Thursday, 22 December 2011

Greetings of the Midwinter Solstice


Greetings of the Midwinter Solstice.
May the year ahead be happy and wonderful!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

An Autumn visit to Guisborough


On one of the gloriously sunny days last week I revisited Guisborough, a beautiful historic town close to Middlesbrough.

The sunlight created a series of curved shadows at the entrance to the ancient Priory.



I strolled round the back of the Priory to view its magnificent arches against the autumn sky.


A secret door set in an old wall enhanced the mood of enchantment and beckoned me to explore.


In the grounds of the Priory there were wonderful shadowy paths, where light and shade revealed strange shapes.


A mysterious poly-tunnel gleamed between the dark trees.


In the distance the distinctive shape of Highcliffe rose from the Forest.



Autumn colours adorned the trees in the mellow sunlight.


Clouds swirled exultantly in the warm breeze.



Closer and closer I drew to Highcliffe as the sun shone through golden foliage.



At the edge of the woods cottages nestled into the hillside.



I chose from the many pathways through Guisborough Forest and was entranced by the dappled light as the path wound and dipped, revealing distant vistas.

As the warm dusk closed in, a peachy-golden glow settled over the land.

Ingrid Sylvestre

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

September Light


On the first day of September I went for a walk to revel in the early autumn light. The mellow sun illuminated the path as it led into the Wood.



Deep in the valley, an abundance of fruit clustered among the twigs, and leaves glistened green-gold.


A secret lane wound between berry-laden trees.


Looking back I saw the sun transforming the edge of the grassy bank to gleaming bronze.


Along the edge of the silent Wood, the fields stretched in tranquillity beneath peach coloured skies.

Ingrid Sylvestre

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Inspired by Whitesnake - Forevermore!


YouTube Film by janeyb65 (a person in Newcastle City Hall audience)

Very occasionally I hear a music track that so resonates with me that I know I am going to be playing it non-stop for years. Such is the title track of Whitesnake's 'Forevermore' album.

Last week I saw Whitesnake live for the first time, at Newcastle City Hall, where we also had the wondrous priviledge of meeting David Coverdale backstage! Of all the concerts I've ever been to, this was the absolute best. Whitesnake are everything one could want in a rock band, with each member bringing their own special brilliance, and David Coverdale is a true 'rock god'.

You can see and hear the live performance of Forevermore at the City Hall on the YouTube film above, made by a person in the audience. It's great to be able to re-live the experience of such a fantastic evening! If you can get to see the band live, do - and get the album too!

After the concert towards dawn I was gazing at the trees, listening to Forevermore, and was envisioned to create the painting shown below. First I sketched the idea, then worked on the painting in oil pastel and watercolour over the last few days. I think this is the first time I've been inspired to paint from a music track - there's something so powerful about the song, I felt I just had to.


Forevermore - mixed media painting by North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre North East art for sale Durham artist Ingrid Sylvestre

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Neckshund Nexploits at the Botanic Garden!

Necky Becky Littl' Nicky and Hals the Neckshund dog at the Secret Portal behind the Intergalactic Cacti The Neckmanns of Giraffe World Storytelling by North East Artist Ingrid Sylvestre at University of Durham Botanic Garden featuring her characters the Neckmanns in their World Artwork and Stories by Ingrid Sylvestre UK Artist & WriterWednesday 1st of June was another nextra special day at the University of Durham Botanic Garden. Once again, Necky Becky travelled all the way from Giraffe World to take part in a story-telling session with Ingrid. This time she brought her beloved neckshund dog Hals with her, and her toddler brother Littl' Nicky too!

They were all very nexcited to arrive at the secret portal behind the Intergalactic Cacti.



Hals the Neckshund dog at the Secret Portal behind the Intergalactic Cacti The Neckmanns of Giraffe World Storytelling by North East Artist Ingrid Sylvestre at University of Durham Botanic Garden featuring her characters the Neckmanns in their World Artwork and Stories by Ingrid Sylvestre UK Artist & Writer
During the storytelling Hals got very hungry and decided to pop back home to get some of his favourite biscuits.

