Wednesday, 25 April 2018

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

25 April

The wind is sending the clouds scudding across the sky as we take the footpath across a newly planted field and uphill towards the wood.  We travel carefully along the narrow ribbon between the tiny green shoots until the path disappears though an archway in a high hedge, frothing with may blossom.

Once on the other side, Millie pulls on the lead towards the field ahead of us and stands up on her back legs like a meerkat, emitting a whine of excitement.  What has she seen?  There seems to be only brown earth, until.....something moves on the skyline.  I drop down and squat on my haunches in order to put the object directly into my eyeline.  There is only the sound of the wind and the low-toned handclap of rooks leaving the boughs of a nearby oak tree.

In this open landscape, on this bright morning, there seems to be only we three creatures on the earth - Millie, me, and the running hare.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Monday, 23 April 2018

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

23 April

Since the beginning of the year I have produced over twenty paintings.  Today I am allocating them to four groups, in order to send them to four shows which are coming up in May and June.  I have been deliberating for a while, but now I make my final decision and carefully wrap and stack each one. There is little room to move in my small studio.  All spare work surfaces and hanging spaces are full.

Before beginning the associated form-filling, I give myself a break in order to cut the meadow path.  Although it is only eight days since the field was mown, the grass has grown so rapidly as to make it almost indistinguishable.  I am keen to re-establish it.  Its sinuous edge and neatness emphasise the beauty of the wild areas.

Edges are also very important to me in my work.  In a painting, a well-crafted edge enhances that which lies on either side.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Friday, 20 April 2018

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

20 April

Last night’s sky provided two spectacular light shows: 

The full orb of the setting sun, coloured with the deepest crimson, sitting on the line of the horizon.

Later, the moon – a bright, narrow arc in a cloudless, starlit sky, appearing like an acorn in vivid silver cup.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

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

18 April

I awake at 4.30am with an all-to-familiar sensation of sore and sickening pain in my face, my forehead, and at the base of my skull, accompanied by a loud ringing in my left ear.  I slip silently out of bed, gently stretch my neck and back, and take my medication.  I return to bed and fall quickly into a sleep composed of short, vivid dreams – another symptom that I recognise as an indication of migraine.  Fortunately, I have caught it soon enough, and I awake at 6am to find that a summer-like morning has arrived.

It is already 18°C at the top of the hill and the gentle breeze and warm air soothe my fuzzy head as we descend the undulating path.  At the bottom of the valley, a buzzard flying lazily overhead, begins its high-pitched and elongated “mewww, mewww”.  We step onto the small wooden bridge, accessed through a gap in the hedge, and cross the brook, which chatters over pebbles, beneath the sulphur explosions of willow catkins and slender, unfurling leaves.  We pass through rabbit-ville and out onto the road…..

….Well, it’s hardly a road really.  Along the bottom of this picturesque little valley, a lane snakes and slithers its way between rising fields.  The views are stunning.

The only aspect that saddens me, is the litter which has been thrown from passing vehicles and which finds its way into the ditch and beneath the hedgerow.  I collect as much as I can.  It is mostly plastic bottles and cans for “high energy” drinks, and cardboard and plastic wraps for sandwiches and burgers.  I feel sad that the hands that discarded these objects, belong to eyes that do not see the surrounding beauty, hearts that do not appreciate it, and minds that do not think of the potential harm to nature.  Many people are now, quite rightly, concerned about how we can rid the environment of plastic.  It is ironic that it is being put there daily, by other people, who do not share their concerns.  One hand gives and the other takes away.  There are clever technical solutions currently being proposed, but really it all comes down to the blind eyes being opened and that, as we know, takes a miracle.

The warm air is bringing out the blossom – the hawthorn hedges are decked with small, white flowers and the cherry trees with pink.

When I return home, the magnolia tree in Barry’s garden is shimmering in the sunlight.  This most ephemeral of tree flora often falls victim to frosts, which scorch its delicate petals, causing them to turn brown and die.  Today, however, there is no such danger.  It basks in the morning sun, soaking up the warmth, which is predicted to rise to 26°C tomorrow.  After the chill fog of last week, it feels as if we have been sent to the Mediterranean for a couple of days – and no queue at the airport!

