Monday, 9 July 2012

Sweet Peas and Lemons

Inspired by the Cornish sea, and cosy views from cottage window sills, I have just finished this acrylic box canvas painting today and wanted to share it with you all.

It sums up lots of different things for me;  my love of the ocean, blue skies, little fishing boats, lighthouses perched on dangerous rocky islands, inspiring pottery, relaxing moments with a good bottle of wine, pebbles found on a beach walk, bright, deliciously scented bunches of sweet peas, and zesty lemons which remind me of warm days and happiness.

We've not had much of a Summer here so far, the weather is inclement and prone to monsoonal downpours. It has been damp and dreary much of the time but I've been very happy to spend parts of my days working on this sunny painting.

On Friday, after non stop torrential rain, our river down the garden burst it's banks and started to flood the little path and patios that line it's edge.

It normally looks like this:

But by Friday evening, looked like this:

It was very brown, very fast and rather terrifying!  Huge tree trunks went sailing past and a pool began to form on our patio by the lavender bush.  We couldn't help but recall the flood of 2007, which consumed our garden and seeped into our cellar but luckily this time, the rain stopped and the water ebbed away.  I am forever amazed by the power of nature; how something so seemingly calm can all at once become ferociously out of control and alarming.

But I like being by the river non the less, I like being close to the water and the wildlife that visits us here and I like that it reminds us every once in a while, that we're not in charge.

So!  With a painting finished, I'm back to the drawing board.  I have several ideas for my next work and I think I'm going to do a piece on paper this time.  I've hung Sweetpeas and Lemons on my wall for the time being.  I like to do this with my finished work where possible, to live with it for a little while.  I must say, it certainly brightens things up a tad!

Talking of hanging work on the walls, I'm really pleased to tell you that three of my paintings are currently in an exhibition at the Harrison Lord Gallery in Brighouse.  It's called By The Seaside and there are some fabulous works on show there.  I'm hoping to get up there with my family to have a proper look around, and if you're in the vicinity I reckon it's well worth a visit.

Before I go, I just want to thank all of you who took the time to leave comments and email me personally about my last post.  It seemed to really resonate with people and I'm always quite amazed when that kind of thing happens!  There I am, going about my days thinking that I must be the only one feeling that way and suddenly, there are lots of people getting in touch who understand, who reach out and I am so very grateful for your sharings.

Since reading A Year By The Sea, I've picked up another of Joan Anderson's books; A Weekend to Change Your Life.  From these two books and the effect they have had upon me, I know that my life has already changed enormously, and for the better.  I am much more aware of my own needs and as well as sustaining a family and a home, I am now more conscious of looking after myself and prioritising my happiness.

From spending some time away from my day to day life in Cornwall, I managed to see very clearly where my life needed to improve and grow.  There are things that I used to do or tolerate that didn't make me happy, so I stopped doing them.  There are things I do now that I didn't before that do make me happy and I'm pleased I took the time to acknowledge these simple pleasures and make them a part of my day.  And it really is that simple.  Whilst I can't immediately live my dream of living close to the sea again right now, I can make changes that will make my life here feel newer, and happier right now.

Sometimes, it's about making yourself new in old surroundings.

See you next time,


  1. Another lovely inspirational post Julia. I really do love that painting and it very much makes me think of cosy Cornish cottages. Have a good week lovely lady xx

  2. I agree with Pipany, another inspirational blog post - I love reading your blog lovely lady! You have a wonderful way with words, and I always feel calmed by reading them. So thank you! xx

  3. how pretty. love the scene. your work always makes me smile.

  4. Hi Julia,

    That was such a timely reminder this morning that the key is to adjust your own thinking, not necessarily to change situations. It's all about how we adjust to these surroundings.


  5. Your new painting is lovely, an expression of who you are and what is important to you.
    Anne xx

  6. I so agree that if you can't change where you are, you should change who you are if possible, so that you see the positives in your surroundings, in your life, and less attention is paid to the negatives. I have lots of days when I don't feel well, and have found that if I think distracting, positive thoughts, usually based around my next craft project or a baking idea, then I feel better, slightly. The emphasis has been taken away from how I feel.
    Love the painting, and even the raging torrent at the bottom of your garden, though can imagine it was a tad scary at the time! We are set for heavy rain and thunder later today... good job I am not someone who obsesses about the weather but rejoices in it, whether it's seasonal or not!

  7. Julia I love that new painting, really evocative of Cornwall and all my favourite things in it too! And totally agree with your sentiment about making yourself new, it's about reviving yourself when things flag a bit isn't it!

  8. Love love love the painting! Is your little river the start of the Don? It turned very scarey ! xxx

  9. Pati from London11 July 2012 at 10:23

    What a lovely painting Julia!! Love your art and blog... it is always very inspirational. I also love seeing lighthouses in paintings... your colour palette remind me a bit of Hopper's. I saw a fantastic exhibition of his at the Tate a few years ago and it was incredibly evocative, like your paintings...
    I have my book club hosting next week and will propose 4 books including "A year by the sea" and let's see whether the other mums are up for it!.
    I was looking at the Persephone's publishing website for inspiration and saw a book called "The Homemaker" by Dorothy Canfield Fisher that seems quite interesting too...
    Even though the weather in London is quite awful at the moment, I send you thoughts of sea and sunshine your way.
    Have a nice week,
    Pati x


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