Sketchy Details

Arty Pottering, Parenting 2 Comments »

Hi everyone!

 

I have been taking a break from the poetry and doing a bit of sketching instead since the end of April!  I strive to draw at least part of something every day as one of my daily creative goals (and have done since the 19th of February this year).  As I explain in this post, drawing is a mostly relaxing activity for me, and I frequently surprise myself by achieving small details I thought would be beyond me.

This week I have been looking at hands.  I Googled ‘reference pics of hands’ and was inundated with choice!  I went with one from this pic on Pinterest as inspiration and drew a pretty awful one:

But I had a bit more success with following Mark Crilley’s advice in this YouTube tutorial, and actually like what I achieved:

 

Youngest was drawing alongside me while his brother was in the shower this evening, and he challenged me to draw “a man holding a gun”.  Lego Star Wars, you have a lot to answer for…

Youngest actually asked me for this a while back, but was feeling cheated because last time I ‘messed up’ and just drew a groovy long-haired purple-suited guy holding a hairdryer in some random desert, as one does (I’ll dig that out for you in another post, it’s in a different sketchbook…).  

In the name of furthering my art skills, then, and because I wouldn’t know where to start drawing a gun (!) I found this photo to eyeball, and drew the below using some of the tips I’d gleaned from Crilley:

 

 

Both boys were suitably impressed, and I had again fulfilled my daily drawing quota.  Hurrah!

 

We took a family jaunt together today as well, circumnavigating Linlithgow Loch and letting the boys use up a bit of energy. 

Unfortunately, the midges and other, larger, flying yucky things were out in force and not afraid to chow down on us; but we did see a Heron and lots of other water birds, so it was a good walk all in all. Youngest didn’t even complain about trekking over two miles! (But he did fall asleep on the way home, bless him!)

We didn’t get a decent pic of the Heron, but here are my menfolk beside a swan who was trying (!) to take a rest.  If you look closely, you can see all the flying insects against the sky in the foreground!!  Oh, and that’s Linlithgow Palace to the left in the background 😉

 

I’m not sure yet what we are going to get up to with our Bank Holiday Monday, but both the kids and hubby are off so it will be nice to continue to hang out with each other.  If the weather holds, we will probably go for a wander again…hopefully without beasties in our hair this time!

I trust you are all having a great long weekend, and I’ll catch you again in the next wee while – probably with more creative news to share 🙂

 

Montaffera X

 

 

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Copyright © 2019 Montaffera All Rights Reserved

Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

 


	  

My Square Go – #NaPoWriMo19 – 30

#NaPoWriMo19 No Comments »

Hey there 🙂

 

“Taking a leaf from our video resource, I’d like you to try your hand at a minimalist poem.” [NaPoWriMo site]

As it is the last day of NaPo for 2019, I thought I would break out my haiku cubes to see what they wanted me to write for today’s prompt.  I rolled the “A Dream About…” side of the subject cube, so I had a bit of a free pass to put a tad of nonsense in there if the need arose. 

I took out about half of the cubes and rolled a handful of them at a time until they were spread out on one of our drawing and painting boards.

These are the two poems following the “reverse haiku” syllable structure of 7-5-7. (The first one utilised only word cubes, the second had three ‘blank’ cubes in it as I couldn’t make any of the other words fit!):

 

Lurid window-flesh woman –

Her fortune ugly –

(My trouble partner, please God…?)

 

Wind, water swell, thunder clouds –

We ran quickly home

On limbs too bust: need doctor!

 

And these conclude my #NaPoWriMo experience for April 2019!  I will probably not do any blogging tomorrow because I am hoping to hang out with my hubby a little in the evening (!) but I will be back before the weekend as I have some good writing and creative habits on the go at the moment and I am sure to have produced something to show and tell in the next couple of days!

Thank you for all the wonderful comments and encouragement I have received over the course of this month.  It is lovely to have loyal readers who take the time to talk to me both on and offline about my writing, it really does keep me feeling motivated!!  

I will be dabbling in different projects and self-made curriculums over the next few months, so I will be experimenting with how often I want to record my creative journeys going forward, but I have liked the feeling of accomplishment producing a daily post has given me, so I am hoping to keep up more regular blogging for the rest of the year 🙂 thanks again for helping me to get back on track, and I will see you in a couple of days with some May madness!!

 

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Copyright © 2019 Montaffera All Rights Reserved

Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

 

Meditation? – #NaPoWriMo19 – 29

#NaPoWriMo19, Childhood, Mental Health No Comments »

Hello!

 

“…Today, I’d like to challenge you to blend…concepts into your own work, by producing a poem that meditates, from a position of tranquility, on an emotion you have felt powerfully. You might try including a dramatic, declarative statement, like Hass’s “All the new thinking is about loss,” or O’Hara’s “It is easy to be beautiful; it is difficult to appear so.” Or, like, Baudelaire, you might try addressing your feeling directly, as if it were a person you could talk to. There are as many approaches to this as there are poets, and poems.” [from the NaPoWriMo site]

 

Well, I don’t know about you, but if I ‘meditate’ on an issue I’m having, my inner wisdom has a way of never pulling her punch.  I get it squarely between the eyes and have to stop flinching and actually accept the lesson before I can move on.  I get a lot of these home truths dealt to me while doing mundane things like washing our dishes, folding laundry or just wandering back from the school run looking at the sky…

Something I read (or someone said) might stay with me, and my inner wisdom will shrug and tell me that I might not like it, but if I look across the patterns of my day-to-day there is this piece of evidence, this silly sabotaging habit, this phrase I use that proves that person/book was at least half relevant to something I’m wrestling with.  There is usually a very annoying list of achievable steps that gets presented to me as well, or a YouTube video pops up that is ridiculously well timed…don’t you just hate that?!

This poem came out of our need to start tweaking things around the house now that the kids are getting more independent and the fixtures and fittings are not holding up as well as they used to, etc etc… 

 

If it gets too good they’ll change it,

Better not get comfy here;

Then your confidence won’t be hit

When ‘they’ turn – and you can’t steer.

 

So: these walls did not get painted

And this carpet’s still the same

As the day the previous owners

Picked it out – yes I’m to blame;

 

And there’s still unopened boxes

Lurking in our storage piles

That I have no heart to ditch yet

So keep lugging o’er the miles.

 

I think I’m waiting for some signal

That I can trust what is good

Not to vanish like a mirage

If I drop my guard. Then: stood

 

In the glow of my achievements

(And the knowledge I now hold)

I’ll stop running scripts from childhood

And refusing to be bold…

 

So that’s my little pep talk with myself over for another day 😉

That’s the penultimate poem of NaPoWriMo dusted, too!  Whoa!

Catch you tomorrow…

 

[Pic is from here]

 

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Copyright © 2019 Montaffera All Rights Reserved

Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

 

Poem In Progress – #NaPoWriMo19 – 28

#NaPoWriMo19 No Comments »

Hi!

 

“…Today I’d like to challenge you to try your hand at a meta-poem of your own.” [NaPoWriMo site]

I sat and blew out my cheeks a bit, wondering just how I was supposed to start writing a poem about poetry. I then read the examples given in the prompt for today and the below came out in a rush:

 

When there’s a huge tangled mess in your pathways,

If after downtime alone it’s not solved;

If a thought won’t take heed of what pals say

(Instead of surrendering it’s evolved)

Then – my dear! – thrash it out on your notepad,

Shake it loose, get it down, set it free!

Maybe then your innards will not feel sad?

And, what’s more, you’ll have birthed poetry

 

So that’ll be Day 28 of Global/National Poetry Writing Week wrapped up then, and with a decent rhyming scheme, too!

Two more days to go…

 

[Pic is from here]

 

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Copyright © 2019 Montaffera All Rights Reserved

Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

Shaking Up A Sonnet – #NaPoWriMo19 – 27

#NaPoWriMo19, Mental Health No Comments »

Hey there!

