature, be it flora or fauna, often finds a way to survive, or even thrive, adapting to the habits and habitats of humans. Plants grow from apparently barren concrete, brick or cracks in tarmac. Birds fight over feeders in gardens under the protective gaze of the human residents, or nest in chimney pots, under roof tiles or even the wheel-arches of rarely-moved vehicles. Foxes scavenge from the bins behind retail and food outlets, or come to be fed scraps in gardens. Pigeons gather under railway bridges or around the benches in the park.   In the peace and quiet of our cemeteries all kinds of animals make their homes.

And we walk, run, drive, train-travel, bus-ride, work, shop, play, learn, party, eat out, sleep out, fight, love, break-up, make-up, …. Surrounded by a natural world many of us never notice.

Curb Crawler: A yellow snail on the pavement, perilously close to passing traffic, its slow pace and natural form contrasting with the rush of the cars and lorries.

Monday, 9 July 2012


Aside from studying nature in the field, I also enjoy Art, Literature and Media, principally if these are linked to nature or the countryside. Growing up on Sir David Attenborough documentaries instilled a fascination for wildlife film making, and a creative streak inherited from my mother has lead me to enjoy art and experiment with various media myself. In her spare time, (when she is not spoiling us with lovely food and clean washing!) my Mum loves to paint (see  for her wonderful work) and whilst she uses mainly water colour, with a mixture of pen & ink, with occasional other media, I prefer acrylic paints or fabric and textiles, taking a more tactile approach to art. Although I love paintings, in my own work I personally find it hard to express all aspects of a scene in a 2D picture. I feel that you can form a much stronger and personal connection with art pieces that you can touch, or experience with more senses than just sight, than you can with an unreachable piece behind glass, although sometimes the simplicity of a picture is where it's beauty lies.  
I recently discovered an artist who's paintings, themed on country life or nature really appeal to me. Her name is Lucy Grossmith and she is based in Suffolk. You can visit her website at:
Lucy uses acrylics, but achieves a wonderful softness of colour and feeling of movement in her paintings that I have never been able to capture. I like how her pictures often have a select colour theme; mainly pink or green or blue. The detail, and 'the more you look the more you see' aspect of her work, right down to tiny ladybirds and bees, lights in house windows or flower details really appeals to me. Lucy includes a lot of wildlife, not only flowers, but also very accurate birds butterflies and animals, all of which really bring the scene to life. The way she overlays flowers in the foreground of some of her work, just like a hedgerow or roadside verge in summer, creates a feel of peeking into a magical world or a child's eye view, and the amount of flowers and other wildlife detail is a wonderful celebration of the overflowing bountiful wildlife and glory that our British countryside has to offer.
It is fair to say - I am inspired! I long to find time and space to dig out my over-flowing sewing box from the bottom of the cupboard, dust off my paint brushes and position my sewing machine in pride of place on a big work table in a creative studio where it belongs. Oh and some sunshine with a view of flowers and butterflies would be nice!