Sunday, January 15, 2017

15 January 2017 Birds, Art, and the Future

We have recently added to our menagerie here at Toad Hall. Having ordered 48 fertile bantam chicken eggs only three have hatched. They are adorable and I am looking forward to their adult antics and currently enjoying their chick cuteness.

I have always loved birds and as I do artwork most days, they cannot help but influence my current piece. Today, however, we do not see chickens but song birds in trees. I love the decorative arts and the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain in the mid Victorian period has always been a favourite of mine.

The colours of the vintage world of the 1950's and 1960's also highly influence me. And dreaming out my studio window there is plenty of lovely colour and light. I like to take those colours and intensify them. To increase their potency just a bit above reality.

Today's drawing is birds among the tress. I did it thinking of it as a continuing image that could be lovely on fabric or even wallpaper.Indeed, I do like it on various products.



 These can be purchased HERE.

 I am finding, as I do my pieces each day, that I am continuing to return to the decorative. Whilst I used to mainly think of a piece as a single painting or print hanging on a wall, the joy of being on Society6 and seeing my work on decorative home goods like pillows and duvet and clocks certainly spurs me on in that direction. When one views what they are creating as a continual piece being spread out amongst many things and going out into the world in a vast array rather than a limited item to hang on one or few persons wall, it makes one feel more connected.

This seems to be what I find more and more as technology becomes more integrated into our daily lives. How we live now would seem futuristic to our selves twenty years ago. And although I love the past I realize the future is where we must live and in so doing try to find the best in that direction. And with creativity and artwork and creation in general technology and moving beyond the physical into the digital seems almost magic. With Virtual Reality becoming the next big move (perhaps it will be the mobile phone of the next 5 years) seeing things such as this that allows one to draw themselves a 3-d world or a piece the viewer can walk into certainly makes tomorrow seem more exciting than frightening. I hope all have a lovely vintage and hopeful looking forward day.

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

8 January 2017 Snow Day and a New Friend

We are snowed here at Toad Hall. It is a lovely sort of prison of cool blue waters and icy bright snowscapes. When one hasn't anywhere to go, such days are appreciated.

I love the long shadows on days like this. Everything is so much more brilliant. The sound of the world is quite muffled and one can feel the only person in the world out here at the end of a point snowbound.

I keep myself company with animals. This has always been the case. Two aged dogs and an ageless cat people my day. Yesterday we added a new friend: a tiny silkie chick freshly hatched in my little incubator. Our little chi, Monty, has always loved new chicks. It is true this time and he is alwasy so careful with the little fellows. He sits very quiet and licks them. This year I am hatching bantams which are 1/4 the size of traditional chickens so he will hopefully remain friendly with them as they will be rather close in size.

I wanted to start this Summer's chickens earlier so I ordered my various fertile eggs before Christmas to be shipped to me. It is always risky business hatching eggs shipped through the mail, but I have done it often and with mixed success. This time, however, it was foolish to order during the busiest time for the post. What should have taken two days to arrive took over a week. And that this little darling (one of 24 eggs set) manage to hatch makes her rather an amazing chick.

I am not sure what to name her yet (hoping she is a "her") but somehow I feel like the name of a Goddess or powerful being should be her moniker. Nike is the Goddess of strength, but for obvious reasons do not want our new little friend to be named after a famous trainer/sneaker/tennis shoe.

The Roman equivalent of Nike is Victoria. I think this shall be her name. I love it for its English usage but also that in the Roman mythology she was a symbol of Victory over death, which this little miracle seems to be. I have another dozen eggs that are 4 days behind so I am hoping that from that clutch we get at least one more chick to keep poor Victoria company. My goal was 6 bantam hens for the Summer.

Being snowed in today and pondering the white beauty out my studio window lead to today's artwork. We see many animals romp about outside, though never polar bears and penguins.  One takes artisitc license, certainly and I just had these two little fellows in my mind this morning. I had the idea to do a silly image that would be adorable on a t-shirt or bag. I hope you like it.

