Tag Archives: christeve the cat

A very special visitor…..Boo Boo Chevalier

Boo Boo Chevalier….(yes that is his name)  with one of my large oil paintings as a backdrop.     A good friend and Boo Boo came to visit recently. 20-11-15-1-357I have loved many cats and dogs, however during the past 11 years since London has been my base, I have learned to enjoy other people’s animals.

I continue to look forward to living and working in Marmite Heaven where cats, dogs, chickens and all manner of other creatures will abound.

Because I believe in visualisation – here is a large oil on canvas – work in progress (5ft x 4ft) – of a mythical Marmite Heaven, based on many of the places where I have stayed in France.

Note that Chriseve the Cat is observing the village and a cockerel is sketched in…….hummingbirds to come……20-11-15-1-763Which brings me to  Christeve the Cat of the Magical Town of Crickadoon.…having a conversation with a tiger – overlooked by a magical hummingbird….

In my world  of imagination anything is possible……watercolour illustration for children’s book703902_309194122518618_437499646_oAnd Tarrantino whose company I recently enjoyed in Wales….watercolour/gouache from sketch book. 20-11-15 - 1 (406)  Just as the creative process is the key to emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing, so I believe is the natural world which  – definitely includes the likes of Boo Boo Chevalier. 🙂

And of course the Hummingbirds that symbolise for me the unseen magic of our world. 20-11-15-1-453

A bientôt




Monochromatic Underpainting for St. Edmund’s church, Crickhowell, Wales

Monochromatic underpainting for one of the two panels in St. Edmund’s Church, Crickhowell, Wales.

church panel underpainting

I lived in Crickhowell, Wales (aka – The Magical Town of Crickadoon) from 1993 til 2005.

In 1995 I was commissioned to paint two large panels for St. Edmund’s, the ancient church which sits in the middle of Crickhowell.

Because I wanted the panels to tell a story, I began work with monochromatic underpaintings, which allowed me to compose the paintings before adding colour.     These  formed a  foundation block showing the tonal range and overall rhythm of the composition.        During this process, changes can be made and indeed many were on both panels before colour was added.

The two finished panels….`My friend Cyma Horowitz standing with me beneath the panels.

st eds murals 2

When I was commissioned to paint the panels, I was given the following passage from Song of Soloman as inspiration.

‘Arise my love and come to me for the winter is past the rains are over and gone.      Flowers appear on the earth, the season of singing has come, and the turtle dove is heard in our land’  (Song of Solomon 2:10-12) 

I had already fallen in love with the outstanding natural beauty of the area and its people, and so this passage resonated with me.     My daily walks prompted a sense of deep gratitude and celebration.     Using symbolic imagery, my goal was to integrate these feelings with the words from the passage and I particularly wanted the paintings to speak to the children of the area.

For example, the egg shape window in both panels represents new life; the peacock – everlasting life; the calla lilies – trumpets,  and so on.    The children of the area are depicted as angels.    Many of the animals represented I knew and loved.     The church spire and 16th century bridge that crosses the River Usk are included.

To the left of this detail is Bumble the golden labrador.    Bumble introduced me to the people of Crickhowell as I took her on long daily walks.   Christeve the Cat is front and centre and a friends beautiful sheep dog sits to the right. 


As I added colour, I took into consideration the colours used in the stained glass windows and alter dressings – therefore seeing the church in its entirety as my canvas.

I see the underpainting as a metaphor as I compose and establish new rhythms in my life today.

A bientôt

7th anniversary of blogging….

I happened to mention on Tuesday when Claire and friends were visiting, that this month represents my 7th year anniversary for blogging

I spent the first five years with another server before making the very positive move to WordPress.

Throughout the seven years, Magical Hummingbirds and Christeve the Cat have accompanied me, and so this blog is dedicated to them.

Christeve the Cat and the magical hummingbirds – watercolour


Seven years ago I didn’t know what a blog was….for some reason it just felt right and so I     listened to my intuition….

Two hummingbirds with lilies – watercolour/gouache


Through blogging, I  have met wonderful people from around the world, some have become virtual friends, and some I have had the good fortune to meet in person. 


I have learned a great deal from reading other people’s blogs.    

I have been introduced to writers, poets, painters, and all sorts of people whose paths I probably would not have crossed otherwise. 


Shortly after I began to write the blog, my then 87 year old Mother became very ill….and for the first two and a half years I spent a great deal of time commuting back and forth to my Mother’s home in Kent overseeing carers, etc.

The blog allowed me to stay grounded and connected. 


At that time, I had been planning a permanent move to France but as we all know life is full of surprises.

By staying in the moment and going with the flow…I found my flat in London five months after I began to write the blogand today, it is still my studio/bolt hole in the UK.



Throughout many changes and travel the blog has been a constant.