 

“…I’d like to challenge you to “remix” a Shakespearean sonnet. Here’s all of Shakespeare’s sonnets. You can pick a line you like and use it as the genesis for a new poem. Or make a “word bank” out of a sonnet, and try to build a new poem using the same words (or mostly the same words) as are in the poem. Or you could try to write a new poem that expresses the same idea as one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, like “hey baby, this poem will make you immortal” (Sonnet XVIII) or “I’m really bad at saying I love you but maybe if I look at you adoringly, you’ll understand what I mean” (Sonnet XXIII)…”

[NaPoWriMo site]

 

It is our wedding anniversary today.  We sat on the couch with the kids and watched a couple of nervous 30-somethings say their vows to each other, remarked upon the length of my dress and how hard it was to walk in, calculated how old different family members must have been then, etc etc.  Our Youngest liked the song we’d picked for our first dance (Katie Melua’s Nine Million Bicycles), and our Eldest was asking about the logistics of me getting in and out of the bridal car 😉

So when I read the prompt for today’s NaPo contribution, I decided to look at Sonnet number 27 (because we met on the 27th of March 2005 and were married on the 27th of April 2008…) and I realised that it was a fitting Sonnet, as it is about being really tired after a busy day, but one’s mind spanning the miles to a lover as soon as one lies down.

Being a ruminator, however, the 3rd and 4th lines have a darker meaning for me, too:

“But then begins a journey in my head
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired…”

So I decided to change some of Shakespeare’s words to tweak the feel of the poem from  one of romantic infatuation to one of anxiety.  I have given Shakespeare’s lines in grey and the ones I’m using in blue, so you can see how they compare and contrast…like the good wee English scholar I was taught to be, haha.

** Trigger warning for some of the imagery I’ve used **

 

Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
Wearing a tee, Hub snoring in my bed,

The dear respose for limbs with travel tir’d;
The dear lord knows I’ve never been so tir’d;

But then begins a journey in my head

But then begins a journey in my head

To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired:

To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired:

Woman behind a book of Shakespeare's work

 

For then my thoughts–from far where I abide—

My stupid thoughts—their whirl I can’t abide–

Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,

Intend a zealous voyage out my tree,

And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,

And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,

Looking on darkness which the blind do see:

Musing on pointless questions I do see:

Save that my soul’s imaginary sight

The demons that I should keep out of sight

Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,

Present their shadows to my helpless view,

Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,

Which, like a slipknot hung in ghastly light,

Makes black night beauteous, and her old face new.

Makes blessed night dangerous, and her sweet face skew.

Lo! thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,

Lo! thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,

For thee, and for myself, no quiet find.

For Hub, and for myself, no quiet find.

 

I rather enjoyed messing about with the bard’s work 😉

Only three more April poems to write for this year!  I can’t believe that I have managed to keep up (and post up) an entry for every day with all the holidays and kid wrangling.  (I know a few, like this one, have had to be backdated by half a day or so, but the poems have still all been accounted for).

Meet you back here later 🙂

 

[Pic is from here]

 

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Copyright © 2019 Montaffera All Rights Reserved

Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

Again – #NaPoWriMo19 – 26

#NaPoWriMo19 No Comments »

 

Hi!

 

“Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that uses repetition.” [NaPoWriMo site]

 

I was so tired while writing this poem I actually had to wake myself up several times to complete it.  I let Hubby read it afterwards, and he says it is cohesive enough, so I’m rolling with it.  Another backdated post, another poem I don’t really feel I can claim I had full control over – how’s that for repetition?!

The hazards of trying to keep a housework/creative life balance: when people say they are going to visit you have to run around with a vacuum, duster and the “eye of someone who doesn’t live here” for hours so that the place looks like you might have a modicum of respect for the fact most people like to sit down in a calm space to chat.  Then, of course, all the creative work for the day has to be done after the kids are in bed, and in my case that means I’ve been up for at least 14hrs already…

But I am also very lucky to have such a full life and the large array of possessions with which I ‘choose’ to clutter my home, then have to move/dust/vacuum around! 😉

 

“I’d hate…I’d HATE to repeat the same mistakes”

She says

And she draws upon the fag

She swore she’d never buy again.

 

I blink in the murky cloud

Wondering what she might

Expect me to provide here.

