Saturday, 2 July 2011

Artists who loved the countryside ... where history entwines them with fingerprints, self-publication and Higgs Boson

Now that summer is here and holidays are happening, how many of us continue on that long tradition of sketching and painting the countryside – knowing that the light is clear and translucent, the shadows sharp and the weather likely to give us plenty of time to bask in the glory of the great outdoors.

Artists of this world have gone out into the depths of countryside to set up their easels, to take out their sketch book, open their satchel to extract their paints, their water bottles and start utilising that creative streak that brings us the magic of the muses.

Our words ‘technique, technology and technical’ are derived from the Greek word “techne” ... when art implied mastery of any craft – one who pursues a practical science, traditionally medicine, astrology, alchemy, chemistry ... a creative person, including one who cultivates one of the fine arts.

Book of Hours
The muses presided over each of these nine fields of human creation – but in ancient Greece sculptors and painters were held in low esteem, somewhere between freemen and slaves, their work regarded as mere manual labour.

Over time the word art, derived from the Latin “ars” meaning ‘skill method’ became appreciated with the advent of decorated religious manuscripts.  Initially these decorations would be simple letter characters, but soon delicate drawings of the beasts and flowers were incorporated.

Art really came into its own as we would recognise it today back in the 1400s, when the Renaissance humanist polymath Leon Battista Alberti’s works focused on the importance of intellectual skills of the artist rather than the manual skills.

Academies of the arts, philosophical and scientific centres, were established in sixteenth century Italy – patronised by the noble families of the period ... leading to Academies being founded in the cities of Europe, our own Royal Academy being founded in 1768.

Turner’s painting of Ivy Bridge
in Devon
Artists were treating landscape in the classical style, painting as it might have been depicted in the Roman era, but times were changing with Dutch and French artists starting to paint the countryside as they saw it.

This influenced J M W Turner (1775 – 1851) who became one of the greatest of British landscape painters.  Turner was a Londoner, who was inspired by the countryside, particularly while pursuing another love – that of trout fishing.

A controversial figure in his day – but now revered as a master of his craft.  A man who was happiest while fishing and sketching capturing the magic of the British countryside that we so admire in his pictures today: which also give us an insight into his world two hundred and fifty years ago.

Constable’s painting of Wivenhoe Park;
now the campus for the University of
Essex – and as an aside ... the park
is host a very large colony of rabbits!
John Constable (1776 – 1837) another of those times, painted the area around his home of Dedham Vale in Suffolk ... deciding that he ‘would paint his own places best’ – however he sold more paintings in France than in England ... only becoming accepted once elected to the Royal Academy at the age of 52.

Over the years many excellent British artists have attempted to distil the peculiar magic of the countryside, which lurks in our woods and fields: from the Romantic style of Samuel Palmer (1805 – 1881) to the Surrealist Paul Nash (1889 – 1946).

Garden in Shoreham. Painted
in the 1820s or early
1830s by Samuel Palmer.
Other artists emerged belonging to the tradition of natural history illustration, which dates back to the pioneer botanists and zoologists of the 18th century – see my post on the early Naturalists.

Thomas Bewick (1753 – 1828) working around the early 1800s, was a countryman, an author and illustrator, with a dedicated respect for the facts of natural history.  

He founded a style of wood-block engraving which has continued to this day, carving in harder woods, notably box wood, against the grain, using the fine tools normally favoured by the metal engravers.

A barn owl from Bewick's
History of British Birds
His name lives on in the species of the Bewick Swan, and of the (American) Bewick Wren ... but he is also noteworthy for having used his fingerprint as a form of signature, in conjunction with his written name to denote individuality in his publications. 

Perhaps two hundred years ago he was among the first to recognise the uniqueness of each individual human fingerprint.

He wrote and illustrated many books of which his greatest achievement is his History of British Birds (1797 – 1804: in 2 volumes – Land Birds and Sea Birds).

Into these strong beginnings of recording the natural world came the curious and investigative Victorians and Edwardians, who ensured this natural knowledge of botany, zoology and horticulture, continued to set the standards.

The Reverend Keble Martin’s (1877 – 1969) Concise British Flora is a family favourite ... it is a work of art depicting the richness of the wildflowers of our land – a comprehensive reference work.  Many diarists followed this tradition and their works are reprinted to this day.

