Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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

The Heat Of Summer

We are having the perfect English summer (apart from those random thunderstorms!).  It is the best that I can remember for years.  The temperature is already up by 8am, and as I walk Millie along paths that cut through and run alongside the cornfields, I hear the wheat "crackle" in the heat and the air is filled with the lazy "bzzzzzz" of grasshoppers. We walk from shade to shade between the large hedgerow trees.  The skies are a cloudless blue canopy and a bright red line of poppies hovers over the top of the final field of grain.

When we return, I take coffee and water into the studio, and work in the morning when it is cooler.  The doors are flung wide open and the light is filtered through the muslin curtains that cover them.  These move gently in any passing breeze.  Just a couple of metres beyond the white haze of this layer, the birds "tap" and "click" on the bird feeder which hangs on the fence.  They are oblivious of my presence, which enables me to get a close look at them or to sketch them quickly.

Between 1 and 2pm, it is getting very hot and I retreat to the shade of the old house, walking barefoot across the terracotta tiles of the kitchen floor to feel their cool surfaces beneath my burning feet.  In the afternoon I will work on admin and household chores until the temperatures begin to drop again. At around 6pm we will have another walk - but no running this time, it is still too hot!  After that we will cook dinner and watch the sun sink, in a golden and crimson glow, below the woods on the opposite side of the valley.

The heat and the intense colours of the summer flowers have been featuring heavily in my work during this past month. Crimson and Cadmium red, golden yellow, fiery orange and fuchsia pink.  It seems right to work with these searingly hot and energetic colours at this time of year. I find them vibrant and visually exciting to look at.

At the end of the day, we retreat to bed, with all the upstairs windows open.  It is too hot to sleep and as I lie drowsily in the darkness, I hear the distant hum of combines working late into the night.

All text & images ©2014 Carol Saunderson

Thursday, 3 July 2014

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


We have been here just over six months.  We arrived a few days before the winter solstice and now it is just past the summer solstice.  I was thinking that a new environment is similar to a new painting - all blank at the beginning as one has no history there - a mixture of daunting and exciting.  All things are possible.  Now, after six months, a background is beginning to be laid in place.  Events and meetings, things seen and memories formed are starting to create an underlying structure. Similarly, my paintings always begin with random marks.  The composition evolves over time, but I like to start without preconceived ideas of what will emerge.

I've been working more with mauves lately.  I'm enjoying exploring the variations - lilacs, purples, magentas and the overlap into blues. This has combined well with recent themes of moonlight and dawn. Personally, I love this time of year when there is hardly any real darkness, but a lot of half-light.  I especially like the evenings at around 10.30pm, when there is still some light in the sky and at 3.30am, when daylight is beginning to seep back into the landscape before sunrise and when the air and the earth smell so fresh.

Early morning walks with Millie have been wonderful as the summer progresses.  Beautifully warm, golden mornings.  The corn is just beginning to turn this week.  It is starting to click in high heat.  I look forward to seeing the harvest - it always reminds me of my Dad.

Suffolk open Studios has come and gone.  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and chatting with all the visitors.  Many stayed to look at the view and have a drink.  For two week-ends the kitchen was buzzing with people and conversation.  I was pleased also to have sold a number of pieces and prints.  This month I shall be sending four paintings to the Number Four Gallery in St Abbs, Berwickshire.  I also have some work at the Gallery In The Garden, Great Saling in Essex, for the first time.

As I continue with my work, and as I get older, both my drawing and painting have become less detailed and more gestural, less realist and more abstract.  There are less edges around the shapes and a more fluid structure.  It is really about the atmosphere that colour and light evoke.  I still love mark-making, and perhaps even though there are less marks, they are more varied.  As I change, and as I see and experience different things, then so too my work.  It follows along, like a roadmap through life.  I love making paintings.  I feel as If I am always learning and seeing new things.

All text & images ©2014 Carol Saunderson