Diary 2018


"In every walk with nature one receives far more than one seeks." John Muir
"The capacity to care is what gives life it's most deepest significance." Pablo Casals
"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you." Frank Lloyd Wright


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August 15th

Today I met a lovely couple and am delighted to say that my very first new 'Amur Leopard' Designer Canvas Tote bag has gone to a good home.  After searching high and low over many months, and after many investigations in order to find a company that produces good quality bags, my reward today was to see one very happy lady with my new Amur Leopard Designer Bag. I was so excited, and cannot thank her enough for also allowing me to photograph her. Lovely to meet you both! 


August 1st
Unfortunately my website is taking longer than anticipated, so am going to continue updating this one for a little while longer. 
Have had a great first week back in the studio, dizzy spells are on the mend :)

Couldn't afford a professional to photograph my cards, coasters etc. and luckily stumbled across these. Bought the lamps in conjunction with a disc light reflector and am now rockin' with my new little studio set-up........in the corner of the lounge. lol!! It's basic, but looks and feels pretty legit, and was a bargain. I never dreamed I would have such a kit and am lovin' it

June 28th
After having such a great start in the studio on Thursday 28th, unfortunately I succumbed to Vestibular Neuronitis; never heard of it.. but apparently there are crystals that can become dislodged from their normal place inside the inner ear, and when the crystals move around it causes dizziness.

The first I knew of it was the following morning, when I sat up in bed and immediately fell backwards. I was extremely dizzy and have never experienced the like. The day continued in the same vein and the Dr. prescribed tablets to help cope with the nauseousness. She also informed me that am not allowed to drive. Needless to say I haven't been able to get back to my little studio or drawing since last week, and have been tottering around like a little biddy, hanging onto everything for support. lol!!!

The good news: is that because I ain't going nowhere for a while - the new website is progressing well. :)

June 10th
At 9.30 p.m I completed a bat roost count at home, but only 3 Brown Long-Eareds emerged, I intended counting last week, and this may be why so few. Lots of other bat activity though: Serotines and Pipistrelles, plus a number of moths flitting around. I didn't recognise this chappie so caught, photographed, then released him.

He is a Swallowtail-tailed moth Ourapteryx sambucaria. wingspan 44-60mm. Apparently they like: woodland, hedgerows, parks and gardens and the caterpillar feeds on Hawthorn, Elder, Horse Chestnut and Ivy. I borrowed the photo of the caterpillar from the Butterfly Conservation site..

A very pleasant p.m

Late afternoon walk with the girls along a woodland track; either side: birch, beech, ash growing in close proximity on the steep-sided slopes. Luka lifted her nose and alerted me to something.

I continued to stroll with the girls now by my side. At the top of the slope, sunbeams filtered thro' and I suddenly realised I was being watched. A golden glow silhouetted 4 thin spindly legs and the small body of a Roe deer fawn. I continued to walk on whilst scanning the trees, and with relief I saw her. The fawns Mum, was close-by and also stood perfectly still. Beautiful!!

Over the past few weeks I have been looked after beautifully by my husband whilst recuperating from my op.  The past few months have been extremely busy what with replacement windows being installed at home, carpets fitted, decorating, plus the op. etc.  Have not wasted a minute tho' and whilst off my feet have been organising a brand spanking new website, plus new design eco-friendly greetings cards: produced on environmentally friendly paper, and new products displaying my artwork: all to be included on my new website. Exciting times. Watch this Space!

April 19th 
Unfortunately my Studio will be closed for the next few weeks and any orders received will not be processed during this time. I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and will contact you regarding orders and enquiries, as soon as I am able. 

April 18th
Brian saw a housemartin fly across the front of the cottage yesterday, and this morning, as I sit in my Study, I can hear the familiar chattering of our feathered friends outside my window :) Our housemartins have returned!!!! :) It's super to see them darting back and forth as they select their nests, and to have their company again. Welcome home 'Little Ones'. 

April 17th
Spent today packaging both my Hooded Vulture and White-winged Duck artworks.  Both artworks are now winging their way to Vancouver.  The  Artists for Conservation 'Silent Skies' 100-ft installation, featuring all 678 endangered species of birds of the world will form the artistic centrepiece of the 27th International Ornithological Congress at the Vancouver Convention Centre in August 2018.  

As am going to be out of action for a while and time was running short....it was a bit of a rushed job.  Hence my White-winged Duck is just a quick sketch, and many thanks to photographer Andrew Watts for allowing me to use his photo.

I chose to portray my White-winged Duck as if he had just landed; his white wing coverts and bluish-grey secondary feathers still half-open and in sharp contrast to the dark, swamp forest where, in a secret tree hollow he will roost for the night.


The White-winged Duck is most easily seen at dusk when returning from a slow-flowing river, or stagnant wetland feeding ground; his diet consisting mainly of seeds, small fish, insects and aquatic plants. This species was once distributed widely across north-east India and south-east Asia, but sadly their numbers have declined due to habitat loss and hunting.

The White-winged Duck is a large, dark, forest duck with orange eyes, an orange and black mottled bill and orange-yellow legs. His underbody is brown, with a contrasting head and upper neck speckled with white. The wings when opened are white and the breast and upper body a glossy green-black.

April 15th
Have finally finished my sketch donation: White-winged Duck. https://flic.kr/p/J8wZMJ

April 6th
Received a request for an interview from a family whose daughter wished to ask me about my art and conservation work, for her school project and presentation.  Have just spent a lovely hour with Esmé and her family, at my Larmer Tree Studio, at the Larmer Tree Gardens. Good luck witih your project and look forward to seeing your artwork Esmé - Happy Painting!

With our migrating birdies on their way back to us, this a.m I decided to purchase a woodcrete Swift box. Each year we are full of anticipation as a couple of Swifts fly around the cottage and investigate our wooden boxes, but :( never any takers. Hopefully the new style box, entrance below, will be more to their liking. Can't wait to see what happens. Watch this space!! :)

March 30th
As chocolate eggs go on sale in the supermarkets, stop and think about the decisions you make this Easter.  Palm oil is a key ingredient in many products including Easter treats. The production of this ingredient is one of the leading causes of deforestation. 

March 29th
Of the 2,174 bottles and cans collected, there were 230 dead animals inside – one for every ten discarded containers.  This is why you should squash flat every can of drink that you have finished, before placing it in the recycle bin. Thankfully this little vole was rescued, but 1000's are not so fortunate. Whilst seeking shelter, many little critters get caught in empty bottles and cans and are unable to get out again.  A friend, Brian Robertson, kindly rescued this little chap.


March 23rd

'Tis the little Celandine. William Wordsworth.
Lesser Celandine on the woodland track to Larmer Tree. One of the first flowers to appear after winter. Heart-shaped leaves and bright yellow star-like flowers; providing an important nectar source for early insects and queen bees emerging from hibernation.  


March 22nd

Can well believe storks were frozen solid in Bulgaria. Last week, after being out overnight in the freezing rain, our rescued peacock chicks, now fully grown, experienced similar. Unable to move: feathers frozen with ice, we were able to catch them, carry them close to the cottage and feed them by hand. Late in the day the peacocks started to thaw out slightly.  They were very miserable and cold tho'. :(  Feel very sorry for alll the wild birds. We have numerous feeders and have been filling them every day.  This month we have seen so many different bird species visiting our garden: birds that would not normally venture into such close proximity of humans.


March 14th
So sad to hear about Stephen Hawking. A courageous, brilliant man. A remarkable life. 
"We have but one planet and we need to work together to protect it" - Stephen Hawking.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreathes;
And 'tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.
(William Wordsworth)

March 12th
RSPB Love Nature have received their first swallow sighting reported from Harrogate, North Yorkshire today - there were FOUR captured in the photo. Keep your eyes peeled and record when you see our Summer Migrants arrive.

March 9th
View from my Studio. ???? What a murky ol' day.


March 8th
Happy #InternationalWomansDay! Celebrating Gladys Mantle who, as one of the first animal rights activists on the Quantocks, saved a young deer from a stag hunt 70 years ago to the day - a little known hero and an inspirational woman. Good on you Gladys and all the other women who work so hard protecting our endangered birds and mammals around the world. 

March 3rd

Moorhen & Bramblings under the feeders today. ???? Have counted 22 species drinking and feeding in our garden over past 3 days. Fear I may have become a tad twitcher'ish‬.

February 14th
Exciting start to the week. Am experimenting with an idea for another drawing....maybe a full-body portrait of an Amur Leopard. ????   .. hmm...I'll see how it goes. 
♥ & big furry hugs to everyone on this extremely cold, wet and windy Valentines Day. xx


February 1st
Didn't realise I had received one.  Found my AFC certificate whilst uploading my new Artists for Conservation site. 

January 31st
After updating my Artists for Conservation website, have also been updating my Nature In Art website and diary.  As a trial run....have decided to place each recent artwork or WIP on my home page.  Thought it might good to let visitors see what I am up to, at a glance.  

January 30th
Just found this too.
Lovely to have been acknowledged along with fellow AFC members that donated to the Explorers against Extinction event, at the Royal Geographical Society, in October last year.

AFC Artists and Royal Geographic Society Fundraiser for Wildlife

On October 12 through 15, Several AFC artists are lending support to a major conservation fundraiser. Participating AFC artists include: Stephane Alsac, Guy Combes, Carrie Cook, Gary Hodges, Kate Jenvey, Karen Lawrence-Rowe, Ann London, Clive Meredith, Jeremy Paul, Pollyanna Pickering, Craig Roberts, Geraldine Simmons, Su Shimeld, Jonathan Truss and Paula Weigmink. Following is the press release describing the event.


January 29th
Whilst rummaging for something else... just found this.....
My bat artwork accompanying an article in this prestigious magazine.

British Wildlife Magazine ~ 2003
Greater Horseshoe Bat - Pen & Ink drawing
Wildlife Artist - Susan Shimeld

Artists for Conservation are in the process of updating their website and Signature Members have also had to update their pages. I have been beavering away, and this link is my new 'Artists for Conservation' Gallery. 


January 28th


I have recently completed my 'Hooded Vulture' artwork, and am donating it to be autioned at the Silent Skies event in Canada.  Silent Skies is an international collaborative super-mural mosaic featuring all 678 endangered species of birds of the world, portrayed by AFC Signature Members. The installation forms the artistic centrepiece of the 27th International Ornithological Congressin Vancouver at the Ornithological Society.  Funds raised will will support bird conservation and environmental education.

January 18th
Couldn'g believe this mornings news.  Apparently one of the wolves at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust has esacaped.  Stay safe Torak. Poor thing must be wondering what the hell is going on.  My greatest fear is that someone might be trigger happy, as with the  Lynx that recently escaped from a zoo in Wales. The Lynx was shot dead. 

Great news. Wolfy is home safe and sound. Thank goodness.  
Am pleased to say that Torak was found safe and sound 8 miles from the Trust.  He went through a field of sheep and harmed none of them. He crossed countryside and was later spotted in woodland, but continued to evade capture. Eventually one of the handlers was able to walk up to him, place a collar and lead on him, and he was returned home safe and sound.

I met the wolves when I was invited to illustrate a book, 'A New Era for Wolves and People', written by Dr. Marco Musiani, a Professor at Calgary University, Canada. I was kindly invited to visit the Wolf Sanctuary in Reading by Denise.T in order to meet and sketch the wolves. I met the team and made some good friends. I was also introduced to the lovely Torak, Mosi, Mia and their companions. For further info. and photos please see my Conservation Links Page.  

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This is a photo of my meeting with Mia and Mosi. Great ambassadors for the species and an amazing and beautiful experience.

January 17th
Have received an email asking if I would like to participate in this years Sketch For Survival.


Below is the advert posted on their Facebook page. If you enjoy sketching feel free to join in and help stop Wildlife Crime.

Pencils at the ready - #SketchforSurvival 2018 is back!

Are you a professional wildlife artist or someone with a high profile that can help us raise awareness about threats to endangered species while also helping to raise funds to combat wildlife crime?

We'd love your support! Please share!


Our Lives Matter - artwork by Siobhan Barlow, Sketch for Survival Collection 2017
Deadline for 2018 submissions: 31 July.

January 11th
Vultures are declining at an alarming rate for a number of reasons. Vultures have been demonised over more recent years and we are now inadvertently killing them in huge numbers. Not only are they are persecuted for being vultures; they are electrocuted when they hit high voltage lines across the worlds steep valleys and canyons. They die due to lead poisoning from carcasses that have been shot and left by hunters. Drugs such as diclofenac/antibiotics/chemicals can be purchased over the counter, in large quantities, across Asia and Africa. Farmers medicate their cattle and when the cattle die, the chemically-contaminated carcasses are just dumped. The vultures do as they have for 100's of 1,000's of years; they clean-up the carcasses for us, but sadly end up dying a slow, painful death from ingesting these chemicals. Vultures eggs and chicks also fail due to chemical poisoning. We need vultures. Watch and share the video, and sign the petition.  Please watch this video and sign the above petition. 

Please watch this powerful and informative video and sign the above petition.

January 4th
Slowly progressing with my artwork..titled Silent Skies, to be donated and installed as part of a collaborative mural at the 27th International Ornithological Congress, Vancouver.


January 3rd
Anyone finding a stranded turtle, should not attempt to put it back in the sea. It may be still alive + returning it to sea will kill it. Instead take to a cool, sheltered place, away from sea + report it immediately to one of the numbers on UK Turtle Code. @mcsuk https://www.mcsuk.org/news/turtle_washed_up

"Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks." Plutarch



I would just like to wish you all, friends old and new, a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. Thank you for your support in 2017 and look forward to catching-up again in 2018!

December 26th
Haven't seen a Mermaids Purse for years. Spotted this little one whilst cycling alongside the beach today. As it was dried out, empty and had been washed on to the promenade - I bought it home to display on my Nature Table. :)

Mermaids Purses are the egg cases of certain species of sharks and skates. The parent fish attaches the egg cases to objects such as seaweed. The egg case contains a live embryo which develops over 6-9months before hatching. Larger sharks give birth to live young.

Citizen Science.... ????
Whilst trying to id this little chap I found this site. https://www.sharktrust.org/en/great_eggcase_hunt

I had no idea that the Shark Trust are asking for sightings to be recorded. So my next job is to id and post my data to them. By providing species abundance and distribution it will help the Shark Trust protect our sharks and skates. If you happen to find one, please photograph it and send your details to the Shark Trust too. 


December 24th
Xmas Eve 4.20 p.m walking the girls in the park, and paused at the pond we've been planting-up over the years. A sweet Pipistrelle did us the honour of flying low in front of our faces ????and then up above and around us. What a fantastic sight and just shows how warm it is. Thankfully also saw a couple of insects darting about so hopefully he found his dinner.

December 20th
'Now' is never just a moment. The Long Now is the recognition that the precise moment you're in grows out of the past and is a seed for the future. Brian Eno.

"It is the undeniable qualities of human love and compassion and self-sacrifice that give me hope for the future."
Dr. Jane Goodall

December 19th


Sunset stroll from my studio, with the girls. Lovely Larmer Tree.

Also lovely to receive this message Received from Real Africa, in my Inbox.


December 12th
Tool collection for Workaid - the barn is full to bursting. 


Spent the weekend carrying the tools collected up from the barn.  This a.m Workaid van driver Ron came to us to collect a van load.  I've met some lovely folk along the way, and thank you to everyone who has donated tools: sewing machines, materials, typewriters, building, carpentry, woodworking and electrical tools. We were absolutely full to the brim. Thanks also to @Workaid for collecting; for refurbishing and giving a second life to all these tools, and for helping folk in Africa.

December 11th
Life's lovely coincidences. Years ago, Brian and I decided to try and convert an empty, ugly, large concrete bowl which sat in a meadow; into a wildlife pond.

When it rained it would normally fill with 6 -12 inches of water which would then turn a scummy orangey/green colour...it was eventually filled with water that soon looked just as grim, and I frequently found dead frogs nearby.

It worked-out tho' :) ...and over the years has slowly but surely become a beautiful pond and.... apart from also being a sheeps watering hole, :) has filled with a variety of plant life, plus toads, newts, frogs, dragonflies, along with ducks nesting amongst the tall Irises in the summer. Unfortunately tho', we are also forever having to pull out random branches and lumps of wood that children periodically throw into it. The wood slowly rots which is not good for the pond. :( We've often thought of mentioning this to the local school, but never gotten around to it.

Today, whilst walking my furry buddies, I noticed in the distance there were a number of children cross-country running, and a couple of adults close to the area, so I approached. I wasn't sure of the reaction I would receive, but needn't have worried. As we chatted it transpired the adults were tutors at the school, and they were really interested and concerned about the well-being of the pond. Have also been invited to judge the children's art competition in the New Year and perhaps chat with them about the pond and wildlife conservation. Cripey...lol!! Funny how things work out.


December 4th
After a slow start on Friday p.m, am pleased to say the Christmas Fair at my Larmer Tree Studio, was a success. Lots of lovely folk visiting; it was non-stop for both Saturday and Sunday and thank you to all who popped by to say Hi.

December 2nd
Today a busy day: visitors, sales, plus 2 new items: a large Amur Leopard Canvas Tote bag and Cushion have arrived, and are now for sale in my little shop. Received lovely comments re: my studio and the magical, pretty twinkling pathway to my Studio... awwhh!!!

Video of my lovely hubby off to purchase some mulled cider.

December 1st
Have been working hard to design and organise my new sign in time for the Lamer Tree Christmas Fair


November 4th
Oooerr!!! It's turning chilly... lit the fire last night for the first time in months.  Furry buddy and her favourite pastime....collecting firewood.