 You can go HERE if you are interested in purchasing the work on various items. Have a lovely day enjoying whatever weather you have in your part of the world.







Thursday, January 5, 2017

5 January 2017 A quiet day in the life

Sunrise at Toad Hall is a glorious event. One does not become bored with it. There are days of rain or gray mist when it is blurred like a hand run across a chalk drawing. In the Summer it can be so brilliant it cuts straight into your soul. At this time of the year, on a sunny cool Winter morning like today, it can be like a drop of pure paint pigment on raw shot silk.

It is little wonder I am a home body when one is lucky enough to rise and set their days on the sea. Yet, I am always a solitary creature. Though my days are often mixed with animals between Puss and the dogs, the endless birds that visit here and the occasional chicken I am want to keep.

When I began to return to drawing and art more consistently I started to feel the rhythms even more of this storied place. The rise of the sun, the smell of the bright sharp sea and cry of the gull is punctuated by the strong first rush of the coffee brewing. The dogs go out, sniff and rut about, trying to decipher the movements of the night inhabitants of fox, coyote, raccoon. Puss, in her feline way, strolls about and perches in the image of French Belle Epoch posters, making art at every resting place. The wave hits the shore. The bird cries out. The breeze makes a song of the dried leaves and tangle of now bald bittersweet, long stripped of its Autumnal jewels.

The coffee is done. The final perk has called us all back in. Puss, more dog like in her obedience than her canine companions, rounds us all up and in we go. The dark rich coffee is poured into the cup. One can't help but hold up the cup to catch the steam as it rises above the windows, the sea and cloud and sky showing off in the background. To the studio!

We quietly shuffle down the hall, after all we are early risers and must consider the slumber of others. At the end of the long hall awaits the studio, one the main bedroom of the house. I have made a sort of apartment down here. Much like the boudoir of the old French, where one could gather friends for intimate talks on soft sofas drinking rich chocolate and discussing politics or fashion with just the hint of a bed behind the screen. I have no such gatherings. It is Puss and dogs and me. The coffee cools on the desk, I draw away with occasional dreaming out the large window. Puss is perched and  silhouetted in the sun on my desk. The constant companion to my creation.

When the art has been done and the drawings spent, I take my walk. The paths of wood and shore, salt marsh and open field round here lend themselves to a good ramble. I am alone now, no animals save those wild beasts in the tree and field. The quiet hush of solitude punctuated with the white breath in and out and woven with bird song. I often stop at the beach which, in the Summer, is dotted with friends and neighbours little sailboats. Here the yacht club meets. The terminology has the grandeur used mostly tongue in cheek by we of the point. There is no clubhouse merely a beautiful strip of sandy beach with a wooded clearing perched on top bounded by an open field. Pic-nics on lawn or sand, or seeking shade under the trees are norm in the Summer here.

Now, empty of its boats, save a few upturned and pulled far from the hungry sea, it is all mine. The gulls and waves my companions as I have a perusal of the days "treasures". The cool sand sifts through my fingers. The soft round turn of the stone, and a bit of sea glass might be found. Shells, endless shells, pile and collect up. They are indeed treasure to me, and are a continuing changing art installation on the window sills, counters and open spaces of Toad Hall. The finest treasures found free among the drying seaweed.

Back home there are books and sofas upon which to lounge, windowsills to place plant cuttings to dream of the coming Spring. There are even fresh tomatoes from the plant brought in before the first frost, happily giving up its fruit and growing on in the sun of Toad Hall's tall windows considering it an eternal June.

A day in the life. Boring for most, I am certain, but full enough for me. Yes, for a home body introvert, Toad Hall sets the rhythm and tone of one's day. In many ways we are kindred spirits, a bit weathered, often cool and quiet, but happy to share their gifts to those willing to make the trip down the long tangled road.

The sun sets and another day is done. A quiet life is a good life.




Wednesday, January 4, 2017

4 January 2017 More vintage pyrex: Butterfly Gold



It is hard not to be a broken record about the love of vintage pyrex. As I know face each day with the object of doing one new drawing, as well as continuing to work on a larger piece for the week, my mind often turns to vintage and Pyrex.

The project I did years past when I lived in the 1950's left an indelible mark upon me. There isn't a day that I don't access all I learned there in some way. Therefore, when it comes to my drawings/art I cannot help but pull from the endless possibilities of the colour design and style of that era.


Today my daily drawing is inspired by my love of 1950's fashion, but it plays a little trick. The vintage Pyrex pattern it plays with today is called Butterfly Gold and was actually not introduced until 1972. The Harvest Gold colour being one of the new looks for kitchens. Although, I did see harvest golds begin to appear in my later 1959 early 1960's Women and Home magazines.

This is an interesting bit on the Butterfly Gold pattern which I borrowed from The PYREX CORNING MUSEUM OF GLASS. (well worth a digital visit)

"Butterfly Gold was released as a PYREX Compatibles pattern for the Correlle Dinner Ware pattern of the same name.
Butterfly Gold was released twice; once in 1972 and an altered version in 1979.
The two-quart Round Casserole in Butterfly Gold never appeared in any dealer catalogs.
Some pieces in the Butterfly Gold pattern may found with both imperial and metric measurements listed on the backstamp.

Butterfly Gold, designed by Gregory Mirow, was introduced in 1972 as a series of “Pyrex Compatibles.” Many new shapes and sizes with the Butterfly Gold pattern were launched during this time to complement the Corelle Dinnerware pattern released in 1970 of the same name. The Pyrex compatibles for Butterfly Gold can be found in two colors, both the orange tone that matches the Pyrex creation as well as a coordinating brown tone.
Other such table accessories were released to supplement the ovenware such as napkin rings, drinking glasses, teacups, creamers, etc. After 1975 these accessories were grouped into a category called Tabletop Ware. Tableware became one of Corning’s biggest hits and was released in patterns of Winter Frost White, Spring Blossom Green, Snowflake Blue, as well as Butterfly Gold.
The Butterfly Gold pattern was released both in 1972 and again in 1979 with an altered design. The original pattern was one large central flower flanked by a leaf, flower, and butterfly on each side on alternating white and orange bowls. The 1979 pattern portrayed a bouquet of smaller flowers on stems. This second pattern was only released as nesting bowl sets and 470/480 casseroles. While the Butterfly Gold pattern was discontinued in 1981 its Corelle counterpart went on for many years after.
The 024 two quart round casserole was most likely released as a promotional item, as it does not appear in any dealer catalogs.
In the early 1970s capacity listings on each dish were listed in imperial measurements, but by the late 1970s they were listed in metric units. As this was the height of production for Butterfly Gold some of the pieces may include capacity stamps in both imperial and metric measurements."

Here is my piece, then, inspired by this pattern. I had a few requests about purchasing, if you click either image of my work here it will take you to the right page for that. I hope all have a lovely art filled vintage inspired day.



Tuesday, January 3, 2017

3 January 2017 Gooseberry Pyrex and a cat in a bowl



Today my drawing is again inspired by vintage pyrex. I love the stuff. My own collection is mainly the butterprint, which I featured on my 1 January drawing. Today I am showcasing gooseberry. It is easily a tie with butterprint as the most popular.

The main collected colour is the lovely vintage pink colour. My good friend and niece collects this pattern in this colour. However, the gooseberry pattern does come in different shades, including my signature blue.

The dark green and white is a rare colour but is one of the shades available. THIS is a great post by a collector of gooseberry that is     worth checking out.

This love of pyrex and of course the daily companionship of my cat, Puss, lead to today's drawing. She being a ginger lead her to easily be seen as a pink kitty.

I think the mug might be a good gift idea for my friend who collects gooseberry.

I hope you all have a lovely vintage and art filled day.


Monday, January 2, 2017

2 January 2017 A new obsession: Catherine Holm & French Bulldog

This is the lotus pattern of Catherine Holm design enamelware. It is a mid-century dream. The lotus pattern was not actually designed by Catherine but by Grete Kittleson for the company. Catherine was said to not really be a fan of the design, but it is the most popular pattern in the Catherine Holm enamelware line.

How I came to know of it and now love it is when we inherited Toad Hall. When it was our turn to live here the house had been sitting empty for about 6 months and my hubby's Mother had been feeding the cat, (now our dear Puss) out of one of these bowls.

When I first saw the bowl I gasped at its simple beauty. These are the two bowls here in the mustard yellow colour. They are heavy enamelware. They have the feel of the lovely vintage farm sinks or an old bathtub and they really ware well. My MIL was using them to feed the cat because she would set them outside and they just happened to be in a cabinet here and she thought they were garbage.
The truth of course is that because they are so durable they didn't mind being out in the cold rain and snow for months at a time full of catfood and knocked about by racoons and other wildlife. I know am very proud of them.                           

I collect a few patterns of mid century china. They are all practical and were not considered very up market in their day, but I love them none the less. My latest china pattern I have collected is the Swiss Chalet Alpine pattern.


The blue in it goes well with the vintage blue in my other dishes and it has a lovely avocado green in it as well. These leads me to my coveted colours for any future Catherine Holm Lotus enamalware: the blues and greens.  This coffee pot is dreamy
 and I really think the blue and green go quite well together and bring in the colours of the Swiss Chalet. 

This all inspired today's artwork. I was thinking of animals with bowls, after yesterdays drawing of a hedgehog with a pyrex Butterprint bowl, and considered my new love of the lotus pattern. I happen to love French Bulldogs and if I were to get another dog, I think it would be one of them. And thus was born today's drawing. I saved it both with a white and a blue background. I might have to order it myself for my kitchen as a clock or a pillow for my living room.

I hope you all have a lovely puppy filled vintage day.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

1 January Toad Hall. A morning walk and a hedgehog in a bowl.

Having recently begun to do artwork every day has made me miss blog posts. It has felt good to return to a daily schedule. I think, therefore, that I shall park my daily thoughts and work and musings here.

This morning I started out the new year with my morning walk. I am lucky in our surroundings, as it is a very quiet private area that is mainly used in the Summer. The houses of our neighbours dot the landscape but are mainly empty this time of year.

It was bright and sharp and cool this morning. The kind of morning that you see your breath and don a hat and gloves, but feel the warmth of the sun on you as you meander along.



My walk is a wander through wood and field and often finishes on the shore. I took our beach back home. Here you can see the old brick path and our neighbours dock and as you turn onto the beach back to our place you can see our old Boat house peeking out of the trees.









My daily scribble today is a hedgehog in a vintage bowl. On my walk I was thinking how lovely it would be if we were lucky to have native hedgehogs as does England. I also collect the pyrex butterprint pattern and thus was born today's drawing.
I hope you all have a lovely bright start of a new year. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

10 November Let the healing begin

Despite their differences the Ladies Anoria and Adrienne put aside past hurts and shared their love of coffee; it was the polite thing to do. 
It was this same politeness which did not allow them to discuss the vast differences between white and black coffee. A feeling of unity was soon restored. Let us follow their example. #25coffeetea #DonnaDavisArt #artdaily

Friday, November 4, 2016

4 November Imogen on All Souls Day

The one page eight panel graphic novel page is now done. On all souls day the children of the poor would often go out "A-souling" that is singing for soul cakes that were handed out rather in a Halloween door to door fashion. Imogen, of course, has her own idea of just how to make a Soul Cake. #DonnaDavisArt #artdaily #graphicnovelnov

Thursday, November 3, 2016

3 November My panels continue for novel page

My six panel page is now an eight panel page. It is a lot of inking and colouring so, today, I will share one of the panels. It is not in any particular order from the previous two. Then, perhaps, tomorrow I shall have the entire page done and we can see what imogen is up to ;)#DonnaDavisArt #graphicnovelnov #dailyart
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