He went to the Intergalactic Cacti, but though he tried and tried, he couldn't get the secret portal to Giraffe World to appear!

Hals the Neckshund dog outside the glasshouses The Neckmanns of Giraffe World Storytelling by North East Artist Ingrid Sylvestre at University of Durham Botanic Garden featuring her characters the Neckmanns in their World Artwork and Stories by Ingrid Sylvestre UK Artist & Writer
"Oh dear!" he said to himself. "I'm so very hungry. I wonder if there are any nice biscuits in the Botanic Garden?"

Someone had left the door to the glasshouses a teeny bit open, so he squeezed through into the fresh air.



There were lots of beautiful flowers in the Garden, and Hals sniffed them. "How lovely!" he said. "But not like biscuits ..."




Further along the path he found a big display board. There was plenty of information about trees on it, but no directions to biscuits.



Hals the Neckshund dog investigating the Gunnera plants The Neckmanns of Giraffe World Storytelling by North East Artist Ingrid Sylvestre at University of Durham Botanic Garden featuring her characters the Neckmanns in their World Artwork and Stories by Ingrid Sylvestre UK Artist & Writer
He trotted past the gunnera and stopped for a moment. They looked so huge and the stems were
very prickly-looking, so he decided not to look for biscuits there!

By now he was feeling tired and very hungry indeed. He wondered if Necky Becky had noticed that he was missing. Maybe she would come and look for him. That would be so comforting.




Suddenly Hals came face to face with a very strange looking creature. In the shadows under the trees he couldn't tell if it was a fallen log or a huge monster!
*

He turned and ran, looking over his shoulder to see if it was following him. Faster and faster, his little legs moving so quickly you could hardly see them, until he arrived at a big blue door - the Visitors Centre!



Hals the Neckshund dog with a nice bowl of water at the Botanic Gardens cafe  The Neckmanns of Giraffe World Storytelling by North East Artist Ingrid Sylvestre at University of Durham Botanic Garden featuring her characters the Neckmanns in their World Artwork and Stories by Ingrid Sylvestre UK Artist & Writer
As he stood outside panting, so very tired and thirsty from his mad dash through the garden, one of the ladies in the cafe saw him. She brought him a big bowl of water to drink.



By this time the story-telling had finished, and how pleased Hals was to see Necky Becky and Littl' Nicky running towards him! Guess what Necky Becky had in her pocket? Some of his favourite biscuits!

They all sat by the Intergalactic Cacti and waited for their dad, Raph, to collect them.



Back through the secret portal they go in their family bus, until neckst time!

Necky Becky's dad has his own blog, Raph's Ramblings, where he writes about his thoughts and the family adventures.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

A Nextra-terrestrial Visitor at Durham Botanic Garden!

Necky Becky a Nextra-terrestrial Visitor at Durham Botanic Garden Orchid House The Neckmanns of Giraffe World Storytelling by North East Artist Ingrid Sylvestre at University of Durham Botanic Garden featuring her characters the Neckmanns in their World Artwork and Stories by Ingrid Sylvestre UK Artist & Writer County Durham Newcastle upon Tyne Sunderland Tyne and Wear Middlesbrough Cleveland Teesside Northumberland YorkshireOn Saturday 14th May a small pink giraffe with a suitcase suddenly appeared in the glasshouses at the University of Durham Botanic Garden. Her name is Necky Becky, and she had travelled all the way from a planet called Giraffe World in Camelopardalis Constellation.


Necky Becky a Nextra-terrestrial Visitor at Durham Botanic Garden Orchid House The Neckmanns of Giraffe World Storytelling by North East Artist Ingrid Sylvestre at University of Durham Botanic Garden featuring her characters the Neckmanns in their World Artwork and Stories by Ingrid Sylvestre UK Artist & Writer County Durham Newcastle upon Tyne Sunderland Tyne and Wear Middlesbrough Cleveland Teesside Northumberland Yorkshire
The adventures of Necky Becky and her family, the Neckmanns, were the subject of special May Madness story-telling sessions by Ingrid. Necky Becky stood patiently, (well sometimes a little grumpily!), while the stories were told. She did enjoy being admired by all the children and their families though!


