Total Pageviews

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Warmer nights for lady fireflies


The female fireflies are not visible at night because they are dark in colour, and anyway, it has been too cool for them to emerge from wherever they hide during the day. And so, the males with their flashing lights don't bother to fly out either. But today temperatures will rise to 27C and we can expect a super display and  I'll be out there to to film it, I promise.

And you know, whatever Nature offers us, in the forests, by the rushing streams, watching and listening to birds, and fellow creatures; breathing the air swept down from mountain peaks, it is she who lifts us to that state of absorption where our art and creativity become inevitable.

And we become one with nature, because at our most human, this is what we must truly aspire to.

My Art and Nature workshops in the Sibillini National Park in Italy recommence in September, and you can find out more and how to book a place, on my website below or email me at

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

The fireflies are returning!


I was working late in my studio yesterday evening and it was dark when I got home and walked to open the front door. At this moment there was a bright flash in front of me and I took it to be from a car driving on a hill above the house. But the flashing light whizzed over my head and I knew it was a first arrival welcoming me to a month of wonder. Yes, the fireflies have arrived, and day by day now they will multiply in number and we will all be in the thrall of their magic, taken away and invited to dance with them and be enriched by this powerful connection with nature.They are like little silent messengers, becoming us, beseeching us, to return to the garden of Life

And all those precious memories come flooding back of the years I have lived in Italy; always in the countryside, in the clean air of the Adriatic where I live now, or in the mountains of the Sibillini Park, where I spent many years.

Memories of walking with friends and with my animals through woods and forests, seeing the reflection of their lights in the dark eyes of my dog Bessie as she is jumped amongst them barking with happiness.

Tonight when I am home I will venture out to the bottom of the garden where they gather and dance about, and I will attempt to photograph or video their performance an add it to this blog

If you are interested in joining one of Michael's Art and Nature weekends in Italy, you can contact him at

More info on his site

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Endurance, fortitude and a magic lake in Italy


                                   The first to arrive, my super dog Bessie

Conversing with a friend about endurance, brought to mind taking a team of young people on a hike up to Pilate's Lake, which is under Monte Vettore where I run my workshops. The climb begins at a village called Foce where there are just a few houses and a bar, It's at about 1600m in altitude and the climb to Vettore and the lake takes about four hours through four plateaux; so you have to climb each one in turn; vertically then horizontally.

So, we had walked the first part from the bar at Foce, 3k to the bottom of the first vertical climb and the young folk immediately lost heart at the sight of it and were murmuring that they wanted to return to the bar.

And it was just at this moment that we heard singing voices above us and the sound of tinkling bells (Elves you imagine ?).

But no. Instead a line of a dozen people following a leader down the steep slope and another guide at the rear, And they were all roped together at the waist and they were all happily singing as we watched them grapple their way down towards us.

And as they came near, we saw with astonishment that all except the two guides were blind.

And when they reached our group below we of course welcomed them and praised them for there fortitude and wished them good fortune in the way Italians do.

Needless to say, my group were moved by what they had witnessed. I guess you could say that they were awakened in some form, and from then on, in over four hours climb to the lake, not one complaint was heard and they expressed, I sensed, simply gratitude and a certain calmness after such a powerful and serendipitous experience

I only met a few of them again after that day but I know that it was a story which in its way, structured their lives, and which would stay in their memories throughout life's twists and turns.



If you are interested in joining one of Michael's Art Adventures in The Sibillini National Park this summer, please click here for more info