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!

 


	  

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!

 

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!

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!

Of Malt and Pandicorns – #NaPoWriMo19 – 21

#NaPoWriMo19, Childhood, Random poetry No Comments »

Hey 🙂

 

Happy Easter, dear readers!!

 

“Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that, like The Color of Pomegranates and “City That Does Not Sleep,” incorporates wild, surreal images. Try to play around with writing that doesn’t make formal sense, but which engages all the senses and involves dream-logic.” [from the NaPoWriMo site]

I got to the end of the day and once more was extremely tired, so I think I was actually dreaming when I wrote this poem!  It’s a bit Enid Blyton meets nonense-y, which kind of fulfils the prompt?  Anyway, it also rhymes, which I thought was impressive for my attention span after lots of Easter fun with the boys in the (sunny!!!) back garden 😉

It is reminiscent of the stuff I used to write in early high school, come to think of it.  Awww, my subconscious mind is still semi-childlike (!!)

Oh, and because I was supposed to make the poem a bit weird, I enlisted the Jimpix generator’s help, too…

 

We should have gorged upon their finest Malt

And eaten scabby horses

(A mammal most delicious when

The second of six courses)

 

Our location swiftly hidden from

The Pandicorn stampede,

(Our host-gnome having promised

Our safety was guaranteed)

We went onwards with our merry march,

Shown fairy-crafted arts.

 

Somewhere near humans’ Bradiford

Griffin dances made their start.

 

Showcasing colours various

With sequin-like great wings

Dragons rendered combustible

All elven garland strings…

 

But soon the time did come again

When we had to depart –

Step out of fae imaginings

Real life’s course once more to chart.

 

Ach, it’ll do 😉

Take care, and I’ll catch you later!

 

[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!

 

 

Vigil – #NaPoWriMo19 – 17

#NaPoWriMo19, Mental Health, Parenting, Relationships 5 Comments »

Hiya 🙂

 

“Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that…presents a scene from an unusual point of view. Perhaps you could write a poem that presents Sir Isaac Newton’s discovery from the perspective of the apple. Or the shootout at the OK Corral from the viewpoint of a passing vulture. Or maybe it could be something as everyday as a rainstorm, as experienced by a raindrop” 

[Glo/NaPoWriMo prompt, from here]

 

I have concealed myself

At the foot of your bed many times;

Waking to the dawn,

The dust,

Your steady breath at last.

 

You never discover my vigils.

You’ve not spoken to me in days.

 

I know how he hits you:

How your sobs sound

Through two floors

And many tight doors.

 

Why does he always return?

Why do you allow such violations of your peace?

 

He reeks of things

I’m not sure you quite fathom.

It’s hard to tell he ever came from you.

 

Your face last night looked different.

I know it made you flinch, but I just had to lick it clean.

 

 

What’s happening there, then…?

 

Catch you back here tomorrow 🙂

 

[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!

Spooky Stuff – #NaPoWriMo19 – 13

#NaPoWriMo19, Childhood, Parenting, Relationships 2 Comments »

Hi!

 

“Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem about something mysterious and spooky!”

Not one to deny the NaPoWriMo gods their fun, I came up with this wee ditty:

 

It’s eerily quiet

The playroom’s awash

With the sound of their nothing

And tidiness – gosh!

One of the last schoolday cuddles of them being 8 and 5!

 

 

There’s none of the bickering/

Playing the fool

I do believe…

…what’s that…?

They’ve gone back to school?!!

 

Two weeks have gone by rather quickly, all in all, and I will be walking our boys down the road on Monday a ‘whole year’ older (and with a few sad little hugs along the way, no doubt).  They are getting so BIG and, although it is rather full-on parenting 12+ hours every day for two weeks, the house will indeed be ghostly without them.

They will be off again on the 19th and 22nd for Easter, mind you – and so will hubby! 😉

I’ll see YOU here tomorrow, as it also marks the end of the second week of Glo/NaPoWriMo!  Exciting!

 

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!

Origination – #NaPoWriMo19 – 11

#NaPoWriMo19, Childhood, Relationships No Comments »

Hi 🙂

 

My optional prompt said:

“Today, taking a leaf from Elhillo’s work, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem of origin. Where are you from? Not just geographically, but emotionally, physically, spiritually?”

