Art Diaries: Home in Burton

In my last Art Diaries post, I walked about my week in Florence, and about finding inspiration in my own unique way. For my third and final trip this year, I travelled home to the UK for some much-needed relaxation, family catch-up, plus to tick a very important item off my bucket list. Thankfully, however short the trip, I still found plenty of nature and some unusual inspiration sources and have quite a lot of notes to catch up on.

The first day was a very lazy family catch-up which consisted of lots of tea, a little bit of shopping and a lot more talking. After a little bit of drizzle when I landed, I wasn’t quite sure what the weather had in store. I’d packed exceptionally light and hoped my jacket would be enough.

It’s always curious when you’ve been away from home for so long. You notice the tiny cultural differences, the nuances of the locals and all the things that have changed, plus all the things that haven’t changed and probably never will.

For the second day of my brief trip, I decided to make the most of my early rising and wrapped up warm with a stolen fleece and took a stolen dog (borrowed! My sister’s obliging mongrel) for a dawn walk. The air was frosty, and my hands were instantly numb, but a short stroll across the street was well worth the cold. We ventured into a deserted little kids’ play park, surrounded by a football field with rows of trees backed on to it. The sun was just starting to rise, and though it was cold blue was already creeping above the horizon. There was a gorgeous misty glow to the whole place, and I was glad I’d got my nature fix, however briefly. I took a few photos of the moon and the sun before Kaiya decided she wasn’t going any further.

Later in the day it was off to Stapenhill Gardens, a very pretty flower garden with giant ornamental swan beside the River Trent. I’ve known these gardens since before I could walk, and my earliest memories are feeding the ducks in this very spot.

Unfortunately, the summer flowers had just been uprooted to make way for the winter blooms, so although the gardens were bare, there were plenty of ducks and geese frolicking about waiting eagerly for our picnic. After passing a few morsels to the birds, I took up a spot and did some sketching, and noted the stunning willow tree that caught my eye on my previous visit.

Tuesday night was a night I’d been waiting for a long time and isn’t one that you’d instantly think provides artistic inspiration. But to me it did just that. Bucket list: watching my favourite musicians, English rock band Muse, live in concert.

The concert was nothing short of spectacular. Our seats high in the stadium gave us distant but unobstructed views, clear sound and great perspective to experience the entire show, light performances, dancers and more. I was blown away by the power of the music and the synchronicity of the light show.

After a late night, and a late morning the follow day, we set off a few miles down the road to Mercia Marina, a stunning riverside filled with colourful barges, quirky craft shops and pointy buildings. What’s even better is that we could enjoy a third stunning day of sunshine in a row!

All too soon I had to head home, but travelling to the airport and on the plane solo gave my plenty of time to think and to immerse. So I dd just that. I watched a couple of very inspiring podcasts abut everything from sleep to misfits and then a cool talk about how the universe is musical. And it got me reflecting again and my own brand of inspiration.

Whether it is discovering the rhythms of Muse or Trappist-1, wandering through childhood gardens or new marinas or simply having Orion glinting over my shoulder the whole way down the motorway, I learned that there’s always room for more painting.

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