The world of the published Beatrix Potter (1866 – 1943) dawned ... but did you know – she was self-published!  Interest had been shown in her art work in the late 1800s, but with the Tale of Peter Rabbit in browns and greens the publishers wanted colour illustrations ... which by now were both popular and affordable.

Potter self-published in 1901 before the publishers recognised that the manuscript would compete with Helen Bannerman’s wildly popular “Little Black Sambo” and other small format children’s books.

First edition cover
Negotiations were reopened to include colour illustrations and they promptly signed her up ... as Potter had finally agreed to use colour realising it was essential for the market place.

Bannerman (1862 – 1966) had lived for a good proportion of her life in India, where her husband was an officer in the Indian Medical Service.  The heroes of her books are recognizably south Indian or Tamil children, while the plots celebrate the intelligence and ingenuity of children. 

Sad that these stories have been misconstrued .... as I marvelled at the fun of getting the tigers to chase themselves round that palm tree, before they melted into butter, with Sambo’s mother rewarding him with pancakes made from that self same butter ... ah childhood memories.

Helen Bannerman has another claim to fame ... which Stephen Tremp of Breakthrough Blogs will relate to ... she is the mother of famous physicist Tom Kibble, who co-discovered the Higgs-Kibble mechanism and Higgs boson – both in the scientific news recently and featured in Stephen’s posts.

Wastwater in the Lake District
What’s this got to do with painting in the countryside ... not much probably ... but it is the summertime – the colours of the landscape are at their best, the vagaries of the wind creating magical skies and thus shadow and light onto this earth of ours below.

The creative bloggers – the artists, musicians, authors et al – will be using the summertime to hone their creations, start new projects, rejuvenate their thoughts ... or just dabble in the sheer delight that is summer.

Who knows what will be discovered in the years ahead that will be linked back to our endeavours of today ... a new art form, another forensic beginning, a scientific discovery – will we be time travelling, and how will we be reading and writing ... have a happy, relaxing or prolific summertime.

Dear Mr Postman ... just a quick update on my mother ... we had a lively day when she was very chatty – determined to get to the library to find an autobiography ... no names – I tried a few ... one was John Knott – immediately back came the retort:  ‘no he’s a politician’!  She wanted to go to the dentist – he’s in Morrab Road she said: he is!  The brain is an extraordinary organ ... she hasn’t been in Penzance for 4 ½ years ... let alone reading or to the dentist!  Always amazes me and we then enjoyed Wimbldeon!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories



Good Day Hilary, a wonderful post about artist and their love of sketching the landscapes during summer, I pretty well do much the same but as I can't sketch I take photo's and make notes for poems.
It's good to get into the country side away from the hsutle and bustle of life.
I hope you are well and that blogger is behaving it'self.
I can't complain on that score at the moment,

Enjoy your week-end.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Yvonne .. lovely to see you - and you're so right that we all get out and about in the summer .. and I forgot about the photographers of us out there .. and as you day make notes for poems.

Just the peace of birdsong, insects puttering around ... well away from traffic noise and hustle and bustle of life ... are all so essential for us to rejuvinate our souls.

Well there were a few major blogger hassles during the week - but all well now ..

You too - have a lovely summer sunny weekend - looks glorious up here and I guess you're basking in sunshine too .. happy days - Hilary

Gail said...

What a wonderfully informative and enjoyable post.

You are an artist with your words.

My sister calls me an artist and yet, I fail to show my paintings and see only child like drawings instead of what I saw in my mind when I began the project.

The joy of painting or sketching is another matter. The action removes me from my surroundings and transports me to a place where only the brush, the canvas and the color exist...I love that feeling.

Again, wonderful post, thank you.

Joanne said...

With all the trending to self-pubbing in the literary world, it's interesting to see how Potter self-published in 1901 before getting traditionally published ... The more things change, the more they stay the same?

Linda said...

Hi Hilary, I have a collection of Beatrix Potter's books that my Mom had or picked up somewhere. I also hadn't thought about Little Black Sambo in ages. Probably not politically correct these days, but a charming tale nevertheless.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gail .. delighted that you enjoyed the post .. and thanks so much for your comment.

