Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The Birds of Lady Grace

Hooray! I have managed to change the fontsize (and font) of this blog. It's still nigh on impossible to read on a phone, but hopefully easier on everything else. I really should have done this years ago. 

The New Year has catapulted ahead full of busy-ness.

I have spent a lot of January hunkered down over fiddly teabag-sized watercolours, my colouring pencils and my computer screen.  I did have plans for oil paint and canvas, for chunks of wood, for boats, for Pierhead(ish) paintings and sailor(ish) tattoos but things changed and their time will come.

So yes, lately I've mostly been drawing birds; natives and visitors (birdfolk not humans) to our Essex marshes all spotted from the Lady Grace.




Stacey is the skipper of Lady Grace.  She is a good waterfront ally (it's a man's world out there), you can find her at the end of the hammerhead jetty running boat trips around the creeks and islands.  If you're lucky she'll be dressed as an elf or even a pirate.  You can also find her here.  (And here and here.)

This is Stacey's picture, not mine.
This is Stacey's picture, not mine.


Stacey is having a new kitchen you see,  and the grand plan is to make her some tiles (with birds on).  Not knowing anything about ceramics it's been a bit of a worry finding the right person with the right sort of kiln to do the right sort of tile making.  Every ceramics trail leads us to Stoke-on-Trent, the home of the pottery industry, but surely there must be somewhere nearer?

Well, plans are afoot, the ball is rolling and we shall see.  

I am dreaming now, of tiles and mugs and plates and...   Oh the possibilities are endless!

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Bye Bye 2015


On top of the world with Ed and a patchwork of otherness.  All pics are mine except Jack Lowe's (can you spot it?) and another (an oldie) from my mother's album. Jack's looks like the oldie but it's not.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Death, Despair and Rainbow Crackers

This is my blog.  Sometimes I am here and sometimes I am not.

Not being here has become a bit of a thing lately,  glaringly obvious from the title of my last post  - Happy Easter. It's almost Happy Christmas, for goodness' sake !

Lost dreams.

Lost loves.

There has been a lot of dying going on which has filled me with sadness and made me lie low.

Dad died first, slowly, stoically, horribly, accompanied by an agonising illness.  After years of pain and struggle we grew to expect and even welcome death, but when it finally came it was gut-wrenchingly awful and a shock.

Then all of a sudden it was Ed's turn.  Ed died suddenly and in tragic circumstances.  I thought he'd be here forever.  I loved Ed.  He was my rock and a bastion of strength and support.  Then one day he just disappeared from this earth,  shockingly, quickly and without warning.  Just like that. Tuesday all smiles and chats on the 'phone,  Wednesday gone.  Bang.

Both deaths beyond awful.

I am all at sea.

Grief changes you.  I feel more inclined to hide,  I have a new and more cynical view of life and a greater impatience with people who are unfamiliar with loss.
In a bubble,  here on this earth but not really connecting, functioning but not really feeling.  Heavy hearted but not entirely hopeless...  I have held my daughter's head above the waves,  although sometimes I think it is she who holds mine.

I shouldn't harp on about it so much, for heaven's sake !   People die, I will too. We all will. Get a grip, Leafy.

I have an uneasy relationship with character bolstering quotes (surely they are for the weak and needy) but privately I am an addict;  here are some words that are helping to shake me from my reverie,

I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.

Scribbled in marker pen inside the cabin of his ocean going rowing boat, thank you Alastair Humphreys (a newfound hero of mine -absolutely NOT weak and needy at all), but original thanks must go to William Ernest Henley and his poem, Invictus.

Onwards with high hopes for a new chapter,
And sending love, happy Christmas wishes and thanks too,
Thanks for all your looking, browsing, following, buying and general spurring on, I really do appreciate it.

Christmas cards of the image above (and others) are still available to buy (click here).  You could put some in the cupboard for next year perhaps...


Sunday, 5 April 2015

Friday, 20 March 2015

Ring Out Wild Bells!

Ring Out Wild Bells!  ...I've opened an Etsy shop!




IN AND OUT OF THE SEA,  the artwork of Leafy Dumas.

Purveyor of fine quality cards and prints;  illustrations for grown-ups and children (boats, maps and the English seaside).

I find it slightly terrifying that the whole world (well, those connected to the internet at least) can now click and buy something Leafish from www.etsy.com/shop/leafydumas if they so wish.

Marching onwards and upwards I am carrying on regardless.  I will be listing more items in the coming weeks.  Do keep checking in...  greetings cards are a comin'!

And a big thankyou to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, for his wonderful words.

Friday, 13 March 2015

The Lifeboat Station Project.

Last week I was lucky enough to meet Jack Lowe.

Jack is a lifelong enthusiast and supporter of the RNLI.  Travelling in Neena, his decommissioned NHS ambulance (and mobile darkroom), Jack is on a mission to visit all 237 Lifeboat Stations in Britain and Ireland and document them all using an early Victorian process known as Wet Plate Collodion.

He is making three or four photographs (ambrotypes on glass) at each lifeboat station;  a group portrait of the crew, a portrait of each Coxswain or Senior Helm, and a view or two out to sea.

Here he is with his camera,  a fantastic affair made of wood...
Photo: Jack Lowe




...and here he is in West Mersea composing our crew picture,
Photo: Martin Wade







...and Jack's glass plate of Matthew Haward, our Senior Helm, sitting in the wash tray.
Photo: Jack Lowe


and steelyfaced on the slipway, a last minute extra.
Photo: Martin Wade










Jack said,

"Every now and then, the chance arises to make a special additional portrait 'outside the schedule'.

On our travels, it's quite striking that RNLI crews tend to be very male-dominated - about 98% I reckon so far.

I saw an opportunity at West Mersea Lifeboat Station yesterday to make a point of highlighting the fact that women can and do also volunteer as crew.

Leafy Dumas kindly agreed to spend an hour or so making her portrait.  Made with the sun blasting through a stormy sky, it's a beautiful plate and very similar in feel to the 'Old Man of the Sea' photograph made at Hunstanton in January...   "


Photo: Jack Lowe


Feeling hugely honoured to be given such a part in this project.  Thankyou so much Jack, and please forgive me for whipping half your photos from the internet to make this post. Some of the pictures are Jack's...  please folk, note the credits below each pic. ...and read about Jack's mission here.




Monday, 9 March 2015

Two Extraordinary Things

Two extraordinary things happened to me last week.   Prepare yourself for a non sequitur of the utmost type.  My father died and a man with an early Victorian camera took an ambrotype photograph of me at the lifeboat station.

I have got that slightly wrong -my father actually died on Feb 22nd 2015 which was the week before- but his funeral was last Monday.  The lifeboat station photograph happened on the Tuesday.

I would like to write about both.  The former is rather more difficult to deal with than the latter, so for now I will just show you a picture,  of my father and I, from days of yore.

I will be back shortly to tackle the 21st century Victorian at the lifeboat station.