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Patterns of light blog

6/3/2017 - Another year beginning.....

I hadn't realised it had been so long since I managed to do a blog! But I thought I would take this opportunity while I enjoy the last Monday of my winter off, sat at home starting to get my head around the start of another season.....my fourth. It seems like the last three years have flown by! And I am looking forward to being back in my little sanctuary for another season :)

I last blogged in May just before I went away for a week long holiday with my family and shop dog. We spent a week in the Cairngorms, and I loved being surrounded by the beautiful landscape. But after a week I missed the West Coast and the views out to sea!

Last season turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag. Patterns of Light is situated right on the increasingly popular North Coast 500 route, and I thought this would perhaps prove to make it a busy season for me. But I have to be honest, and say that I found it a little disheartening as many cars just went straight by the door in their hurry to complete the route as quickly as possible! I invested in new bright colourful signs to catch the eye, and I did have people who were taking a week or more on the route popping in. It was interesting to hear how they found it, and lovely to see how they found our little corner here on the West one of the most beautiful parts of it. 

The summer moved forward and with it I found myself thinking about different ways to produce art that was easier for people to carry - more affordable and smaller than large framed paintings. This led me to painting on pebbles and then in turn on to slates. And once I shared this on social media I found a new way to reach people all over the world from my tiny little studio! The first photo I shared of the first pebble I painted reached nearly 30,000 people, and I found a new following on Facebook. I have received commissions from all over the place, with requests for specific views of sentimental importance. And I found this to be a great source of inspiration in the Autumn and through the winter. There is something so special about painting a view that means something special to someone - usually to be given to a loved one. I then started thinking about Christmas and started painting local scenes on to slate hearts.....and found myself painting almost continuosuly through December to fulfill commissions and to have enough stock for Christmas events locally. By Christmas Eve I was exhausted!

And so came the time of the year when I take some time out for myself and try to recharge. And in many ways I have had that chance, but personally I have had quite a few changes to deal with. I had hoped to start painting in February, and although I've had a couple of little bursts of creativity, I haven't achieved as much as I would like. So I am looking forward to finding some focus once I am back in the shop full time from next week. The biggest change which I feel I should mention here, and possibly the most significant reason for a slight lack in creativity, is the loss of my long term companion and best friend.....my gorgeous old dog Mungo. He had been with me since I was 18 years old, and had seen me through the most difficult and happy time of my life. And he had been with me in the shop everyday I was there over the last three years. He loved his days over the last few years, never being on his own, as he had been when I worked elsewhere when he was younger. And he made a fabulous shop dog with his gentle, daft nature when it came to meeting and greeting the customers. I know many of you met him, and I know that some people specifically come in to the shop because they liked to see shop dog. As you can imagine, it's been a difficult few weeks, but I know that I was exceptionally lucky to have my friend for fifteen and a half years! 

The shop will be a little different this year without him, but it is still one of my happiest places :) and I have also had a bit of a reshuffle. I have spent a couple of days a week in the shop through February and spent some of that time shifting the centre of the shop to open up some space.....and also because a change is always good for me too! The first orders are placed and some stock is replenished ready for reopening. And over the coming months I hope to have a few new things coming in. Along with a fair amount of my own work.

So for now, keep an eye on the Facebook page to see what is going on. I shall be away for a few days at the end of this week visiting family (my grandmother is 93 on Friday!) But once home at the start of next week Patterns of Light will be waking up for another year!

I hope this finds you all well and enjoying the start of another spring. And I look forward to seeing you through the season. With love xxx

12/5/2016 - Waking up....

Well, thought I should do another little blog before I have a little holiday next week :) And the sun has put me in the mood for sharing thoughts.

We have been experiencing summer here in the Highlands this week, but oddly we were experiencing winter only a couple of weeks ago! At the end of April we woke up to snow on the ground and I was coming in to the shop and switching all the heaters on, wearing three layers of clothes, and boots to keep my toes toasty. Today the sun is beaming through the back window and the light is warm on my skin. Sandals on, summer wardrobe reinstated (even if only for a few days) and life is moving forward.

