Margaret Shaw - Artwork - My Blog

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Margaret Shaw Artwork

More Macros and some locals


On todays walk came across a few interesting tiny plants growing on the stone walls.  One single yellow bloom stood out against the beck at Hartley.  Paused for a chat with a couple of locals.  Also found my lost lens cap.

March 7th 2021

Winter Pictish Spirals


Completed the 6th picture in my Pictish inspired series and the 2nd of the seasonal designs.  Added to the abstract painting gallery.  You can view the work in progress from here.

March 5th 2021

Morning Moist Meadow Meander.

On this mornings moist meadow meander. Male hazelnut catkins and the tiny female flower. Multi coloured turkey tails perhaps past their best but still interesting. Wall hugging succulents. And a moss and lichen covered tree.

March 5th 2021

Lambs and Light

Another wonderful walking day.  Late afternoon saw long shadows cast across the fields creating contrast in the light.  Lichen on the dark walls was glowing.  Then we came across a several fields of lambs - feels like spring may have sprung.

March 1st 2021

Flowers, Fungi and Falls in the Sunshine

Yesterdays morning sunshine saw a brighter world.  Snowdrops in huge clusters shining against the dark ground.  Winter aconites and crocuses with open petals embracing the light.   A glistening white fungi - can see where the name white brain came from.  The waterfall of the Salmon leap on Hartley beck sparkled amongst the cast shadows.  

February 27th 2021

Stunning Stainmore


On Stainmore today the sunshine lit up the fields against the darker clouded sky areas and you could see for miles across the landscape.

February 25th 2021

Snowdrop Heaven

Yesterdays exercise took me to snowdrop heaven.  They were profuse and seemed to be dancing in the sunlight.

February 23rd 2021

Sunday Sunshine


From yesterdays sunshine exercise.  I managed to loose my lens cap along the way.  New cap will be arriving in the next few weeks.

February 22nd 2021

A Cat Named Snowball

February 21st 2021

Feed the Birds

I woke up one morning with snow on the ground
The world seemed silent – there was hardly a sound
Birds were sitting on the garage looking at me
Because the bird table was empty you see.

Downstairs in my PJ’s and flip flops I went
Reached into the food cupboard with my back bent
Seeds and nuts from cupboard to bowl
Opened the back door and stepped into the cold

Across the patio without a slip
At the edge of the lawn I took my trip
Bang I went down bottom first then back
When my head hit the floor it didn’t crack

Lying on the ground looking into the sky
The birds flew off I wonder why
My legs were wet and my bottom soggy
I was quite relieved my head wasn’t groggy

My bowls contents were all over the floor
On hands and knees I went back to the door
PJ’s and flip flops off in front of the fire
Wellies, coat and jeans more suitable attire

Seeds and nuts from cupboard to bowl
Opened the back door and stepped into the cold
Across the patio without a slip
And down the lawn without a trip

Bird table full, coffee I was needing
Soon the birds were busily feeding
My back was aching and bottom sore
Wellies left for future feeds by the back door.

With a very sore neck my pals I did call
Did I get much sympathy about my fall?
One friend in particular came out with the words
Only you could get whiplash from feeding the birds.

 © Margaret Shaw 
February 2021

February 21st 2021

Towards Winton

Todays exercise excursion saw us heading along the river towards Winton.  We encountered many exquisite snowdrops but only a few photo worthy fungi.  All were enhanced by todays sunshine which also lit up the fields and the stone barns.  Back through Hartley to Kirby Stephen and home for a very late lunch.

February 17th 2021

A Corner of Ullswater


From a photograph taken late 2019 and has been sitting in the to do pile for some time.  Figured this large picture would take me some time to paint, so once I got my stay wet palette for my acrylic paints I’d no excuse.  In the landscape gallery.  Work in progress from here.

February 16th 2021

Flowers Fungi and Sunbeams

The snowdrops were out in profusion on todays walk and a bunch of winter aconites had opened their petals.  The fungi has survived the recent freeze.  As a matter of fact the scarlet elf cups were almost as profuse as the snowdrops.  Most of the recent snow was disappearing and as we dropped down into Hartley from the old railway line a band of remaining snow pointed the eye towards the sunbeams breaking through the clouds onto the fells beyond.

February 15th 2021

Lockdown Shopdown January 6th 2021

Year 2021 on the 6th of January
We went into lockdown number three
Wine in the house - we hadn’t a drop
So oh goodness me it was time for a shop

Into my bag keys, phone and purse
Into the car expecting the worse
At the shop car park plenty spaces I found
As I made sure my mask was the right way round

The lady on the door was smiling and jolly
Telling me they’d disinfected every trolley
A man in a hurry tried to slip by
Sanitisers there Sir I heard the lady cry

Starting at the meat isle things were looking quite poor
I wanted two burgers but they only had four
Large packs of chicken – they had none
2 small packs picked up instead of one

Long life milk they hadn’t any
All sorts of fresh milk - they had many
Fresh mushrooms, potatoes and vegetables going
The veg freezers however were overflowing

Before Xmas mozzarella was ample
One extra large one was todays only sample
So at the weekends next home pizza bake
No mushrooms but plenty of cheese I’ll make

Now with our pizza we usually have wine
B’s usual was in but they had none of mine
So a different white wine I have bought
Neatly drunk with todays soda count of nought

One of the last isles was toilet rolls and tissue
And I’m happy to say these weren’t an issue
I didn’t check roll stocks before into the car boarding
Eighteen rolls in the cupboard – I’m really not hoarding.

© Margaret Shaw
January 2021

February 13th 2021

Pre Lockdown Shop Down

Two days before lockdown I needed to shop
Feeling fraught and frustrated it was somewhat a flop.
I entered the store with mask firmly in place
Glasses were steaming as I covered my face.

Lockdown baking whiles away the hours
Explaining the shortage of several flours.
Mincemeat was low and I wondered why?
Combined with the flour that makes a nice pie.

Long life milk had been a good sell.
Good job that fresh milk freezes so well.
Borlotti beans gone, I do not know why?
Is it possible to make a borlotti bean pie?

Getting Soda was becoming a feat.
White wine was going down too quickly neat.
Tonic water – they had plenty in.
Abandoning wine, I decided on gin.

The last of the gin was out for the elves
Being right at the back on the bottom shelves
To reach the gin I lay on the floor
And so I decided to head for the door

Glasses steamed up fully, through the checkout I went
Where my credit card took its usual dent.
Fraught and frustrated I wanted to shout
I took my mask off - it had been inside out!!

© Margaret Shaw
Nov 2020

February 13th 2021

Winter Wonderland

Kirkby Stephen is looking like a winter wonderland.  When the sun came out intermittently this afternoon we set off along the viaduct and there were some nice pictures to be had.  Being a footpath it wasn’t too slippy with some quite crunchy snow.  Our intention was just to walk along the viaduct and back but as the road through Hartley had been gritted we meandered through the village.  Left turn back to Kirkby Stephen where the road hadn’t been gritted so it was a bit of a slide and tread carefully.  By the time we were heading for home the sun had disappeared and we got caught in a mini blizzard.  Home for a hot coffee and I have discovered that my new boots seem to be waterproof.

February 10th 2021

Pleasures and Pitfalls of Fungi Hunting


As over the last few months I have shown you many Fungi species captured on camera, I thought it was time to share how to hunt the fungi.  

This involves putting on waterproofs, not because it will be raining but there’s a certain amount of mud involved.  Wearing the same waterproofs means you allow them to dry and knock off the excess mud before putting on again.  Change of headwear is optional but be aware that sticking ones head into bushes quite often ends up with headware being snagged by thorns.  So do not wear any expensive hat that you don’t want to have plucked.  Wearing a hat does mean that the hat takes the thorn rather than the head.

To spot the fungi you need to walk slowly and observe carefully.  Many of these species are tiny and are very adept at hiding. However, with practice, you will start to identify habitats (old wood and mossy walls being winter favourites). The good news is that once an ideal habitat is spotted future visits reveal different species. Note that ideal habitats usually involve going off the path, with dampness, so waterproof boots are an essential, but do be careful where you step so as not to damage other plants.

You can use your camera(s) or mobile phone to capture the species.  Whatever you choose needs to be able to take close up pictures as many of the fungi are tiny. Some species grow on the underside of fallen logs so there is an option of lie on the floor or (a trick I have learnt from a fellow fungi hunter) reverse the camera on the mobile phone and shoot upwards.

You may choose:

No bag.  Just make sure you have deep pockets so that when it does start to drizzle your camera fits in the pockets.  The alternative is to put your camera inside your coat (did I mention a large coat is useful to enable the camera to fit inside plus the several layers of garments needed to keep out the cold?).  

An across the shoulder bag but beware that this may become snagged on rogue branches and you find yourself sort of hanging in there.  If this happens slide under the branch and out of the strap, remove bag from branch, readjust clothing, replace bag across body and carry on.

A rucksack.  I have found this most useful.  Camera(s), phone, car keys and flask (hot drink is useful on longer hunts) all fit in. Carried snugly on the back, when ducking into the bushes doesn’t get caught in the hanging situation.  In fact can protect the back from a whack if you straighten up too soon on reversing out of the bushes.

The last thing I recommend is a fellow fungi hunter (covid restrictions etc permitting).  This person will understand when you dive off the path because you think you have seen something and in fact will share your excitement at a new or particularly pretty species.  They will also help when in a tangle and obligingly take photos of you on the hunt.

Please note that no fungis have been harmed on these hunts and none picked so others can enjoy them.

February 6th 2021