Please come back from time to time and take a look.
I’d love to have your thoughts as well, so please feel free to get in touch.
“The capacity to care is what gives life it’s most deepest significance.” Pablo Casals
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” Frank Lloyd Wright
What a lovely welcome back to my studio this past three days have been.
Yesterday, an elderly couple popped in and stayed for half an hour or more. It transpired they live in a local village and the gentleman is a musician and his wife a singer. We chatted about housemartins, swifts, swallows and all the wildlife they have recorded at their farmhouse over the years. A really interesting couple, and they too said they have noticed and are extremely concerned about the drop in numbers of birds returning to them each year. Apparently, over the years they have installed many bird boxes for the various species, as well as monitoring the nest building around their home.
One of the greetings cards they purchased was my Greater Horseshoe bat, which coincidentally led to us chatting about batties.🦇🦇 I have now been invited round for coffee, to view their bats and to help them position bat boxes. Brian has offered to help which I really appreciate, as am not great with ladders at the moment. I am delivering their fine art print shortly and look forward to seeing them both again soon. It's been a good week
I feel so lucky as I meet so many interesting visitors to my little studio.
Today I met a lovely gentleman who during the early 50’s, was a music teacher at Sandroyd School, also known as Rushmore House: the former home of General Augustus Pitt Rivers. The General is the gentleman who created the Larmer Tree Gardens, in which my Studio sits.
The fact that this gentleman was a music teacher at Sandroyd during those early years, was interesting in itself, but apparently he left Sandroyd School to work at the legendary Abbey Road Studios!!! He was a lovely gent and so modest.. and I wouldn’t have known any of this, had it not been for his partner mentioning the fact. It transpired that he worked at Abbey Road for 38 yrs, eventually becoming Senior Music Producer, and he met some well-known and extremely interesting and talented musicians.
Sunset views across Cranborne Chase as I left my Studio tonight. In the distance, The Folly, glowing in the sunshine.
Up, up and away.... the preps. for a Balloon Flight viewed from my Studio window.
It takes approx. 1/2hr to lay the balloon out, pull the ropes into place and position the basket ready for take-off.
Can't believe it is over a month ago that I was last in my little studio and starting a new artwork.
Am back again!!! Yay!! 🙂 ...still spinning and swaying a bit, but thankfully not as bad as when the Vestibular n. kicked-off on 29th June.
My new website is taking a long time to complete but... “Shwayzi Shwayzi”, not sure how to spell it, but it’s Egyptian for 'slowly, slowly', ‘all in good time.’🙂 In the meantime there are some new editions to the Studio. Photos coming soon.
It's a lovely sunny day..have a good one folks!
Take your rubbish home with you and before you discard, cut open any mesh, plastic rings, plastic bags, containers, squash your tin cans and destroy anything that looks like it could trap and kill. The endangered red squirrel was found on a busy roadside.
We should all be campaigning for a phase out of all but the most essential plastics. Some quick tips from Friends of the Earth to keep your use of plastic to a minimum all year round.
Small changes - big impact!
Had a brief but lovely stroll on Martin Down yesterday a.m. Saw beautiful butterflies including Adonis Blues, Marbled Whites, plus many of the plants and animals that have become rare or have been lost altogether from our intensively farmed countryside.
The wildlife of the downs and an open landscape that is still ....."good for both mind and body" by W.H Hudson... describing Martin Down in 1910.
Martin Down gives you an idea of how the landscape and its wildlife would’ve appeared to our ancestors. It's a long time since I last visited and it was lovely to be back again.
On the way back to the car I also spotted this handsome little chap, a Bloody-nosed Beetle, plodding his way across the path
You get the garden planted.
You get the roof fixed.
You take the dog to the vet.
You spend the day with a friend.
You learn to make a new kind of bread.
You hunt up photographs for someone who thinks he needs them.
You certainly have to do the shopping
But you get through this aggravation so you could get back to painting
Because that is the high spot.
The painting is like the thread that runs through all the reasons for all the other things that make one’s life.
— Georgia O’Keefe
Because "the cat doesn't like to be kept in at night". The owner said, and that statement...says it all!! This is a rare species of bat.. and as sad as this is...that is not the point. It is the complete waste of a precious life. The life of a lovely bat.
It broke my heart reading Bat rescuer Gail's, words.
Apparently the owner stated that "the cat has done it before".... which sadly means - he will do it again. But as always, the owner will then expect someone to drop everything in order to come out to care for the bat, which probably will mean, as in this case, putting the poor thing out of its misery as it so badly mauled and damaged.