You're certainly an artist with your photography .. they're great photos .. and you have that ability to be succinct words - no fluff necessary.

Would love to be able to paint and sketch .. it's in the family, but not coming out here .. fantastic that you can allow yourself to be transported away .. presumably with one of your four legged friends.

Many thanks - appreciate your thoughts ...

@ Joanne - I thought Beatrix Potter's approach would interest people .. but on reflection I suppose if you had cash - that was the only way to do it then ... no easy route -

- but as you say the more things change .. the more they stay the same ... seems to be right.

@ Linda .. I'm sure we had some of her books too - well we used to holiday with relatives near her home in the Lake District - and I remembering visiting (way back when!).

Little Black Sambo is such a wonderful little set of books .. and as you say - political correctness came calling - sadly that's the case .. a really charming tale though

Great to see you all - Gail, Joanne and Linda .. thanks - Hilary

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Hello, Dear Hilary,

Joanne's right, what seems to be new is not and has been done before. I think I realize that more and more.

I love love love the Ivy Bridge painting. I cn tell Turner was inspired by his countryside! I dabble in oil but mostly sketch people.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I studied art in college - your post was like a refresher course!

Susan Scheid said...

What a magnificent and joyful post! I so admire those who set up their easels out of doors and create something beautiful right there. The tools of the trade are works of art on their own, as well. I was looking at the beautiful cloud formations here today and thought how beautifully Constable would have rendered them. And Turner! Of course, there is no one like him. You are right, too, that their magnificent paintings also give us entrance into the world as it was when they painted. How lucky we are to have their art--and the natural world that inspired it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Teresa .. it always amazes me to hear things have been done before and this is the nth time around .. sometimes I realise it - more often not!

We used to pass through Ivy Bridge on our way to Cornwall (it's a village), before they put in a bypass .. the town is in the valley below.

In Turner's day the area must have been so quiet .. serene in its Devon countryside .. and as you imply we can see it depicted here.

Wonderful you are able to 'dabble' and that sketching comes naturally .. I'd love to be able to do that .. such a relaxing hobby ..

@ Alex .. gosh that's complement! Thanks .. it was interesting to write!

@ Susan .. I'd love to be able to paint or draw & just to be able to lose myself doing so in the countryside would be superb.

Those tools of the artists' trade are extraordinary .. I went to the Watercolour Exhibition in London recently .. and will write on it sometime. They displayed art and the tools through the centuries.

Constable's colours are quite incredible - I'm amazed how well they are reflected here in the post .. those clouds are superb.

Now we have photographs of the last 150 years or so .. but before that it was the artists portraying what they saw .. once they were freed from their masters and the demands of 'a commission' .. where pleasing the master was as important as the painting itself.

Thanks for your great comment ..

Teresa, Alex and Susan .. so good to see you - Happy 4th July .. Hilary

Amanda Trought said...

Hilary, a lovely post, very informative...I have started to think about how my creativity will expand during the summer months... I am also hoping to try some new techniques, and maybe courses..loving the countryside..a feast for the eyes! Stay blessed. Amanda
Amanda - Realityarts-Creativity
Art Blog

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Amanda .. so good to see you & I'll be catching up with you soon .. it's that time of year isn't it for reflection and trying new things ..

Your art is brilliant .. and you have so much to offer .. but it's great you too want to expand your knowledge ..

The creative side shines out .. you too have a lovely summer and I hope you can get out and about a bit - into the Parks at least - for which London is blessed.

Cheers for now & enjoy .. Hilary

Unknown said...

I think I would go with the word - “techne” for the word “ars” looks a lot like the word arse. Just saying.

I love Turner's work because it's so beautiful. I'm not really into art because I often don't understand it but his work gives us a glimpse into the past.

I think wood-block engraving takes talent. I can't believe what skill they have.

Very informative post.

MorningAJ said...

What a lovely post! Thank you for this trip through the natural artists. I loved it.

scarlett clay said...

I love learning more about artists and thier work, this is an incredibly interesting post. I especially love Bewick's owl (I like owls) and I did not know that about Potter-wow! Found you through Ellen's blog, so glad I did. Have a great 4th!

Sibyl-alternaview said...