I was talking to my best friend at the start of the week and we were saying how amazing it was to see everything waking up after only one day of sunshine! The flowers on the azaleas and rhododendrons have suddenly burst in to life. The trees have lost their bare branches and are now that fresh light green you only get as they start to stir.

And in the same way the shop is starting to wake up too. More people through the door, and at the moment all smiling because of the sunshine. It's been lovely to see the first annual visitors appearing again, and also new faces discovering Patterns of Light for the first time.

The shop is filling slowly but surely with fresh stock. I have been painting over the last couple of months, inspired after my break on the Moray Coast in early March, and so there are new cards available.

I am taking a week away next week with my family and the very old shop dog. I found last year that a week just before it starts to get really busy means that I have more energy through the season. I love my life here in the shop, but it can sometimes be a little draining. And also a visit to somewhere different always clears the head a little and quite often leads to new inspiration. So off to the Cairngorms we go! 

The shop will again be in the wonderful and loving hands of Jo, who did the same for me last year :) There is no one I could trust more to be in this space while I'm away. So if you are in this neck of the woods, do pop in!

I shall leave you with one of my latest paintings, and a local scene too. I would imagine it will look not too dissimilar today in Applecross. Xxx

"Skye & Raasay from Applecross"

21/3/2016 - Sorry I've been remiss...

....It's been rather a long time since I updated the blog! And I am now at the start of the 2016 season - the shop is now OPEN six days a week again.

So I suppose I should tell you how the winter has been! The run up to Christmas was fairly busy for the time of year. Lots of lovely locals coming in to do their Christmas shopping :) And the shop does look lovely when it's dark and the fairy lights are on outside. But by the time Christmas comes I must confess to being exhausted. So Patterns of Light remained closed for the first two weeks of January while I spent some much needed time at home resting.

At the end of January I started to come in for three days a week and to start getting things organised for this season. I saw an increase in people during January and February which was great! I wouldn't call it busy - but it was nice to see a few folk around when normally I am here alone.

I then managed a week away on my own with shop dog! Something we haven't ever done before really - and it was perfect. We didn't go far, just two hours East to the Moray Coast. I have a great love for Scotland and have never felt that you need to go far to see something different, or to feel like you are getting away from it all. So we stayed in a beautiful traditional red roofed cottage just South of Forres. We were 15 minutes from Findhorn and just half an hour from the Cairngorms. The point was to come home rested, which I did, but also it was an opportunity to look for some inspiration in a different place. And I found it on the beach at Findhorn as the rain swept in from the sea. I always take paints with me just in case the need to paint strikes, but I have found that usually it comes a week or two later when I am back at home and my head takes me back. So at the moment I am working on a painting of Findhorn Beach. It is taking more time than previous work, but it is a labour of love and I am looking at this one differently. Time is needed to get it right and I am learning to do a couple of hours and then walk away, almost to stretch out the enjoyment. I also view it as a reward I allow myself when I've done some of the slightly more tedious jobs that are required at this time of the year. Mornings are for facts and figures, afternoons for escape back to the beach.

And so spring is now here - or at least it was last week. It is slightly gloomier today, but the shop has spring colours. Daffodils bring some sunshine in, and bright paper pom poms hang from the ceiling. Last week we were blessed with a few days of warmth and sun. The shop opened officially on Wednesday the 16th, and the day started with bare feet and sunglasses in the garden while I threw paint at card ready for making boxes. The perfect start to my season :)

And so I hope this finds you all happy and well. And I hope that wherever you are you are seeing the start of life springing from the ground and on the trees. Every season has it's beauty, but there is a special feel to Spring as everything starts to awaken. Probably because I feel like I awaken too!

Findhorn Beach

26/11/2015 - One month left....

So it's four weeks today until I close for Christmas, and I thought it was about time I sat and did a spot of blogging!

The autumn seems to have passed very quickly and the last few weeks have been the busiest for me in many ways. The season was a little different this year, mainly down to the weather I think. The months that are usually the busier ones seemed a little quieter this year. Then surprisingly October turned in to the best month of the year for me with lots of lovely visitors. I also sold four original paintings over three weeks which was amazing! :)

I spent the end of October and early November busy making lots of stock for Christmas events through November, and didn't really have time for much else at all. The South West Arts & Eats Trail Christmas Fair took place from Friday 6th November until Sunday 8th and seemed to be as popular as ever. We have some new members this year and Lochcarron Village Hall was filled with lots of beautiful wares.

Then the following weekend Patterns of Light had their Mulled wine and mince pie weekend in the shop! :) It was great to see so many people turn out over the two days, and it was particularly lovely to have a fair chunk of the village in at one time on the Saturday afternoon. So thank you to all those who came along. It is such a nice way for me to wind down the season and it gets me in to the festive mood.

My last pre Christmas event was on November 21st on Skye. I was very kindly invited by the Braes Village Hall committee to come along to their Christmas Fayre. My mum came with me for the day....and it was quite a long day. We left Lochcarron in snow at 8.30am, and thankfully made it to Skye without too much bother. It was a really cosy wee hall and lots of really friendly stall holders to meet. Hoping to return again next year :)

So now it is just back to gentle peace in Patterns of Light until Christmas Eve! I enjoyed everything, but I must confess to being rather worn out now, and quite relieved to be back in my little sanctuary for the next few weeks.

If you are passing by do pop in. The lights are twinkling outside and a warm welcome can always be found inside.

The shop is now open Wednesday - Saturday, 10am - 4pm.

And the week leading up to Christmas I will be open:

Tuesday 22nd & Wednesday 23rd December, 10am - 4pm,

Thursday 24th December 10am - 2pm

I hope this finds you all happy and well, and I hope to see some of you before the end of December. I will no doubt manage a Christmas blog now that life is back to being a little quiter. Take care xxx

9/9/2015 - September Sun

I'm sitting at the computer next to the back window of the shop. As I type the September sun is pouring through the window, warm on my skin. And shop dog is on his bed asleep, with the sun pouring on to the floor where he lies, quite content.

It seems like we haven't had much of a summer weather wise, and it's so nice to be experiencing a little warmth now. And not just one day, but hopefully a few! It lifts the spirits. I know a lot of people locally have found this year a little depressing with all the rain we've had. And not just here in our little corner, but across the UK.

August was a nice steady month here at Patterns of Light. Lots of visitors from far and wide. And lots of really friendly folk too. I love talking to people and finding out where they are from and what brings them to the Highlands. You can meet some truly fascinating people and some lovely souls. I had a lovely couple in from Washington State a few weeks ago. He got to talking about his love of birds of prey - they have ospreys that nest near their home. Anyway he disappeared off to the car while his wife was browsing, and returned with a treat for the dog (always a sure sign of a kind soul in my eyes!) and he produced a feather he had found on a beach on the East Coast the day before for me. I'm sure some would find this an odd gesture, but he had noticed the feathers in a mug at the back of the shop, on the shelf next to where I sit just now. He wanted to add to the collection. A simple gift, but something so thoughtful and kind. It made my day, in fact my week! I felt I should share it here on the blog.

So September is here. Officially Autumn! And thoughts start to turn towards the end of the year. I love Christmas myself, but don't really believe in sharing it too soon, or somehow the magic disappears. But I have ordered some of the Christmas stock ready for the start of November. I will be holding another weekend with mulled wine and mince pies on the 14th and 15th November - so if you are in the area do please pop in. 

I have also been painting a little again. Not something I can really manage at the height of the season, but once the days are a little quieter I can get the brushes out. The latest picture is of a Raven. I'm not sure why this was the form my creativity took, but I found it interesting when I looked into the symbolism of the Raven in Native American culture when I had finished the painting. They are seen as many things, but one is a message bringer from across the cosmos, and also a creature of metamorphosis.......transformation. My Raven came in the form of watercolour inks, he looks like he was formed out of ink splatters, and he is the colour of the night sky, with the stars of the cosmos. I thought I would share him with you too!

I hope this finds you well and happy....and possibly enjoying some September sun wherever you are too! xxx