Cats are the biggest killers of bats, birds, small mammals. They are devastating our wildlife.
Lovely warm p.m last night so we went badger watching; a beautiful walk but no luck on this occasion. This a.m we found a badger-shaped hole in our fruit cage, in the garden. lol!!!
I reckon whilst we were out hoping to catch sight of one of these beautiful animals in the woods, he was in our garden raiding our fruit. Pesky critters...
Couldn't afford a professional to photograph my cards, coasters etc. and luckily stumbled across these. Bought the lamps in conjunction with a disc light reflector and am now rockin' with my new little studio set-up........in the corner of the lounge. lol!! It's basic, but looks and feels pretty legit, and was a bargain. I never dreamed I would have such a kit and am lovin' it
After having such a great start in the studio on Thursday 28th, unfortunately I succumbed to Vestibular Neuronitis; never heard of it.. but apparently there are crystals that can become dislodged from their normal place inside the inner ear, and when the crystals move around it causes dizziness.
The first I knew of it was the following morning, when I sat up in bed and immediately fell backwards. I was extremely dizzy and have never experienced the like. The day continued in the same vein and the Dr. prescribed tablets to help cope with the nauseousness. She also informed me that am not allowed to drive. Needless to say I haven't been able to get back to my little studio or drawing since last week, and have been tottering around like a little biddy, hanging onto everything for support. lol!!!
The good news: is that because I ain't going nowhere for a while - the new website is progressing well. 🙂
At 9.30 p.m I completed a bat roost count at home, but only 3 Brown Long-Eareds emerged, I intended counting last week, and this may be why so few. Lots of other bat activity though: Serotines and Pipistrelles, plus a number of moths flitting around. I didn't recognise this chappie so caught, photographed, then released him.
He is a Swallowtail-tailed moth Ourapteryx sambucaria. wingspan 44-60mm. Apparently they like: woodland, hedgerows, parks and gardens and the caterpillar feeds on Hawthorn, Elder, Horse Chestnut and Ivy. I borrowed the photo of the caterpillar from the Butterfly Conservation site..
A very pleasant p.m
Yay!! Am drawing again Back in my little studio. Three months away...lots to catch up on.
Fluffy duck. Closer shot of the birdie that am working on. Looks similar to the woollen shaggy rug I made in my teens.
A lovely view from my lovely little Larmer Tree Studio flat. Regular, cosy nesting spot for my Spotted Fly Catcher. They have been nesting here each year, since 1989, and were probably nesting here long before I moved in.
This is the first year, since 1989, that the Spotted Fly Catchers have not nested at my Studio. I haven't even seen them.
Great to see Jane Goodall on Aljazeera this a.m. Lovely lady, wise words. Good interviewer too.
World Rainforest Day ~ Forests give us so much! Giving thanks to these most vital ecosystems.
Was thinking this yesterday as walking to the Studio with my furry buddies. It was a lovely sunny day, a lovely walk, and I really appreciated the intermittent shade cast from the trees and their lovely green leaves along the way. 🌳🌿🐞🐝🐜🦋🕷🦇🐌🐦🌳
Late afternoon walk with the girls along a woodland track; either side: birch, beech, ash growing in close proximity on the steep-sided slopes. Luka lifted her nose and alerted me to something.
I continued to stroll with the girls now by my side. At the top of the slope, sunbeams filtered thro' and I suddenly realised I was being watched. A golden glow silhouetted 4 thin spindly legs and the small body of a Roe deer fawn. I continued to walk on whilst scanning the trees, and with relief I saw her. The fawns Mum, was close-by and also stood perfectly still. Beautiful!!!
A really interesting p.m with Dr. George McGavin. He is just as friendly and as interesting as he is on tv. An excellent speaker: he covered life starting 500 million years ago, through to the first hominids, and our relationship with insects through to present time. The devastation caused by palm oil production, the destruction of rainforests and other eco systems through our industrialised farming practices, the use of pesticides over the last 40-50 yrs, neonicotinoids, gm crops and our abuse of the lot. His message was that all insect populations around the world are in serious and grave trouble and we must All protect what is left of our natural habitats. He compared our insect world to the ancient practice of taking canaries into the mines - to help warn miners of a life threatening problem. He said that insects are our canary.
We were walking the girls in the sunshine this morning and decided to pop down to have a look at the pond we made in the park years ago, and have added to over subsequent years.
We've never seen so many yellow iris standing tall and in bloom, with bees feeding, red and white lilies in bloom, dragonflies chasing one another, plus 100's of damselflies. The water is so clear, and filled with oxygenating plants from which numerous newts surfaced: coming up to breathe before disappearing back down into the depths, plus 100's and 100's of toad and frog tadpoles all swimming around. Meanwhile in the background birds singing their hearts out in the bushes and treetops, including the distinctive call of a chit chat. Absolutely beautiful - a glorious experience.
I didn't have my phone with me but I doubt it would have done it justice. It was just lovely.
Word of the day. from Robert Macfarlane: Maeinschein
I love this colour; and can never find the right words to describe it and then stumbled across an ancient word for this beautiful colour. "Maeinschein" meaning "May-light", "May-shine"
It fills my heart with joy to see the fresh bright yellowy-lime green leaves of Spring.....there is nothing quite like it.
Because I was off my feet this spring, for the first time ever, I missed seeing the bluebells in the woodland close to home, but I was able to stroll along a short woodland avenue, on our doorstep, in the dappled sunshine, with these beautiful pale green Springtime leaves dancing in the breeze in the treetops above. A glorious sight and feeling
Over the past few weeks I have been looked after beautifully by my husband whilst recuperating from my op. The past few months have been extremely busy what with replacement windows being installed at home, carpets fitted, decorating, plus the op. etc. Have not wasted a minute tho’ and whilst off my feet have been organising a brand spanking new website, plus new design eco-friendly greetings cards: produced on environmentally friendly paper, and new products displaying my artwork: all to be included on my new website. Exciting times. Watch this Space!
Unfortunately my Studio will be closed for the next few weeks and any orders received will not be processed during this time. I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and will contact you regarding orders and enquiries, as soon as I am able.
Brian saw a housemartin fly across the front of the cottage yesterday, and this morning, as I sit in my Study, I can hear the familiar chattering of our feathered friends outside my window 🙂 Our housemartins have returned!!!! 🙂 It’s super to see them darting back and forth as they select their nests, and to have their company again. Welcome home ‘Little Ones’.
Spent today packaging both my Hooded Vulture and White-winged Duck artworks. Both artworks are now
winging their way to Vancouver. The Artists for Conservation ‘Silent Skies’ 100-ft installation, featuring all 678 endangered species of birds of the world will form the artistic centrepiece of the 27th International Ornithological Congress at the Vancouver Convention Centre in August 2018. As am going to be out of action for a while and time was running short….it was a bit of a rushed job. Hence my White-winged Duck is just a quick sketch, and many thanks to photographer Andrew Watts for allowing me to use his photo.
I chose to portray my White-winged Duck as if he had just landed; his white wing coverts and bluish-grey secondary feathers still half-open and in sharp contrast to the dark, swamp forest where, in a secret tree
hollow he will roost for the night.
The White-winged Duck is most easily seen at dusk when returning from a slow-flowing river, or stagnant wetland feeding ground; his diet consisting mainly of seeds, small fish, insects and aquatic plants. This species was once distributed widely across north-east India and south-east Asia, but sadly their numbers have declined due to habitat loss and hunting.
The White-winged duck is a large, dark, forest duck with orange eyes, an orange and black mottled bill and orange-yellow legs. His underbody is brown, with a contrasting head and upper neck speckled with white. The wings when opened are white and the breast and upper body a glossy-green black.
Have finally finished my sketch donation: White-winged Duck. https://flic.kr/p/J8wZMJ
Received a request for an interview from a family whose daughter wished to ask me about my art and conservation work, for her school project and presentation. Have just spent a lovely hour with Esmé and her family, at my Larmer Tree Studio, at the Larmer Tree Gardens. Good luck witih your project and look forward to seeing your artwork Esmé – Happy Painting!
With our migrating birdies on their way back to us, this a.m I decided to purchase a woodcrete Swift box. Each year we are full of anticipation as a couple of Swifts fly around the cottage and investigate our wooden boxes, but 🙁 never any takers. Hopefully the new style box, entrance below, will be more to their liking. Can’t wait to see what happens. Watch this space!! 🙂
As chocolate eggs go on sale in the supermarkets, stop and think about the decisions you make this Easter. Palm oil is a key ingredient in many products including Easter treats. The production of this ingredient is one of the leading causes of deforestation.
As chocolate eggs go on sale in the supermarkets, we urge you to stop and think about the decisions you make this Easter. Palm oil is a key ingredient in many Easter treats. The production of this ingredient is one of the leading causes of deforestation.If you are giving a gift this Easter, please consider opting for something environmentally friendly, such as our online orangutan adoptions. These adoptions help to rescue, care and rehabilitate orangutans in desperate need – the victims of the palm oil industry. To adopt, visit: https://www.internationalanimalrescue.org/adopt-orangutan?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=Easter_2017&utm_content=Easter2017_videoThe adoption packs include a personalised certificate, a photograph, a soft toy and a fact sheet, as well as exclusive updates on your animal’s progress. They make wonderful gifts and can be purchased as postal packs or online printable packs. Please note that digital packs are sent immediately to the recipient, so if this is a gift it may be best to put your own email address as the recipient and then forward the email later on. To adopt, visit: https://www.internationalanimalrescue.org/adopt-orangutan?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=Easter_2017&utm_content=Easter2017_videoShare this video far and wide to spread the word. Thank you.
Posted by International Animal Rescue on Friday, 31 March 2017
Of the 2,174 bottles and cans collected, there were 230 dead animals inside – one for every ten discarded
containers. This is why you should squash flat every can of drink that you have finished, before placing it in the recycle bin. Thankfully this little vole was rescued, but 1000’s are not so fortunate. Whilst seeking shelter, many little critters get caught in empty bottles and cans and are unable to get out again. A friend,
Brian Robertson, kindly rescued this little chap.
‘Tis the little Celandine. William Wordsworth.
Lesser Celandine on the woodland track to Larmer Tree. One of the first flowers to appear after winter.
Heart-shaped leaves and bright yellow star-like flowers; providing an important nectar source for early
insects and queen bees emerging from hibernation.
Can well believe storks were frozen solid in Bulgaria. Can well believe storks were frozen
solid in Bulgaria. Last week, after being out overnight in the freezing rain, our rescued peacock
chicks, now fully grown, experienced similar. Unable to move: feathers frozen with ice, we were able to catch them, carry them close to the cottage and feed them by hand. Late in the day the the peacocks started to thaw out slightly. They were very miserable and cold tho’. 🙁 Feel very sorry for all the wild birds. We have numerous feeders and have been filling them every day. This month we have seen so many different bird species visiting our garden: birds that would not normally venture into such close proximity of humans.
So sad to hear about Stephen Hawking. A courageous, brilliant man. A remarkable life.
“We have but one planet and we need to work together to protect it” – Stephen Hawking.
Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreathes;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
RSPB Love Nature have received their first swallow sighting reported from Harrogate, North Yorkshire today – there were FOUR captured in the photo. Keep your eyes peeled and record when you see our Summer Migrants arrive.
View from my Studio. ???? What a murky ol’ day.
Happy #InternationalWomansDay! Celebrating Gladys Mantle who, as one of the first animal rights activists on the Quantocks, saved a young deer from a stag hunt 70 years ago to the day – a little known hero and an inspirational woman. Good on you Gladys and all the other women who work so hard protecting our endangered birds and mammals around the world.
Moorhen & Bramblings under the feeders today. ???? Have counted 22 species drinking and feeding in our garden over past 3 days. Fear I may have become a tad twitcher’ish.
Exciting start to the week. Am experimenting with an idea for another drawing….maybe a full-body portrait of an Amur Leopard. ???? .. hmm…I’ll see how it goes.♥ & big furry hugs to everyone on this extremely cold, wet and windy Valentines Day. xx
Didn’t realise I had received one. Found my AFC certificate whilst uploading my new
Artists for Conservation site.
After updating my Artists for Conservation website, have also been updating my Nature In Art website and diary. As a trial run….have decided to place each recent artwork or WIP on my home page. Thought it might good to let visitors see what I am up to, at a glance.
Just found this too.
Lovely to have been acknowledged along with fellow AFC members that donated to the Explorers against Extinction event, at the Royal Geographical Society, in October last year.
AFC Artists and Royal Geographic Society Fundraiser for Wildlife
On October 12 through 15, Several AFC artists are lending support to a major conservation fundraiser. Participating AFC artists include: Stephane Alsac, Guy Combes, Carrie Cook, Gary Hodges, Kate Jenvey, Karen Lawrence-Rowe, Ann London, Clive Meredith, Jeremy Paul, Pollyanna Pickering, Craig Roberts, Geraldine Simmons, Su Shimeld, Jonathan Truss and Paula Weigmink. Following is the press release describing the event.
Whilst rummaging for something else… just found this…..
My bat artwork accompanying an article in this prestigious magazine
British Wildlife Magazine ~ 2003
Greater Horseshoe Bat – Pen & Ink drawing
Wildlife Artist – Susan Shimeld
Artists for Conservation are in the process of updating their website and Signature Members have also had to update their pages. I have been beavering away, and this link is my new ‘Artists for Conservation’ Gallery.
I have recently completed my ‘Hooded Vulture’ artwork, and am donating it to be autioned at the Silent Skies event in Canada. Silent Skies is an international collaborative super-mural mosaic featuring all 678 endangered species of birds of the world, portrayed by AFC Signature Members. The installation forms the artistic centrepiece of the 27th International Ornithological Congressin Vancouver at the Ornithological Society. Funds raised will will support bird conservation and environmental education.
Couldn’g believe this mornings news. Apparently one of the wolves at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust has esacaped. Stay safe Torak. Poor thing must be wondering what the hell is going on. My greatest fear is that someone might be trigger happy, as with the Lynx that recently escaped from a zoo in Wales. The Lynx was shot dead.
Great news. Wolfy is home safe and sound. Thank goodness.
Am pleased to say that Torak was found safe and sound 8 miles from the Trust. He went through a field of sheep and harmed none of them. He crossed countryside and was later spotted in woodland, but continued to evade capture. Eventually one of the handlers was able to walk up to him, place a collar and lead on him, and he was returned home safe and sound.
I met the wolves when I was invited to illustrate a book, ‘A New Era for Wolves and People’, written by Dr. Marco Musiani, a Professor at Calgary University, Canada. I was kindly invited to visit the Wolf Sanctuary in Reading by Denise.T in order to meet and sketch the wolves. I met the team and made some good friends. I was also introduced to the lovely Torak, Mosi, Mia and their companions. For further info. and photos please see my Conservation Links Page.
This is a photo of my meeting with Mia and Mosi. Great ambassadors for the species and an amazing and beautiful experience.
Have received an email asking if I would like to participate in this years Sketch For Survival.
Below is the advert posted on their Facebook page. If you enjoy sketching feel free to join in
and help stop Wildlife Crime.Pencils at the ready – #SketchforSurvival 2018 is back!
Are you a professional wildlife artist or someone with a high profile that can help us raise awareness about threats to endangered species while also helping to raise funds to combat wildlife crime? We’d love your support! Please share! #explorersagainstextinction http://www.sketchforsurvival.co.uk/ Our Lives Matter – artwork by Siobhan Barlow, Sketch for Survival Collection 2017. Deadline for 2018 submissions: 31 July.
Vultures are declining at an alarming rate for a number of reasons. Vultures have been demonised over more recent years and we are now inadvertently killing them in huge numbers. Not only are they are persecuted for being vultures; they are electrocuted when they hit high voltage lines across the worlds steep valleys and canyons. They die due to lead poisoning from carcasses that have been shot and left by hunters. Drugs such as diclofenac/antibiotics/chemicals can be purchased over the counter, in large quantities, across Asia and Africa. Farmers medicate their cattle and when the cattle die, the chemically-contaminated carcasses are just dumped. The vultures do as they have for 100’s of 1,000’s of years; they clean-up the carcasses for us, but sadly end up dying a slow, painful death from ingesting these chemicals. Vultures eggs and chicks also fail due to chemical poisoning. We need vultures. Watch and share the video, and sign the petition. Please watch this video and sign the above petition.
Please watch this powerful and informative video and sign the above petition.
Slowly progressing with my artwork..titled Silent Skies, to be donated and installed as part of a collaborative
mural at the 27th International Ornithological Congress, Vancouver.
Happy New Year Folks. 🙂 Wishing you All Good Health and Happiness for 2018!
At bit of random but important info. to start the year. Soaring numbers of turtles are washing up on UK beaches. Storms are causing the reptiles to become stranded along our coastlines. I didn’t know this so thought I’d share.
Anyone finding a stranded turtle, should not attempt to put it back in the sea. It may be still alive + returning it to sea will kill it. Instead take to a cool, sheltered place, away from the sea + report it immediately to one of the numbers on UK Turtle Code. @mcsuk https://www.mcsuk.org/news/turtle_washed_up
“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks.” Plutarch