Along with exercise and meditation which have been part of my life for many years, blogging became an important part of my morning routine.    



The whole blogging experience has been enriching and life enhancing on many levels.     I am so grateful that I listened to my intuition seven years ago. 



Most importantly, I want to thank all the people who have followed my blog over the years…

There are some who have been with me almost since the very beginning.    You know who you are:)

A Bientôt

How does your garden grow? With Silver Bells, and Cockle Shells……..

As is the case with so much today, gardening has become big business, where many have lost touch with the simple pleasures of working with Mother Nature to produce areas which encourage birds, bees and butterflies along with Silver Bells, and Cockle Shells…..

When I was living and working in The Magical Town of Crickadoon, I took over a tiny plot  – which had laid fallow for over 20 years.    Given that it was situated close to the River Usk – the soil was rich in nutrients.      I used to say that if I stuck my thumb in the soil, it would grow.

Rose/clematis arbour in the  garden

til August 10 1037

As soon as I saw the tiny plot of land, I visualised the cottage garden…..rather like a secret garden, where all manner of life could enjoy and flourish.

The first thing to be done, was to clear years of accumulated debris – turn the soil and lay flagstones.     The little shed in the corner was to stay….as was the water butt.

Scan 99

I received cuttings from my many friends in and around the town…and slowly but surely, I watched my garden grow.

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An old iron ladder found during the initial clearing, was propped up against the wall so that Christeve the Cat could visit the neighbours next door…..

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Slowly but surely my initial ideas came to fruition.    Along with Christeve the Cat, the birds, bees and butterflies loved the garden – it became a place of tranquility and great joy for me.

This tiny patch of land fed all the senses…..visually it delighted, the sounds were those of  nature, and the smells, especially after it had rained, were intoxicating.

One day, when Marmite Heaven is revealed….I hope to nurture another garden.

View from the living area into the garden….

Scan 109

A Bientôt

Phoebe Friday – a budgerigar named Henrietta and other doggy friends…..

10626134_10152668477555396_8591676068519698226_o It’s Phoebe Friday – which means I get to visit Phoebe the Jack Russell, Henrietta the budgerigar and Josie who has known me since the day I was born.      Always a lovely thing to do. Josie and Phoebe having a conversation…. P1110581 Henrietta the Budgerigar – Phoebe becomes very jealous when I talk to Henrietta….. P1140095 Two beauties I see when visiting friends in Wiltshire. P1130660 P1130715 And Bertie Bull Dog….a friend of Cristeve the Cat P1140667

And of course some magic for the weekend in the form of a hummingbird.


Have a lovely weekend.

A Bientôt

Time spent with cats is never wasted……

Last Friday, I featured Jack Russells….today cats.

I am an animal lover, but have to admit that there is nothing quite like the love of a cat.    The following cats have all played a part in my life…….

Sun Spot – watercolour – Petuli


Christeve the Cat who came to me during a violent storm in the Magical Town of Crickadoon on Christmas Eve – 1996.    

Christeve with hummingbird – watercolour


I met this little calico cat when painting in Conca dei Marini on the Amalfi Coast.    She visited me every day…..

Detail from large oil painting…..

1654643_10152278515330396_130277338_o-3Tushy and Mushy were my favourite studio cats.    Brother and sister, they came to me via a student in the United States…..when just six weeks old.     



Given that it is Friday….time to hang loose like a cat….



Have a wonderful weekend….

A Bientôt

The Garden

It’s that time of year when the sap has begun to rise and thoughts of Mother Nature’s bounty come to mind.

My little cottage garden in the Magical Town of Crickadoon (Crickhowell, Wales)  til August 10 1037

After having lived and worked in the States for twenty eight years, In 1993, I returned to Crickhowell, Wales to stay with my cousin and her family.

Crickhowell is a small market town which sits in the Usk Valley where the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains meet.

During the twelve years that I lived and worked there,  I designed a small cottage garden, which gave me immense pleasure and taught me a great deal.

I saw this picture in a magazine and used it as the template for my garden….


The plot behind the cottage was small and had laid fallow for twenty years.    The first thing I did was to clear and dig the garden over….and then lay flag stones.


Friends with established gardens gave me cuttings, and slowly but surely, the garden began to take shape.


Before my eyes, I watched the transformation from uncared for patch to a place that welcomed birds, bees, butterflies, cats and humans.

Note Christeve the Cat climbing the ladder which took her into the neighbour’s garden:) Image

Growing a garden from scratch requires commitment and patience, however  the satisfaction gained is enormous…

As the garden began to mature, I was able to throw open the french doors and have all my senses fed, whether I inside or out.

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When I moved to London in 2005, I was very sad to say goodbye to the garden, but at the same time grateful for what it gave me.

Clearly the hummingbirds were weaving their magic.


A Bientôt