 

(I have said the same myself,

But mistakes repeat on me:

I belch bile into enflamed situations

Seemingly for sport).

 

I feel my lip curl up

And the sarcasm slide out unchecked.

 

We make a good team, her and I –

As long as no one’s seeking comfort

And we take turns at acting mean.

 

I’ll be back later with the 27th’s offering!

 

[Pic is from here]

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Copyright © 2019 Montaffera All Rights Reserved

Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

Sprightly Spring – #NaPoWriMo19 – 25

#NaPoWriMo19, Childhood, Parenting No Comments »

Hello!

 

The prompt on the NaPoWriMo site had very specific criteria today:

“I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that:
• Is specific to a season
• Uses imagery that relates to all five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell)
• Includes a rhetorical question, (like Keats’ “where are the songs of spring?”)”

After faffing about writing a kind of ode to our Cherry Blossom tree in the garden (which is looking very pretty just now) and failing to include more than two senses, I came up with the below. I originally forgot to include the rhetorical question, but tweaked the end to incorporate it 😉

Every morning this week
The aroma of earth, cut grass and breeze –
Collecting up my wanderlust
And making me despise routine.
Just let the children sleep in!
The sun has created a masterpiece
In gold and fluffy pink;
And the best soundtrack
Is peaceful breath
From dreaming kids.

(Woodpigeon agrees
As his call he silences)
I curse the window-squeak
As I inch it wider.
I’m yearning now
For the delicate velvet of petals
Against weathered hands,
And the unmistakable waft
Of neighbours’ charcoal;
Seeming to coat my tongue
In the promise of feasts…

But the next moment
The most pressing ‘spring’
Becomes that in my Youngest’s bladder.

Isn’t it marvellous how perfect
A single curl can seem,
Burnished by a rogue ray, as he runs?

 

Only five days of this challenge left! I wonder what I’ll be writing about tomorrow…?!

 

 

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Copyright © 2019 Montaffera All Rights Reserved

Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

What Disney Taught Me – #NaPoWriMo19 – 24

#NaPoWriMo19 No Comments »

Hey there 🙂 

 

“Today’s (optional) prompt is to write a poem that, like “Dictionary Illustrations,” is inspired by a reference book. Locate a dictionary, thesaurus, or encyclopaedia, open it at random, and consider the two pages in front of you to be your inspirational playground for the day” [From the Global/National Poetry Writing Month’s site]

Pages 48 and 49 of Disney’s Wonderful World of Knowledge – Art Through The Ages (1973 edition) talk about Constantine and the impact he had on the Roman Empire and Christian art/architecture:

 

Byzantium became where Constantinople was –

Though Constantine himself

Had named it “New Rome”.

 

And Romans became Christians

Because he did;

And he did because she did (his mum).

 

An Eastern Roman Christian Empire

Un-‘barbaric’ now.

The Western lot then followed suit.

 

Hagia Sophia: a church begun by Constantine,

Breathtakingly Byzantine, but to the glory of one God.

(One can change in name, but never muffle art)

 

I have the whole set of these encyclopaedias, but when I reached into the awkward space of the cupboard I keep them in, with no detailed visual (as I was leaning over a low chest of drawers, and am short-sighted anyway…) it seemed fitting that the art volume should have fallen into my hand, after Easter Monday’s post.

My mum diligently bought the set for me book by book as she was determined that I should have them as a resource growing up.  I do use them with my own kids, for homework or to answer pressing questions of the moment, but it is a shame I have not flicked through them more over the years.  It is also sad that some of the ‘current’ information will be so different to what’s printed in the books.

It makes me think about the impact things like Brexit and extinction rates will have on how parts of information we take for granted now will be viewed even five years from now…and that’s not a thought-spiral this imaginative person wants to unleash, I assure you!

So I’ll scarper for now.  Take care everyone, and I’ll be back with (hopefully cheery?!) musings tomorrow 😉

 

[Pic is from here]

 

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Copyright © 2019 Montaffera All Rights Reserved

Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

Message In An Ousel – #NaPoWriMo19 – 23

#NaPoWriMo19 No Comments »

Hello!

