Friday, 18 October 2019

Abstract Landscape Painter.  Rural Dweller.  Lover of Modernist Art and Design.

18 October

The leaves of the fig tree are a pale, luminous ochre; they seem to float against the backdrop of grey.

There is a chill dampness to the air.  Carrion crows ‘carr, carr, carr’ from the tops of the increasingly bare trees and the brisk breeze makes me shiver, as I step out into the garden.

Along the lane, a neighbouring cottage is covered in scaffolding.  The outer layer of moss-covered thatch is being stripped away.  As Millie and I pass by, a workman is carrying a sheaf of fresh reeds from the back of a truck.  He puffs as he puts the long bale onto his shoulder and heads for the metal structure.

More ploughed work is beginning to appear.  A tractor driver prepares for another day’s work.  We pause to look at the rich, chocolate-coloured earth that has been carved into long, wave-like lines.  It contrasts sharply with the pale, uncut stubble, immediately adjacent.  From this high vantage point, I can see sheep across the valley, sitting on the soft, green surface, below the wood.

Many of the leaves have started to fall now, but there is still much colour to be seen as the green drains away from those that remain.  The trees are putting on their glowing gowns of deep red and gold, for one last celebration before night falls, and they sleep once more.

All text & images ©2019 Carol Saunderson

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Abstract Landscape Painter.  Rural Dweller.  Lover of Modernist Art and Design.


January started crisp and bright, with blue skies and little air movement.  During that first week, we watched a covey of partridges, and numerous pheasants, taking off on the sloped fields, followed by much gliding downhill.  Both breeds seem to prefer running to flying.  This is not always an asset.

We walked the airfield route and, whilst coming back through the tree tunnel, saw a white barn owl float in at the other end, before it turned to our right and disappeared silently into a perpendicular hedgerow.

The following week was largely grey and mild, but now bright and cold weather has returned. 

17 January 

The first snow of winter.   Large flakes begin to fall heavily, just prior to 8am, creating a light covering.  I have to scrape the frozen remnant off the van windscreen at 10am.

En route to Hartest I see a herd of 12 - 15 deer, standing stock-still in the sunshine at the top of a sloped field, in the lee of a high hedge.  Snow is still on the lawn, when I return at 12.30pm.

18 January 

A hare, running across the green, curved surface of a spelt field.  We are high up, and beyond it are layers of land, receding into the misty distance.

19 January 

A large bird of prey, sitting in a small tree, in a scraggy hedgerow.  She surveys a field below, which is a regular haunt of hares.  We’ve been a bit confused recently by raptor sightings in which the bird’s body seems equal to a buzzard, but the wings look too short.  Now that we’ve had a closer look at the white face and barred markings, we are wondering if it is a goshawk.  There have certainly been sightings in this area.

20 January 

Frost today.  A good covering of rime that has refused to budge, even by lunchtime.  It will not disappear now.  Sparkling sunshine and very little air movement, which makes it much more comfortable to be outside than yesterday’s windy, grey gloom.

Tonight there is a supermoon due, which is combined with a total eclipse.  This should create a blood moon, which will be at its reddest between 5.45 and 6.45am tomorrow morning. It has been called a “super blood wolf moon”.  The “wolf” bit apparently refers to the term for full moons in January.

21 January 

Having set up the camera and tripod before going to bed, I rise just after 5.30am to find that a cloud layer has completely obscured the sky.  Only ten years to wait until the next one.

24 January 

A trip to Snape Maltings to meet the gallery manager, who had contacted me just prior to Christmas.  We are to discuss the possibility of me showing some work there.  Before setting out there is a snow shower.  The old van chugs off toward the coast.  When we park at the arts centre, the weather is FREEZING cold and damp.  Great slabs of fractured and tilted ice cling to the river bank at the water’s edge and there is a cutting breeze.

After a tour of the gallery and a brief chat, I agree to provide some paintings for May/June, before heading briskly to the coffee shop in order to warm up!

25 January 

After lunch, the photographer Lucy Toms arrives.  She has asked if I will participate in a project to record and exhibit images of artists in their studios.  She is genial and lively, and makes the whole experience enjoyable.  I begin a new piece of work, whilst she gets on with hers – doing a brilliant job of negotiating the confines of the very small, packed, studio.  Millie-the-whippet is curled up amidst cosy blankets in the armchair, and appears to take her modelling job totally in her stride.  All in a day’s work!

27 January 

Just after breakfast, we are looking out of the kitchen doors, when we see two hares running across the face of the hundred-acre field.