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Sunday, 15 April 2018

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

15 April

The meadow has been cut, about three weeks later than I would have liked, due to the weather.  I asked Farmer Graham to leave a field margin, approximately 2m wide, near to the garden.  This was because there are a number of cowslips growing in this strip, and I wanted to save from them from decapitation!

The first brimstone butterflies have appeared, flitting between the garden and the meadow margin. For me, they are the real herald of Spring.  I can only describe their wing colour as “refreshing”, as they are a pale, lime-yellow.  It makes them look like fragments of sunshine flying around.  I also saw a lone peacock butterfly.

The newly cut grass has attracted a pied wagtail, which alternates between bobbing up and down on a fence post and feeding amongst the fallen stems.  Other birds are also gleaning – goldfinches and blackbirds.  The green woodpecker has reappeared, feasting on the occupants of the newly disturbed ant hills.

I have been in the studio, varnishing 8 small paintings, which I will take to the framers on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, indoors, we have been redecorating the guest bedroom, introducing fresh new colours – artist’s day off!

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Friday, 13 April 2018

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

13 April

The opaque veil has lifted at last.  The evening sun is warm and golden.  As we drive back from Lavenham, a sense of relief washes over me - I am able to see into the far distance once more; the claustrophobic lid has lifted.  From this point so much of this verdant landscape is visible.  And just as an extra treat, we see a barn owl “quartering” a meadow, beside the road.  As we draw level, it alights on a branch; so close that we can see its heart-shaped face and dark eyes staring directly at us.

I know that I am privileged.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Thursday, 12 April 2018

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

12 April

Today, on day five of the mist, and on the edge of a newly planted field, we find an area of earth and verge heavily patterned with deer prints.  I have never seen so many together – it must cover a strip 100 metres in length.  They look like the impressions of roe deer feet.  They have also liberally scattered their droppings all over the parallel road surface.  Hundreds of small, black, shiny pellets strew our way.

When I look at the short, green stems of the young crop, I can see four flattened paths, where they have emerged from the field.  There has been quite a gathering here in the past 24 hours!

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

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

10 April

This is the third day of heavy mist.  It hangs damply over the trees and fields, hugging the contours of the earth.  Pink blossom stands out against the grey.  There is no air movement.  All sound is muffled.  In the distance, the low-toned explosion from a bird-scarer sounds baffled and shortened – like a small cannon with a sock in its mouth.  My neighbour’s Hebridean lambs, whose enthusiasm for life is not dampened by the weather, skip and butt each other as their mothers munch hay from the feeder.

Millie and I pass close by an enormous pile of cow muck – it must be 50m long.  It is organic manure for the fallow field.  Steam rises slowly from it and merges with the mist.  I like the smell – it reminds me working on the farm as a child.  It is reminiscent of the scent of the potato fields in Autumn, when the crop was harvested.  Mud and rotting potato tops.  It’s funny what can be comforting and familiar.

Beyond the heap, I spy two hares.  They have appeared from the grass bank beside the lane and are chasing and stopping, then chasing again.  Another courtship dance, no doubt.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Saturday, 7 April 2018

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

7 April

There seems to have been a sudden acceleration in nature over the last week.  There is a noticeable increase in both flowers and birdsong.  Suddenly the banks of the lane are covered in open daffodils and the first cowslips have appeared beside the hedgerows.  The birdsong is richer and more complex – more voices are singing, and for longer.

Walking downhill from the church, I spot two kestrels sitting on adjacent posts.  There are large fields either side, one of which has been fallow for some time and looks as if it might be a suitable source of voles ( it has certainly been a successful hunting ground for a barn owl of late ).  In the hedgerow, in front of them, sits a yellowhammer, lit by the morning sun.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

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

4 April

A small flock of yellowhammers moves down the hedgerow ahead of me.  One or two settle on the top of the closely cropped structure.  They allow me to draw alongside, before advancing approximately 5 metres and taking up almost identical positions on and amongst the blunt, thick stems.  And so the pattern goes on down the line, with their high-pitched song piercing the silent morning.

The sticky buds of the aged horse chestnut tree, that stands on the green, are opening to reveal the new green leaves — tiny umbrellas unfurling.   The catkins of a Goat Willow have burst open to extend their stamens.  They look like small yellow bottlebrushes, floating above the silver grey layer of the dried grass stems beneath.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson