Wednesday, 10 September 2014

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

Harbours & Harvest

We are just back from a day at the coast.  It’s a glorious early autumn day of about 20˚C with golden light.  We walked along the beach at Dunwich and then had lunch at The Ship, where we were able to sit in the garden. They have a wonderful array of fruit trees, including a massive fig tree.  Suffolk seems to produce very impressive fig trees - much to my liking!  Then we set off for home, calling at the second-hand bookshop at Westleton en-route.  We inevitably made a couple of purchases - Ronald Blythe’s “Akenfield” and two volumes of Greek myths re-told by Robert Graves.  These were something that I always loved reading as a child and look forward to delving into again.

The mornings here have been getting misty of late - the first one came on cue with the start of September. Since then there have been a series when the landscape has looked as if it is covered in a damp woollen blanket.  The sun has usually made it through by 9 or 10am, and we have had blue skies and a warm beginning to the month.  I really notice the change in the colour of the light at this point in the year and always think that it is the closest that we get to the more Mediterranean light of, say, northern Italy.  Something about the golden nature of September afternoons always transports me back in my memory to trips that I have made to that part of the world.

The landscape too has begun to change colour again.  After the completion of the harvest, the large areas of pale ochre-coloured stubble are turning into burnt umber as the ploughing, cultivating and rolling are getting well underway.  Throughout August the stubble fields have created an environment in which to see numerous hares and deer as we have been out walking with Millie.  During this time I have also had to prepare work for two exhibitions which both began last week.  One was based on the theme of harbours, and I found myself using the pale sand colour of the straw in some of the paintings.  The end window of my studio has a view which is filled with farmland, and therefore presents a different colour block in the room as the seasons and the light varies.  This usually weaves it’s way into the paintings that I am producing at the time.  The colour of straw or sand is a peaceful colour with which to work.  It actually takes me quite a lot more mixing than just yellow and white to get it. Many colours are actually a complex combination of elements.  I mix all my colours from a selection of reds, blues, yellows, white and brown only.  I often make little triangular dabs of paint onto the pages of a small sketchbook with my knife as I work. I annotate these with scribbled notes containing the “recipe”.  I find these to be very useful reminders, as I can be somewhat forgetful about exact mixes if I haven’t used them for a while.  

I am now engaged in finishing work for the Cambridge Art Fair, which takes place in October.  I like to produce more than I need so that I can choose at a later date.  After that is will be back to the end-of-year accounts - oh joy!

One of the pieces that I have produced as a potential for this show is a return to the theme of owls and the moon. August saw another supermoon, as indeed did this week.  Another good thing about having a dog is that I have to go outside late at night as well as early morning.  This gives me a chance to look at the night sky and to view the landscape by moonlight.  The full moon has been really impressive and I can’t resist working with such a beautifully bright contrasting circle in a deep purply-blue background.  Just to add a bit of spice - while travelling back from Lavenham a few nights ago, a large barn owl suddenly swooped across the road ahead and was briefly and dramatically illuminated by the car headlights.  It stuck in my mind and has appeared as a motif in the painting.

As I write this, I have just turned to look out of the window and seen three deer running across the field opposite.  I wonder if I might feature them in a painting shortly…….well it’s got to beat filling in the tax form!

Sea Pictures Gallery, Clare, Suffolk
“Any Port In A Storm”, 5 Sept - 13 Oct, 2014

Art @ The Cliff Top, Felixstowe, 4 - 28 Sept, 2014

Cobbold & Judd Fine
Cambridge City Art Fair, 9-12 Oct, 2014

All text & images ©2014 Carol Saunderson