November 2nd
Two lovely evenings...Monday p.m. Historian, Dr. David Starkey, at the Tivoli in Wimborne.  He is such an interesting and knowledgeable gentleman.  I wish he had been my history teacher at school.  Last night, 'Pitt Rivers As Pioneer' Lecture, at Bournemouth University.  A great evening and lovely to learn even more about the gentleman regarded as the Father of Archaeology, and the founder of my home/Studio at the Larmer Tree Gardens. 

It was also lovely to see familiar faces from Cranborne Chase and to meet up with old friends...even picked-up a couple of tools for Workaid (thank you Bob ;) and rounded off the evening in the Student Union bar. :) Brilliant...  A great way to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary too.

October 30th
A busy weekend lugging tools about, and rearranging the barn.  Have spoken with, and met some super tool-donator-folk over the past 7-10 days.  We also now need a Workaid van collection as the barn is full to bursting. 

Brian washed the car and van, wired and connected his office and computer to the cottage.  I cleaned the chook shack, did doggy training, houseworky stuff and dug up the veg. patch.  Have potted our chard and placed them in the greenhouse as the peacocks and chickens have been munching every new shoot that appears.   Not sure whether it will work in pots, but fingers crossed.   Our social life was full-on prior to London and we also now have tickets for two forthcoming evening events .... it's non-stop :) .. but great fun.  As the Larmer Tree Gardens are now closed for the winter, am looking forward to a slightly less hectic time and lots of vulture drawing. :)
October 28th
A delivery of tools for Workaid on Tues. Another delivery yesterday, plus a load arriving at lunch time today. ⚖️ So thoughtful of folk to donate their old tools.

October 24th
I opened my studio late yesterday a'noon. I almost didn't because the weather was so dark, damp and yuk and there was no one around. Within minutes tho', a gentle lady popped into my studio and browsed through my artwork, greetings cards, palm oil free soaps etc. She then quietly enquired as to how long I'd been at Larmer Tree, and I explained that I'd moved into the Larmer Tree Flat in 1989. She then asked, if I was religious.. I said that I was not, but that I was spiritual. She said: General Pitt Rivers will be really pleased that you are here, doing what you do. I thanked her for sharing such kind words. She said, You are just the person for this lovely place: you may not realise it but you are following on with his ideals, work and ethos. The fact that you are here and also caring for Larmer Tree. He would definitely approve.

You could have knocked me over with a feather. In all the years I have been here, people have been very complimentary and said such sweet things, even Michael,Pitt Rivers, the General's Great Great Grandson, was always kind, but this is the first time anyone has ever said this. I was really quite moved. As we continued to chat, it felt as though time had stopped. It was the strangest feeling but quite lovely. It transpired that this kind, gentle lady, was a Historian and had qualifications as long as your arm, from Cambridge and other prestigious universities. She was extremely knowledgeable; and was at Lamer Tree yesterday as she had studied the Pitt Rivers family and her visit was to do with work. It truly was super meeting her, and so interesting to meet someone that knew so much about General Pitt Rivers: his work and his life. Special moments and special people.

October 21st
A lovely view this sunny morning of a Nuthatch splashing around in our bird bath. Later whilst taking the girls for a walk we had the company of a Red Kite soaring above us. :) In the garden at lunchtime, I counted at least 18 Red Admiral butterflies and as many busy bees.

Tonight, am working late, thinking of bed, and have just heard the bellowing of a stag being carried on the howling wind. It is the rutting season; the wind is whistling around the cottage and it is raining hard. I think the stag must be sheltering in nearby woods as I can still hear him calling. Such a majestic sound.... and a blissful way to end the day.

October 18th
Can't believe I have been a Signature Member 'Artists For Conservation', for a year already. Where does the time go to?!?!

One phone call last week and two this week, all to do with collecting tools for Workaid. :) All three said how fed up they are with the throw-away attitude of society today.
The first set of tools to be collected belong to an 80yr old Cabinet Maker. He has made furniture for the Rothshchild and Asquith families, plus other well-known folk, His neighbour is helping him sort his tools and it sounds quite a collection. It is so good that they are not going to a junk shop or to the tip.

Whilst making arrangements to collect another donation from another lady, I explained that I worked, and when asked where; the lady said that her family used to live in a village near Tollard Royal. :) She said that her great Great Grandmother used to visit Larmer Tree when General Pitt Rivers was alive. Apparently a horse and cart decked out with straw bales would visit the local villages and collect the families that wished to attend. It is already understood that the General, being of a philanthropic nature, believed everyone should have a day away from work. She said that her Great Gran could remember being taken to the gardens to have a picnic and be entertained by the local brass band. She also said there were black ovens dotted around the gardens, so that the families could cook their food. :) She also mentioned that she was related to the local blacksmith and that his family had been blacksmithying in the area for 4 generations. I love these sorts of conversations. So interesting.

Octonber 13th
Excellent p.m at Royal Geographical Society. Hopefully lots of money raised to help protect our precious eles, rhinos + African w'life. #explorersagainstextinction
Thanks to all those who encouraged and supported me, Pete and Andrew, in particular. 

As mentioned, we had a super time and am pleased to report that enough money was raised to finance the care of a few more elephant orphans at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/ and to finance the training of more pups for the Animals saving Animals (ASA) https://www.animalssavinganimals.org/

Even tho' I was informed by the organisers that my artwork had generated a lot of interest, unfortunately my reserve figure was not met. Our rhinos and eles will still benefit from my artwork tho'; as I've since donated the amount that was bid, to the above mentioned organisations and am now looking forward to receiving my framed White Rhino back at home. :) it will be good to see her again...as also mentioned, I'd become quite attached. ;) It was super to have been invited to participate; it was a great day out: including a visit to the Natural History Museum too, one of my favourite places.  We spent the afternoon here prior to visiting the Royal Geographical Society for the Explorers Against Extinction event.  The evening was fantastic experience and all in all, not a bad outcome either. ;) This is a photo, taken by Real Africa, of my White Rhino, when she was on her travels around the country.


October 9th
Over the past month have had a flock of Pied Wagtails regularly visiting our garden. This a.m delighted to see a Grey Wagtail pecking around on the lawn and flitting about too. It must be 10+yrs ago since we last saw one here. The Pieds tried to see her off, but she wasn't having any of it. Lovely to see that flash of bright lemon yellow as she hopped about. Always thought it a dull name, for such a pretty bird. Presume she is making her way to our east coast or possibly Africa. Lovely sighting to start the day.

Thank you Tollard Tattler magazine - October 2017 - for this lovely post about the 'Explorers Against Extinction' event on Thursday Oct. 12th.

Our amazingly talented local artist Su Shimeld was asked to donate a pastel to raise funds for Explorers Against Extinction. In her own words...
I enjoyed every minute producing my pastel drawing of a 'White Rhino', and am delighted to be a part of the Explorers Against Extinction auction, to be held at the Royal Geographical Society, London. Funds raised will be used to help protect endangered rhinos, elephants, lions and help combat wildlife crime.

In South Africa, every 7 hours a rhino dies. Poachers kill on average 3 rhinos per day – and 1 elephant every 15 minutes, to feed the demand for horn and ivory, on the black market.
At the beginning of the 20th century there were estimated to be 500,000 rhinos across Africa and Asia. At the end of 2015, there were around only 29,000 rhinos (all five species) surviving in the wild.

This link to my artwork on the Explorers Against Extinction 'Sketch for Survival' website is now..... Live and Open for Bids!! You can view the artwork and bid HERE: http://explorersagainstextinction.irostrum.com/.../Bid.../10433...

If you can, please bid for my 'White Rhino' artwork and please Share this post with anyone that you think might like to give my 'White Rhino' a good home.
Thank you to Paul Wilton Picture Framing, Berwick St. John, nr. Shaftesbury, who kindly framed my artwork and did my rhino so proud. She looked a treat, and Paul also very kindly gave a donation to rhino conservation. Thank you also to Wendy Sinclair for the use of her lovely photo as reference.

This is a most innovative campaign to save the rhino from poachers. It is a unique opportunity for ALL OF US to get involved personally and 'Happy Bidding'...whichever you artwork you choose.

The future of wildlife is in all our hands and thank you again for your interest in my 'White Rhino' artwork.

October 8th
Just returned from checking out a church porch looking for bats. Found evidence of bats being there previously, but no signs of activity tonight. Different story in the church yard though. Heard a knock to you, 17, if this trial.... lol!! Flippin' phone...that should read Noctule, Serotine, Pipistrelle. :) Lovely way to round off the day.

Ocober 3rd
Just received this lovely boost of publicity for my donated White Rhino artwork from Pencils4Artists.
I recently needed pastels in a bit of a hurry and received an excellent, personal, friendly and speedy service. If you ever need pens, pencils etc.... I highly recommend http://www.pencils4artists.co.uk/

Please please please have a look at these pages. The fabulous Susan Shimeld natureinart.com Larmer Tree has drawn this beautiful White rhino using FC Polychromos pencils which will be auctioned on the Explorers Against Extinction website to aid conservation. Why not go and make a bid!

September 28th
Have placed a flag counter, just out of curiosity. Not sure if it will work, but thought it would be interesting to see who visits, and from where.... if at all. :) 

September 27th
Have placed my 'Amur Leopard' artwork on the 'Fine Art America' site. https://fineartamerica.com/featured/amur-leopard-susan-shimeld.html  Have been meaning to join this site for years.  This is a link to my 'Amur Leopard' page, but I will be posting other artwork over the coming days and weeks.  From this page you can now purchase my artwork design as a framed print, canvas print, mounted print, or as a uniquely designed mug, phone case, shower curtain, duvet cover, tote bag, greetings card etc..   If you have a specific background colour design in mind, please let me know as I can also alter the colour scheme to suit your requirements.  If you like the design as is then feel free to just place your order.  Fine Art America is a trusted site used by a number of well-known artists. If you have any queries tho', please don't hesitate to contact me.  


September 25th

Back in the studio today: ploughing through vulture photos.  An overcast day, but nice to a meet a lovely couple on their holiday; who also liked my 'Kindersong' fine art cards and 'Kindersong' bone china mugs.  

September 18th
As we have had the estate decorators painting the outside of the cottage and carpenters installing windows downstairs, I've been unable to go anywhere.  It has been a good opportunity to update my website though.  Have now signed and watermarked all my website shopping images, uploaded a couple of new piccies,  and updated my diary etc. Good job done and apologies for taking so long to get around to it.  To see my most recent artworks please visit my Gallery Page and scrolll down to Wildlife Gallery.

September 12th
My artwork is for sale at Lot 95 :) Am hanging with Dame Judy Dench - Lot 96 :) Am in good company. http://explorersagainstextinction.co.uk/


September 11th
My artwork is Live and Open for Bids!!!  :) Please Share, Bid... and support the fight against wildlife crime. 


Rhinos need your help, and this is one way to do that and receive a lovely..... (tho' I say so myself) :) framed original artwork to enhance your home. :)

I enjoyed every minute producing my pastel drawing of a 'White Rhino', and am delighted to be a part of the Explorers Against Extinction auction, to be held at the Royal Geographical Society, London. Funds raised will be used to help protect endangered rhinos, elephants, lions and help combat wildlife crime.

In South Africa, every 7 hours a rhino dies. Poachers kill on average 3 rhinos per day – and 1 elephant every 15 minutes, to feed the demand for horn and ivory, on the black market.

At the beginning of the 20th century there were estimated to be 500,000 rhinos across Africa and Asia. At the end of 2015, there were around only 29,000 rhinos (all five species) surviving in the wild.

This link to my artwork on the Explorers Against Extinction 'Sketch for Survival' website is now..... Live and Open for Bids!!
If you can, please bid for my 'White Rhino' artwork and please Share this post with anyone that you think might like to give my 'White Rhino' a good home.

Thank you to Paul Wilton Picture Framing, Berwick St. John, nr. Shaftesbury, who kindly framed my artwork and did my rhino so proud. She looked a treat, and Paul also very kindly gave a donation to rhino conservation. Thank you also to Wendy Sinclair for the use of her lovely photo as reference.

This is a most innovative campaign to save the rhino from poachers. It is a unique opportunity for ALL OF US to get involved personally and 'Happy Bidding'...whichever you artwork you choose.

The future of wildlife is in all our hands and thank you again for your interest in my 'White Rhino' artwork.


September 6th
I was photographing vultures today for my next artwork: at Liberty's Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre in Ringwood.  Am donating my vulture portrait to the 27th International Ornithological Congress in Vancouver, Canada, to help focus and highlight the 678 endangered species of birds in the world.  I am a Signature Member of Artists for Conservation and all member artists have been asked if we would be willing to donate an artwork to complete a large mural - comprising individually created paintings.  

With my donated 'White Rhino' artwork to help prevent wildlife crime, and my endangered 'Hooded Vulture' portrait, I couldn't think of a better way of getting back into my little studio and my world of art and conservation.  I was caring for my parents for 9 years and it is great to be back in the swing of things.  

Whilst taking my vulture photos, I met Jayson, an extremely helpful guy, who kindly guided me re: camera settings, lenses etc. Thanks Jayson, your interest and help was very much appreciated. 

Spetember 3rd
This is so appropriate. Earlier this year I decided that when my rhino was finished, a Tuluver would be my next artwork. Looking forward to getting started.

September 2nd
What a super and successful weekend in my little studio. Absolutely brilliant in so many ways. As always, such a lovely crowd, with so many friendly faces popping in to say Hi.  Lovely new contacts made and also lovely to see familiar faces too: thanks to all.

On top of this, the sun shone for the first two days, with great music as the cherry on top of the cake. Sadly it threw it down today but this didn't dampen spirits tho'. I've sold fine art prints, coasters, cards, mugs, plus an original artwork to a sweet couple, who have popped by to say Hi for many years. Thanks for a good festival and safe journey home folks.


September 1st
Sadly the End of the Road festival didn't start well for me.  I was happy as I'd managed to get the studio ship-shape just in time for the start of the festival, and thought I would take my girls for a walk in the woods, just before opening to  festival-goers.  It's not ideal for our wildlife, but each year, the festival utilise a small part of the woodland and install lights a discofloor, plus a few haybales for folk to sit on.  This installation is here every year. 

This year, as I entered the woodland area I was shocked to discover that the festival organisers had plonked a couple of stalls,  2 large toilet blocks, about 8-10 loos in each, hay bales for folk to sit on, plus a huge disco dancefloor and marquee within the woodland.  To do so they had cleared/trashed even more woodland than in previous years.  Plus a large cinema tent, marquee and a large ferris wheel had been placed alongside: within 8 feet, of an ancient and active badger sett.   

They had not only done this - but had also placed a large floor light on the ground next to one of the sett entrances with lights also pointing into the woods above the sett.  There was also a large badger head mask fixed to the tree above one of the badger sett entrances.  So whomever did this, obviously knew that badgers were there.  

The badgers, for sure, would not venture from their sett during the festival - as all of these activities, filled with children, people, loud music and lit up like Christmas trees would be busy well into the night.  The badgers latrines and foraging areas, had all gone, and wood chippings were spread across this entire area of woodland floor.  Thankfully there is other woodland on the other side of the fence: that the festival had erected to keep outsiders out, but all the understorey cleared for the smelly toilet blocks, shops, woodland disco, ferris wheel etc had been dumped on top of the badger sett.  

I spoke to folk that may be able to help and did what I could under the circumstances.  The festival was already underway and I knew there was no way that anything would stop or be dismantled at this late stage.  Am not sure how it is going to pan out or will be organised for next year either.  It just felt like townees; visiting this particular festival because they wish  to experience and enjoy the super views, tranquility and wilderness of the surrounding woodland and countryside..... are unable to do so without destroying what they've come to see, as basically the festival organisers had managed to make the whole area it into a mini and noisy Mall.  Why would you place large toilet blocks and a large ferris in beautiful woodland... and next to an ancient  badger sett?  It just sums of humanity, and this is exactly why the world, our planet,  is in the mess it is in today. 

I had to shut off from this depressing start as there was nothing more I could do for the badgers.  It was obvoiusly a worry but I had to concentrate on my work too, I had a job to do.... and in a way am glad that  this was the case.  

Back in my studio, I met some lovely folk: fellow artists, musicians and just really friendly people.....and had some really interesting conversations.   I also sold a couple of fine art prints, one of Malcolm's pendants, coasters, cards, plus my palm oil free soaps. The sun was shining and other than the badger situation, it was a lovely and successful day. 


August 31st
Quick whizz round my Studio before the festival opens. My windows are rattling to bassy music outside. 


August 29th
My dear Dad passed away in May 2010 and my Mum passed away today last year.  Can't believe that Dad has been gone for so long and Mum, now a year ago.  Didn't do the End of the Road last year for this reason... but now that White Rhino is on his way to be auctioned to raise funds for Explorers Against Extinction... am able to concentrate totally on getting ready for the festival. :)

Have been printing fine art prints, producing cards and mounting new artwork.   Will place my new artwork for sale on-line,  in my on-line Studio as soon as possible.  In the meantime, my Amur Leopard, White Rhino and other new fine art prints are available from my Larmer Tree Studio. 

August 25th
My rhino is on his way.
I'll post a link to the auction when he has been uploaded to the site and is live.
For larger images please visit Flickr........ https://flic.kr/p/WQw8fV


Wrapped in cellophane and waiting to go. :( For a good cause, but didn't want to part with him. It's funny how you become really attached to certain artworks.

In South Africa, poachers kill on average three rhinos per day – approx. 100 per month – to feed the demand for horn on the black market.  At the beginning of the 20th century there were estimated to be 500,000 rhinos across Africa and Asia.  This number dramatically fell to 70,000 by 1970.  At the end of 2015, conservationists' estimated that there were around only 29,000 rhinos (all five species) surviving in the wild.  My rhino is now on his way to the Explorers Against Extinction auction, to be held in October. I'll post a link to the auction when he has been uploaded to the site and is live.

August 24th
My rhino is finally finished and at the framing shop. It has been full-on trying to complete it in time with everything else going on....but lots of good outcomes with ref. photos, wildlife rescues, work, eye op. etc... I've been really fortunate. :)

I wish to say a big thank you to Wendy Sinclair at Wendy's Photos for Creatives, for allowing me to use her photos of rhinos. Also thank you to Brian, for putting up with me working late in the studio so often. Many thanks also to Paul Wilton, our local framing chap, in the village of Berwick St. John, who very kindly offered to frame my artwork and have it ready within 24hrs!!! Paul is such a busy gentleman, and it was so good of him to do it at such short notice. All that needs to be done now, is to collect, pack, and post my piccie and I feel so lucky to have been helped by so many lovely and kind people.

On arrival, my artwork will be catalogued and placed in the 'Explorers Against Extinction' - Sketch for Survival auction, at the Royal Geographical Society, London. My 'White Rhino' artwork will then be placed on-line and open to bids and hopefully will help to raise funds in order, to help our precious rhinos struggling to survive in the wild.

Please visit Flickr to see White Rhino in full... https://flic.kr/p/XXRakG

August 23rd
A festival is mushrooming on my doorstep..... it is getting bigger with each day yikes!!!

August 22nd
I have been selected as Artists for Conservation 'Artist of the Day'. A new artist is selected each month and I am delighted to have been chosen.


August 19th
Should have been in the studio drawing but instead spent the afternoon with birds of prey. :) Took our furry buddies for a walk and spent a couple of hours laying in the sunshine, in a meadow, watching a peregrine fly above us. Incredible to be able to see this stunning bird and hear him call to his partner, at such close quarters. Earlier in the walk we also saw 2 kites, a sparrowhawk plus a couple of buzzards. A lovely Saturday afternoon.

August 17th
Have just had a visit from three lovely and interesting ladies that are camping in a meadow close-by. They purchased coasters, gift cards and palm oil free soaps as gifts for friends, and also treated themselves. I have just sold two of Malcolm Coppen's lovely shunkly pendants. Yay!!! :) Yesterday, I placed the pendants on velvet stands, and must remember to bring a mirror from home, so that folk can see the jewellery when trying the pendants on.

Unfortunately Larmer Tree Studio is now closed until the end of the month as preparations for the End of the Road festival, start next week. A lovely end to the week and cannot wait to tell Malcolm.


August 13th
I feel very fortunate, as I get to meet so many interesting people. Today, had the pleasure of meeting Leo Aylen - poet, author, and his wife Pauline Dillworth Aylen.
They have made a film as part of a campaign and a petition to alert everyone to the potential destruction of a green water meadow called Spurt Mead, adjacent a very special stretch of the River Wylye, near Warminster, Wiltshire, UK.

Spurt Mead is home to watervoles, grass snakes, frogs and newts, which are all protected species. The River Wylye is a SSSI and SAC and one of only a handful of chalk streams in the UK. Two otters reside in the stretch of the river next to Spurt Mead, and among the many nesting birds here are spotted woodpeckers. It is a beautiful place, mainly undisturbed and is a much revered wildlife haven.

A developer wishes to build 35 houses on this water meadow and has applied for planning permission.  Please sign this petition.

August 9th
Two phone calls in one week, both for tools and sewing machines to be collected on behalf of Workaid. Both callers were really thoughtful and without hesitation offered to deliver the tools to me rather than me having to collect.

The last caller, a gentleman, has a number of woodworking tools from his late father-in-law who was a furniture maker and excellent craftsman. It was a trip down memory lane as he lives close to where my parents used to live, and my Dad too was an excellent carpenter, wood-worker and craftsman. Many of Dad's tools were also donated to Workaid.
Coincidentally the gentleman is also a great fan of rhinos and worked in Africa for a number of years. Through my volunteer work with bats, wildlife conservation and Workaid, I meet some super, kind and interesting people. 

August 4th
Look who's found their way home!!! Unbelievable. Had just left home and was walking thro' the park to the studio, and met these guys en-route.The boys have made it quite clear they don't wish to stay at Larmer. Can't believe it. That was a long journey for them, and involved crossing a main road - thank god they're safe and sound. Whether we like it or not looks like we have two pet peacocks. lol!!They're back!


August 2nd
Have seen and heard in flight, but never been this close to either. Can't believe it was within 6 mths... and great to have been involved with rescuing both.



July 24th
On this day 10 years ago...... :) 

UKWCT - a non-profit organisation working to keep wolves in the wild.
A wolf cuddle... I couldn't believe it. :)
Photos courtesy Nigel Rousell

June - July
Finally finished my Amur Leopard portrait.  Now to crack on with my White Rhino for the Explorers Against Extinction auction in October. 

leo image

June 28th
A lovely view from my lovely little Larmer Tree Studio flat. Regular, cosy nesting spot for my Spotted Fly Catcher. They have been nesting here each year, since 1989, and were probably nesting here long before I moved in.

June 25th

Have waited 3+ yrs...which makes my Christmas & Birthday gift, received yesterday, even more Special'ler. I now have a new snazzy Bat Detector.  Having great fun detecting batties! :) Thank you Brian.

I've been so busy with Mums affairs.  Plus rescues: Tawny Owl, Peacocks and Sparrowhawk and trying to get on top of my arty business again, that I've been somewhat preoccupied. Apologies for not updating my site so frequently. I've been working on an Aur Leopard, plus a White Rhino artwork for 'Explorers Against Extinction'.  Progress has been slow as there have so many interruptions, but we are getting there. :)  I will attempt to fill in the gaps twixt May and July asap. It's good to be back! :)

May 25th
Have finally finished my Amur Leopard painting, produced from a photo courtesy of Ben Williams at Natural Encounters Photography.   I have also produced a fine art print and as soon as I have a min. will include it in my Wildlife Fine Art Print Gallery.

May 24th
Sat in my office at home typing and suddenly heard a soft shuffling sound from behind the printer. Thinking it was a mouse, I slowly peered behind it, and to my amazement saw a baby nuthatch sat there. He must have flown in when a door/window was open. I've been so careful since the swallow came in, but it appears I mustn't leave doors open for second, if I'm not in the house. I caught the little bird easily..and we went outside. He was gorgeous, and happily perched on my finger tweeting for over a minute. Amongst all the other birdsong, I was delighted and relieved to hear a tweeting emanating from a treetop close by, in response to each of his little tweets. My little nuthatch understood the message from the parent and flew. He landed in the Mahonia, in our hedgerow....I could see him quite clearly, and almost immediately I saw an adult nuthatch fly down from the tree, across the top of the bush and perch close by. :) Phewf!!!!

May 11th
My Virtual Art Exhibition ~ Nature in Fine Art ~ Larmer Tree Studio

My very first video.

May 6th
I love Larmer Tree. This afternoon I walked around Larmer Tree Gardens, and after all the family upheavals...realised am well and truly back. :) It was beautiful. Brian happily pottering around at home... and I was here checking-up on the orphaned peacocks - 1,2,3...all okay. :) On one of the lovely rides I bumped into the macaws, and for a while sat on on a grassy bank - macaws by my side. Bliss!

May 4th
Thankfully, one peacock has settled into his new surroundings, but two decided to go walkabout yesterday. Artwork was completely out of the window. I spent 8 hrs tracking peacocks; they sure can cover some distance. Brian joined in when he'd finished work. We finally arrived back home at 8.30 p.m happy in the knowledge that both stray peacocks were ensconced back at Larmer Tree. Phewff!!! hard work.

May 2nd


Seeking peacocks along lovely rides this a.m. One of the boys in my Studio garden this afternoon. :) Sigh of relief.


Busy evening. Released our rescue Peacocks into the big wide world of Larmer Tree Studio and Gardens. We wanted to be sure they were fed, fit and ready.
Back at home, lovely to see how well our rescue ex. battery girls have settled in with our rare breeds. They are stronger now and less wobbly on their feet. Harmony :)

April 24th
Peacocks and chickens day yesterday.

A busy day cleaning out pens, catching peacocks and rescuing chickens.
Hundreds of chickens were rescued from a battery farm yesterday a.m and 3 have now joined Blossom, our rare breed Copper Black Maran, and Lily, our elderly Light Sussex, in our garden.



The orphaned peachicks we rescued in 2015 are now 18mths old; healthy, strong and ready to return to their original home at Larmer Tree Gardens. Whilst caring for them, they have had the freedom of the park, our garden and the local golf course
- much to the delight of the golfers. :)

We finally finished catching and transporting our boys to their temporary pen late last night. They have been good buddies and we're going to miss them, but they are ready to be reunited with fellow Peacocks at my Studio. Will release them in about 7-10 days when they have adjusted to their new surroundings.... A busy and extremely successful day. :)

April 17th 
Vespula germanica... Bigger than our normal Vespula vulgaris. Bit concerned as this is the 2nd one I've rescued from my studio in a week. Hope they pass the message on that I've helped out as apparently, unlike ours, they can sting multiple times...hmm.. great


April 7th
Birdsong and bluebells whilst walking to the studio.

April 1st
Saw a fluffy golden insect with a long proboscis; Large Bee-fly,Bombylius major, sat on grassy mound sunning herself. A bee mimic. Spring is in the air.

March 26th
Returned from my Studio at Larmer Tree - first day of the season. Thanks to Brian for doing the gardening. Lovely to see sunshine, smiley faces and to be getting back into the swing of things.

March 25th
All is done.  Am Back!!

Thanks to you all for your continued support whilst I've been caring for family over the past 9 years. It has been a tough time emotionally and physically and your friendship, patience and understanding has been truly appreciated.

The past few days have been full-on with preps.for the opening of my Larmer Tree Studio and the Larmer Tree Gardens for the Spring season. There is still heaps to be done but all in good time. It's just so good to be back and to be able to focus 100% on producing artwork and getting my business up and running again. Thanks guys!!!! :)

March 8th
It's really lovely to find that, even though am unable to be at the studio working due to family commitments,  that folk find me.  Receiving communications related to my artworld - it's like a breath of fresh air.

I have been invited to write a few tips for emerging artists by a published author and the former Editor of the magazine 'Artists & Illustrators'. In exchange, one of my artworks and my website will be included in her new book. Great idea for a book and happy to oblige..

March  7th
Checked early this afternoon and saw more toadspawn in the horse jump. Returned at 6 p.m and to my delight also found 3 pairs of toads, 3 male holding fast to their females, plus a single male. Collected them plus the toad spawn and transferred to the safe pond. Unfortunately no photos as I was on my tod and it was a tad dark. Successful p.m. It will be interesting to see if I've left any behind and if more spawn is laid.

March 4th

Amphibian rescue mission. The weather threw everything at us apart from snow. Five buckets full and 3 journeys later... home for cheese on toast...yay!



March 3rd
Wellies and buckets at the ready. We have a dilemma close to home. :)

The gathering of 100's of horses in the Park for the annual Portman British Eventing - due to start at the beginning of April - is going to have a devastating effect on the frogs, toads and their offspring, that have recently adopted a newly constructed, shallow water horse jump as their new home. With horses thundering through the small pond the little froglets and toads won't stand a chance, so.... this weekend we are a doing an adult frog, toad, frogspawn and toadspawn rescue, with the permission of the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust.

Under normal circumstances you never move amphibians, reptiles or plants from one pond to another as this is is how diseases, such as the frog and toad killer, Ranavirus, has spread across the UK over more recent years.

March 2nd
Found small clumps of frogspawn strewn about on a grassy mound 3-4 feet away from a local pond today, not far from our cottage. It was exposed to the sun and am not sure how long it had been out of the water. I collected it all up and put it back in the pond but am unsure as to whether it will survive. Presume an animal or bird had fished it out of the pond as there were more clumps of frogspawn in the pond. Have seen a buzzard regularly perched in a tree close to the pond, and in previous years have found dismembered frogs close by. Am wondering if a buzzard would eat frogspawn?

Feb 10th
3am at home - Garden light came on. Buzzard sat on the edge of our fruit cage looking down at the lawn. He sat motionless for 3-4mins. Light off and blackness, then on again, and he was still sat. Light flicked off then on again and buzzard had gone. Had no idea that buzzards hunted at p.m.‬

Jan 19th
Painting with pastelzz... am back at the studio. Susi Scissorhands...good feeling...yay! :)   Taking a day off from sorting Mums belongings,  good to be back in my llittle studio, even it's just for a day. 


Jan 13th
Bitterly cold out there today and the first few snowdrops have made an appearance at my Studio. :) Meanwhile at home our daffies are tall and also looking as though they may flower soon..hmmm seems a tad early...

Jan. 4th
Tree close to our home.

Lichens are beautiful plant-like organisms that form when a fungus and algae develop together. They are natural indicators of air quality in your area. Look up a lichen in the name of cleaner air and record it here. :)


By doing so you will be helping to find out more about the impacts of air pollution in the UK.

In Europe, lichens have been used as sensitive bioindicators of air quality for more than a century. As with most vegetation, lichens are sensitive to pollutants in the air and in water such as: sulphur, nitrogen, acidity, fluoride, halogens, heavy metals and ozone.
Help scientists with essential air quality research.


Happy New Year Folks!!!!


Nov. 1st
Twenty super years together and fourteen years ago today we were married, in the bush, in South Africa.  Happy Wedding Anniversary Brian and thank you for everything. x

October 24th
Am now back at my studio, and as the rain has been seeping through my lounge/studio windows for many years, the chaps mending our chimney at home, very kindly said they would visit and attempt to fix the problem.  Have spent the day cleaning my new cabinet and rearranging the studio to accomodate it. 

October 23rd

Haven't menitoned it previously, but Brian and I are also working toward a new little business.  It dawned on us that there was a need, especially after an animal welfare conversation I'd had with someone earlier this year. The best thing about it is that it involves one of Brian's old hobbies.  For this reason, it doesn't really matter whether it is a business venture or not but... it has been toodling along nicely and a delivery for this particular project this week, was a good distraction for Brian whilst he's been off his feet. Never a dull moment that's for sure! :) 

Have also sourced, via the internet, items for the next task which is to erect a 'gert big pole with brackets' for the dish to go on the roof. One of the guys mending the roof said he would help Brian erect it... of which I am truly grateful.

October 18th p.m
5p.m Can't believe it ...have just got back from A&E. At 12.30 received a call saying that Brian had fallen off a ladder at work. Heart in mouth I raced over to collect him and got him to Salisbury. His face landed on the edge of a concrete slab, we were told he should have had an ambulance and after lots of checks and 6 stitches...I have been able to bring him home again. Huge, huge relief.

Always wished to be a part of Artists for Conservation (AFC). Some of my most favourite artists are members and I cannot believe I've been selected. Received this email today:

Dear Susan,
It is my great pleasure to notify you of your acceptance as a Signature Member of Artists for Conservation (AFC). As you know, Artists for Conservation is the world's leading artist group supporting the environment and your membership makes you part of the leading artistic movement to protect species and wild places.
Your membership places you among a distinguished group of some of the most gifted artists in the world who are dedicated to conserving nature. Membership spans nearly 30 countries. Congratulations on this achievement.

AFC Mission Statement: "To support wildlife and habitat conservation, biodiversity and environmental education through art that celebrates our natural history".

Brian being allowed home from hospital after falling off the ladder and then to receive this. Great way to round off the day.

October 18th a.m

Crazy days. 10 days ago scaffolding erected around part of the cottage. Since then making coffee non-stop for men fixing our chimney; the buddleia bush has been removed, and the leak is in the process of being repaired. The internet guys have also been up there and Brian now has to erect an 8ft pole to the gable end and then hopefully we will soon have proper access to the internet.. :) woohooo!

October 15th
Caught you! :) Think someone knew there was freshly baked bread for breakfast. Sat munching bread and honey and could hear clucking in the kitchen.....cheeky monkey.Dottie toodling around in the kitchen.

October 14th
Over the past couple of months I have had various mugs produced displaying my artwork.  Deciding that they needed a special area in which to be displayed, I had a rummage around on the internet and last night collected a secondhand glass cabinet from a lovely gentleman and his wife.  The gentleman, coincidentally, is also a wildlife photographer.   An excellent coincidence and it's great to have made contact with him.  As the cabinet is rather heavy, Brian helped me this morning  to carry it into the studio. 

Apologies for the lack of updates...it's been a tad full-on since last here.

Due to a family bereavement my Studio doors are closed at present. Apologies for any inconvenience caused. 

During the past couple of months it has been full-on attempting to keep up with work whilst also caring for family.  Thanks to all who have popped in to the studio during this period and thank you for your understanding. 

August 1st
Cannot believe it is August already - where has the summer gone already? Uploading new horse artwork to my website.

July 29th
A Batty busy day. In-between feeding my orphaned bat I received an order for a new print. Also exchanged a small print for a large print. Posted an order of Greater Horseshoe Bat Greetings Cards.

Also, last week during the festival a visitor recommend a good local supplier of raw dog foods - so was busy sorting a new order for my furry mutts. Collected a months supply of goats milk from a lady that has a couple of lovely goats on her small holding. Note to self; must do a goat painting. Did a food shop, followed by a visit to a lovely friend who is soon off to live on the island of Alderney. Then home... and another bat feed......phewf!!


July 23rd
Nice walk around local woods tonight with interesting folk, plus a lesson in how to assemble harp traps. Looking for Natterers and Brown Long-eared. Unfortunately I had to leave early in order to get back for baby Pip feed. Lovely summer evening. ^o^

Have since received news that in response to a social call used as a lure to see who would respond. Two Common Pipistrelle's, including a youngster, one each of Soprano Pipistrelle, Natterer's and Barbastelle responded.  Five bats of four species; all of them males which was interesting. One suggestion was that maybe the females were too busy with the pups to be investigating strange calls. As mentioned, unfortunately I was unable to stay but good to get the results.

July 20th
Festival finished for another year. 
fest fin

Burning the midnight oil.... During the festival I took a couple of orders for prints of my new horsey artwork...tho' there weren't any available at that point. My super patient customers each said they were prepared to wait. Have since received a web order for a Peacock print from another lovely lady whom, unbeknownst to me was sadly turned away on Monday a.m by the festival folk. Apparently no one was allowed on site once the festival was over. So have been busy designing, working on layouts and reacquainting myself with 'the Beast' aka, my large format printer. A learning curve...it's been a long time, but it's good to be back working in my studio.

July 17th
Festival Time.
A very busy but great four days. Super conversations with folk. Met a couple that work with and in the poorest parts of London alongside Jeremy Corbyn. A ZSL amphibian expert. So many that work/care or know of what is going on in the world. Met the world and his wife.. such interesting people. Heartwarming.Thank you all who popped into Studio to say Hi.

July 14th
Collected wolf mugs for sale in my little studio.

July 8th
Early morning walk up to Larmer in anticipation of good days drawing.  Almost at my gate when I was met by a festival organiser lady asking me if I was the bat lady. Spent the rest of the day sorting out and making comfy, a baby Pipistrelle bat. 

July 6th

Finally framed.  Difficult to photograph without reflections.


May 27th
Have started a new artwork. A Leopard portrait.

May 22nd
Finally finished my horse portrait.



Thanks to Ainslie Gilles-Patel for use of your lovely photo.

May 20th
Never a dull moment at the studio.


Yesterday afternoon found myself on a mission organising the rescue of a nest of baby robins that had lost both parents to a cat attack. :( That finally sorted, I started drawing again, and minutes later realised that my furry friend was standing on the sofa taking in the views.  I hadn't even noticed but she had heard them; a couple of very large horses had wandered along the driveway and were now grazing the Larmer Tree lawns; no riders to be seen anywhere. Artwork had definitely come to a grinding halt for the day as I was then on a horse-rescue mission. Pleased to say happy endings for both baby birds and horses.

May 16th
The Bluebells have almost gone and the woodland floor is now carpeted with Ramsons, wild garlic. This afternoon I had another lovely woodland walk in dappled sunlight with the girls and returned to the studio to find a tiny bald, blind chick on the upstairs porch landing. Each year a Great Tit builds a nest tucked away inside the porch roof and last year I found a couple of dead chicks in exactly the same spot. I picked the little chick up and realised though it was cold, he was still alive. I managed to get him back through the 2.5cm gap on the righthand side but it was impossible to see anything... I just hoped that he'd landed in the nest. I then harvested moss from the garden and filled up the gap from where he had tumbled. It then dawned on me that I might be able to see inside the roof space using my phone camera and couldn't believe that I managed to get these shots. :)) I reckon he's back in the nest and me thinks mobile cameras can be very useful at times.


April 29th
House martins and all other garden birds have suddenly gone quiet. A male Sparrowhawk is perched nonchalantly on the swing seat, sunning himself in our garden.

Me thinks the birds can feel better weather approaching. A Green Woodpecker has just been splashing and bathing in our pond. After a good soak, he hopped out and his bright red cap flashed in the sun as he had a good old scratch and then stretched out on his tummy, on the lawn. Not seen that position before. smile emoticon He is now preening himself vigorously whilst perched on the side of a post supporting the fruit cage. Stunning bird.

April 26th
With tensions in the Democratic Republic of Congo abating somewhat, researchers finally have an updated Grauer's gorilla head count — one that confirms their fears.

April 23rd
A brilliant evening last night, in the company of the lovely Saba Douglas-Hamilton. Super to hear about her life, her love of ele's and her conservation work. A really interesting lady and an excellent night out. Save the Elephants!

Save the Elephants was founded in 1993 by Iain Douglas-Hamilton. A research & conservation organisation. STE's mission is to secure a future for elephants and sustain the beauty and ecological integrity of the places they live, to promote man's delight in their intelligence and the diversity of their world, and to develop a tolerant relationship between the two species.

April 20th 
Taste the Chase on Wednesday 20th April 2016 at Larmer Tree Gardens. 

April 13th
Yay...early this a.m first cuckoo of the year.

Art that moves. Saw Akram Khan Company tonight. A powerful, intense performance...amazing dancers.

April 12th
That time of year again.. the lovely company, sweet song and chattering of House Martins outside my window. Bliss!

April 10th
Art is not what you see, but what you make others see. - Edgar Degas

April 7th
Worldwide Demand of Palm Oil is Expected To DOUBLE By 2050.
Check the Product Guide. Download it to your phone by texting PRODUCT to tel.no 70300. Message received will contain link to Product Guide which will automatically download to your phone.  Otherwise please visit this link for products to avoid. 

April 5th
Yesterday I received confirmation from Really Wild Bird Food Co. regarding the adjustable feeder pictured below. The company stated that the product, plus all their adjustable feeders had now been removed from their website. A lovely piece of news to end the day and thank you to Lesley at Really Wild Bird Food Co. for making this decision to help protect our wild birds.

This morning, I received an email from the manufacturer and supplier of the adjustable feeder, Meripac Ltd, in reply to my letter to them March 2nd. After a number of phone calls and emails regarding the danger of this particular product, Meripac Ltd have decided to discontinue this feeder. Thank you Meripac Ltd for making this decision and for ensuring that our precious wild birds will not be trapped like this again.

A big thank you also to Everyone involved in writing, sharing, phoning, commenting and liking on each of my Facebook posts regarding this badly designed bird feeder, and the poor Great Tit that was trapped. You've all helped to protect our garden visiting birdies and I cannot thank you enough

April 4th
When I spoke with Really Wild Bird Food Co. this a.m I'd already checked their website and the same lethal feeder was still on display and for sale. :(

This p.m I checked my emails and found this message sent today at 17.37 ........

Dear Su
Thank you for your call today. I can confirm that I have decided to withdraw the adjustable caged feeders from our website, and will no longer sell them until the design is such that small birds cannot trap their legs between the moveable parts. I will have further discussions with Bertram regarding improvements to the design of the cages and hopefully we can create a product which is both beneficial and safe.

Kind regards
The Really Wild Bird Food Company

This is such good news and thank you to Really Wild Bird Food Co. for finally doing right by our precious wild birds. I have just checked the Really Wild website and sure enough, not only has the feeder that caught the poor Great Tit disappeared, but also ALL the lethal adjustable feeders have been removed. :)

I know that the manufacturers, Meripac Ltd, still need to adjust their design and I'll still follow that thro', but this is a huge step in the right direction. Also special thanks to Jo and Pete for helping to care for the precious birds that we invite into our gardens to feed. Thank you both for your support. 

April 3rd
The Cuckoos are coming! Vigilamus is the first of our satellite-tagged Cuckoos to successfully cross the mighty Sahara! Will he stay in the lead and win this year's race back to the UK?

April 2nd
Adjustable feeders. The company that make them + the shop that sells do not want to know about the problem with these feeders. Please don't purchase these feeders or let this happen again to another poor bird. Photos include:
The hazardous rows of bars that catch little bird toe claws and trap
Great Tit trapped.
This is a death trap feeder for our feathered friends.
Good feeder, on left, + a bad feeder, right. The Great Tit had been released at this point. The feeder on left, is the original single bar construction, and the only style of feeder I will purchase from now on. Far safer for our feathered friends.

A Goshawk flew high across our garden this afternoon. A beautiful sight whilst I was painting and weather-proofing my old bat flight. Next job is protecting the interior. Meanwhile Brian weather-proofed the Garden Studio.... it looks great. A lovely, sunny and successful day.

April 1st
Step over ants
Put worms back in the grass
Rescue baby caterpillars
Release spiders back into your garden
Open windows for bees to fly home
They are all little souls that deserve a life too.

March 31st
As life has settled down a little, over the past 3-4 weeks I've been able to get to my studio and have been beavering away on an artwork started in October of last year. It is not completed as yet but am thoroughly enjoying working on it and thought I would share soon. Huge thanks to 'Ainslie Gilles-Patel Artist & Photographer of the Horse' for permission to use her superb photo as reference.

Wow!!! 8.30a.m Sunny, chilly and our first Housemartin has arrived! Never seen them arrive in March before. He flew straight across the garden and up to the nests. Yesterday also heard my first Chiff Chaff of the year... Incredible that both have flown all the way over from Africa.
Flexible migratory strategies are an advantage for birds. Species that funnel into restricted areas for winter may be especially at risk.

March 30th
I apologise for not updating my diary for so many months.  My mother has had a succession of illnesses over the past 5 months and has needed almost full-time care.  This has meant little or no time in my studio.  Am delighted to say am now back again and am making the most of it. I hope you all had a good festive season and wishing you all a somewhat belated but Happy New Year.  The Larmer Tree Gardens opened at Easter and I am in my studio most days. I look forward to sharing news and showing you some new artwork very soon.

Common UK migrating birds are arriving earlier or leaving later. The new habits may be driven by climate change and seem to benefit some species, which are increasing in numbers. 

March 21st
A Wedding Fair yesterday started the new season at Larmer Tree. Larmer Tree Gardens are now officially open.

It was a quiet day here in the studio with only one greetings card sold; the two couples that did visit tho',certainly made my day. One requested use of an artwork for a local magazine, and the other wished to discuss use of some of my artwork for mugs, tea towels etc. smile emoticon As always, it's funny how things can work out. A great Springtime start for my little Larmer Tree Studio, and thanks to both for your interest and support with my work.

February 28th

2015 (below)

Oct. 16th
Have just had the most enjoyable evening combining my love of whales, whilst looking at beautiful whale photography, and listening to Mark Carwardine, at Digby Hall in Sherborne.

Whales were my first love and my introduction to the conservation movement.  To be listening to and later talking with one of my heroes about his work, whales and art... was just mind blowing and quite emotional. Thank you Mark for all that you do for whales and for all our precious wildlife.

Was also surprised and delighted to find that the gentleman introducing Mark was none other than Douglas Adams' brother. A really enjoyable evening.


Oct. 15th
With Christmas in mind, I have reduced all my Fine Art Prints Prices ********£5 off each Fine Art Print******** yay!!

Oct. 14th
Work in Progress - Brown Hare Lepus europaeus 


Graphite - Fabriano white cartridge paper. 

Oct. 13th
British Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards
A competition celebrating the diversity of the Natural History of the British Isles.

Oct. 11th
My little rescue Pipistrelle is having physio in order to help her poorly wing get stronger. A photo of her just chillin' after a workout. The vet has recommended I massage her shoulder after each workout. She seems to enjoy it.

Oct. 9th
Mark Carwardine...yay!!!!! plus Tony Juniper and other interesting folk. Event organised by the Dorset Wildlife Trust, Digby Hall, Sherborne.
Really looking forward to this event as it is combining my love of whales and have also admired Mark's work for many years.


Sept. 23rd
A rescue being released earlier in the year. Lovely experience.
Southern Hawker.


Sept. 21st
Am pleased to say my new design coasters are now all available and on display at my Larmer Tree Studio, Tollard Royal.  Am also in the process of uploading them to my on-line shop.  Today I have uploaded my Greater Horseshoe bat design. 


Sad news and the end of an era. Have been informed that Mr. William Gronow Davis passed away last night.

Before moving to Larmer Tree Flat in 1989, I was interviewed by Mr. Michael Pitt Rivers; also known as Major Michael Augustus Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers, Great grandson of General Pitt Rivers. 

Even though I knew very little about the Pitt Rivers family, it was a good meeting. Michael was a gentleman: and I feel very fortunate to have known him, to have worked with him, and to have been given his permission to live at his beloved Larmer Tree. A couple of weeks later I also met his partner, Mr William Gronow Davis.
Michael would visit the Larmer Tree Gardens often; we shared a love of birds and natural history, and over the following years he kindly commissioned me to produce a number of Macaw paintings. William also commissioned a couple of portraits of his gentle and lovely Whippet, Alex. Shortly after this, I was also commissioned to paint a couple of Rhodesian Ridgeback miniature portraits, in watercolour, on a beautiful estate map that had been commissioned as gift for one of their friends living in Australia. Sadly Michael passed away in December 1999.

I really appreciated both Michael and William's support and encouragement with my artwork, and feel very lucky and privileged to have known Michael and to have met William, and to have been a small part of the Larmer Tree during this very special period of time.

Sept. 20th
Detected more feeding buzzes from my batflight so opened the doors tonight. Pip Battie flying well and now free. Sat with detector and could hear 3-4 species flying, including my little one. Have left food in the batbox should she wish to return. Stay safe precious little one + good on you for doing so well! 

An after thought.....It's always a tough call when releasing an orphan, especially when they were only a week old on arrival and you have no idea as to where their family or roost is.  Feels like when your child is going to school for the first time. You want them to be free but question yourself continually as to whether this the right time: and in the case of bats: is it the right weather, is there enough food about for her etc? Thankfully she was a feisty little thing right from the start tho', and fingers crossed she will do well. I sat in the garden for a long while after, moths flitting about, stars twinkling above and it was good to be able to hear her periodically as she was zooming about. Showers forecast for tonight but hopefully the rest of the week is going to be drier and warmer in the evenings with lots of insects flying about for her to feed on. 

Sept. 15th


The Temple
Larmer Tree Gardens - 1907

A lovely part of Larmer Tree history. Old picture postcards, written and posted 108 years ago, by two of the many visitors to the Larmer Tree Pleasure Gardens.

General Pitt Rivers designed the gardens in order to provide a public space where people could be entertained, educated and enlightened. In the Pleasure Gardens you could picnic in enclosed areas amid the laurel groves, or in one of the many thatched buildings. Entertainment was provided by performers at the Singing Theatre, and on a Sunday afternoon a brass band would play.

Thousands visited the Larmer Tree Gardens each year and in 1899 it is recorded that over 44,000 visited Larmer Tree. Many also attended the evening open-air dances and in 1895 novelist Thomas Hardy described an evening concert at Larmer Tree as 'Quite the prettiest sight I ever saw in my life'. To view the picture postcards please visit my fb page link below.


Sept. 1th
Studio ship-shape again after the 'End of the Road' festivities. Good to be back in front of my drawing board. New artwork + items available for sale soon.

The most photographed pair at the festival. They caused a permanent bottleneck into my studio...lol!! In future I might start charging for photos. Could earn a fortune.

Martha Woody Pigeon is still sat tight on her nest under the stairs. She wasn't going to budge 'not for no-one' or any festival!

pigfbsm   pig1fbsm

The look says it all. Reckon her eggs will be hatching very soon.

Sept. 8th
Took my most recent bat rescue to another carer in Poole last p.m so that she could be taken to a specialist vet early this a.m. Was concerned about her broken tail and the injury to her humerus. The vet suspects she was cat attacked but said that all being well she should recover....yay!!! Her tail injury is apparently old damage and her shoulder is badly bruised but not broken. A huge relief and thank you both David and Sally. Am collecting my little one tonight and she will be on painkillers and antibio's for another 7 days. Fingers crossed she will fly again and will be ready to be released before the cold weather kicks in.

Meanwhile my other rescue bat was absolutely going for it in the bat flight last p.m. It was so good to see her flying so strongly. The weather warming up just a few degrees makes so much difference, and the detector was picking up loads of other bat activity above the garden. Heartwarming sounds.

Sept. 7th
Great time at the festival. Busy studio with lots of interesting and kind folk popping in. Also lovely to have Katie, Sean and the family around too. Good fun!

Sept. 5th
Took a while to get it sorted but am delighted with my new black business cards. Two designs, both with image of tiger on reverse side: one with large bright butts and t'other with smalls butts that shunkle.




Sept. 4th
Intended an early start printing and mounting pictures for the fest. No such luck. Emergency bat rescue call and spent the a.m on the phone and then whizzing around Dorset. Bat now in the studio with me. She's taken fluids but as she has spent the last 48hrs outside on a wall and then in a box.. she's not looking good. Fingers crossed for her.

Sept. 3rd
The End of the Road festival begins today. Palm Oil Free Soaps, Coasters, Cards, Prints, Wildlife Art and my chooks Organic Free Range Eggs! My Larmer Tree Studio is stocked-up 'n' ready for the End of the Road Festival this weekend.

Sept. 2nd
I have just placed a new link on my homepage connecting me to PayPal.  I already use PayPal for website customers as it provides a secure service for both myself and my customers.  This snazzy new link provides even more accessibililty should you wish to purchase something quickly.  As with my PayPal shopping cart, this link is completely safe, secure with no hidden charges. If you wish to make a payment in a jiffy, please feel free to use.  Should you wish to contact me for further details please also feel free to.  

August 29th
This Bank Holiday weekend has been spent running in and out of the cottage whenever it stopped raining, in order to build a new large pen for the peachicks and to clean and reassemble the bat flight.  Brian, as always, has done a grand job and the Peachicks are now loving their new home.  Initially, the bat flight worked well for the peachicks as they were still small, but as they have grown so quickly, it became apparent they would soon be needing more space.  My little orphaned bat is also ready for flying outside and learning how to hunt, so it was imperative that the bat flight was made available for her to use too.  Over the past few days we have also ordered new bat boxes and mesh for the flight.  A very busy but successful weekend and thank you again Brian for all you have done. 

August 26th
Have spent the past 5 days designing my new business cards.  A huge relief that it is done and they are now on their way. 

August 25th
Art is how we decorate space,
Music is how we decorate time ♪ ♪ ♪

August 23rd
This weekend, in between the heavy downpours of rain, Brian has been building a new pen for the Peachicks. I need the bat flight for my Pip. as she is able to fly and now needs to be learning how to fly and hunt in preparation for the big wide world.

Taken in 2012, this photo shows my Bat Flight containing 5 hand-reared Pipistrelle pups.  All were in the final stages of learning how to hunt prior release back to the wild. 

mbatflightDSC 0021 300

August 13th
Fed by hand my little Pip has progressed well, but she has struggled to understand how to find her food placed in the dishes in her flexarium overnight.

Absolute joy this a.m. My reluctant little Pip, has finally eaten independently. Overnight she tucked into a couple of decap. and live mwrms left in two separated dishes, and rounded it all off with her drink of milk. Chuffed to bits!

August 6th
Colourful picture through rainy window whilst stuck in a traffic jam in Bournemouth.


July 30th
Not visited my studio for a week as have been busy at home. Delighted to find this mothy mess in my studio porch this a.m. Seems that a bat or bats have been partying each night.  From the remains it is possible to id the species...our bats are Brown Long-eared.


July 27th
Drinking milk and eating solids... my little rescue batty is growing up.

Sadly have had to have one of the Peachicks put to sleep tho', as she was not well. She was always the smallest and weakest and the vet adviced that she would always struggle. Hard decision but it was the kindest thing to do.

July 18th
As the Peachicks have grown we have now moved them into my bat flight on the lawn and they are loving it. The have more space, more fresh grass and are sunbathing once again. They also have perches to fly up to, to help strengthen their wings


July 10th
You can't sink a Rainbow! 

July 6th
A bit of exercise, a full tummy and my baby bat is now resting her little head.


July 5th
Drove to the WWH and collected my little baby bat.  She is a little Pipistrelle girl and weighs 2.65gms.  She was found in the kitchen of an empty house.  Also collected a sewing machine for WorkAid enroute. 

July 3rd
Received a call from Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital asking if I will take on an orphaned baby bat that has been presented to them. 

June 30th
Lovely warm, peaceful, late evening walk last night. It was almost as if it was daylight with a full moon and a couple of beautiful glittering stars. A Tawny Owl glided across the park from one tree to another, then called to a female. We met a foraging badger, saw a Pipistrelle and a Serotine bat, and a loud-buzzing May bug flew on by. Beautiful!

June 29th
We now have 4 orphaned Peachicks rescued from Larmer Tree Gardens. The Peahen apparently died and as no one in the gardens knew what to do with the little ones, we have taken them under our wing. My talented Brian built a temporary, but very nice pen for them this a.m. We have also utilised an old hutch that we keep for rescues and placed this in the run for them to use as a shelter.  They are now safe and I have spent most of the day learning what they will need to eat and ordering food for them. 


June 11th
Small Eggar larval nest, found whilst looking for Nightingales. Also an interesting find. A Charcoal burning site in the woods when we were out looking for Nightingales. Haven't seen one for years.



June 10th
Found this little chap on the way to the Studio today. He'd sadly passed away but still lovely to find him.


June 5th
Finally managed to work out how to put a PinInterest button on my home page. Not sure how it is going to help, if at all, but as lots of businesses seems to have them, thought I'd follow suit. Who knows it might just do the trick! :)

May 29th
Am enjoying a tasty coffee and drawing a hare, after just having had a lovely warm bath, after getting absolutely drenched! 

Started out on a dry, grey and rather breezy walk in the woods this a.m with my furry friend. We were barked at by a Roe deer, heard chirruping sounds from a hazel tree and watched 6-7 Long-tailed tits flitting about excitedly among the branches. Also found a patch of late flowering pretty Bluebells in the shade of some trees, plus the bright pink flowers of Herb Robert, Yellow-rattle, and lots of Pignut. The heavens then opened and it turned into an extremely wet walk - but wouldn't have missed it for the world.

May 28th
Rescued a fully feathered baby blackbird today. Initially thought he was a lump of soil or horse dropping esp. as I was close to a stable yard. Almost didn't stop ....but decided to go back and double check, and was so glad I did. The little one was sat in the middle of the lane which meant that cars were driving above him but thankfully he had managed to avoid the wheels of the vehicles. Placed him in woodland close-by and fingers crossed his parents were watching. Lesson for me to remember, if in doubt - check!

May 27th
Busy a.m stacking and then loading all the tools onto the Workaid van. Good to see Ron again and all went well. 

If you have any old unwanted tools please don't send them to landfill as they still have a life and can be put to such good use. Your old tools, sewing machines etc give independence; a means of earning a living for men, women and their families in Africa. Your old tools can really help transform lives. For further information please contact http://www.workaid.org

May 26th
Collected 2 more sewing machines for Workaid today. We're now bursting at the seams + looking forward to all the items, collected over the past 6 months, being collected tomorrow morning by good ol' Ron and his trusty van. smile emoticon Cannot believe it was 6 months ago that he was last here.

uh oh! The housemartins constant chirruping outside my window suddenly ceases + the adults in flight are alarm calling. I love all birds, but it's that time of year again. frown emoticon A sparrowhawk has chicks to feed and is on patrol.

May 24th
Our regular swallows and housemartins were flying around this a.m feeding, collecting nesting material etc when suddenly they were joined by swifts..our first swift sighting of the year!!  We are hoping they will eventually investigate our new swift boxes and immediately put our 'Swift Calls' cd on, to help encourage them in... It didn't quite work, the swifts flew away and two kites joined the throng instead..lol!!

May 23rd
Spotted flycatcher, 9 pairs of housemartins, wren and blue tits are all nesting in and around the garden, plus a pheasant that has been sitting on eggs at the bottom of the garden emerged from the undergrowth earlier with 12 tiny chicks. Also Brian moved a dust sheet in the garage and inadvertently uncovered a robin's nest filled with eggs. The robin flew off but has since returned. 

This evening it was lovely to hear two cuckoos non-stop calling in competiton with one another.. a magical sound, and this afternoon one was calling whilst I filled in my BTO nest record forms. A good start to the nest recording this year and it looks like I'll be ordering more forms. It's good fun and if you would like to volunteer, BTO are always looking for more nest recorders. http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/nrs

May 3rd & 4th
Do you need some Harmony?? Larmer Tree Harmony Fair 3rd & 4th May!!

May 3rd
Have been busy in the Studio garden over the past month. To welcome visitors to my studio, my clever Brian has made the entrance to the garden wider and also made a new arched gate to suit. A new path has been laid, weeding is in progress and am looking forward to planting some colourful bee and insect friendly shrubs.

April 20th
Our housemartins have definitely arrived this time. :) Early this afternoon I stepped into the garden just as two arrived from Africa. They flew across the garden straight up and into one of the empty nests under the guttering. The familiar chirruping sound as they landed was almost like a quick 'Hello', and it sure warmed my heart.

After sitting in the nest for a few minutes chatting to one another, they then hunted midges above the garden in the sunshine. They've since returned to the same nest and I feel as though this must be same nest as they had last year; there was no hesitation for either of them; they just arrived and went straight in together.

The whole flight to Africa and back again is mind-boggling in itself. If it is the case that the housemartins also recognise the position of their own nest from 12mths previously... it just shows how incredible these beautiful little creatures are, and how little we actually know about them.

April 19th
Small section of my recent Butterfly artwork - graphite drawing to be posted here soon.

April 16th
I thought the first of our Housemartins had arrived today. Whilst sat in the study I saw a quick shape dart up to a nest under the gutter and heard that lovely familiar chirrupy sound. Standing in the garden a minute later I saw 3 flying above the cottage. 

The housemartins didn't stay tho, but I thought it was interesting that one of our nests was investigated. I experienced a real rush of excitement when I heard their call and presume we were just a pit stop - a quick feed before they continued on there way up north.

Last night I noticed lots of bat activity above the garden and around the cottage. Also the bluebells are coming into flower in the woods. Springtime is definitely with us. :o)

April 14th
Have posted my butterfly artwork to my client today. Big moment! Exciting and a little bit oooerrr! 

On Sunday, I saw my first ever oil beetle, Meloe proscarabeus. Unfortunately they are becoming quite rare. Have heard about them but never seen one and a positive id at home confirmed my sighting. smile emoticon Learned that it was a male, as he had a distinct kink in his antennaea. Sadly I didn't have my mobile or camera.

April 7th
First customer of the season...woohoo!! Purchases included a couple of Baby Orangutan coasters and a Baby Orangutan card. Big thank you to the lover of orangutans. {:(|}

April 6th
Spring cleaned studio today whilst Brian was pointing in the new path. Loving the basket weave flagstones. The studio and garden are going to look a treat when we've finished.

April 5th
Have received an Easter order from Virginia, USA....a Gift Box set of coasters. A lovely surprise.

April 2nd
Filling in my 1st nest record card of 2015! We have a robin sitting on eggs in the garage where Brian has shelves of electrical spare parts for his business. Mrs Robin has built her cosy moss nest 5 ft from ground level, on a shelf in between all of his electrical bits.Great care will have to be taken so as not to disturb her and hopefully she will also get used to him toodling in and out.

April 1st
Delighted to hear 2-3 Chiffchaff in the woodland yesterday & again today. Also whilst out walking my furry friend; the distinctive song of Skylarks high above the field.

March 29th
'Medicine of the Wolf'.  This is a superb piece of work, a truly moving, brilliant and beautiful movie.
In 2014, I was contacted by the director, Julia Huffman, and invited to produce illustrations for this film. To be invited to share this beautiful vision was a dream come true. The directors communications and lovely words were very much appreciated and I happily accepted her invitation.

We were in communication over a period of time but sadly, as often happens with such large projects, ideas and plans were changed and deadlines altered. It was a huge honour to have been asked tho', and a super experience to have been involved during the early days of this beautiful project.

Julia and Jim have produced a superb movie and are shining the light on the plight of our precious wolves, wildlife and our environment.  Congratulations to all involved. This film sharing the lives and history of our beautiful wolves deserves to and will be for sure, a huge success.....

March 25th
Received a reminder that my PCI certification was due for renewal so decided to sort it whilst recuperaiting from the lurgy. Filled in forms for the past hour and Success...have just received my PCI certification for Nature In Fine Art for another year!!! Nature In Art safe and sound. Good job done.

March 16th
Just sent off for my Orchard Survey pack. Will also be recording moss and lichen diversity within the orchard. Looking forward to getting started.

March 12th
Sir Terry Pratchett: "Even if it's not your fault, it is your responsibility" RIP Terry.
Protector of Orangutans and Trustee of the Orangutan Foundation. 

March 10th
'Simpsons' Co Creator, Artist and animal hero. RIP Sam Simon.

March 4th
Absolutely brilliant a.m with fellow djembe players at our 1st ever djembe gig. An audience of approx. 25. Lots of smiley faces, dancing + a really good buzz + have just heard we've been booked again for October. Yay!

Feb. 17th
Not seen that before, flashes of white, red and black in the sunshine, as two Great Spotted Woodpeckers squabble and chase one another over rights to the peanut and fat ball feeders.

Feb. 12th
A busy day; unfortunately not drawing, but busy on the computer.

I now have an 'Etsy Shop' button on my Facebook page - which...surprise, surprise....takes you to my Etsy shop :) and a 'Shop Now' button - for a sneak peek into my world, and a peruse of natureinart.com, my wildlife art website.

Have received an email informing me that my very first mousemats will be with me in a week. I look forward to including them in both my Etsy and website shops very soon.

This a.m I also received another call for a tool collection for Work Aid. :)

Plus I spotted a what I thought was a large grey pigeon on top of our fruit cage this a.m. Wrong..the slate grey back of a male sparrowhawk.. wow! with a blackbird inside the fruit cage. The Sparrowhawk darted around on top of the cage for a minute, wings open wide; the blackbird made a run for it and the sparrowhawk misjudged. Blackbird 1 Sparrowhawk 0

Feb. 9th
Lots of tools collected for Work Aid.  Three collections in four weeks. Thanks to all donors for providing disadvantaged people with the tools they need to learn a skilled trade and earn a living.

Feb. 6th
Have received an enquiry for a pet portrait.  Possibly a graphite portrait of two dogs.

Feb. 4th
Am still surrounded by butterflies and enjoying every minute. Love butterflies...  Also drawing a graphite sketch of a hare.  Love hares too... :)

Jan. 16th
Bring on the Butterflies!! In December I received a commission enquiry for a butterfly artwork via Etsy. After a Xmas surrounded by butterflies whilst working on design requirements, layout etc.. this lovely sunny a.m my butterfly design has been approved..woohoo!

Jan. 9th

I've had a bustard day .. an unintentional and Great Bustard Day!! A few days ago an acquaintance mentioned some birds had been seen in the area but no other info. Whilst driving to work I suddenly had the urge to stop and scan...and I couldn't believe my luck. :))) Foraging in a field in the far distance, I saw my very first three big, beautiful wild Great Bustards....woohoo!!!

Great Bustards became extinct in the UK when the last one was shot in 1832. Through the hard work of the Great Bustard Group a handful have been raised and released this year and it looks as though they may very slowly be making a comeback. Wishing my three Great Bustards a good, happy and safe life.

Am sharing this with my Diary page as it is art related. It is a sad note for the beginning of the new year but, seems the most eloquent responses to today's tragedy have come from the cartoonists. When I was young, I never dreamed that drawing or art in any shape or form could cost you your life.  My thoughts are with the families of the artists and all who lost their lives in France.

To develop a complete mind:
Study the science of art;
Study the art of science.
Learn how to see.
Realise that everything connects to everything else.
Leonardo Da Vince


Dec. 24th
Thanks to all my customers and to all who have 'Liked' my Facebook and Twitter pages. Lovely to meet you and thank you for your kind words and support. 'Merry Christmas' xx Su Wishing you all a Happy Xmas and all the best for the New Year.

Dec. 19th
From Pauline Stevens. President (Volunteer) Heartland Golden Retriever Rescue

Can't do this beautiful painting justice. Bought it from the artist Su Shimeld www.natureinart.com when I visited her last month at her studio in England; just picked it up from the framer today.

Dec. 18th
Discovered a lovely surprise in our letterbox at the weekend. An envelope covered with drawings and inside a handmade card with glitter, a shooting star, trees and a little picture of black dog running. This lovely gift was from Arabella, a little visitor to my studio a week ago. She was a treasure and we had a super chat. It really is lovely to receive artwork and kind messages from the kiddywinkles that pop in to the studio to say Hi. My first New Years resolution!To celebrate their creativity, I think it will be fun to have a special little gallery on my website for them to display their artwork.

Dec. 15th
A dear friend has enquired about a pet portrait of her beloved doggy.  A lovely idea, and very much appreciated.  I have a couple of commissions and other bits and bobs ahead of me and the New Year is already filling up, but look forward to completing this special commission at a later date. Thank you K & dear J. xx

Lovely noisy chattering from a Charm of Chaffinches in our garden. 40-50 birds displaying white flashes on wing and tail feathers as they flit from tree to tree.

Nov. 13th
Have uploaded more product images to my Etsy Shop.  The computer side of my art business is always very time consuming but thankfully am receiving good responses, which makes it feel worth while.  Over the past month have received a couple of enquiries for commissions and sold a couple of Coaster Gift Sets to the USA. 

Nov. 6th
WorkAid Collection from home today. Machinery and tools of every shape and size can be put to good use. Photos attached are from my Facebook page and show the diverse selection collected by Ron, from WorkAid today. All can be put to good use. Please do not send your tools to the landfill site. Your unwanted tools have a future. :)  https://www.facebook.com/113346958727681/photos/a.800971076631929.1073741830.113346958727681/800971089965261/?type=1&theater

Oct. 28th
Installing loft insulation at home and studio. As bats in both during the summer and as both are possible hibernation sites during winter; work has to be completed September/October. Thankfully we're just in time and the guys are busy in my studio roof. Hopefully we'll be cosy-warm this winter. The species we reside with are Brown Long-Eared and Pipistrelle bats. 

Oct. 25th
Cool bird sightings two days in a row. Yesterday, a total of six Kites!!! Three soaring above the valley close to home. Then three flying above the highest hill in Dorset. Also met an interesting guy surveying moths in the local woods for the Environmental Records Centre.

Today had a lovely walk in the late afternoon sunshine and saw three Kites, two Peregrines, three Buzzards and a Kestrel. Brilliant!!

Oct. 17th

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Oct. 15th
Putting one artwork aside for a while. Experimenting with new paper with new artwork. Ordered new artboard and frisk film...more experimenting coming up. 

Oct. 9th
Folly, moon 'n sheep on way home from studio last p.m.

Oct. 6th
Wet 'n windy out there. Best seat in the Studio.

Oct. 5th
Have just learned that a dear friend Zegeye Kibret, has passed away. Zegeye lived in Bale and was a lovely, kind, gentle man with a huge smile and a good heart. He was a conservationist and a champion of the Ethiopian wolf. He worked as Education Officer for the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme and was dedicated to protecting Ethiopian wolves, their habitat, and to educating the local children; future generations.

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I had the pleasure of meeting Zegeye in 2007 at the UK Wolf Trust Seminar where he received a cheque on behalf of the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Trust, donated from UKWCT. Zegeye and I became buddies and have since kept in touch. My thoughts are with Zegeye's family. Well done for all your good work and Rest in Peace Zegeye. x

Oct. 3rd
Another lovely sunny day and a female Southern Hawker busy laying eggs on mossy rocks and plants around our pond. Plus a couple of bright red male Common Darters sparring, resting and sunbathing.

Sept. 29th
Studio rescue; found a hornet on the floor. Placed him outside but he was sluggish and couldn't fly. Gave him a drink of honey/water + he immediately perked up. Think he may have been locked in the studio for a few days. As he was only capable of crawling about and vulnerable, I watched over whilst he groomed and tried to fly, but his wings just wouldn't function. After a while tho', he suddenly started vibrating his wings vigorously and buzzing really loudly, + then he took off, he flew... Little chap made my day! Didn't want to just leave him and glad I didn't. Am wondering if he was recently hatched, but how on earth he came to be inside my studio, I've no idea.
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Sept. 28th
Lovely weekend. Put three bat boxes up in woods. Flute practise. Great woodland walk with furry friend. Harvested veg. and this afternoon two old steam engines stopped by.

Sept. 3rd
Had to share...makes me smile :o)

Watering my hanging basket this a'noon and inadvertently disturbed a male Banded Demoiselle!! Couldn't believe it. Have seen them fluttering about on riverbanks but never thought I'd see one in our garden. Absolutely beautiful.

Sept. 2nd
World Orangutan Day has passed but please sign + help our Orangutans
My 'Baby Orangutan' artwork.
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Sept. 1st
Never be silent. Be a voice for the voiceless

Aug. 31st
Great 'End of the Road' festival yesterday with family, friends + visitors to Studio. Lots of laughs. Early a.m start printing new stock. Studio, bands + stall shopping today.

Aug. 28th
Have received a delivery of more tools including: sewing machine, garden tools, a couple of iron shoe last's, material, saws, axes etc. plus lots of other useful items. Rather than me having to collect, the lady kindly dropped them off at my studio. Think we are close to having another collection from the WorkAid van.

Pleased to say Brian has come on in leaps and bounds after his op. and am now busy with preps. for the 'End of the Road' festival. It has finally stopped raining, the sun is shining and it looks as if the weather is going to be dry for the weekend. Happy Festival folks! :o)

Aug. 27th
Ice bucket madness... A criminal waste of such a Precious resource + an appalling insult to those without.

Aug. 18th
Hi Su, Just looking at Aug. BBC Wildlife. Look at page 48 bottom right corner. Well Done :) Thanks for sharing Andrew + BBC Wildlife Mag.
(Am unable to post a clear image, but am delighted that the BBC Wildlife Magazine chose to display one of my tweets re: my housemartins and sparrowhawk encounter.)

Aug. 15th
"To look into the eyes of a wolf is to see your own soul." ~ Aldo Leopold

Stay tuned for Medicine of the Wolf updates- Feature, starring Jim @jimbrandenburg, John @javuceti and Michael W Fox https://vimeo.com/85035668

Aug. 12th
Also two lady Bee Keepers popped into the Studio today. Lovely conversations and really interesting afternoon.

So sad to hear we have lost Robin Williams at the age of 63. One of my all time favourite actors and comedians. A genius. RIP Robin Williams.

Nanu nanu Robin and Thank You. x

Just received delivery of tools to my studio for Work_aid inc. sewing mach's + typewriter from well-respected political + film historian. Lovely gentleman.

Aug. 10th
Supermoon 2014

Aug. 7th
Brian hospital for knee op. today. Wish my precious a speedy recovery. Collected tools from elderly Salisbury gent, for Workaid, on way home from the hospital. Off to the studio now.

Aug. 6th
Brian's hard work at converting studio into Fort Knox has worked. No ratty invasion last p.m. Huge sigh of relief. Feel sorry for the macaws tho'.

Aug. 5th
Exciting + amazing sight! ISS was back over UK skies last p.m. ISS Long Exposure photo of ISS pass Credit: M. Humpage

Aug. 2nd
We have to be more militant + biologists more aggressive because people destroying our world are very aggressive.

July 31st
Blue butterfly sighting yesterday :) Peacock, Brimstone, Lg + Sm Whites, Meadow Brown, Fritillary, Speckled wood,Tortoiseshell. Good year for butts!

This is so important 'SQUASH YOUR EMPTY CANS' before you discard them. Any empty container is a possible death-trap for wildlife. http://ln.is/www.takepart.com/vid/hyRbE

July 30th
Glorious sunshine continues. Lots of dragonfly and butterfly sightings in our garden.

July 24th
Looking forward to getting back to my artwork after a busy few weeks at the studio with festival plus all the preparations etc. Have finally completed the Larmer Tree map, and yesterday collected more tools for Workaid: electrical, gardening, saws, jars of screws, nails, bolts etc. We'll soon be ready for another collection.

July 10th
Housemartins alarm calling again. I was sat in the garden chatting on the phone when a sparrowhawk; wings folded back, shot across the garden above me and disappeared over the tree-tops. Different to yesterdays swoop; this was serious. For a second I thought it was over but she returned in a flash - wings still folded back and a chase ensued. The housemartins were going frantic above and around her and then suddenly she honed in one. A housemartin bravely flew at her back from above but didn't make contact; it was if to try and distract. She was just focussed and on a mission. Sadly the housemartin she was chasing lost. The person on the other end of the phone could hear the birds calling and wondered what on earth was going on. The tension of the moment just renders you speechless.

Working on Larmer Tree Map again. The brand new Dining Hall to be drawn in position. Perspectives..view layout very tricky.

July 9th
Working in my study accompanied by the constant twittering of housemartin chicks safe in their nests all along front of the cottage. Musical background chatter - love it.

Aerial displays above the garden as adult housemartins pick gnats from the air to feed their hungry noisy chicks. Then an alarm call and deathly silence.  The chicks instinctively shut up. Apart from housemartins kicking-off high above there is not a sound and then a sparrowhawk swoops across the garden.

Coo! better than tv any day.

Have also received a call from an elderly gentleman in Salisbury. Box of old saws, tools, brace, bits, electrical tools and more to be collected for Workaid

July 7th
Woohoo!! my first Hummingbird hawkmoth sighting of the year; hovering above and feeding on our buddleia...seems to be a favourite.

July 6th
The Largest Teddy Bear's Picnic is at the Larmer Tree Gardens today.

July 3rd
Have just had a superb visit from Pauline, Megan and Misty; three lovely ladies, all the way from Tennessee.

I first met Pauline when she kindly purchased my 'Autumn Reflections' fine art print via my website many moons ago; and we have since kept in touch via FB.  A super surprise Pauline and great to meet after all this time. :) Well done for all your work rescuing and rehoming Goldies, www.heartlandgoldenrescue.org .... and lovely to meet Megan and Misty too. Have fun and a safe journey. x Su 'n' Luka x

Just realised I have a visitor on the outside of my studio window.

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As this Poplar Hawk-moth was in a vulnerable spot I decided to bring her indoors and will release her later. She didn't like being disturbed and flashed the red patches on her hindwings at me. Normally, when resting these patches are hidden. My mobile pics don't do her justice..she's a beauty!

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June 26th
Am in Sweet Pea heaven....just love the scent. Lovely day and lovely views whilst walking to my studio.

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June 25th

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Dogs; whether working or pets, are a part of the family and should be cared for in the same way. No animal or living creature should be left in a car on a hot summers day.

The RSPCA has renewed its pleas to owners not to leave their pets in cars during a heatwave, adding that leaving a car window open or a bowl of water in the vehicle makes virtually no difference.

A dog trapped in a car will be cooked alive; suffering severe heatstroke and 'excruciating pain' before dying of kidney failure and cerebral haemorrhage; as the temperature inside the car soars up to 47c (116f) within less than 20 minutes.

RSPCA chief veterinary-adviser, Mark Evans, said: 'A hot car is a death trap for dogs, it is as simple as that. Leaving your dog in a car, even on an average warm, even cloudy summer day, can put your pet at huge risk of suffering and even death'.

The weather may be cool when you leave your vehicle but if it suddenly warms up whilst you are away from your car; there will be no relief for the dog baking inside. Your car will become dangerously hot within minutes.


June 24th
Busy but good evening. New dog training class 7-8 p.m; furry buddy did really well, followed by Bat survey 9.30-10.30 p.m. 26 Brown Long-eared's. 2-3 Pips and 1-2 Serotines. Cider 'n' chips break in-between.

Another Etsy order received. :)) A Gift box set of 6 Wolfy coasters on its way to the US. Thank you Maxine. Plus a donation to help the conservation of wolves.

June 21st
Four Swifts flying up to cottage roof again this a.m.  Swift boxes arrived yesterday and can't wait to put them up this a'noon. Probably too late for nesting this year, but hopefully good for 2015.

If anyone is interested our Swift boxes came from John Stimpson on the Swift Conservation site. Good boxes, good price, good guy and very helpful. Highly recommend. http://www.swift-conservation.org/Shopping!.htm

Also spotted 32+ Five spot Burnett moths plus assorted orchids counted on walk thro' park during the week. Kite, Buzzards, Sparrowhawk + Swifts above garden. First Emperor Dragonfly of the year darting across pond + garden this a.m. Gr. Spotted Woody, Goldfinches, Bullfinches bathing in pond. Nesting: 2 Great Tits, 10 H. Martins + Sp. Flycatcher all with tweeting chicks in nests. A mass of colourful wild flowers in pots, assorted bees and insects buzzing everywhere. The garden truly is a picture this year and a hive of nice noisy activity.

June 20th
Dear Su,
I have received your beautiful print! Thank you so much. It is stunning.

My 'Gentle Giant' fine art print has arrived!! It is super to be supporting the groups that work to rescue, care for, and protect Asian Elephants and educate tourists about responsible elephant tourism.

June 18th
£2 donated to the Orangutan Foundation with the sale of every 6 BABY ORANGUTAN Coasters Gift Box Set. Su Shimeld~NatureInFineArt http://etsy.me/1nUIglu via @Etsy

June 16th
Saw a Roe deer in the wood today and she didn't flee; she just stayed put, not moving a muscle. With Luka on the lead we carried on along the ride pretending we hadn't seen her; suspecting she might have young. Sure enough, when quite a way past her we glanced backwards to see a tiny little fawn on wobbly legs disappearing behind a large beech tree. Absolutely beautiful sight. Just hope that anyone else going thro' keeps their dogs on leads and also leaves her well alone.

June 10th
Really busy day in the Studio meeting some lovely people, including Matthew and his family. Thank you all for popping in and liking my coasters and prints. Have also received another call for tools. A lady living 20 miles away has a number of old knitting machines and rather than taking them to the dump, she is kindly donating them to Workaid.

June 9th
Cannot believe it but have reached 1,000 likes on my Twitter page.  Not quite sure how it happened but over the past month have suddenly had lots of contact with many interesting folk.  Also this is a free £5 Discount Voucher for shopping on Etsy, should you wish to make a purchase.  etsy.me/1uQPE3U

The Young Ones was a favourite. Really sad news about Rik Mayall. RIP Rik.

June 8th
On the lawn, stretched out in the sunshine and staring at the roof again. This time counting Housemartins for a BTO survey. Bliss!

June 6th
The joy of working at home; being accompanied by the continual chirpy chatter of our Housemartins, and the speedy swooping flights too and from their nests outside my Study window. Beautiful!

In the p.m we collected a Tea Chest full of tools from Dorothy, a sweet lady living in Salisbury. The tools used to belong to her father, a Cabinet Maker. Even tho' her elderly husband is serioiusly ill in a hospice, Dorothy searched online and found Work Aid. She said she wanted the tools to be put to good use but was concerned that many of them were so rusty. I explained that they would soon be refurbished and that people in Africa would soon be caring for and putting them to good use and she was delighted. It was lovely to meet Dorothy.

June 5th
Really good and busy week at natureinart.Com i have been asked to redesign the dining hall area on the larmer tree map. I have also received my first order on etsy - from a lady in australia! apparently her daughter is really passionate about saving orangs and the rainforests, and my 'amy' and 'baby orangutan' greetings cards are to be a gift for her. I wrote to say the parcel was in the post and we chatted about my new venture selling palm oil free soaps in my gallery. Have also received an invitation to provide a couple of illustrations for a film. The director lives in los angeles and the film is about wolves. If it goes ahead it will be a super project.

Today was a sunny, quiet day in the studio - didn't see a soul until it was shutting-up shop time. Two gentleman popped in and we had a good chat about bands, festivals etc. Just as they were leaving one of them kindly said he would like to make a purchase. My 'Peacock at Larmer Tree Gardens' Fine Art Print plus 3 Peacock coasters are now winging their way to Southampton. Good meetings, great conversations and a lovely way to round off the week.

June 4th
Have donated one of my 'Gentle Giant' fine art prints to an elephant rescue centre in Thailand. It will hopefully raise a few £'s in their auction. Elephants are abused terribly to make them perform for the Mahouts. Wild elephants are also brutally attacked and left for dead when they steal crops to eat. As with orangs in Indonesia, they are being forced out of the forests and away from their natural food sources and have to scavenge.  Villagers and farmers attack the animals leaving them blinded, injured or even burn them alive.
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June 1st
Brian has once again been beavering away in the studio garden. The garden looks a treat now and I really appreciate all his help. The other good news is that my new mystery product has arrived and is on display in my Larmer Tree Gallery.  

A couple of weeks ago, as I needed soap for home and as am constantly searching for household products that don't contain palm oil; I was delighted to discover a lady making her own soaps; palm oil and chemical free, and each presented in a pretty organic gingham print wrap. This ladies total soap production is as environmentally friendly as you could get.  She recycles everything and it was great to find a like-minded soul; someone who is also as concerned as myself about the senseless killing of Orangutans and the destruction of our last rainforests, for palm oil plantations.  

I purchased two of her lovely soaps and was amazed at how creamy and gentle they were on my skin, especially compared to normal everyday soaps that are also doing so much damage to the environment.  I was chuffed to have found her, and cutting a long story short, I learned she was also happy for me to sell her soaps in my Gallery.  I sold my first two yesterday!! :)

As their is an extremely good reason for my selling these soaps, other than the fact they are so gentle on your skin and the environment; I printed off just a few of the many photos of adult Orangutans that have been gruesomely beaten plus their orphaned youngsters. I also printed images of all the products containing palm oil plus aerial shots of the plantations, forest fires, destruction caused etc.. to show anyone that may be interested.  

My first two customers queried the 'Palm Oil Free' note displayed with the soaps, and I explained why these soaps are special. They were shocked as they had no idea about palm oil and the subsequent cruelty inflicted on Orangutans endeavouring to find shelter and food, in their rapidly diminishing habitat.  

Consumer power really works, and if everyone cares enough and is prepared to change their shopping habits: whether it be eating less meat, buying free range, palm oil free, organic, locally grown etc - we can get there. We just need to work together and not be dominated by the multi-national companies;  the billion dollar industries actively trading purely in their own interests.

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Our fate as well as their fate is in our hands.

May 28th
Am working on the Larmer Tree map again. Lots of changes at the Larmer Tree Gardens. Please follow this link to see photos. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=612124328884579&set=pcb.612124942217851&type=1&theater

Photo of the day


May 27th
The festival was a success and I am happy to say I sold my original 'Two Cheetahs Running' oil painting sketch.  It is always sad to see an artwork leaving but the new owners were a lovely couple and it is great to know my artwork is going to a good home. 

May 25th
A two day @HarmonyLarmer festival with local artisans, food producers, munchies, beers, music + Me :) 25th May 2.00pm - 7.30pm & 26th May 10.00am - 7.30pm. 

May 23rd
Whilst looking for a specific product for my own use; and after extensive research.... I found what I was looking for!  This lovely product has also been made available for me to sell from my Larmer Tree Studio. Am absolutely delighted and my new 'mystery product' will be available from my Larmer Tree Studio shop very soon.   Keep watching this space!

May 15th
We have been busy with three family birthdays in quick succession, entertaining visitors plus Easter and Bank Holidays and work fitted inbetween.... We're now looking forward to cycle rides and some playtime.  :)

For those of you who wish to keep up-todate with natural history info. environmental concerns, images etc.  please feel free to Follow me on Twitter.  My Twitter page is: https://twitter.com/natureinart  I also have a Flickr page https://www.flickr.com/photos/susanshimeld/ where I occassionally post my photos too. Please do pop by and say Hi. 

May 8th
"Cherish the natural world because you're a part of it and you depend on it." Happy Birthday, Sir David Attenborough!

May 7th
Thought this may be of interest to all doggy owners. Changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act - What should All dog owners be doing now? Advice for Owners http://www.nawt.org.uk/advice/changes-dangerous-dogs-act-advice-owners

To mark 150yrs John Lewis were to release 150 balloons @ 5 stores - but didn't :) Well done to all folks who emailed, Tweeted and Facebooked the dire consequences of such actions.  Balloons, like Chinese lanterns do not instantly biodegrade; they snare, trap, entangle, poison and choke.  They are killers long after they have been released. Thanks also to J.L for taking heed.

May 3rd
Peewit Patrol. 8 p.m journey home, bl/wh bird in verge of road flew away as I approached. Looked in mirror to see bird return to road behind me. I stopped + saw 3 or 4 dots run into road. Turned car around heart in mouth as another car drove past. Leaped out + eventually found 3 well-camouflaged chicks tucked-up in diff. places on muddy verge with Mum flying above calling. Put chicks in field + then from road heard another chick calling. Heart racing; traffic about and sudden gut feeling chicks in wrong field, so quickly collected up again + tracked 4th chick down in gutter - thankfully it was calling loudly. Mum still above. Hoped she could hear her vociferous chicks as I placed them in diff. field with less dense crop. Also pleased to see another Lapwing in same field. Placed chicks in middle of field + left sharpish. Sat in car to be out of way, but sure. Watched Mum circle + then descend to chicks. A huge relief - So lucky to find little ones before light disappeared completely + clever Lapwing Mum never left them.

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April 29th
Good gig at the lovely old Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne, with BBC film cameraman Doug Allan tonight. Interesting guy. Learned lots.

April 23rd
Lots of gardening happening at home and at Larmer: veg. plot now sorted, weeding, sowing etc. Fruit cage next on the list for a weeding session.  Rain has stopped play quite a lot recently but getting bits done slowly but surely. Lots of family stuff too: daytime babysitting, visits, plus Easter... and now a couple of birthdays all in very short space of time. Also quite a lot happening in the world re: conservation and wildlife concerns: emails, petitions, letters written etc.  Not much time for drawing  sadly. 

Seaworld has been challenged re: the abuse it inflicts on a daily basis to its captives.  To keep endangered intelligent, social cetaceans, captive in solitary confinement in the equivalent of a bath tub 24/7 for Life is morally wrong.  We have to wait until next year now but hopefully the 'circus of whale entertainment' is on its way into the history books where it belongs.  The Badger cull has finally been cancelled for Dorset, but possibly will continue in Somerset and Gloucester; even tho' it was considered inhumane and actually didn't achieve anything.  

Malta is also in the headlines as they are shooting every last bird that migrates across their country; endangered species or not.  Sea Shepherd, Australia and the Japanese have been in the court battling it out re: the Japanes so called 'scientific' whaling.  The good news was that Japan was banned from whaling in the Southern Antarctic Ocean.  Sadly Japan has stated that it is now looking for ways around the ban and will continue whaling in December. Taiji is an ongoing issue and is closely related to the cruelty of Seaworld and other dolphinaria around the world.  All these issues need to be kept in the news and I think we are getting there slowly; a step at a time.  A great that many folk are voicing there concerns loud and clear especially via social media sites - I feel that sites such as Twitter and Facebook are at their best in these situations.  Hopefully more and more people will wake up and begin to realise what is going on in the world - only then will the cruelty and abuse become a thing of the past.

April 3rd
Whilst walking to the Studio a Buzzard was soaring lazily above me. Suddenly it called, dived and attacked a Peregrine that appeared from above the treetops. The Peregrine, in defence, twisted quickly sideways and almost over. They were close to one another but it was posturing; they didn't make contact. The Peregrine then continued in the direction it had been heading. Exciting stuff!

March 20th
Have washed curtains, cleaned gallery and sorted a new card terminal.  Studio now ready for opening on March 30th, Mother's Day!  Mum has sadly gone down with Bell's Palsy but thankfully she is improving slowly.  

March 18th


Spring cleaning studio and found this colourful chap. Taken on mobile. In winter the Herald Moth Scoliopteryx libatrix likes to hibernate in dark, cool structures (e.g. cellars, barns and caves). Sounds about right.

March 10th
SeaWorld just got cited for violating the Animal Care Act -- and in a surprise move, California could pass a landmark ban on keeping orca whales in captivity! It's time the company stopped keeping orcas in cages, and pressure is mounting. Speak out now to demand an end to this barbaric practice.  Sign the petition. http://action.sumofus.org/a/seaworld-orcas-captivity-california-ban-blackfish/?akid=4255.1568251.UjrDgg&rd=1&sub=fwd&t=2

March 9th
Lovely weekend. Spent most of the time in the greenhouse.  Have sown lots of seeds: wildflowers and veggies; plus given the greenhouse a good spring clean. Peaceful and felt good to be back in there plus furry friend snoozing close by. 

March 7th
Lovely sunny day lunch in the garden. Lots of bees buzzing about: White-tailed, Tree, Early + Buff-tailed bumblebees. Plus a Red Kite and my first Brimstone butterfly of the year. Felt very summery.

March 6th
We were 'In the Land of Grey and Pink' tonight, with a mixture of other old favourites, plus some great new tunes. Caravan excelled themselves and it was a brilliant p.m. The musicianship was absolutely superb. Band members: mega multi-instrumentalist - Geoffrey Richardson, Jan Schelhaas - keyboard, Pye Hastings - guitar, Jim Leverton - bass + Mark Walker - drums. A super, friendly and happy gig.

March 1st
Today the guys arrived to remove the tree. It was intriguing to watch and I take my hat off to Mike, the tree surgeon, who climbed up and around the tree with his chainsaw; avoiding all the electric and telephone cables in the process.  An unenviable and tricky job for sure. All photos can be seen here on my Facebook page.

Feb. 21st
Yikes... 60-70ft conifer tree in corner of garden has developed a distinct lean; unfortunately towards the cottage; 20 ft away. Forester/tree experts have visited and it has to come down.. some time next week. Slight problems in that power cables, tel. lines thread through some of the branches. Going to be interesting.  The storms last year and finally earlier this month have done for her ... so she has to go. 

Feb. 23rd
Pond update....we have our first frogspawn of the year.

Feb. 19th
Walking in the woods and heard an unusual bird calling above. Absolutely stumped as to species, then he appeared between the treetops..a Peregrine. Brilliant!  Thankfully we are also back in the 21st Century...we have electricity and are connected again.

Feb. 15th
.. Another 2 trees down overnight, still no elec. and no heating, apart from open fire in sitting room. Also 02 went down approx. 18 hrs ago and is only just back on - but the signal is hit 'n' miss. Thankfully we have a landline phone to plug in when the elec. goes. It's weird, but without it you'd feel totally isolated, and that's daft... 'cos it's not that long ago we didn't have all this technology at our fingertips. Shows how much we've come to depend on instant communication and rely on everything. Brian went out earlier and bought more candles + bread; 'cos the breadmaker's a tad useless at present, plus a solar/battery radio. No elec. but at least we can keep in touch with what's going on in the rest of world... just need sunshine to power it lol!!

Feb. 14th
My Etsy site is also now available online.  If you have a minute, please do Favourite my little shop and leave a message - it would be great to hear from you!  If you are looking to purchase a special gift for a relative or friend... howzabout a Gift Box of Coasters?  It might be just the gift you are looking for.  :)  If you are undecided as to which coaster design to choose, you can now 'Mix and Match'... just press the 'Request Custom Order' button and let me know which 6 designs you would like.   I also accept Etsy Gift Cards. The gift cards can be spent anywhere on Etsy, but preferably in my NatureinFineArt Etsy Shop.  :))  http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/NatureInFineArt?ref=shop_sugg  

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Tonight we had a romantic p.m sat in lovely candlelight infront of the fire very nice but not intentional. Atrocious conditions outside, really stormy and our electricity went off. We are probably in for the long haul as living in the sticks normally takes days before reconnection. At least we're not flooded out. Stay safe folks. 

Feb. 13th
My Flickr site is now up and running.  I have uploaded 70 images todate: artwork, photos of my new coasters and a few of my favourite wildlife pics. To access the site please visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/susanshimeld/  If you happen to like any of the photos, please feel free to Favourite them.  T'would be much appreciated. :) 

Feb. 11th
Have been thinking long and hard about how to increase my internet presence and how to get my artwork and website 'out there' and 'up and running'.  Among the many options available to me were Etsy and Flickr.  After a motivational conversation last week, with a good artist friend, I started working on both my Flickr site and my Etsy shop. Have already uploaded a couple of images to my Flickr account and am gradually learning how to use the site. Flickr is available for artists and photographers to display their work. I love taking photos, and this year look forward to getting out in the wild again with my camera.  As with all my online computer related work tho' - am burning the midnight oil again. 

Feb. 7th
Busy day, driving all around Dorset. A lovely sunny journey along wiggly-windy lanes to collect flour from Cann Mill. Saw a flock of 50 beautiful Lapwings enroute.  Haven't seen Lapwings for such a long time so was delighted to see so many flapping above me. Then a food shop plus the butchers to collect food for our furry friend. Last port of call was to collect Moss, my daughters dog; we are doggy-sitting this weekend. 

Feb. 2nd
Lovely sunny a.m. Four male bullfinches, blackbird + bluetit bathing in the pond. Beautiful sight.

Brian was burning some old, rotten wood during today. At sunset, the fire was still glowing and as it was such a lovely evening, we baked potatoes in the fire and supped cider whilst looking at the stars.  Great fun and a lovely p.m accompanied by a tawny owl and fox calling in the distance

Feb. 1st
A selection of coasters are now in-situ in our local wine shop. Also a couple of Gift Box sets have been delivered to the Labrador Lifeline Trust.  Lovely to get them out there and fingers crossed that they are of interest to folk. 

Jan. 30th
Eggs again this a.m. Initially thought it too good to be true but our girls have been laying eggs for over a week now. No more winter hen blues..yay!! Happy hens again.... bless' em!

Couldn't believe he was on the bill at Glastonbury Fest. during the early 90's, and didn't think I'd ever see Tom Jones perform; nevermind at a festival...lol!! The festivalgoers liked him tho' ... he was good, and can't believe he's coming to Larmer Tree this year.

Jan. 29th
The woods are greening up: dogs mercury, bluebells, lords 'n' ladies are all making an appearance, and badgers are refurbishing. Not sure if snow is on its way, but whatever the weather; spring is sprunged!

Jan. 27th
Lovely late afternoon Larmer Tree sky.

Jan. 24th
More Black Labrador coasters have arrived.  Delighted to be working with the Labrador Lifeline Trust again. A donation is given to the 'Labrador Lifeline Trust' Registered Charity with each Coaster Gift Box sale.

Jan. 22nd
Workaid van arrived this afternoon to pick up a load of tools, sewing & knitting machines, manual typewriters, 6 bicycles and a loom. All donated and collected, ready to be refurbished and sent to Africa.

Jan. 19th
Spent the a'noon clearing manmade rubbish from a patch of woodland - it was a tip. Finishing touches included: raking it over, tossing some of last years autumn leaves around and then dragging in some old tree stumps and branches from the trees that fell in our garden during last years storm. Really enjoyed arranging them and making a couple of log pile shelters for amphibians, insects and other little critters. Looking forward to see what appears as spring unfolds.

Jan. 16th
Family bits and bobs completed; am now back in the studio full time: making new contacts, getting back into the swing of things and it's good to be back. Looking forward to 2014!

Scarlet Elf Cup, a colourful and pretty fungi. A welcome sight, whilst on a very wet walk in the woods.

Jan. 9th
1000's of used stamps about to be bagged-up & posted to the RSPB 'Save the Albatross' appeal. Please save your stamps! It only takes 2 secs to tear off an envelope corner and help raise money to save these beautiful birds. If you need info. as to where to send them please drop me a line or visit the RSPB site.

Jan 1st
Superb Kingfisher shot to cheer you on this wet, windy & blustery New Years day.



Dec. 25th - 31st
A super Christmas day here at home with family. Plus lovely birthday and New Year celebrations. 
Thank you All for your support over the past 12 months and Wishing You Happiness & 'Slainte Mhath' in 2014!


Dec. 24th
A quick message to say Season'g Greetings and here's to a great 2014!

Dec. 9th
My new glossy coasters are now available from my on-line gallery. I have a selection of designs including: Chief Wolf Robe, Harvest Mouse, Wolves, Peacock, Elephants, Barn Owl, Butterflies, Baby Orangutan and a Horse.  I look forward to including more designs shortly.

Dec. 7th

My Christmassy Fairy lights at the Larmer Tree Christmas Fair.


Dec. 3rd

Dec. 2nd
Christmas Fair. Join Larmer Tree Studio & Larmer Tree Gardens for a celebration of art, local food and crafts on Dec. 6th 6-9 p.m, Dec. 7th & 8th 10 a.m - 4 p.m. The Shaftesbury Ukulele Band will be playing on Saturday and on Sunday, the Shaftesbury based acoustic band. Entry to the gardens includes a free winter warming cup of mulled wine, mulled cider or apple juice and throughout the weekend there will be childrens Donkey Rides. Look forward to seeing you!

Nov. 29th
Am delighted to report that my website is up and running again. All is running smoothly and a big Thank You to Simon for all your help. Very much appreciated.

Nov. 28th
Busy time collecting tools for Workaid. Received a delivery of two sewing machines on Monday and today received a call re: 15 portable manual typewriters plus a couple more sewing machines. Think I need to make some more space in the garage this weekend.

Nov. 26th
Apologies.  I am writing to let you know that at present you will be unable to place an order on natureinart.com as my site is being upgraded. If you have any queries or wish to place an order please contact me and I will complete your order personally. I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Nov. 22nd
Beautiful patchwork countryside on the way to Cann Mills; to collect my stoneground organic wholemeal flour. A lovely start to the day.

Nov. 15th
Sadly my dear Tehya passed away this evening. My lovely furry friend, thank you for being such a beautiful buddy. xx 

Oct. 30th
Last night our track filled with 5-6 trucks and the woods lit up like a football stadium. The silhouettes of 8-10 men, along with their laughter and the sound of Scottish accents was good to see and hear. As one unhooked wires in the treetops, others thrashed around with flashlights in the undergrowth. They were a friendly bunch and said they had travelled the 15hr journey from the north of Scotland at the weekend. At 10 p.m there was a cheer as our cottage lights flickered on, and one of the guys said "Welcome back to the 21st century". It's great to have central heating again and I really appreciate having warm water on tap.

Oct. 29th
Have been looking forward to 'The Hitchhikers Guide' show in Poole on the 24th and have just been informed that "despite huge popularity; due to the difficult financial environment it has had to be cancelled." Economic pressures taking their toll on the 'Art World'.... again. Still doing the 'glorified camping' bit and the sun is shining. All is well here and hope it is with you too.

Oct. 28th
Sat in candlelight in front of roary fire. Really glad I made bread and stew yesterday...and that we had a load of logs delivered last week.

Oct. 27th
A quickie, to apologise as I have had a technical problem with my website. Server technical support guys have been working on it and thankfully we are up and running again. New artwork designs, new mediums and incorporating ideas that have been on the 'back burner' for too long. Looking forward to a fresh looking gallery in the New Year.

Oct. 23rd
Last p.m saw Camel performing the whole of 'Snowgoose' for the first time since they appeared at the Royal Albert Hall in 1975. It was a full house, brilliant crowd, and an Absolutely Excellent Gig!!! The sound couldn't have been better and the musicians: Andrew Latimer (guitar, vocals), Colin Bass (bass vocals), with Denis Clement (drums), Guy LeBlanc (keyboards) along with keyboardist and special guest Jason Hart....were all just superb.  

Oct. 16th
Pleased to say that Mum is happy and well and truly settled in her new apartment.  Daughter and new Grandson are settled in back at home.  My studio signs are in the final stages of production and this is my first day back at Larmer Tree Studio.  Feels good!

Oct. 13th
Twinkling with raindrops on a very grey, wet day.


One year ago today our little furry friend came to stay. A wet romp at Badbury Rings to celebrate.

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Oct. 9th
A few days ago, received a call from Joan, a 93yr old lady, re: collecting old tools from her garage for Tools for Self Reliance.  We collected them all last p.m; a lovely assortment.  Some need refurbishing, but all will put to good use and given a new life in Africa.


Oct. 2nd
Good news.... a little Grandson born this a.m and Mum and baby are well.

Sept. 13th
Girls having fun.


Sept. 11th
Chilly start to the day but bees and other insects are still enjoying our pretty cornflowers.  They like full sun and have a really long flowering season.  Plant now for the bees and insects next year, and for a garden bursting with colour.  


Aug. 31st
A fantastic p.m. Collected the loom for Africa from a lovely lady in the New Forest. Then to the private viewing of Paul Kidby's superb artwork in Fordingbridge. Then back to the End of the Road fest. @Larmer Tree to see David Byrne. Cannot believe I've finally seen him after all these years. He sang Talking Heads and new material and was Brilliant!!  

Aug. 29th


End of the Road Festival... in the making.


Aug. 28th
Work onhold as Mum is on the move. Selling home and in process of  purchasing new home for her.  Organising removals, storage and downsizing everything.  Over time a number of folk have also mentioned that they didn't know where to find my studio, so am attempting to design signs...whilst also preparing for the End of the Road festival which kicks-in on Friday....cripes!

Aug. 20th
Bicycle made for two. Snug little Des Res!


Aug 15th
Cannot believe my 'Starry Baby' is 40 yrs of age today.  'Happy Birthday Katiekins' :)


Aug. 8th
Sunshine and butterflies....lots of them. Lunching in my studio garden accompanied by 12 Peacock, 5 Large White, 1 Fritillary and 1 Red Admiral; all are feasting on nectar from my Buddleia. Am feasting on pate on toast.  

Aug. 7th
Underside of the White Admiral. Couldn't believe how colourful he was. Complete contrast to his black and white upperside wing colour. Beautiful butterfly!


July 29th
Fairy Door Trail map now complete with eleven brightly coloured toadstools.  Mum has also selected a sunny, light, bright apartment with wow factor! Lots to be done before moving though.


July 24th 
Mum is on the move and we're off to look at some rather smart sheltered accommodation. She already has friends there and likes the place, which helps tremendously.  Started designing fairies for a map, but as they have to be quite small  they won't stand out - maybe toadstool time instead.

July 22nd
A brilliant sunny weekend at Larmer Tree Studio, with an exciting thunder and lightning finale. Didn't get to see any bands after all but dined out a couple of times and also had a good wander around the stalls.  Caught up with old friends and made new.  A really jolly and extremely busy weekend and Thank You to All who popped by to say Hello.

July 20th
Busy day and lots of friendly faces in the studio. Super to also meet the very talented artist, Paul Kidby, and his wife Vanessa, a lovely surprise and thanks to you both for popping in to say Hi.... Thank you Bob too! :))

July 19th
Lots of friendly festival folk popping into my little studio. Haven't done any shopping or seen any bands as yet but hopefully will do so over the weekend.  Good festival weather....sounds like it's going to be another scorcher across the whole of the UK.  Hope y'all have a good weekend!

July 17th
On Tuesday, an e-petition to stop the badger cull set a record with 258,385 British voters calling on the Government to stop the planned cull of badgers and to implement sustainable and humane solutions in its bid to tackle Bovine TB. It's now the most-signed Government e-petition ever. If you haven't signed as yet, please do. http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38257

July 15th
The fest. hasn't even started yet and there are stops at every gate and security guards everywhere. It's festival time of year again and the journey to my Susustudio was drawn out .. s'cuse the pun. 

Busy sorting my card and print stock for the festival.  Have always been allowed to open my studio for 'The End of the Road' fest. later in the year,  but this is the first time I've been allowed to open for this particular event.  Looking forward to it.

Happy St Swithin's Day!  According to the proverb the sun is going to keep on shining:
"St Swithun's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithun's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mare"

July 14th
Sunbathing and wildlife spotting day. Painted Lady, Green-veined white and Speckled Wood butterflies. Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, and Goldfinch in Yew hedge and at pond. Spotted flycatcher feeding 3 chicks in nest + Blackbird chicks fledged; parents  hopping around the garden  busy collecting food thoughout the day. Lovely lazy weekend!

Last years abandoned mouse hole, under our old concrete patio, is now home for Red-tailed bumblebees Bombus lapidarius :)

July 13th
Bat roost count tonight. Lovely evening sat next to sweet scented honeysuckle, staring at a roof, clicker counter in one hand and drink in t'other. Counted 19 Brown Long Eared plus a couple of Pips flying about.

July 11th
The gift box company were true to their word and the lids have arrived and they work a treat!

July 10th
Seems nothing in life is straight forward.  My gift boxes are fine but the lids are too tight. Takes approx. 3 mins. to remove each one.  Have tried everywhich way to rectify the problem but the depth of the lid is the same as the box, so no room for leverage.  Thankfully new lids are now en-route to me.

July 8th
Busy bee & lots of good stuff going on. Gift boxes have just arrived. New coaster designs have just been ordered. In the process of designing two large signs, one for the gate & the drive way.

July 1st
Tonight whilst strolling through an ancient meadow filled with orchids and long grasses, I realised I was being watched by a female roe deer; she was a picture as her coat shone a lovely golden-red in the sunshine. I left the meadow through an old gate and realised too late that I'd disturbed a wasps nest in the hollow fence post. Feeling a sharp pain as I was stung in my hand, I closed the gate as quickly as I could with the wasps buzzing angrily around my head....I think I got off lightly. 

In the woods I saw another young roe in the distance and a few minutes later, the pain from the sting faded into insignificance as I spied a male roe in antler and crouched down quickly. He sensed I was there, and started to walk in my direction pausing only periodically to sniff the air. I couldn't believe my luck as his curiosity got the better of him. He continued to approach until he was 9 feet away, and then stood majestically as we gazed at one another in the glow of the evening sun. Realising I was no threat; he finally decided to leave and walked away with that distinctive stiff-legged gait. Once at a safe distance he barked at me and gave me ‘what for’! I replied - and we chatted for a further 3-4 minutes :). A super experience, and feeling extremely lucky to have had such an encounter, I continued along the track and happened to glance to my left.  To my amazement and at eye level with me, sat a Tawny Owl on a bare branch, and only 6 -7 feet away. My heart skipped a beat. I couldn't believe my luck and I so wanted to stop and look, but didn't want to spook him - so I just glanced at him nonchalantly a couple of times as I strolled on by.

Off the woodland track and onto the golf course, the walk was rounded off watching 5 super swifts performing aerial feats above the golf course lake. No camera with me... a wasp sting, but one of the best evenings walks ever. Luka enjoyed it too, and was as good as gold throughout...

June 20th
Busy day at Larmer with friendly folk from two group visits.  My new coasters are also proving popular and receiving good feedback.  A good day!!

June 16th
Lovely Fathers Day weekend. A mix of activities: fun shopping spree, toodling about at home, and with family.

Homegrown hanging basket. Really enjoy making my own hanging baskets.


June 13th
Super day in Bristol yesterday. Visited art galleries, museum and highly rec. munchies at the Watershed Café Bar, Harbourside. A perfect day rounded off beautifully with Joe Satriani....Excellent!!  Working on logo today....many thanks for the fonts Rahul.

June 6th
Lovely sunny day and tonight my site is 'All Systems Go'. To celebrate my new website going live and as a thank you for your support, am giving all customers 10% off for the next month. Offer closes July 7th. Just use "WELCOME10" at the checkout. I hope you like the design of my new site and any feedback would be appreciated. If you find any problems or can think of ways in which it could be improved, please let me know.

June 5th
Successful day on the computer, heaps of bits sorted. Really sad day for our badgers though. We are about to make one humungous mistake!!! Badgers have been around for 200,000+  years. The science is clear - killing badgers will not eradicate TB from cattle. I cannot believe that here in the UK, in this day and age, we are about to annihilate one of our most iconic species. 

June 4th
Finally we are back on track! Received a call today to say that the server glitches had been fixed. My website appears to be running smoothly again and I can crack on with my alterations. Plus the sun is shining!! 

June 1st
Apologies for any problems encountered whilst trying to use my new website.  My server has also gone down and have contacted the company re: the problems we are experiencing. As yet they have not been able to rectify these issues and am unable to work on my site due to slowness of pages opening, uploading etc.  Unfortunately, these problems are beyond my control but am endeavouring to get them resolved as soon as possible. 

May 28th
Problems have kicked in with my broadband connection.....typical! Am eager to tweak my new site but it's on a go-slow. Living a distance from the local exchange doesn't help, but didn't think it could get any slower. 

May 27th
Busy weekend at the Studio and met some friendly folk. Brian was busy gardening whilst I made alterations to my logo and website.  We are also doggy sitting for family so we're a three dog family again. Busy times!

May 25th
Alterations need to be made in places and heaps still to do behind the scenes installing mega tags. keywords etc but... my site is up and running.....yeahhh!!!!  Am absolutely delighted and hopefully I can now get to grips with my new 'mega' printer and crack on with my drawing. A super feeling. Thank you Tim for getting the ball rolling.

May 24th
Finally here!!!! My site is to be uploaded and we are about to go live. 

May 15th
Cannot believe it but have finally done as much as I can to my website under my own steam and my pages are ready. The shopping cart is full of images and text, re: all my products, and I just need expert web advice on how to install the technical info. Once have been shown how to do this I can then crack on placing the info. on each product.  It has been extremely full-on getting to this stage and it's exciting to be so close to publishing my new-look website. 

May 14th
Each day more website work: installing and resizing images, moving pages and general tweaking plus our Granddaughter's 4th birthday. 

May 12th
Today we purchased two pollinator-friendly climbing plants: Jasmine and Clematis, to grow along our new fence. The garden centre kindly put pictures of bees on the labels of the plants that are insect friendly. Plus we bought two lilac shrubs and some lavender for the garden. Brian also put the gate up and our new fence is now complete.


Yay!! Privacy! Our lovely new fence...thank you Brian!  

May 7th
Busy days and evenings at the Studio recently. We've almost finished erecting the 45ft fence around the studio garden. The fence was blown down earlier this year and as my Studio garden backs on to the Tea Room Garden we were in dire need of privacy. Meanwhile, the Tea Rooms were enjoying the views of our garden and it became clear that if we wanted the fence replaced we would have to do it ourselves - hence we've been extra busy. Brian has done an excellent job tho' and the fence is looking great....just needs some honeysuckle for the insects and birds. My new website is coming along well and will hopefully be up and running soon.

May 6th
Working at the studio on my website, in between fence erecting in the studio garden, and greeting visitors on a busy Bank Holiday Monday.

May 5th
Super sunny day today. :) Took the day off work and spent it in the garden, greenhouse and walking the dogs. Three dog family at present, as looking after Lola the spaniel for a few days whilst family on holiday. Wishing all a happy, relaxing long weekend too.

May 4th
Sadly the blackbird nest and three little chicks were on the ground this morning. As the honeysuckle hasn't come into leaf as yet the nest was exposed and vulnerable, even though tucked against the side of the cottage. Not sure who the culprit was and instinctively one thinks of possible predators: squirrel, jackdaw, jay or rat. If it was one of these guys tho', it's strange that they didn't take the chicks. A couple of years ago, I learned that tits will sometimes oust other tits from their nest, in order to use the nest themselves. Am wondering if the blackbird chicks were evicted for a similar reason; if so, this would explain why the chicks were left on the ground.  Unfortunately though, the nest was destroyed in the process so no-one gained and all was lost. :( A sorry sight.

May 3rd
Resized thumbnails for Galleries page: all artwork in situ.  Buttons required on each painting in the shopping cart and then almost there!!!

Spent a pleasant p.m listening to Hugh Miles, wildlife cameraman and BBC filmmaker, talking about his work and watching a couple of his films. The first film about the importance of the River Allen; a chalk river flowing through Dorset. I didn't realise there only 160 chalk rivers in the whole world and 85% of them are in England. The second film; the Andes and the life of a Puma. An interesting p.m and the whisky flavoured cider was tasty too. :)

April 29th
Three chicks have hatched in the Blackbirds nest.  All are now cosy and tucked up with their Mum.

April 28th
Installing profiles on printer, working on website, two family birthdays and contacting various companies re: giift boxes for coasters....plus erecting a 45ft long fence at the studio...it's been a busy week.

April 20th
Our pair of swallows arrived this a.m and made a beeline for their old nesting site: straight in through the open window in the barn... it never ceases to amaze me how they know exactly where to go.

April 18th
Working on computer at home when a small bird darted towards my upstairs study window. At the last second it chirruped, swooped upwards and disappeared into one of the nests under the soffit. Joy!!!! Our first housemartin has returned from Africa!!! I then spotted his partner circling above the garden....an excellent start to the day.

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April 16th
Wildlife artwork and new printer still both on-hold. Am burning the midnight oil whilst beavering away on new website and shopping cart. Also designing table mats and gift boxes. It's all go!

Our blackbirds nest is close to the driveway but they aren't phased by us tooing and froing. Male sat tight on nest for 24hrs then the female. This a.m both off feeding, so had a quick peek... 3 eggies!! :)

April 13th
Over the past week two Blackbirds have been busy nest-building in the honeysuckle growing on the cottage. Unfortunately the plant is totally devoid of foliage and the nest is fairly exposed, but hopefully with the warmer weather leaves willl soon start sprouting. Earlier today, whilst both parents were away, I had a quick peek in the perfectly formed little nest and to my delight saw two turquoise speckled eggs. :) Spring is Sprung!

April 11th
Am working hard on my website and it's coming along well.  Unfortunately this means that my artwork has come to a grinding halt yet again.  Hopefully it won't be long before my new site is up and running.....I so wish to get back to my drawing. 
April 10th
Male Blackcap trapped in fruit cage..glad I spotted him before leaving for work. Wondering why he ventured in as no vegetation or berries. Also need to find out how he got in there. Very handsome bird.

April 9th
After the sort of winters we have had to endure recently, the spring does seem miraculous, because it has become gradually harder and harder to believe that it is actually going to happen. Every February since 1940 I have found myself thinking that this time Winter is going to be permanent. But Persephone, like the toads, always rises from the dead at about the same moment. Suddenly, towards the end of March, the miracle happens.....George Orwell.

Thanks to George Orwells fine words, I realise that last night I shouldn't have been so surprised when the early evening rain brought our toads out again. A male with his arms wrapped tightly around the female, sat in the garden for a long while; both gazing up at the kitchen window as if watching us as we toodled about. After such a cold March I didn't expect to see them again this year. A lovely night-time Spring surprise!

April 8th
Recently received my second order of coasters. Am very pleased with them and looking forward to displaying my new products on my new website. As well as working on my website, am also in the process of sorting out my printer colour profiles. Once the profiles have been adjusted and installed I'll be able to to start printing again. Exciting times!

April 4th
Cannot believe it is snowing again! 

March 31st
The gardens have been open this weekend for the Larmer Tree Antique Fair. The sun shone throughout and am pleased to say we've had two very busy days at the Studio with a number of people popping in to say Hi.

March 29th

Life is full of surprises & never cease to amaze me.

After experiencing such dire Customer Care service last year from the 'internet operative' at computer related CreativeEye/Awake Media, and last September, from Designline Systems in Poole; I suddenly find myself being bowled-over by the quite unexpected kindness from completely different companies.

Firstly I wish to highly recommend the services of and say a big thank you to:

DPS, the company from whom I purchased my Epson large format printer. David, at DPS, provided excellent service including a number of folllow up telephone calls to check that all was okay. The On Line Paper company from whom I purchased my Fine Art Paper were also extremely helpful providing assistance in other areas at no extra cost, and finally Tim, from Logomotion. Tim has very kindly offered to help me with my website. Thank you David, Simon, Tim and Andy from the 'coaster company'. Am one very busy but happy bunny!

March 26th
How about this for good service? My new set of coasters arrived this morning!!! Having since spoken with Andy, a very helpful gentleman and company designer, I decided to take the plunge and have now ordered a couple more designs. Good service and thoughtfulness goes such a long way.

March 25th
Whilst investigating other ways in which to use my artwork I found a company that produce coasters and have ordered a set using my 'Blue Mountain Butterfly' design.


March 17th
Found a caterpillar in a large and deep puddle in the middle of grassy meadow. Felt sad that he'd perished in the water and scooped him out thinking he was probably dead. Within a few mins. and to my delight, he lifted up his head and I realised he was still with us. Didn't know whether he'd been dropped by a bird and ended up in the puddle or whether the water logged ground had done for him. Popped him into a container of compost with some grasses inside a rearing cage whilst trying to id him. It has been an interesting exercise and super to finally discover what species he is and his needs. :) Have often seen Lg. Yellow Underwing moths but haven't ever seen the larvae before.

March 16th
A year ago today, I filmed Eddie our good natured & handsome black Orpington cockerel cock-a-doodling and walking around our garden with his girls. Sadly this afternoon he passed away. We found him lying in the garden and think he must have had a heart attack. :(

March 15th
Spent the day researching Epson printers and have finally made a choice. Am looking forward to receiving my new printer next week.

March 14th
Have been told by Canon that there is a problem with the later iPF6300 model printers and the new iPF6400 printers and apparently there is no 'fix'.

Kevin, the gentleman with whom I have been dealing with at Canon was very apologetic and I have really appreciated his concern throughout this whole episode. Even so, I still cannot believe that after all this time, I am still printerless.  Am back at Square One and have spent the day on the phone/internet making enquiries re: large format printers.

Kevin very kindly thanked me for my patience and agreed that it is shameful that Canon do not consider this fault in need of a 'fix'. To have black lines printed on the reverse side of each print is unacceptable and to have experienced three printers all doing same - has been an appalling experience. It has cost me dearly. From the very start I was keen to have a Canon and whilst waiting for the problem to be resolved; a total of 6 months; so much precious time and money has been wasted.

My only consolation is that the representative at Canon was honest, courteous and as helpful as possible throughout....unlike the service received from the company in Poole. Not once have they apologised or shown concern for my situation. The only concern ever shown was for their own workload and their own problems. We could have purchased the printer cheaper elsewhere...so much for supporting a local company for 20+ years.  At times, we felt as though the faulty printers were our fault and throughout have had to chase to receive information.  On one sad occassion Brian arrived at work at 7 a.m in order to help return a printer to them, only to find us being treated quite discourteously as we didn't do it exactly as they wished.  Considering that when our first printer arrived we had to wait over a month before even receiving our profiles; apparently due to illness and a holiday - it was unnbelieveably poor service, and not once have we complained.  So, once again, thank you Kevin at Canon for your kindness - very much appreciated.

March 13th
Waiting to be told what Designline Systems, the printer seller, wishes to do from here. Was told by the Canon rep. a long while ago that if the 6400 didn't work that there was probably nothing more that could be done.

March 12th
Spent most of the day trying to get my new Canon iPF6400 to print without leaving black lines on the back of my archival fine art print media. Wasted valuable and expensive paper whilst testing the various head height settings and vacuum combinations. Sadly all to no avail.

March 8th
Was gutted to find that my new printer is printing lines on the back of the paper. So disappointing. Undeterred I worked into the evening and finally found a setting which worked cleanly on the test paper. I was over the moon.

Took longer getting home tonight as I also rescued 18 frogs, plus 2 sadly 1/2 runover & unable to move. Put them out of misery. Last night evicted a smooth newt from our hallway. Put him outside and found an 'amphibian rave' going on in the garden. Frogs 'n' toads everywhere. :)

March 7th
At midday my new iPF6400 printer arrived.

Lovely to also have had sunshine over the past few days. The milder temperatures are accompanied by drizzly rain today and our pond is now a hive of activity... the frogs are loving it. :)

March 4th
After ringing Designline Systems; the company from whom I originally purchased my ipf6300 printer, I later received a call from a Canon distributor saying my printer was on it's way. Apparently the new batch is on its way over from Europe and the problem with the vacuum settings has been fixed. As promised, I have been upgraded to an iPF6400. Am absolutely delighted and cannot wait.

Feb. 27th
Never dreamed I would get to see him in action. :) Fantastic p.m in the company of four outstanding musicians: tenor saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis, bassist Alec Dankworth, Ghanaian percussion master Abass Dodoo and the King of Drums.....Ginger Baker!!!

Feb. 23rd
Alternating sunshine & snow showers and the snowdrops & daffodils are in bloom. Stacking logs, trimming hedgerows, bagging gravel for my studio pathway and the dogs are playing together. Wishing all a good weekend.

Feb. 2nd
Spring is on its way! David, one of the BTO satellite tagged Cuckoos, has started his journey from the Democratic Rep. of Congo back to the UK - this is about a week earlier than the first Cuckoo started to head north-west last year. Good luck David!

Jan. 25th
Doggy training continues with our fluffy now 'not so little' bundle. She is coming on in leaps and bounds...literally!
Meanwhile, we have been left in the dark re: the printer and true to form, I have had to chase Designline Systems in order to discover 'if and how' things were progressing, or not.  I later received a call from Canon, who I must say have treated me with courteousness and consideration throughout, assuring me that in order to compensate for the length of time and for my patience and understanding; I am to be upgraded from an iPF6300 to an iPF6400. This is excellent news. The bad news is that it appears Canon still have no idea how to fix the design flaw in either model of printer.  Worse still; after 4/5 months of waiting around we may still actually be left high and dry, if a fix cannot be found. Fingers crossed that some good will come of all of this.

On the brightside - we're both back on track healthwise and am able to focus on my artwork again.

Beg. of January
Brian was very poorly over Christmas and the New Year and we spent most of the New Year fighting off flu bugs 'n' colds. On a more active note, we have also been shovelling a few tons of gravel onto our driveway, plus attended a couple of dog training classes. It was lovely to see everything blanketed in white for a few days and lovely to watch Luka thoroughly enjoying her very first snow with Tehya.


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