Hillary: Great post and thanks for introducing me to so many authors I haven't heard of. I thought the point you made about creative bloggers using summer to hone their creations and start new projects was really interesting too. I have never really thought of blogging as an art, but it really is. Great informative post as usual.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Clarissa .. I know - but just looked it up in my Latin dictionary and is still valid in Latin!! (feminine "arstis") .. but I do agree ..

Turner's pictures are staggering - and like you I'm not really into art .. that's why I like writing posts like these - they open my eyes.

Engraving does take a lot of talent .. we had a great aunt, who was a member of the RA and the few engravings and pictures we have are fantastic to say the least.

Delighted you enjoyed the post - thanks.

@ Anne ... good to see you and happy you enjoyed the 'trip' .. thanks.

@ Scarlett - lovely to meet you .. I had to do some sleuthing to see you're part of the A - Z challenge, did you mean Ellen Brickley?

Blue Purple and Scarlett is a good blog name ..

I don't know what Cockayne Syndrome is .. but I sure wish you and your son as much as peace as you are able to have. I will be finding out.

@ Sibyl - so good to see you .. and glad you enjoyed reading about the artists and authors.

We bloggers are creative - I think!! and we also need our space to reflect and work out our paths ... the countryside provides many of us that opportunity.

Just delighted you enjoyed the information ..

Thanks Clarissa, Anne, Scarlett and Sibyl .. great seeing you here .. Happy 4th July for those in the US of A! Cheers .. Hilary

Friko said...

Halleo Hilary,

I came to find out who joins me in bewailing their own backwardness at Susan Scheid's blog and found a short trawl through English painting and one or two other snippets of interesting information.

Hardly the post of an ignoramus.

As for painters, there are many out and about in my immediate vicinity, easels set up below the castle, on the river bank, in front of the bridge. The fact that they are mostly amateurs does not diminish their enthusiasm.

This is the English countryside in summer at its best.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary! Wonderful post! Have a great day!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Friko .. how lovely to see you here - thanks for coming over. Well I am rather overawed by Susan knowledge of Rimbaud! So it was interesting to read.

Thanks re the non-ignoramus! .. it's wonderful how artists can pick up their palette and walk into the countryside .. to enjoy their pursuit of painting. You're right all painters are amateurs until recognised otherwise .. as can come in time .. but they're all so enthusiastic - especially with the sunny weather we're having.

About the English countryside right now - it is at its best .. beautiful ...

@ Susanne .. many thanks and glad you enjoyed it .. you have a great 4th July ..

Happy week Friko and Susanne .. Hilary

Ellie Garratt said...

Beautiful post. Art is something I love, though I can't draw myself. My mother does amazing things with oils and water colours, and I always envied her talent. I shall email her with a link to this post.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ellie .. many thanks - like you I cannot draw for toffee .. in making toffee is a challenge - but that might be no kids and no practise, rather than be unable!

Your mother sounds as though she is one talented artist .. how fantastic that you've got access to someone with those skills - I envy you there!

Many thanks for sending the link to your mother - I hope she comments .. it'll be interesting to read.

Cheers and enjoy the last of this summer spell by the sound of it .. Hilary

Helen Ginger said...

Wonderful post. I can't paint worth a lick, but I do love to look at paintings. My husband is from a family of painters, although he doesn't paint. Luckily, though, we have paintings from his sister, mother and aunt. Also, loved the update on your mother.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Hilary -

While I appreciate artists, I'll steer clear of paintbrushes and easels. My Sunday School students often chuckled over my stick figures. I think I'll stick to writing. :)

Glad to hear your mother had a lively day.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate your support.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Helen .. thank you and as I mentioned earlier .. I join you - zero ability, sad but there it is.

I have lots of pictures .. and a great deal of black and white .. but others in colour .. an eclectic taste.

Lucky you to have family pictures - so glad to hear you're hanging their art around the house.

Thanks re Mum .. we tick on!

@ Susan .. you sound like me .. stick figures - not even sure I could manage those! Creative words can tempt out creative art from your students - I suspect ..

Thanks re my Ma .. she was certainly having an amazing day ..

Pleasure to visit .. it's good to be around ..