After each story there was the opportunity to colour in some pictures of the giraffe characters, and families could take some extra colouring pictures home too.


Necky Becky very helpfully went outside to make sure everyone knew where the entrance to the glasshouse was.

However, she had also heard about the lovely cafe at the Botanic Gardens, and decided to go and visit it by herself.



Necky Becky a Nextra-terrestrial Visitor at Durham Botanic Garden Cafe wants cake The Neckmanns of Giraffe World Storytelling by North East Artist Ingrid Sylvestre at University of Durham Botanic Garden featuring her characters the Neckmanns in their World Artwork and Stories by Ingrid Sylvestre UK Artist & Writer County Durham Newcastle upon Tyne Sunderland Tyne and Wear Middlesbrough Cleveland Teesside Northumberland Yorkshire
The temptation of the huge and delicious-looking cakes proved too strong, and she sneaked behind the counter ... Just as she was about to grab a large slice of carrot cake, she was spotted! She ran ...



... all the way down into the Himalayan Dell, where she tried to hide among the Himalayan birches!

One of the main Secret Intergalactic Portals to Giraffe World is arched with birch trees, and we thought maybe Necky Becky was feeling a little homesick. We decided it was time for her to go home.


Ingrid walked with Necky Becky to the entrance to the new woodland area, and there under the birch archway, she was safely transported across the galaxies to her own planet.

Her little neckshund dog, Hals, was nexcitedly waiting for her on the other side. In the distance their family home Necky Knoll House stood welcoming, and Necky Becky thought she could smell mushroom noodle bake cooking! She ran happily all the way home.

Necky Becky a Nextra-terrestrial Visitor at Durham Botanic Garden back home in Camelopardalis Constellation via the Secret Portal  The Neckmanns of Giraffe World Storytelling by North East Artist Ingrid Sylvestre at University of Durham Botanic Garden featuring her characters the Neckmanns in their World Artwork and Stories by Ingrid Sylvestre UK Artist & Writer County Durham Newcastle upon Tyne Sunderland Tyne and Wear Middlesbrough Cleveland Teesside Northumberland Yorkshire
You can read more about Necky Becky and her family at Raph's Ramblings.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Golden Light of Paradise




Sometimes, the shimmering light turns the trees to gold ...



And the dappled path into the Wood beckons ...


The fruits of the trees are haloed with light - more beautiful than the most exquisite jewellery.

Sometimes ...

Often ...

Always.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Dreaming Fields of Grey Towers Farm - under threat of development

The Dreaming Fields Grey Towers by North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre mixed media North East art for sale Durham artists Ingrid Sylvestre
As regular readers of this blog will know - I love Middlesbrough! And one of it's chief assets is the outstanding countryside right along it's edge. To the south lies the outlying village of Nunthorpe from whence stretches some of the most beautiful hitherto undeveloped landscape one could imagine. Unspoilt views of rolling fields, woods and copses, all with an intangible atmosphere of specialness - a unique 'genius loci'.
North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre Durham artists UK

Fields Grey Towers by North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre mixed media North East art for sale Durham artists Ingrid Sylvestre SOLD
There are many lovely walks around the Nunthorpe area, and one of the best begins (or ends) at Grey Towers Farm Lane. Just off the 'Poole Roundabout' this historic lane is bordered on one side by lush fields and on the other side by Poole Wood. The fields are currently under threat of development - how different would they look if covered in 295 houses!



The photo above shows some of the fields, with their bounding copses and woods. Turning the other way, one looks into Poole Wood, with it's Lake and view across to the historic Grey Towers mansion, once the home of Sir Arthur Dorman. The mansion and it's surrounding lands, now private, were purchased and given 'to the people of Middlesbrough' by an early Middlesbrough mayor, then Alderman Poole, and initially used as a TB sanatorium. Gibson Poole stated that he wanted to preserve from development for all time 'this loveliest of Cleveland's beauty spots'.

Grey Towers by North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre acrylic North East art for sale Durham artists Ingrid Sylvestre
The Lake area is an important wildlife site, it's secluded location making it a haven for all kinds of creatures, including bats. If the housing development was constructed just across the Lane, the surface water drainage of the fields would be affected, probably causing a rise in the level of the Lake, destroying habitats.


At the lower end of the Lane, the trees of Poole Wood and 'Horsejump Wood' almost meet, giving a dramatic frame to the spectacular Cleveland skies. There is a secret feel to this area, an undisturbed loveliness, which is too good to lose. The trees of Poole Wood arch protectively over the Lane, like giant bird's wings, as if the Spirit of Place were defending the land.

Grey Towers Farm Lane by North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre acrylic North East art for sale Durham artists Ingrid Sylvestre
Stepping beyond one is overawed by the majesty of the landscape. Huge mountainous clouds billow above, as sunbeams break through, illuminating a lone tree. In the distance the Cleveland Hills give an undulating backdrop to this breathtaking scene.

Majestic Skies Towers by North East artist Ingrid Sylvestre watercolour North East art for sale Durham artists Ingrid Sylvestre SOLD
This area is one of Middlesbrough's best assets. An intangible unquantifiable asset, of immeasureable worth and irreplaceable value.

Not an asset that should be packaged up into bundles of 'estimated Council Tax receivable for high Band houses', not to be dug up, mutilated and transformed into just another housing development.

To save this lovely area of countryside would show wisdom, discernment and forward thinking - all attributes highly becoming for a lively and inspirational town (city?) like Middlesbrough.

Further information about the proposed housing development can be viewed here at Greater Nunthorpe org, including how to write letters of objection.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Durham Supermoon


When we were out in Durham City on Saturday night, the supermoon shone down on Elvet Bridge as the restaurants emptied.


Brighter than the lights along the River Banks, surpassing the street-lamps ...


Serene and still as the taxis sped by the Old Shire Hall ...



Illuminating Spring buds on filigree branches ...


Beautiful beyond the clouds.

Ingrid Sylvestre


Thursday, 17 March 2011

Spring Tree Dance


I have just completed this painting, after having laid down the first brushstrokes in 2001! Sometimes it is good to let a painting grow slowly, just like the trees it portrays.

The group of Hornbeams are situated in the University of Durham Botanic Garden, and I have drawn and painted them several times. I love their rhythmic shapes and the way the group interact with each other spatially, with the steep hill beyond. Situated in a deep dell overshadowed by trees, the light has a golden-green hue giving the place a secretive feel. One feels the need to tiptoe by, not to disturb the trees in their Spring revelry!


This is a much larger painting than the one featured in a previous post, measuring around 70 x 50 cm. I used a beautifully textured thick tinted watercolour paper, and waterproof ink to add the linear qualities to the watercolour.

***

NB: As my followers will know, I am highly concerned about the future of our Forests, and will follow with interest the progress of the campaign particularly at Save Our Woods. This article by European Trees about the government panel draws attention to urgent needs.


Ingrid Sylvestre English Landscape Painter Durham North East England UK Newcastle Teesside Sunderland Darlington Northumberland Landscape Paintings Garden Paintings Paintings of Trees and Woods and Forests Fine Artist Paintings for Sale.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Unknown Galanthus and the Light of Spring


Each year I excitedly anticipate the snowdrops, and these are a particular favourite given by a dear friend. They are larger than most Galanthus, and I wonder if anyone can identify them?



I love the subtle yet defined green markings.


There's something especially appealing about snowdrops in shade - they can look quite magical!


Another unidentified favourite is this little Euphorbia, which glows ruby-like next to Stonecrop.


Myriads of Myosotis have self seeded everywhere, and will soon cover the soil in a cloud of blue. In the light of Spring, even their humble leaves seem to exude an inner gloriousness.


New furry foliage of Stachys lanata 'Primrose Heron' arises in lemon-hued vibrance from last year's winter-washed remains.



Seed-heads of 'Autumn Joy' glow like embers in a shady corner.



Illuminated by the light of Spring, their stems seem to flicker with haloes of fire.

Ingrid Sylvestre

Ingrid Sylvestre English Landscape Painter Durham North East England UK Landscape Art Garden Paintings Trees Woods Forests Paintings for Sale Fine Artist Visionary Artist. Durham Sunderland Newcastle Teesside Darlington Northumberland.