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Helen Grimbleby Art - May Update

Studio & Other Notes


May is exhibition month! If you'd like to see my paintings in person, here are the details for Open Studios and Artweeks. All free to attend but some require booking:

The Nature Sketchbook - May Notes

Like buses, you wait for ages and then Easter and May bring bank holidays a plenty!

Whilst many bank holidays are centuries old workers’ holidays, May Day Bank Holiday was a late comer in the 1970s.  Even so, the May celebrations have a long history and are entwined with changes we can witness in nature.

Our distant ancestors lived necessarily in close rhythm with the seasons. The month of May for the Romans brought a festival for Flora, the goddess of flowers, fertility and spring.

For the Celts this was the time for summer pastures to open. For Pagans, celebrations were about fertility and new life.

Birds carry this heritage too and sing of new life. The musical dawn chorus peaks around now.

In spring, bird’s hormones change to enlarge the parts of their brains responsible for song. Bird song functions as a declaration of territory and to attract a mate. When the air is cooler in the morning, birdsong carries much further allowing males to broadcast to more females.

Only around 50% of our birds are resident here all year with spring and autumn migration bringing variety which changes according to the time of year. When some birds leave our shores, others return.

Spring migrators have been in decline but if we’re lucky we may still hear the sound of a tuneful cuckoo or the false cuckoo, the unassuming looking blackcap who visited my bird feeder recently.

Swallows and swifts fly elegantly, weaving intricate patterns in the air as they search for insects on the wing. Despite a long migration from Africa, their streamlined bodies are perfectly shaped to execute their aerial manoeuvres which continue until they leave us again in the autumn.    

At this time of avian courtship and union, nature braids fine veils for spring brides and white blankets for newborns, dressing her hedgerows in Queen Anne’s Lace, hawthorn blossom and oxeye daisies.

Illustrated Writing

The nature sketchbook is now available to purchase as snail mail. It comes with a second illustrated full page of nature writing and tales of the English countryside. Both single monthly letters and multi-month subscriptions are available.

Since launching, these my letters have found there way to various UK counties, four US states and a province of Pakistan. It is wonderful sharing the joys of nature!

My plan for cards, postcards and prints is also advancing slowly with a set of woodland bird cards now available. I have so many ideas for other sets of cards when time allows. Etsy is the place to find all of these and I have international letter subscriptions at preferential rates here too.

Other Notes

Community Artwork:

Maxwell McCann (@mealswithmax) is on a mission to donate one million meals to those in need. Until 22 days ago he was fulfilling his mission with his food, seasonings and cookbook businesses.

He has now added a coffee shop (McCanns) to the list which he is building from scratch in just 30 days starting with £300!

It is not your regular commercial coffee shop, built with the community for the community. He supports local people in need through pay it forwards initiatives, welcomes everyone in and is collaborating with the local food bank, the soup kitchen and homeless shelters.

For a long time I have wanted to create/curate a community artwork that represents local people including diverse and gives voice to those often go unheard. I have collaborated with Max to make it a reality and held the first pop up event for people to create their tile for the community wall mosaic that will be in the shop. Details of the next pop up will be on my social media if you'd like to participate or view the final artwork.

Thanks for joining me here, it means a lot! Helen x


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