@ Helen and Susan .. thanks for coming by .. Happy Fourth of July - Hilary

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary, such a wealth of information in this post! I loved reading about Helen Bannerman's books and Beatrix Potter (I saw the film and loved it did you?) I just love the light in Cornwall, particularly North Cornwall though haven't painted for years.
Particularly liked your postscript - glad your mother appears to be in fine fettle! :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deborah .. many thanks .. I haven't seen the Beatrix Potter film .. it came out since my uncle was widowed and subsequently ill, then my mother's illness .. so all in all I haven't got to see it .. I've seen reviews of it ...

The Cornish light is wonderful - as the Artists at the beginning of the 20th century realised with the setting up of the Newlyn and St Ives Schools of art .. that's in the far west - our area of Cornwall.

Thanks re my Ma .. when she's awake .. she's awake! Have a great rest of the week .. cheers Hilary

walk2write said...

Now that is something you don't find very often in the U.S.--artists gathered about painting the countryside. I would be enthralled, just sitting and watching their work unfold on the canvas. It's interesting to see how other people perceive what's in view. So many different perspectives to observe. This techne of blogging is not so different, I think.

Thanks for another eye-opener, Ms. Hilary. It's good to hear that you and your mother are both doing well.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi W2W .. interesting - we have art class weekends or retreats etc .. here and in Europe .. 100 - 200 years ago, when painting became fashionable and even Queen Victoria was doing it (she was a talented artist) .. family day outs with the easel can't have been that uncommon.

The interpretation of the landscape is and can be so different .. I'm getting better at enjoying more avant garde paintings .. but took me a while.

But I agree just sitting back and watching someone bring a canvas to life .. would be so interesting.

Love your use of 'techne' .. mastery of our craft .. and yes my mother and I continue on .. many thanks for being here - cheers Hilary

Talli Roland said...

Wonderful post, Hilary!

I must admit, I'm not a big fan of Turner or Constable. I've tried, I've tried! Perhaps it's the muted colours or maybe it's the subjects... just doesn't resonate with me. I can appreciate their technique and talent, though!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Talli .. hey great - thankyou!

Years ago I couldn't take anything that wasn't 'real' .. now my eyes are slightly wider open & my brain probably much more so.

I went to the Turner Exhibition in London recently .. a friend took me .. I was more interested in the earlier history of colouring maps etc and subsequently how painting took off as a popular hobby ..

Just wonderful to see how things have changed through artists' depictions - prior to photography.

Good to see you - enjoy Wales and the Writers' conference .. cheers Hilary

Karen Lange said...

What wonderful treasures for the eyes, ears and mind! Your posts are like a treasure chest of goodies. :) I did not know that Potter was self published. How interesting! She was a pioneer, that's for sure.

I am glad your Mother had a chatty day and you got to enjoy Wimbledon together.

Have a wonderful week!

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

What an amazing post! Thank you. I had no idea the Greek artists were not revered in their day.

We enjoyed Wimbledon, too. I've been a tennis player for years and watch it every year. Am sorry that Andy Murray was not in the finals.


Anonymous said...

Wow! This was a most itneresting post as I love art and anything to do with its history. I did not know that Grecian sculptures and artists were held in such low repute so very long ago. This just seems unfathomable.

And thanks for the shout out! I've put together a post on the Higgs Boson and Englert-Brout-Higgs-Guralnik-Hagen-Kibble. I'll have that up later this month. Fascinating stuff!

Now I want to break out my easel and water colors and do some country side paintings.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Karen - history and the back stories of this life hold so much and I keep coming upon things that make me wonder. Beatrix Potter being self-published being yet another ..

Thanks re my Mama and Wimbledon ..

@ Monti - as an artist that must seem strange and another of those snippets of information that snuck up on me ..

Delighted you watched some of Wimbledon too - there were some good matches ..yes pity about Andy Murray - he has the talent.

@ Stephen .. another lover of art and its history - so interesting to learn this aspect about you. I was surprised that art and sculpting weren't considered worthy .. as you say it seems so odd.

Pleasure .. thought you'd enjoy the Higgs Boson connection .. didn't come across the E-B-H-G-K subject though!

I'm sure the kids would love a trip to the mountains for a day out and a paint .. sounds a good idea - cept I think you have rather a lot going on right now!

Thanks Karen, Monti and Stephen .. good to see you - cheers Hilary said...

What a fabulous thought provoking post, how one thing leads to another. Lovely.

Sounds like you and your mum have had a busy time. :O)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Madeleine .. many thanks - it always amazes me all these items leading on one to the other .. glad you enjoyed it.

Yes - Mum and I can have some pretty amazing mind travels sometimes .. she's still so with it.

Good to see you .. we did get your rain - but we need it, so not that unhappy! Cheers Hilary

~Sia McKye~ said...

Hilary, what an absolutely lovely post. I thoroughly enjoyed the information and pictures.

Glad to hear you and your mother had an enjoyable day. These are the type of days that good memories are made.

Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

Theresa Milstein said...

I've never seen Garden in Shoreham.

Snowy owls are my favorite.

Nature inspires artists and writers. I wish I could paint and sketch what I see to a satisfying degree. I have such respect for artists.

I've seen plenty of artists sketching at museums, but not so often in nature. When I do, I'm tempted to watch them.

I love your last paragraph. You have happy, relaxing, prolific summertime too!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia .. good to see you and delighted to hear you enjoyed the info and pictures ..

Yes I do have some memorable moments with my mother .. she does make me laugh .. and of course then she laughs too ..

Thanks so much for coming by .. cheers Hilary

M. Reka said...

Hilary, a lovely post, very informative. Love it :)

I am glad your Mother had a great time... and you got to enjoy Wimbledon together.

Marinela x

Short Poems

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Theresa .. nor had I seen or been aware of Samuel Palmer's paintings before .. and I'd wanted to post a picture of "a hilly scene" by him - but couldn't find it. So glad you appreciate his "Garden in Shoreham" (which is not far from here).

I had to look up Snowy Owls and they are amazing .. and I see Hedwig was a snowy owl. Owls seem to be popular creatures.

I see them on the Cuckmere Valley or on the Downs here .. it's beautiful round this part of the world, and the colours can be fantastic. Next time I see an artist - I must take time out and watch for a while.

It is summer - a time to be enjoyed .. thanks so much!

@ Marinela - so pleased you enjoyed all the information. Mum was well today too ..

Hugs and cheers to you ..

Thanks Theresa and Marinela .. lovely seeing you here .. Hilary

Wellington Artist said...

Your post brought back a lot of memories. I was an Art History Major in college with an Art minor. I always have some project or other going, whether I am designing and hand crafting a piece of jewelry or creating art with my food! Thanks again for all of your comments on my blog posts. We tend to take for granted all of the amazing produce available to us here in South Florida. In fact yesterday I picked up those special Hatcher Mangoes that I wrote about. I will post about them as soon as they are fully ripe. Your kabobs sound so good. What a great combination of flavors. I am sure your meatballs were great but you definitely should make burgers more often. They are so easy and fast!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sandy .. thanks - you too an Art Major .. well your food certainly displays your craft now - even if we don't get to see behind the scenes so to speak .. and get a chance to look at your other projects.

Lucky you .. yes South Florida foods look fantastic, let alone the scenery and warmth!

Thanks .. I don't cook that often now-a-days .. but I enjoy doing something different .. Love looking at what you're doing!

Cheers for now - Hilary

EdenSol said...

What a wonderful dedication to the artists and luch creative time of year! Love that you mentioned the self-publication of Beatrix Potter! You do have a way of breathing new life into the historical components.. just Beautiful :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Antonia .. welcome back .. it is a creative time - long days and warmer nights for us here in the UK.

I'm sure other authors did it - but the necessity to include colour and to conform somewhat to what the market wanted was interesting .. as well as her early self-publishing trial.

Delighted you enjoyed the post .. and many thanks for your comments - I really do appreciate them.

Cheers - and enjoy your California Dreaming .. Hilary

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

When I was 20, a bunch of us took a trip to Tofino on the ocean side of Vancouver Island. One morning as the mist rolled in, I took a walk and met a retired woman from Montana painting the mist and the ocean on a huge easel. In the distance her husband walked the beach with their Collie. They were both retired and travelling across North America.

I never forgot her. She was kind and took time to talk to me about her muse and to comment on how beautiful British Columbia was. She had the most striking white shoulder length hair and reminded me of the model Lauren Hutton.

I imagine she's gone now. I hope she realized what a wonderful impression she made.

Thank you, Hilary! for reminding me of her.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Joylene - Tofino is a wonderful place .. Mum and I spent a few days there 10+ years ago ... so I can imagine your lady painting there .. and in the distance her husband walking the beaches .. it's a beautiful wild place .. just so lovely though - and that community is really special.

I hope that she knew and remembered you as much as you did her - I expect so .. kids make impressions on people, when they stop to talk and engage .. wonderful memories for you and I'm so glad I gave you an opportunity to bring her back to the forefront of your life for another brief moment.

Great to see you .. and am looking forward to hearing about your book tour .. cheers Hilary

Sara said...


First of all, I'm pleased your mother is doing well. The brain is an amazing organ. I don't we've begun to fully understand the possibilities of the human brain.

This post was delightful. I remember visiting England the first time and it was summer. It's so different than here in that when it's sunny, it's strikingly clear. We usually haze most of the summer from the high humidity.

I liked learning about the artists. I also enjoy your historical lessons. Thank you:~)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sara .. thanks re my Mama .. it's just lovely having times like those .. and you're so right re the brain - we are learning more and more, but still such a long way to go.

Our weather varies so much - we can have really cold crisp days, when we can see absolutely everything .. as well as in high summer when the colours and landscapes are so clear too ..

I'd love to be in your part of the world for the warmth .. but then I enjoy our seasons .. and your summer heat haze would be too much for me eventually.

Great seeing you and hope you have a happy relaxing summer .. Hilary

Empty Nest Insider said...

Thank you for such a lovely look at the history of the arts! I'm glad your mother has been perkier lately, and I hope she continues to do well. Julie

Rosalind Adam said...

I would love to go out and paint the views but I'd be too self-conscious. I've done a bit of dabbling in the garden and I agree that it is relaxing. You can completely lose yourself in it.

You've included so much information here, things that I never knew, and it doesn't matter that it has little to do with painting in the countryside. It's all fascinating.

Glad to hear that you've had some good days with your mother. My Mum always read every day and went to the library every week until she became really ill and even then she tried to read but in her confusion she told me that I was bringing her foreign books by mistake. Glad you both enjoyed Wimbledon.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie - thank you .. Mum has her days, which are lovely when we can both enjoy life together.

@ Ros - I think I'd be like you - but don't even dabble in the garden - you must have learnt a couple of techniques from your arty friends?

Thanks Ros .. I love including those threads that lead off as they open up other thoughts.

That's funny .. foreign books - but I can quite understand .. unfortunately reading is a skill my mother lost once she'd had her strokes - left-sided neglect - but she still enjoys being read stimulating articles and chatting about those - as I do in my articles .. wandering off the main subject.

She did enjoy some of Wimbledon .. and so did I!

Thanks Julie and Ros .. lovely seeing you both .. have good weekends .. Hilary

MorningAJ said...

Hi Hilary - thanks for your visit over to my blog. There is indeed a project to record the UK's ghost signs and yes, there's a team of people photographing them for posterity. I'm one of them!

You can find out more here

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Anne .. I've subscribed to the Ghost Sign's blog - for interest purposes only! Looks so informative though .. thanks for the link ..

Cheers Hilary

Davina said...

Hi Hilary.
I did not know that Beatrix Potter was self published. Very cool! I love reading through this collection of artists, but I think what I appreciated even more was how you closed the post. You took us back in history, wove us through the featured artists' stories, and then, basically you wrote us into the story at the end.

When I read this I just had to smile: "The creative bloggers – the artists, musicians, authors et al – will be using the summertime to hone their creations, start new projects, rejuvenate their thoughts ... or just dabble in the sheer delight that is summer.

Who knows what will be discovered in the years ahead that will be linked back to our endeavours of today..."

What a great way to end this post. Love it, Hilary.

And hello to your mother. I love her lively spirit.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Davina .. thank you so much .. peoples' stories are so interesting especially as I almost certainly know so very little about their particular talent - that I learn so much too.

I was pleased with that paragraph - so am grateful you picked it up .. and exactly what does the future hold for our work ... ?! Interesting times ..

Thanks Davina - good to see you .. yes my mother certainly is indomitable ... enjoy your week ahead and the summer - Hilary