Friday, 31 August 2018

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

31 August

The mist on the windows this morning denotes two things - that the overnight temperatures are dropping and that we don’t have double glazing!

Summer is surreptitiously transitioning into Autumn.  The mornings are darker, the field colour has become a soft, pale, mauve-brown, and the intense heat has been replaced by a more traditionally temperate climate and steady rainfall.

Today, however, Summer seems to be preparing for its last weekend.  The sun is warm on the shoulders and the sky a cloudless blue as we walk.  In a nearby field, the clay is being broken down by a large tractor which is pulling a disc harrow.  Gulls are flying in, attracted by the turning soil, and swallows are diving and low-flying along the lane.  No doubt they will soon begin their exodus.  I shall be sad to see them go.

The oak trees, I notice, are beginning to produce acorns and the hedgerows are decorated with blackberries (not quite ready yet) and jewel-like sloes - each tiny ovoid a glossy aubergine colour, overlaid with a dusting of mid-blue bloom.

The sheep have been moved closer to the farmhouse.  I saw them being walked back on Wednesday; a long line of woolly ovals, trotting along the track, followed by one of the farm staff driving a small vehicle similar to an Italian Ape, and tooting the horn.  The sheep, of course, kept stopping to grab mouthfuls of green en route, as is their wont!

I have been busy preparing for an exhibition requiring 25 paintings, and have just finished a commission.  The show opens tomorrow.  In the studio today, I reorganise the space and begin to get back to the routine of regular painting, in preparation for the next event.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Sunday, 19 August 2018

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

19 August

The recent rainfall has put the newly cleared field drains to good use.  Two or three heavy storms have deposited large volumes of water in a short space of time.

I am considering the water level in a smooth, wide, clay ditch, when I notice a shape on the left-hand bank.  A slender pinky/brown bird, with a thin pointed beak.  It is sitting perfectly still and is so camouflaged that it is difficult to see against the colour of the soil.  I watch and wait.  Suddenly it takes flight over the surface of the water, revealing its electric blue back and wings.  A kingfisher!

It travels speedily and elegantly along the face of the brook, turning at speed around the sharp right-hand curve of the bank and then up into the cover of some overhanging branches.  It cries out and then flies up into the air again, looping back to the shelter of a dense area of bushes that are growing on the bank near to its original position.

I have seen a kingfisher no more than four times in my life, making this sighting something special.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Thursday, 2 August 2018

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

2 August

One of the benefits of walking early on a summer morning is the potential for an encounter with wildlife.

We are heading downhill, the dew still on the coarse grass.  I am admiring the pale blue of chicory flowers, newly opened in the field to my right, when suddenly there is a sharp tug on the lead.  Millie has picked up a scent and is earnest to pursue it.

She is beginning to pull determinedly now and, being attached by a running lead around my waist, I have little option but to pick up the pace!  I half stumble, half jog my way down the rough track until she comes to a sudden halt.  I manage not to somersault over her (just) and regaining my composure, follow her gaze.  There, to our left, through a hedgerow opening into an adjacent field, are two roe deer.  A male and a female, facing each other, but with their heads now turned towards us.  They can be no more than fifteen metres away.  Backlit by the rising sun, which is peering over the upslope behind them, they are all chestnut glossiness with glowing edges.

We stare at each other for a moment, before Millie’s excited whine sends them to seek cover.  A running roe deer is the most elegant of creatures.  They appear to be weightless – leaping in long, low arcs, hardly touching the surface of the earth before alighting again. They are gone in the blink of an eye. We do not see them again, although I continue to look as we make our way along the path.

The author Diana Athill, writing in her 97th year, describes the experience of sitting and thinking in old age.  Rather than a pitiable state, she finds that it is surprisingly enjoyable – discovering, when her mind relaxes, that events from her past float into her consciousness.  Instead of the lovers and achievements that she expects to focus on, she finds that it is the most beautiful places and things that she has experienced that return to her.   What gives her pleasure in her last years is her rumination on the paintings and views that she has stopped and stared at.  They have been stored away unknowingly, to be paraded before her again and fully enjoyed once more.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson