I am gently working my way back towards painting. I am a seasonal artist as my spring and summer job is a beekeeper, and I am enjoying the colours brought out by a recent dose of rain and the shapes of the leaves which have now all burst out of their buds and have lost the sappy bright green of May but still have a clarity and freshness about them.

I have been watching the birds outside my kitchen window, who are loving the Garden Crowd “Songbird Blend”, which is full of seeds, fat raisins and berry suet pellets. Pigeons aren’t quite a songbird but they love it, as do my chickens once they’ve clocked it’s sprinkled on top of the coop…

One particular male blackbird calls in on his way to the next to collect a morsel, despite having a beak full of worms already. This bird food is by far the best I’ve used, but I still regard it as a supplement to a natural garden with invertebrates, seedheeds, rainwater, nesting areas and bathing spots – both wet and dry.

The cuckoo is still very much in evidence, and we have had three here at one point. I heard the unmistakeable onomatopoeic call in the chestnut tree a few hundred yards up the farm track and as I walked towards it, binoculars at the ready, out flew a cuckoo who ended up in a poplar on the other side of the field. I walked on, and seconds later heard cuckooing again. I turned back, and out flew another cuckoo, who headed up towards the copse. I resumed my walk, and heard cuckooing again: this time the bird stayed in the tree. I’ve seen a pair – well, two – before but it was great to think that there are enough to hopefully breed successfully.

I will soon be back to actual painting once the bee season has calmed down later in the summer, and I am excited to start some commissions for Starnash Farmhouse and get ready for Ink Paper + Print at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne in September. I have a new batch of stickers, cushions, greetings cards and postcards featuring my designs.

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