Thursday, 17 October 2013

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


The good thing about having no street lights, and indeed, not living on a street, is that you can see the stars so clearly.  It is a beautifully quiet, clear morning and, as I opened the heavy wooden front door at ten past six, I was amazed to see how many there were.  So clear and so bright, spread throughout the inky blue canopy above.  A few minutes later, I fetched my sketchbook and stood on the stone steps, making quick, rough drawings of the tall, slender tree shapes as they appeared out of the darkness.  I couldn't even see the page, but I know that following the line of what my eyes could see, with my hand, would help me to record the memory more clearly. I also like the completely unselfconscious marks that this produces.  There is often a free-flowing beauty about lines produced without the burden of "having to get it right".  If anyone had seen me, they would probably have wondered what on earth I was doing or, at the very least, thought it an eccentric thing to do.  I suppose so.  I don't mind that - "having a different centre, being in an elliptical orbit, not having the same goal or motive".  If it means that I can take time to look at the stars and the flowing shapes of the willowy trees beneath, then I am very happy with that.

All the small moments (like the encounter with the wren), are important to me.  I like to note them down, otherwise I might forget them.  So many of these journal entries are about early mornings because that is when I write them.  They are the first thing that I do after putting a pot of strong coffee on the stove and making breakfast - I either read or write.  Perhaps, for me, it is another way of laying down memories, other than sleeping and dreaming.  And each day, as it goes on, often becomes so complex and fraught and challenging.  It is sometimes these small moments of beauty that keep me sane.  Perhaps they are a bit like meditation.  I hear a lot about "mindfulness" these days and I suppose that is what these instances are.  It seems to me that there is so much to cope with within a human life, but these concentrated sensory experiences help.  They are outside of all that chaos.  They are like the application of soothing balm to the soul.  So, whether it is the stars, the song of the robin or wren, the heavy dew on the lawn caught in the morning sun or the smell of the earth on an autumn day, I hope that I will keep recognising them and keep recording them, lest I forget how many moments of beauty I have experienced in one lifetime.

All text  ©2013 Carol Saunderson

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

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

A Close Shave!

It's 6.36am and I'm having breakfast and listening out for the first birdsong in the morning darkness.  The robin will start soon, but yesterday it was the wrens that were filling the air with their powerful, mellifluous song.  Who'd have thought that such a little bird would produce such a loud sound! They are like little powerhouses - tiny, ocarina-like birds, breathing out music.  Actually the most common British garden birds, they are my favourite.  Sprightly and characterful, with their upright tails and flitting movement.  Despite their miniscule size, they seem to want to fill the air with their sound.  Yesterday morning I had a close encounter with one in flight.

I went out into the garden to fetch some logs for that evening's fire. It was misty, as it is this morning.  The fine water droplets in the atmosphere had diffused the light of the rising sun into widespread, golden glow.  I climbed the two stone steps from the path outside the back door and emerged from the overgrown herb garden and onto the lawn.  A wren, obviously en route from one side of the garden to the other, was not expecting a human object to suddenly appear at that point.  It flashed past at great speed about six inches from my face, at eye level.  I'm not sure who was the most surprised!  I saw it land rapidly and expertly in a tree to my right-hand side - like watching a tennis ball zoom past your eye line.  It was a close shave for us both!

Later, in the studio, I continued to work on a series of small paintings based on our garden visitors.  So far, the two that I have completed have been night scenes, incorporating owls, a rabbit and some deer.  I worked until just before 6pm, almost without stopping, and finished the second one before returning home for the evening.  These pictures will be going to four galleries, as part of their relative Christmas exhibitions.

Meanwhile…..I am expecting another garden visitor….a new little dog is due to arrive next week….can't wait!

All text and images ©2013 Carol Saunderson