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  • Writer's pictureAlanda Calmus

Here But Not Here

Heather Hedgehog

Hedgehog Hotel

I have at least two hedgehogs nesting under my studio. I used to see them pretty regularly to the point that I had to do a hedgehog check last thing at night before letting my dogs out for a pee. They used to just come out to polish off what was left of the bird food until I started putting food out specifically for them.

I now buy special hedgehog food but it has in it what looks a lot like cat biscuits. Suffice to say if I leave that out overnight, it’s mostly neighbourhood cats that get it or my greedy chihuahua otherwise known as the ginger piglet.

To prevent this happening, I’ve had to put the food underneath my studio and close off the access to the only side that the dog can get into.

Every morning the food is gone but I don’t get to see the hedgehogs anymore which is sad but at least I know they’ll be well fed in the lead up to Winter. They will be cosy and dry under my studio and I’m not a noisy overhead tenant so they should have peace and safety.

Hankering for Hibernation

As the days become shorter and colder I’m starting to feel that desire to hibernate myself. It feels like a drawing in of energy, a quietening of activity and a reluctance to leave the comforts of home.

As I write, that feeling is strengthened by the fact that, although I’ve been sleeping fairly well, my waking hours have been filled with a lot of brain work and over-thinking.

That tiredness due to mental exhaustion makes me want to curl up in a ball and pull the duvet over my head for the next 4 months by which time I hope to have the solutions to all my quandaries.

No Rest for the Wicked

As much as my dream of hibernation is a nice one, I know it can’t happen. After saying previously that I wouldn’t be taking on anymore commissions in a traditional style, I’ve taken on a few pet portraits that I just couldn’t say no to.

It does add a bit of pressure at a time when my circadian rhythm is working against me but I’m happy to help in these special cases. I will however have to strengthen my resolve for future enquiries to decline those that don’t align with my more expressive painting style.

Harley Hedgehog

Ebb and Flow

Working on these commissions gives me an opportunity to rest my mind in a way. The quiet meditative process of a task I know so well that it has become almost second nature, gives my mind a chance process all the information it has been flooded with lately.

Sometimes I have so much going on in my head at one time that I just can’t think straight anymore.

I find that directing my attention to something I can focus on, that I feel comfortable with, lets my subconscious sift through all the clutter and present it back to me in a more useful and productive form.

Once I’ve had that time to organise my thoughts, things seem to flow much better.

Full Moon Lunar Eclispe

There was a full Beaver moon with partial lunar eclipse on 18th of this month. I had been too busy to pay attention until the intense energies connected with it exploded in a few areas of my life all at once on Friday.

Now the dust is beginning to settle again but as I type this I wonder, do I really want the dust to settle? What is the point of blowing it all up in the air to just allow the same dust to fall back down again?

Surely it is better to blow that shit right out the window altogether!

The full moon is all about release and letting go. The time afterwards, while it is waning, is about relaxing, acceptance and going within to regroup. I’m definitely feeling that vibe right now.

What’s Next?

Soon we’ll be coming into the 3rd quarter phase of the lunar cycle which is the time for re-evaluation. Adjustments are required and decisions need to be made. It can feel like a bit of a crossroads. It’s time to look back and see how far you’ve come. Do you want to stick with old plans or make new ones?

The last phase before the potential of the new moon is concerned with surrender and healing. It’s time to let go and move on. The healing comes from allowing yourself the space to imagine greater things, dream big and become excited about new possibilities.

This could not be more poignant for me right now and I shall let this natural cycle guide me as I navigate my own life.

I don’t know what will happen next but things have undoubtedly changed for me and I will not allow the dust to settle.

The only real question is, what road to take?

Here we are at an actual crossroads. Can you spot the Squirrel?

In the photo above, I already know 3 of those directions. Behind me is where I’ve come from. To the left is a dead end. To the right is a big loop that will bring me right back to where I am now. The only road I don’t know fully is the one ahead which I’ve only ever travelled a short way down before coming back again.

Perhaps it’s time to see where that one leads?

Higgledy Hogs and Higgledy Hares

Well, I think that’s enough metaphysical musings for today, back to more joyful artiness. I have really been enjoying making these colourful pieces lately.

After playing with colours and different tools for intuitive mark-making, part of my process is to sit with them for a while until something reveals itself to me. I like to work in pairs for this type of thing but sometimes something that starts with the intention of being two ends up being one large painting or vice versa.

These are the marks that first inspired me to bring out these particular creatures.

Can you see what I see?

The one on the left takes a bit more imagination

From this stage I work to simplify the backgrounds and define some of the features without losing too much of the vibrancy and energy of the initial work.

The hedgehogs have already been uploaded to my shop but I haven’t got round to framing the hares yet. If you are interested in the hares, please feel free to enquire. You can use the contact form on my website or reply to the newsletter email.


Previous work has been more traditional in style whether in pastel or oil but I have moved away from that into a more contemporary style.

More News Coming Soon

There is a lot going on behind the scenes here. It really is Alchemy Through Art for me. There’s a feeling of expansion, although it is not clear what form that expansion will take yet. I guess we shall just have to wait and see.

Don’t Miss Out

Thank you for reading this far and for your continued interest in my work. If you would like to keep up to date and be among the first to hear what’s new in my studio please join the mailing list for my newsletter.

Wishing you more power to your broom to bust that dust for good!

Alanda xx

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