2021 May

lines and circles
Playing with crystal orbs and marbles!

Spring is still an uncertain quantity as May begins. May 6th saw the elections to Holyrood – and the now familiar hail and gales were in evidence everywhere, with several inches of snow in the Highlands. Despite months of mud-slinging by opposition parties, and the late disruption of Alex Salmond creating a new party, the SNP led by Nicola Sturgeon emerged triumphant for a 4th term. There were huge sighs of relief, and not just here!!

As the weather remains so variable we have remained indoors a whole lot more than usual. And I have started a series of shoots of my assorted crystal balls, larger orbs and marbles. From the tiniest crystal or marble to tennis ball size and even larger, they all have their magic to weave!
The page header is a small crystal orb on a silk scarf, giving a vibrant pattern of lines and colours, reflected and refracted in the clear glass.

crystal in the sunshine
Catching the early morning sunshine

And here the same crystal was set in the window to catch the low early morning sun. With all the refracted light and inverted image of the window, the garden beyond and the sky – it is both simple and complex … and quite magical!

A decoration from Christmas
A decoration from Christmas – and one of my favourite photo props!

This time it was plastic, not glass or crystal – a favourite decoration that never gets put away with the rest of the Christmas things! It is one of my photo props that always delivers!

And May has a special significance for me, as May 12th is the birthday of Florence Nightingale. No – not for the current pandemic and all the magnificent efforts being made by nurses worldwide – but because we now think that in later life she suffered from what we now call M.E. or Post Viral Syndrome (PVS).

blue hydrangeas
Blue hydrangeas for ME/PVS day on May 12th.

PVS is what changed my life back in the 1980s. It is full of resonance now, as Long Covid is just the latest version of Post Viral Syndrome! It is undoubtedly a truly vicious virus, but there are so many similarities to previous viral attacks and their aftermath – I do hope that the medical people trying to deal with Long Covid will realise the link and draw on our experiences to help their search for ways to handle post viral events both past and present!
I’ve written about ME and Me on Inedita.

And talking of Inedita itself – it has been 3 years since we began to build this site! Time does fly!! And I decided it was time to design us a new site image.

the first site graphic
Our first site graphic for Inedita!

Our first one expressed how new we were to WordPress as our means of building (well re-building) The Liddells website. Previously I had used Dreamweaver and Microsoft FrontPage 2003. But times changed, and I needed a new platform. We’d both been writing many articles, and hosting them on a friend’s website but we wanted to collect the material together, as well as writing more personal sections, such as this Journal!
So I set about finding a new image that would combine Mike’s literary strands with my photographic ones ……

the new site graphic
And our new site graphic for Inedita

So I took the theme of Seigfried Sassoon, who’s poetry Mike has written about extensively in Sassoon Agonistes and combined a WW1 image with a photograph of my own, taken with the Lensbaby an optical system I’ve written about on Inedita too. Merging and blending images is something I enjoy, using photographs, and sometimes blending a photo with a watercolour image. There’s an album of some of the blends I’ve done on Flickr here.

And so May ends with my collage of shots and images I posted to Flickr this month.

collage for May 2021
My Flickr collage of all the shots I uploaded in May 2021

And on to June, and welcome summer with the Delta variant?
Back to Journal Page
Back to Notebooks cover

Flickr holds Elisa’s online Photo Gallery
© 2021 Elisa Liddell

2020 May

collage for May 2020
A collection of images posted on Flickr this May 2020

And so May began – Month 3 of our ‘lock-down’ as we started the move to self-isolating in March, before it became law.
With the lifting of the ‘shielding’ group and move to the ‘most highly vulnerable’ group, we were free to venture beyond the garden gate! So I decided that this was the time for me to recapture my driving skills.

Ford Fiesta fascia 2008
Inside my little 12 year old car

With PVS/ME and assorted ‘challenges’ such as shingles, I had found little energy to maintain my driving. I have my small (12 year old) Fiesta that I love – but as the years flew past the traffic on the local roads got bigger and faster and there was just so much more of it. So lock-down gave me an opportunity to re-learn my skills on very quiet roads. It had to be a slow process, as the ‘cost’ in energy was high – one small session could take days of recovery. But if I could persevere then the prize (several months later) could be – would be – that I was a confident driver again. Such a vital goal for us, as we have no support network here, and shops, garages, dental and medical centres are all miles away. Public transport is almost non-existent at the best of times, and there would be no taxi service or helpful neighbours to call on in a pandemic! I needed to drive! So a whole lot of energy, time and focus was spent on driving through May, and indeed through all the summer months!

painting materials
sorting out my painting materials for the new challenge

Rather ambitiously I also decided that the lock-down could give me a second prize – a chance to start my painting again. With the very limited energy that PVS/ME permits I had given up my drawing and pastel painting in favour of photography, as I could achieve more within the energy confines. So I had an Art room lying idle with lots of materials – and the constant wish to pick up where I had left off, which was the extension from pastel into watercolours.
If I was to be largely confined to the house and garden – it could prove to be a perfect opportunity to begin again with my journey into watercolour painting. So I brushed the dust off the books I had amassed, and looked through the folders and drawers, the cupboards and shelves, and began to explore and re-learn!

notebooks of colour charts
colour charts for mixing watercolours

My adventures in watercolour have had a difficult road to travel. In 2016 I tried and felt I was making progress – when shingles struck, and wiped out all my energy and all my watercolour efforts. So starting yet again in 2020 I began by revisiting my 2016 sketches so I could pick up where I had left off – so rudely interrupted by illness!
I love Cezanne’s watercolours – I think they eclipse his oil paintings with great delicacy of touch and depth of observation. And they are a masterclass in technique, brush strokes and the use of colour. So Cezanne is always where I start…. and I began by reworking a few of my efforts – sketches I had studied from the originals in 2016.

copying Cezanne
Learning from Cezanne. 2016 and 2020 compared

Hmmm! I have lost a lot of skill in the last 4 years!

Learning from Cezanne
Learning from Cezanne. 2 from 2016 and one 2020 compared

It is back to basics, and relearning in a big way! Get out the huge tomes on Cezanne, and study the quality photos they have of his work from pencil sketches to watercolour sketches, right through to finished watercolour works! If I needed something to stave off boredom while living in lock-down – I have found it!!

So on to June, and lock-down in summer
Back to Journal Page
Back to Notebooks cover

Flickr holds Elisa’s online Photo Gallery
© 2020 Elisa Liddell