 

“I’d like to challenge you today to write a poem about an animal” [NaPoWriMo site]

I took a breather in the garden today as the kids were back at school and I was feeling a little out of sorts (over nothing in particular). 

I looked up at the lovely white-blossom tree that bobs above our back fence, and relaxed to the general low hub-bub of the neighbourhood mixed with the sounds of nature.

Inhaled. 

Exhaled…

 

I listened: a familiar song!

A blackbird spied upon the lawn –

A dapper fellow, sooted out,  

Tossing leaves and twigs about.

 

His melody does take me back

To a dear man, with records stacked;

Who taught me many gentle things

‘Bout moss, trains – and how blackbirds sing.

 

Now that man rests on heaven’s shore,

But morning’s broken here once more;

Despite his garb, this bird brought smiles:

His serenade a welcome wile.

 

Until tomorrow, dear readers…

 

[Pic is from here]

 

Come visit the Facebook page and follow @ComfyRestless on Twitter

Copyright © 2019 Montaffera All Rights Reserved

Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!

 

Artistic Space – #NaPoWriMo19 – 22

#NaPoWriMo19, Parenting 2 Comments »

Hiya!

 

I have been dabbling in drawing recently.  It seems to calm me more than writing does (!)

Back in 2007 I had bought Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain by Betty Edwards (I got a discount as I was working in a branch of Waterstones bookshop at the time), and through my reading I learned about negative space and using what isn’t there, among other tricks. 

I completed the exercises for about two thirds of the book.  For example: I traced my hand onto my cobbled-together ‘picture plane’ with a black felt tip, took marking points off it and jotted them onto my charcoal-shaded piece of cartridge paper; then went ahead and drew a passable representation of said posed extremity with a pencil! 

The original sketch on the plastic ‘picture plane’

The finished drawing, shaded in charcoal and drawn in pencil on cartridge paper. March 2007 🙂

Later that year we moved  to our first house together, started to plan our wedding, I got a new job that was nothing to do with exploring my creative side…

I did draw a few things in the years after that, but nothing too brilliant, and (as I became a mum in 2010) that hobby just fell by the wayside pretty sharply around seven years ago (there was a brief resurgence in July of 2011, according to my sketchbook, when Eldest was 15 months old, but I would get pregnant again a year later…yada yada…).

Then the idea for drawing the kids for my mum sprang into my mind in October 2018 and I have been drawing consistently ever since.  I sketched our boys from two photographs in time for my mum’s 60th birthday on the 30th of December 2018.  They turned out a lot better than I had anticipated, and thankfully she loved them!  I have never been so nervous about handing her a present I’ve made in my entire life 😉 The sketch of Eldest took me something like 12hrs, and Youngest’s around 8hrs. 

Detail from sketch of Eldest – December 2018 – charcoal and graphite on paper

That’s not including all the thinking about starting that day’s session I would do before knuckling down and just drawing, of course…

Detail from sketch of Youngest – December 2018 – Charcoal and graphite on paper 

The kids asked for sketching pencils for their birthdays, and I draw with them as part of ‘mummy time’ multiple times a week.  It sparks a lot of interesting conversations, and they loved watching their own faces emerge out of the paper last year! 

We frequently visit this YouTube channel for fun and contemporary drawing tutorials.

Anyway, the 22nd prompt on the NaPoWriMo site said:

“Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that engages with another art form”

Which brought me to talk about my little drawing journey (sorry if I’ve written about it before…I don’t think I have?!)

 

I was attempting to draw Steven Tyler from this photo, but did not heed the advice in the poem… October 2018, graphite on paper

A nose is to be drawn out of shadow.

A chin is often crucial to a face.

A jawline’s known to dance,

And a hairline takes its chance;

But an artist’s hand can craft with empty space.

 

I know that after all that preamble it is a very short poem this evening, but I like it! So I hope you do, too!

See you back here tomorrow for day 23!

 

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Copyright © 2019 Montaffera All Rights Reserved

Please do not use any of my content (posts, pictures, poetry etc) without my permission, but feel free to link back to my blog if something catches your eye. Thank you!