Of Spring and things

Last week on Feb 12th the cranes started flying North, their rasping cries lift the spirits for I know now that Spring must be coming, especially as I hear swarms of tiny bees buzzing in the sun collecting pollen from the flowering remnants of an old box-hedge and from the catkin lanterns high up catching the sun’s warmth. (Strangely there are no bees at all interested in mimosa which is flowering abundantly this year, and even though the air is filled with it’s perfume.)

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Familiar Spring sounds of bird-song accompany me as I walk Meggie through the forests here. As I squelch over the mush of fallen leaves, through a sprinkling of acorns and chestnuts,  I spot the odd gleaming white shoot, like a naked foot extending tentatively feeling its way out of it’s shell to anchor into the earth. I realise I’m witnessing the birth of tomorrow’s forests, this is a magical show indeed, who needs television or entertainment?

These are only the stuff of memory now, a mere 3 days later (today) I was going photograph “monopedes” during my lunch-time walk, but they seem to have drastically depleted in number, so my romantic notion of future forests being seeded has faded…..probably down the throat of a hungry wild animal, eating the first tasty young shoots of spring, I did find this little cluster of acorns though, all competing for a square millimetre of space.

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On a totally different note, we have a big commission coming up, due to start on Monday; I worked on the designs in Autumn last year, they were accepted, and we arranged to start in 2016. The brief is to paint a large ceiling above a swimming pool:

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The biggest and most critical requirement was how to reach the ceiling above the pool, which is housed by a building (where I’ve already made my mark, a full 18 years ago! ) Here are a couple of pics, it’s lasted very well considering the humid environment.

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I plastered the walls, which I painted with varying blues, then added broken patches of plaster, to emulate an old fresco, into which I painted the broken design.  These days Graham does the prep and plastering which is enormously helpful, as I’m getting a bit creaky in the old joints.

As I said, this job demanded a fair amount of technical planning; Graham designed a bridge to span the pool so that the water won’t have to be emptied out. We had the basic structure built of alluminium by a local firm, ready for Graham to assemble and add wooden platforms. Unfortunately the firm quite obviously didn’t put it together to check it, one imagines they built it theoretically, so the air turned rather blue when G discovered most of the bolt holes had been drilled in the wrong places, therefore they didn’t line up, so he had to drill new ones. Anyway one side of the bridge is standing up today, by tomorrow he will have the 2 sides connected up ready for attaching wheels and platforms.

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Here is the preliminary sketch for the ceiling, the idea being to make it look aged and faded so it will feel comfortable in its surroundings (a lovely old stone farmhouse):

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And finally I can’t resist putting this pic in the post…a wistful soul in her garden:

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9 thoughts on “Of Spring and things

  1. Hello Liz, quel beau projet! qui changera tellement l’ambiance un peu triste de ce lieu!
    mais courage pour la réalisation les bras en l’air!

  2. So lovely to see the signs of Spring. Wonderful time of year.

    What a great commission. Mind you, you will have quite a crick in your neck by the end of the summer, unless you do a Michelangelo and paint it laying on your back. Love the bridge idea, well done Graham. Look forward to your posts over the summer with progress pics.

    • Yes, I haven’t been painting ceilings lately, so I will have to get my neck into training! On the other hand I am convinced Michelangelo did not paint lying on his back, firstly it would mean he was always in a tight space, at less than arms length, which would made it very difficult to sit up and select a colour, which he would have had to do, imagine lying down and searching for the pot your colour was in, and dipping the brush in would have been awkward. I suspect he was a very quick worker, and probably when the pope came in to inspect the works, he was found lying down having a rest! I suppose his assistant could have mixed colours for him, as indeed, you do have to work fast when painting frescoes ( I believe a square metre a day was the norm), however I seem to remember he insisted on being alone when painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Then there is the plaster itself which would have to be mixed and applied quickly, again, not easy if you are lying prone, you have to be nimble on your feet when plastering…….. well that’s my theory anyway!xL

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