I can feel a bit of emotional turmoil coming on…

 

My ‘reality’ lies in a place far from here

(That I carry around every day)

In a flounce of blonde curls

In the twirl of a dress

In the unfettered rapture of play.

 

My ‘comfortable’ lies in the accepting smiles

Of a generation I still miss,

In a record’s crackle,

In the stories and songs;

In the slow and muted Sunday bliss.

 

My empathy mourns at too many graves.

Borne too early, it’s said from ‘misdeed’;

The silt of their follies

The sting of their regrets:

All that potential joy gone to seed…

 

In a church wrapped in mist, sits a being of light

(Who is male, because that’s what I craved)

He sees only my good,

I’m fin’lly understood!

He just loves: needs no deference or slave.

 

What do you feel are your roots…?

Meet you back here tomorrow to see what new poem originates from my keyboard!

(Yes, I am definitely missing my biros and pencils, but I am having to speed-write these as the kids are off…so it is straight into type at the moment!)

 

[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!

 

Listing for balance – #NaPoWriMo19 – 9

#NaPoWriMo19, Childhood, Parenting 1 Comment »

Hello!

 

“Today, I’d like to challenge you to write your own Sei Shonagon-style list of “things.” What things? Well, that’s for you to decide!”

…said the #NaPoWriMo site.

So I twirled around in this airy idea for a while, and just wrote what came to mind 😉 

 

My boys make endless verbal lists of how they rank things:

Updating, rechecking, asking each other if they agree;

I get stumped when they probe what my favourite this, that or the other is –

I don’t know why.

It makes me feel…unkind? Unworldly? Unmasked?

 

I was keeping a written list of all the poems I’d ever penned, back in the 90s.

I still have it, each title numbered.  I remember the gist of some.

My endless paper pile sometimes yields the scribbled texts.

 

I have a notebook full of troll names, too.

I gave them family trees by matching colours of hair

and deciding which were the kids.

 

Over the years

There were schedules I rarely followed,

Characters I left half-formed,

Reams of quotes from books;

Text messages I was loath to lose to deletion, when my phone only held the most precious fifteen…

 

At present, there are the affirmations I might one day use,

Printed pages of “10 ways to…” tackle everything from housework to a child’s tantrum,

And my “3 wins” documented for every day since the start of this year.

 

But the ones I unearth most often now are the holiday/visit lists;

For mother/adulthood, at key points in the year, always calls for a

“Wardrobe simplification exercise”

 Or a “dust-bunny eradication plan”.

 

My life: charted by my corresponding obsessions and necessities.

 

An archive of snippets, a flurry of thought.

 

What do you write lists about?  Have you kept any from your younger years?

 

Catch you tomorrow!

 

[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!

Wishes – #NaPoWriMo19 – 7

#NaPoWriMo19, Childhood, Mental Health, Parenting 2 Comments »

Hey there 🙂

 

It was Eldest’s birthday today, and the Na/GloPoWriMo prompt  decided to run with this nicely:

Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem of gifts and joy. What would you give yourself, if you could have anything? What would you give someone else?

Happy writing!

Youngest’s birthday was only eight days ago.

I get sentimental at this time of year, I warn you now…the start of the poem is Eldest’s answer to “what would you like for your birthday if you could have anything?” while he was talking about his X-Box adventures 😉

 

“Sixty-four emeralds!”  – said with a grin

(For Minecraft – it’s all ‘invent’ry’ will fit in)

Why did I not know that all we’d to do

Was ‘dig’ him up a shiny green thing or two?!

 

I wish that my joy could be bought with such ease –

I’m standing here mourning that time is a thief,

And I’m wishing this handsome young man with bed-hair

Could somehow rewind a few years…it’s not fair!

 

Though, better still, please the capacity

To visit myself in my uncertainty

In each parenting stage (once at last I am wise)

With assurances, hugs – more rational eyes.

 

It would be nice to think in my quiet old age

I could comfort my young self, sow peace through my days;

That the next time I felt like collapsing in sobs,

I’d be at my own shoulder,

                                           whisp’ring softly:

                                                                       “Good job…!”

 

I am getting this up on the blog at a ridiculously wee hour of the morning, so I must dash, but I’ll be back later for day eight.  Ciao for now!

 

[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!