Wednesday, 13 June 2018

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

13 June

The morning is still and mild.  On the lane, a member of the farm staff is putting up an electric fence around a clover field, to prepare it for sheep pasture.  The sound of stakes being hammered into the ground echoes across the valley.  I hear it still, as I reach the bridle path and turn uphill towards the wood.  From an oak tree, half way along, a buzzard languorously floats out and begins to circle above the adjacent crop.  I have skylark voices in stereo.  

Walking along the edge of the wood, the sound of our feet on the dry ground disturbs a number of pigeons.  The sudden burst of noise, as they hurriedly take flight, makes Millie jump, as it echoes from tree to tree across the clearing.  I can see that the paths have been cut and have turned to the colour of drying grass.

The cloud layer is slowly sliding back to reveal a pale cerulean sky.  There is something both beautiful and moving about its clarity.  It looks fresh enough to dive into – a hopeful, pure light.  I wish that I could capture it in a painting, but I know that it is impossible to do it justice.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Friday, 8 June 2018

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

8 June

The small meadow is going through a growth spurt.  The grasses seem to have shot up – a bit like when you discover that your hair has become too long overnight!  The wind moves across them, making their tops sway back and forth, like gentle waves on the sea.  It is very relaxing to watch.  And if they are the waves, then the ox-eye daisies are the spray.  Patches of white, star-shapes, moving to the same rhythm, their faces turned toward the sun.

Cutting the paths, I find Small Blue butterflies fluttering ahead of me, and have to stop the mower several times, in order to avoid a casualty!  I am always amazed how much life inhabits such a small area - and I’m sure that I only know the half of it.  The goldfinches, rooks and green woodpecker are still daily visitors, and last week I spotted a female pheasant crouching nervously amidst the stems.

Today I spy numerous small orange/brown moths(?) and notice that one of the bug hotels is doing a brisk trade, with potential new clients investigating the narrow-bore holes that are drilled into its lower level.  Welcome.  The rates are reasonable and the service is really quite good.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Monday, 4 June 2018

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

4 June

Looking out at the twilight before dawn, I see that a layer of thick mist is wrapped around the trees and draped over the grass.  Opaque, pale grey.  A silent landscape in monochrome.

The mist gives way to light cloud.  A still, cool atmosphere, perfect for walking.  The blue/green blades of the young wheat are covered in tiny water droplets.  Everything is growing so rapidly now.   Some of the grasses on the field margins reach my eye level, and in places on the path, Millie disappears - her location denoted only by swaying seed heads.  

The grasses have a fragile beauty.  Many of them are in flower now, with powdery explosions atop their slender stems.  There are so many varieties; I love their names - Meadow Foxtail, Cocksfoot, Meadow Fescue, Quaking Grass and Yorkshire Fog!

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

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

22 May

Bright light and a clear sky, but a strong breeze.  The tops of the oaks rustle and sway; the scented hawthorn moves like a wave.  Out of sight, but nearby, the croaky call of a pheasant, followed by the short, muffled drumbeat of its wings.

An Orange Tip butterfly haphazardly crosses our path - like a scrap of dip-dyed paper, blown by the wind.

Buffetted by the vigorous air, a sounds like the sea in my ears, we press on down the path.  In a sheltered spot further along, the waterfall song of the skylark drips over me, while the first swallows dip and dive and skim the surface of the green.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

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

16 May

The meadow is alive with goldfinches.  These bright little birds are so tiny that they can hang onto the dandelion stems and eat the "clocks".  The flit around with their undulating flight, chattering away with their high-pitched voices.  I count ten.  Their collective noun is a "charm"  –  a suitable word on so many levels.

The scent of the may is sweet and heady.  The hawthorn hedges are thick with white, refulgent blooms.  Turning a corner, I suddenly hear a strange cacophony coming from the sky on my right.  It's all happening!  The clicking/gurgling sound is being emitted by two crows that are trying to see off a buzzard.  One flies above it, the other below.   Their commotion sets a hare running directly beneath them.   They are engaged in a display of aerial acrobatics, like two spitfires above the curve of the earth.  The large bird turns this way and that, but eventually gives up and glides off to perch on a telegraph pole in the middle of the field.

This great field has been sown with "green manure"  –  clover, bird's foot trefoil and chicory.  Also in abundance –  the ubiquitous dandelion clocks.  The buzzard, who has been sitting like Simeon the Stylite, suddenly dives into the green, resulting in the immediate rising of a little cloud of noisy and excited birds.  They form one shape, whose elements move around each other like atoms.  The bird of prey is unlucky again, and with a flap of its great wings, it returns to its post, while the little cloud chitter-chatters away, as if blown by the breeze, over the surface of the sward.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Friday, 11 May 2018

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

11 May

Suddenly the leaves of the apple trees and the beech hedge have appeared, to fill the space in front of the cottage.  They are interspersed with the narrow batons of a collapsing fence.  The bright, morning light is filtered through patches of luminous green.  In the bed at their feet, irises have bloomed.  Rich, luxurious purple.  I examine them closely.  The petals are striped with white at their bases, contrasted with yolk-coloured pollen that sits atop the slender, white stamens.  Fabric is a beautiful thing, but could any woven silk really be as magnificent as these flowers?

In equal measure to this grand display, I am attracted to the buds of the iris.  The furled, compact petals are a deep, dark indigo – one of my favourite colours.  They sit on their stems like tall and elegant sculptures – the Vogue models of the flower world.

It is windy and bright out on the lane.  I pause beneath an oak tree and look up at its structure.  Then I just stand and listen to the powerful rush of the air, moving through the tender leaves.  It sounds so fresh.  If only it could blow between my ears and clear the fuzziness from my head!

Deep yellow dots of buttercups are beginning to emerge from the growing grass verges, and where the snow once lay, there are great drifts of cow parsley.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Monday, 7 May 2018

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

7 May

There is a deep crimson skyline to the east, and above it a pale cerulean, turning to deep cobalt at the zenith.  It is 4.25am and we are walking across open fields towards the nearest wood, in order to listen to the dawn chorus.  The sun will not rise for almost an hour, but the twilight affords visibility enough to find our way with ease and the blackbirds and robins have already begun to sing.  The weather forecast promises a glorious day, and certainly there is complete clarity in the atmosphere and not a breath of air movement.

As we cross from one field to the next, and turn along a hedge line, we put a pair of partridges to noisy flight.  Then, as our silent little procession passes beneath an oak tree, a tawny owl launches itself into the blue and floats away beneath the half moon and the morning star.  When we reach the edge of the wood, the wrens have joined in and the occasional pheasant call is echoing eerily across the surrounding valley.

Within the wood, the lush grass is drenched with a heavy dew, which soon passes through my old leather walking boots and soaks into my socks – it is pleasantly cooling.  My trousers wick up the moisture and the damp climbs towards my shins.  It is darker in here.  The moon peeps at us between the trees.  In the densest area, we disturb slumbering pigeons, who leave their roosts with a deep clapping sounds.  Not wanting to alarm them further, we move back into a more open area and pause to listen to a song thrush singing mellifluously, high up and to our left.

We are outside the wood now, following its southern edge.  Suddenly B spots something loping along ahead of us.  It is a fox.  Its coat looks thick and rough and glows a deep red in the rosy light. 

Taking the bridle path to out left, we hear warblers in the hedgerow.  Three hares run along the far edge of the field to our right and then three to our left.  They chase each other along the horizon line, under a pale pink sky.  

As we near the cottage, shortly before 5.30am, we are walking due east and into the face of the fully risen sun.  We are forced to avert our eyes in deference to the fiery globe, which is covering the landscape in liquid gold.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson