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Cutty sarks, red kites and Happy Mary

Hello friends and followers! It's been a mighty long time since I blogged. Knowing what to write about on a regular basis was getting difficult and the whole blogging thing is much harder than I imagined.

However, I have plenty to write about this evening having spent the weekend in Kirkcudbright, taking part, for the second year running, in their ever popular Arts & Crafts Trail. Over the past few months, I've been too busy singing and gardening (more of that later) to give much time to my art and, to be honest, I didn't feel organised at all so I was apprehensive. Anyway, as is often the way, when you're feeling a bit edgy about something, you end up having the best time and it really was a fantastic weekend. It could have been a bit busier (I was set up in the Soaperie Gardens) and yes, it would have been nice to sell more but overall, it was a great experience and I can't wait for the next one.

A selection of original artwork on show at Kirkcudbright Arts & Crafts Trail
Mary Carroll Artworks at Kirkcudbright Arts & Crafts Trail

On Friday, I was delighted to sell an original watercolour painting titled 'Down At The Witching Wall'. Inspired by the Burns' poem Tam O'Shanter and the witch Nannie's short petticoat - her 'cutty sark', the painting depicts three young women in colourful petticoats balancing and frolicking on and around a stone dyke. A lovely lady from the South (as she put it) fell in love with it as soon as she saw it. I've never seen anyone be so passionate about one of my paintings. She said that, in it, she saw herself and her two friends and, when I told her about the Robert Burns connection, she said her daughter shared a birthday with him so it was most definitely fate!

Her enthusiasm touched me so much and I felt the same when another lady found my Corvid Companions print. She stared at it for a moment then said it really touched her heart. This is simply the best part about creating whether it be in art or in songwriting - if your work means something to someone, that's's a perfect feeling!

Another great aspect of the fair was getting to blether to so many people - friends who popped by to show support and say hello; others who I hadn't seen in such a long time and who did a double take not knowing that I was an artist as well as a singer (and a cleaner; a wife and mother); strangers who I just got chatting to; and finally the other stall holders - the local family who creates gorgeous knitted garments, the talented lady with her glass art and my closest neighbour Molten Fire with their beautiful handcrafted gifts. It felt like a little community! It also gave me the chance to talk to other artists and discuss being involved in forthcoming exhibitions.

Talking of exhibitions, I'm am super excited to be taking part in the Kippford Painters' Art Exhibition from 6th to 13th August 2022. Exhibiting is a huge step up for me and something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I will have at least six pieces on display including a couple of charcoal drawings, some watercolour landscapes and 'Florence and the Fox'!!! You must come along and see them if you can. R.N.L.I., Marie Curie Cancer Care and Kippford Village Hall will all benefit from this exhibition and there will be some great art to view and/or purchase so it's well worth a visit.

Now on to music....I'm like a broken record at the moment. At every opportunity I'm saying how much I love being back out singing! It feels fantastic.....I feel fantastic!.. .and I'm enjoying it more than I have in a long time! In the past I've taken it all a bit too seriously wishing for more recognition, more success but now - whether it's at a rock gig with the Mary Barclay Band, a jazz gig with The Fever or at an acoustic concert (Mary Barclay and Doug Carroll Acoustic), I just relish the fact that I'm still able to sing and perform, especially when it's with such incredibly talented musicians...and I'm singing my very own songs much of the time and that feels amazing!

I do adore being out in my garden. It's most definitely my happy place and my late father is always at my shoulder. The soil smells like him and it's his hands I see when I'm pottering and planting. I've grown nicotiana from seed and, after a shaky start for them, they are the strongest and most beautiful plants in my garden. I have sweet peas, sweet peas and more sweet peas - some were a gift from my best friend and others I grew from seed. I have bright and colourful helichrysum (straw flowers). I also have stunning sun flowers, delicate papaver rheas poppies, and the sweetest smelling night scented stock. I sit out early in the morning or late at night just breathing in the air and being thankful.

Papaver rheas 'Mother of Pearl'

I drive every day and most days I feel thankful. Like the woman who was passionate about my painting, I am passionate about what Mother Nature has created. The green fields, the cattle, the horses, the deer, the hares and all the beautiful birds. Today I stopped the car walked back up the road to photograph some red kites and I smiled to myself about what I was seeing, what was around me, about my loved ones, my beloved dogs, the people I know and the holidaymaker I had just met outside Tesco with his son-in-law's lurcher Hazel. We chatted like we'd known each other forever.

And finally tonight, I'm thankful for a dear friend who is unwell. A friend who has inspired and supported me. I wish them well and, if you are reading this, I'd be grateful if you could send healing thoughts.

In the meantime, take care, count your blessings and hold tight those you love xx

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