Three Craws Sat Upon A Wa’

This past week was shaping up to be another in which I did absolutely zero art.  I keep waiting for a week where my schedule is more flexible but in vain.  I used to stay up late working on art but I have been too exhausted for that malarkey these past few months.  I need to figure something out.  Solutions on a postcard, please.  Happily, however, on Sunday I met up with some local art friends and had a couple of hours in a coffee shop to work on my art journals.  I had an idea of what I wanted to work on.  However, I left the house in such a whirlwind that I left most of my travel art supplies sitting at home on my art table.  I, therefore, had to come up with an idea of something I could work on with very limited supplies.

Last week’s Art Journal Adventure prompt was something along the lines of the number 3.  Not too long ago, I had a blog comment exchange with Claudia McGill about the Scottish children’s song “Three Craws Sat Upon A Wa'” and I assume that having that so recently in my brain meant that I came up with the idea of writing out the lyrics of the song and illustrating it with three crows.  Despite being complimented all the time about my handwriting, my typography remains reliably awful.  I decided to write in a childlike print for this page, given it was the lyrics of a childhood song, which should have theoretically made it easier to set out the placement of the words on the page.  Regardless of the theory, in practice my writing went on all over the place with drifting away from the margin and that final word becoming isolated on the bottom line because of my inability to compose the text on the page.  I guess writing in art journals remains a challenge for me.  I am happier with the crow illustrations.  Sure, they look a bit derpy and goofy but I like them.  Having drawn the crows with waterproof micron pens, I used an aquapen brush marker to outline the shapes and then grabbed a water brush to spread the pigment out.  I have seen people obtain beautiful results with water activated brush markers but clearly I am not there yet with my level of experience with them.  I think the scrappy quality works well for depicting scruffy crows, however.  Let’s go with that.

11 - Three Craws Sat Upon a Wa 1

11 - Three Craws Sat Upon a Wa 2

The Hands of a Scrubber

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That is not the hide of a pink elephant or a peeled rhino.  That is my hand.  Dry, cracked and ugly like the desert in dry season.

Here’s a curious thing about the Scots: for hardy folk, we don’t half have wussy skin.  We are such a ferocious people that we chased the Romans back over Hadrian’s Wall, halting the expansion of their empire just be virtue of being really rage-filled and feisty.  Young women go for nights out on the town in the dead of Winter wearing nothing but a pelmet and a boob tube as if impenetrable to the cold.  Tough as boots we may be but our skin is more silk than leather.  Thanks to the soft water we have in Scotland, beautiful, clean, soft water, we are blessed with piglet soft skin.

So my skin, therefore, is not adjusting well to living in an area of harder water than it is used to.  Perhaps it is not just the natural sediments in the water but is also because of chemicals added to the water.  Whatever the cause, my skin is not coping with the water here.  My hands are rough and scratchy and cracked and sore.  They look like old woman hands.  They are hands a witch would be proud of.  My only consolation is that they are not quite as bad as Madonna’s old woman hands.  Yet.  Remember the Fairy Liquid advert with the jingle “Hands that do dishes can feel soft as your face …”?  Well my face is currently the texture of an alligator’s knee.

Not coincidentally, our dishwasher is not working.  Dishwashers are the Pandora’s Box of appliances: once you have one you can’t go back.  For most of my life I have lived without one and hand washed dishes without complaint but since having a dishwasher any time I have had to go without using one it has felt like Cinderella torture.  So I have been washing everything by hand which, of course, just makes my skin get worse.  Consequently they are now more cracked and gnarly than ever before.  Limescale is aggravating the dishwasher and my skin.  I am using almost industrial levels of moisturiser but that doesn’t help when my hands are constantly submerged in water.  Why yes I am bitter about the dishwasher being bust.

If this continues much longer, I will have no choice but to conceal my skin with woad.

Burn’s Night

Today is the birthday of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet.  I have celebrated Burns’ Night every year of my life as far as I can recollect.  When I was at Primary School, we used to get haggis, neeps and tatties and a glass of Irn Bru for school dinners.  When I was in Halls of Residence at University, I recited ‘Tam O’Shanter’ as part of the evening’s celebrations.  In a later year at University, I helped organise a Burns’ Night supper.  It is part of my culture as a Scot to celebrate Burns’ night and I also happen to love Burns’ poetry quite independently of any patriotism.  Around the globe, the Scots diaspora will today be piping, slicing into steaming haggis, reciting poetry and singing songs and quaffing whisky.  Unfortunately I will not be among them.  I totally brain-farted and left it too late to research where I might get my mitts on some haggis and some vegetarian haggis here in America.  So tonight  I will still read some Burns poems to the kids but Mr Pict and the boys will be having spaghetti bolognese and I will be having some other type of pasta.  I’m sure Rabbie would have approved.

I have lots of favourite Burns’ poems, depending on which mood I am in, but right now as I type this blog this one is top of the heap.  It is actually a beautiful song as well as being a lovely poem so if you are not familiar with it I recommend you go and find someone singing it on YouTube.

 

 

Green Grow The Rashes

Green grow the rashes , O;

Green grow the rashes , O;

The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,

Are spent amang the lasses, O.

There’s nought but care on ev’ry han’ ,

In ev’ry hour that passes, O:

What signifies the life o’ man,

An’ ’twere na for the lasses, O.

Green grow the rashes , O;

Green grow the rashes , O;

The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,

Are spent amang the lasses, O.

The war’ly race may riches chase, –

An’ riches still may fly them, O;

An’ tho’ at last they catch them fast,

Their hearts can ne’er enjoy them, O.

Green grow the rashes , O;

Green grow the rashes , O;

The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,

Are spent amang the lasses, O.

But gie me a cannie hour at e’en ,

My arms about my dearie, O;

An’ war’ly cares, an’ war’ly men,

May a’ gae tapsalteerie , O!

Green grow the rashes , O;

Green grow the rashes , O;

The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,

Are spent amang the lasses, O.

For you sae douce , ye sneer at this;

Ye’re nought but senseless asses, O:

The wisest man the warl’ e’er saw ,

He dearly lov’d the lasses, O.

Green grow the rashes , O;

Green grow the rashes , O;

The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,

Are spent amang the lasses, O.

Auld Nature swears, the lovely dears

Her noblest work she classes, O:

Her prentice han’ she try’d on man,

An’ then she made the lasses, O.

Green grow the rashes , O;

Green grow the rashes , O;

The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,

Are spent amang the lasses, O.