The sunny start gives way to cloud and strong winds.  The garden birds bustle about, perching on the swinging feeders and taking white berries from the shrubs.  The speeding air roars through the skeletal trees on the other side of the lane.  The swaying branches look like great hands, clawing desperately at the grey sky.

30 January

It snowed overnight and then froze.  Down by the Hall, Brock-the-badger’s footprints are preserved in crystalline white, meandering in and out of the small wood.

31 January

In addition to the lying snow, the morning mist has turned to hoar frost on the hedges and leafless trees.  It glitters in the sunlight.  Patches of fog persist in some places, smudging the blue sky.  By the airfield wood, a heron, flying slowly through one such area, becomes gradually visible above the surface of an adjacent field, before melting again into the grey.  It is silent and ghostly.

All text & images ©2019 Carol Saunderson

Monday, 31 December 2018

Abstract Landscape Painter.  Rural Dweller.  Lover of Modernist Art and Design.

31 December

This last afternoon of the year turns out to rather grey and mild.  Nevertheless, I enjoy walking and looking at the silhouettes of the trees – their structures appearing both strong and fragile against the winter sky.

I have watched the year come and go – the seasons and the weather; the changing light; the creatures and the birds.  However, it is the trees of which I have become especially appreciative during this time – their life force and their sentinel-like presence in the landscape.  I have found peace and hope amongst them.

Writing these notes has encouraged me to observe and to remember the beautiful and wondrous displays of nature that so frequently go unnoticed.  I can honestly say that my life has been made much richer, simply by looking at and thinking about what is happening in the landscape around me on a daily basis.

And so, on we go...

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Friday, 21 December 2018

Abstract Landscape Painter.  Rural Dweller.  Lover of Modernist Art and Design.

21 December

“Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful.............”

...which just about sums up the grey afternoon of thick drizzle.  Now, however, the wind is blowing the clouds away and the silvery-white full moon has appeared to light this longest of nights.  It cheers my heart as I walk home along the lane with Millie.  That fire will soon be lit.

Work has finished for the year.  No painting now until after Christmas, although no doubt I shall be scribbling in a sketchbook and pottering about in the studio, tidying and keeping a bit of heat going as the temperatures drop.  As much as I love my work, it will be good to have a rest, although, in truth, painting is never far from my thoughts.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Abstract Landscape Painter.  Rural Dweller.  Lover of Modernist Art and Design.

5 December

It is cosy inside the studio.  Its small interior space is warm and light.  Colour, from the numerous small paintings and postcards on the walls, seems to increase that warmth.  Millie sleeps under a chequered blanket in the armchair, while outside, the thick mist hangs heavily and silently over the fields, cocooning us on a small island of visible land.

The holly tree opposite my door still has berries to feed the mistle thrush and the wood pigeons.  Few birds forage in the cold, wet, open spaces of the garden, but some rustle and hop surreptitiously amidst the shelter of the remaining greenery.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Abstract Landscape Painter.  Rural Dweller.  Lover of Modernist Art and Design.

18 November

In the last hour before the sun sets, we take a walk around the footpaths of the old airfield.  It’s a brilliant afternoon, with what little breeze there is, coming from the east.  This makes the air chill, and predictions for the week ahead are for daytime temperatures in low single figures.  When the weather comes from this direction, we bear the brunt.  Autumn has, however, been very mild up until now, so a few frosts would be entirely normal.

The sun slips down below the tops of the trees ahead.  It casts giant shadows over the field as we approach, and appears like a golden lantern playing hide-and-seek, as we walk through the wood.

The gleaming circle sinks further down behind the bare hedges, finally disappearing below the horizon just as we reach home.  The temperature is dropping rapidly now.  In the leafless apple trees of the garden, the bird feeders that were so busy earlier, hang devoid of occupants.

Within forty-five minutes a waxing, gibbous moon hangs in the inky blue sky, peering in at the front windows of the cottage.  Time to put the kettle on and light the fire.

It has been a very busy few months; especially these last weeks.  From now on until Christmas, I will work more steadily, preparing new projects and developing ideas.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Abstract Landscape Painter.  Rural Dweller.  Lover of Modernist Art and Design.

21 October

The early morning sun, diffused through the thick mist, makes the trees outside the window look like an image from a sepia photograph.  The thin, mostly empty, branches weave together in an abstract, basket-like structure.

The leaves of the adjacent ash have faded to a pale yellow and I find their narrow, drying blades scattered over the vehicles beneath and gathering in a line below the window-wipers of the van.

In this period of Indian Summer, the winter wheat and spelt have germinated, filling the vast, undulating fields with neat, verdant lines.

We make the most of the warm afternoons, walking the dry footpaths which, as soon as the Autumn rains come, will be inaccessible until next Spring.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson