Wednesday, 28 February 2018

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

28 February

Good job that I got those logs in, as we have had 15cm of snow since we went to bed last night!

When I awake, I am aware of the silence and then the creak, crack, crump, thrum of a car creeping cautiously along the snowbound road outside.  Peering gingerly from behind the curtain, I can see that a heavy snow shower is in progress.  Visibility is poor - more like fog.

Before breakfast I go out to fill the bird feeders and put out water.  The garden is full of birds today, with doves and a pied wagtail joining the usual suspects.

Millie seems to really enjoy the snow for the first time.  She skips around, sometimes jumping round in a circle and then looking at us as if to say, ‘this is great isn’t it!’.  We do, however, get caught in a bit of a blizzard as the wind picks up, but she trots gamely on.  When the snow is blowing horizontally and visibility is down to about twenty metres, we decide to turn for home.  We manage about 45 minutes in all.

As the studio is in the garden, I am still able to make it to work!  I continue painting on one of the smaller abstract landscapes, looking out periodically to see the top layer of the powdery snow being blown across the surface of the farmland by gusts of wind.

The sun breaks through at around 4pm, but more heavy snow is predicted tonight, with possible blizzards to follow!

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

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

27 February

Despite predictions of very bad weather, we escape the worst, and awake to only a light covering of snow.  The very cold weather provides me with an opportunity to follow a footpath not usually accessible during the winter.  The heavy overnight frost means that the waterlogged clay has become a solid surface.  Normally, I wouldn’t be able to take more than a few steps without my boots feeling like lead, due to the sticky earth.  Today it feels like concrete underfoot and is scattered with white flakes which sparkle like diamond dust in the bright sunlight.

We walk briskly up towards the wood, hearing the lapwings call of “peee-wit, peee-wit!” , coming from the fields on both sides of the path.  The sharp air and piercing light are energising.

At home again, I cut extra kindling and bring in more logs - just in case....

I decide to spend the day working on paintings for forthcoming exhibitions, picking up some small paintings that I had begun a couple of weeks ago and taking two of them forward.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Monday, 26 February 2018

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

26 February

The snow begins, in a stop/start kind of way.  There are patches of bright blue sky and sunshine between the showers.  I spy more lapwings, both in the meadow and landing on the field beyond.  It looks as if a whole flock have arrived.  This annoys the gulls that daily fly up and down this piece of farmland, searching for food. I notice some of them trying to chase away the new competition.

The kestrel makes a reappearance on her usual post, and I am amused to also see a pheasant, standing beside our pheasant sculpture.  The metal cut-out is almost exactly life size.  The winter sunshine brings out the rich colours in the live bird’s plumage - especially the deep red on his face.

On our way back from a morning walk I spot a buzzard sitting in a roadside field.  I very rarely get to see them on the ground, but when I do I am reminded of just how big they are!  As we get level with it, it takes off and flies to the cover of some nearby trees.

When I return home, I help Barry to shift a log delivery into his wood store.  We chat amiably about this and that as I wheel the barrow back and forth and he throws the logs onto the pile.

In the studio, I continue with Millie’s portrait, gradually bringing up the detail on the head, refining it further and bring it increasingly into focus.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Saturday, 24 February 2018

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

24 February

On my way out of the kitchen door I suddenly spot a new arrival in the meadow.  A Lapwing ( or Peewit, as my father would have called it ) is walking proudly across the rough grass, stopping now and again to peck at the ground in its search for earthworms and insects.  I nip back inside and grab the field glasses.  On closer inspection I can see a green and purple sheen to its apparently black and white plumage.  The curling crest on its head, together with its upright stance, make it look very regal. A Georgian gentleman processing proudly around in Bath society.

We make the most of an afternoon of crisp sunshine and go for a walk with some friends.  Millie, in her little winter coat, leads the way, while we follow on, sporting a fine selection of woolly hats.  It’s a really enjoyable and sociable time, culminating in mugs of hot coffee and homemade cake. Life doesn’t get much better than that in my book!

Just as the sun is setting, I look out from the kitchen door again and see the soft, merging colours of the sunset.  It all looks so serene, but the weather front nicknamed “The Beast From The East “, is on its way!

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Friday, 23 February 2018

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

23 February

The wind is coming from the east. A relatively rare event, but one which usually brings us snow.  The temperatures are dropping by the day.  I examine the patterns in the ice.  Puddles that look like small ponds have multi-fractured shapes or curved lines with bubbles trapped beneath the surface.  While I am watching, a bubble, the size of my hand, begins to move and does a passable impression of a 70’s lava lamp.

In the garden, I make sure that the bird feeders are full and that there are plenty of high energy fat balls for the birds - they are going to need them in the coming days!

Back in the studio, I work on the details of Millie’s face, again enjoying the blocking in process. By the time that I have finished work for the day, her character has begun to emerge.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

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

21 February

I hear the robin singing just after 5.30am this morning.  It’s definitely getting light earlier!

In the studio, I decide to paint a portrait of Millie, for myself.  I have a little time, as I am keeping on top of my gallery work.  I thoroughly enjoy working loosely and boldly.  Without using any preparatory drawing, I begin carving out her form with wide, flat, brush strokes; incorporating the runs, drips and spontaneous marks into the composition. By the end of the day I can see her recognisable shape standing on the easel.  I look forward to adding some detail during the next couple of days.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Saturday, 17 February 2018

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

17 February

There is mist over the valley this morning.  It is disappearing by the time that I take a photograph.  I am not up early enough to see it fill up the whole space.  I love it when it does that because it looks like a sea, with the wood becoming an island.

The sun really does feel warmer and brighter today.  During the afternoon, I work in the garden for the first time this year, removing a dead lavender and tidying a border.

When we walk, at around 3.45pm, the colour in the landscape is vivid - as if someone has turned up the saturation. It feels like the first day of Spring.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Friday, 16 February 2018

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

16 February

Sustained light today.  The clear sky and sunlight give me more energy.  Towards the end of the afternoon, I put a final burst of strength into my painting and things start to come together.  Breakthroughs often happen at the last minute.  Approaching deadlines can mean a faster pace and less over-thinking, rendering a greater freedom in movement and expression.  I think that there is some similarity with sport in this respect.  Work produced with more verve is more exciting to look at.

I am pleased with the result and happy to leave it there.  I take Millie out for another walk and enjoy the increasingly Spring-like feel of the early evening.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

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

14 February

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Here, eating breakfast,
Are a ram and six ewes.

After providing animal foodstuffs, I walk and then return to the studio to make use of my newly prepared boards.  Millie settles herself under a blanket on the armchair and I switch on the radio and get stuck into my painting.

The bright morning is replaced by a grey and wet afternoon, but we are cosy in our little shelter.  From the window I see the gulls being blown around by the wind and the crows sitting on fence posts and scouring the meadow for food.  When all my concentration has been squeezed out, I wash the brushes and set them in their places for tomorrow.  I am suddenly tired and retire to the house to light the fire as the daylight disappears (and provide canine foodstuffs).

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

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

13 February

An icy start to a bright morning, but grey cloud soon dulls the light.  On a route that I have not taken for a couple of weeks, I am shocked to see that a favourite copse has been almost entirely removed.  Just three trees remain standing.

I am sad, not only because it was a a beautiful thing - it looked like an island set it a clay sea - but mainly because it was a habitat.  For the last two years I have regularly watched a group of five roe deer grazing at its edge, morning and evening.  No shelter for them now, nor for the other creatures for whom it provided a home.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Monday, 12 February 2018

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

12 February

Frost and sun.  The stream is full of ice as I go to feed the sheep - blue ice, reflecting the deep hue of the sky above.  I leave the Hebrideans chomping happily on their hay and set off walking with Millie.  The air is crisp and the light bright.

Later, en route to the studio, Barry tells me that he has counted 7 crocuses appearing in his garden.  He has sat in his sun house for the first time this year and enjoyed the warmth, sheltered from the breeze.

I measure and saw up boards for painting and then begin once more the multi-layer gesso preparation process.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Friday, 9 February 2018

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

9 February

Wet and windy weather hangs over us all day.  Millie is less than enthusiastic about walking.  Today’s efforts are short and swift.  Despite her dog coat, she is feeling the cold and thus employs her best shiver and imploring look.  Then she comes to a complete standstill and gives me that, “if you think I’m going any further, you are very much mistaken”, expression.  As soon as I say the magic words, “Shall we go back now?”, she skips round on the spot and pulls me towards home. Happy dog with biscuit soon follows!

I, however, do have to head out.  Appointments, in one town and then another, take up most of the day.  There is no time to paint.  Later in the afternoon I visit my Mum and sit by her bed as she sleeps.  She opens her eyes just once in the whole time that I am there.  I know that she doesn’t recognise me, but I smile and say “hello”, softly.  Her mouth moves into the beginnings of a smile, and then she falls asleep again.  She looks very peaceful.

A cold rain is still falling as I feed a friend’s sheep.  I go home and light the fire in order to warm up.  Looking out across the fields I can see the edge of the cloud layer and the setting sun visible at last.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Thursday, 8 February 2018

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

8 February

Frost.  A coating covers everything outdoors.  The field on the other side of the valley is lightened in tone and turned to a warm, rose-tinted ochre, by the rising sun.  The trees in line with the cottage cast long, mauve-brown, saw-tooth shadows across its surface.

I am pleased to see that some of the fieldfares have found their way into the meadow.  They are most welcome!  I take photos as quickly as I can - of one on the floor and another sitting on a fence post.  When they are facing me I can see how similar they are to their cousins, the song thrush and the mistle thrush.  

The wide puddles on the muddy airfield tracks are covered in ice.  There are curved and swirling lines in its underside, and air bubbles trapped in its surface.

A flock of birds takes off on the far side of a large field.  They travel together as a mass of dark specks.  Their combined form, an ovoid shape, trapped between the horizon and three, white, linear clouds.

The cold studio soon begins to warm and Millie curls up beneath her blanket on the armchair.  Just before lunch, whilst cleaning my mixing knife, I inadvertently slice the tip of my little finger.  The mini trowel has rounded edges, but its blade is so thin that it makes a quick, deep cut.  Being a fingertip, it bleeds persistently, so I wrap a cloth around it, binding it tightly, and grip the cloth.  I am keen to finish applying the paint with which I am currently working.  There are areas of the painting that I want to continue working on while the ideas are flowing and the colours are mixed. I hate being disturbed when I am part way through a process.  It can be difficult to pick up exactly where you left off.  Next time I come to the painting I will be different; a bit like waking briefly from a dream - when I fall asleep again, it will be a different dream.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

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

7 February

At 6am this morning, the kitchen lights are reflecting off a thin covering of snow that lies beyond the glass doors.  The occasional flake flutters slowly down.  It continues intermittently throughout the early morning but, by the time I walk Millie, it has created no more than an icing-sugar dusting of the ploughed work.

The fieldfares are busy scouring their usual piece of land.  They are the mid-tone between the black crows and white gulls that work alongside them.

During the afternoon, in the field adjacent to the village hall, two male pheasants are squaring up to do battle.  They are not easily scared away by us, and seem almost to resent the intrusion - grudgingly moving off as we pass nearby.

I complete a small painting - another more abstract and experimental piece than of late.  I enjoy the saturated blocks of colour for their own sake.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Monday, 5 February 2018

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

5 February

Millie runs in from the garden, her coat peppered with snowflakes.  A couple of small showers pass over us before noon.

On the airfield, we see a hare.  It pauses, then runs ahead of us across the green baize of a young crop.  We watch as it travels along the field margin, until it disappears through the hedgerow.  The puddles are thick with ice and my fingertips are beginning to numb inside my gloves.  I need a new pair.

I resort to wearing a woolly hat in the studio - very fetching - and use the time to experiment.  Two large parcels of work lie ready for the courier to collect tomorrow.  Although there is more commission and exhibition work to commence, it is an opportune moment to allow myself the luxury of a few days of working without constraints.  Development sometimes comes through these times of “play”.  If one can shake off the rules of “ought”and “should” and let the subconscious roam free, then new themes / marks / colour combinations, etc., can arise and be carried forward into paintings created for display.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Friday, 2 February 2018

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

2 February

It’s a raw day.  The wind from the northwest chills the skin.  I begin working on a commission, and make some progress despite low energy levels resulting from the continuing Shingles.

At 4pm, we walk towards the church.  The setting sun lends a golden tinge to the landscape.  A large flock of fieldfares is feeding on the organic farmland which borders the lane.  They take off and fly over our heads, with their “chat-chat-chat” call.  We stand and watch them as they disappear into the distance.  There must be around 100.  The largest number that I have seen thus far.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson

Thursday, 1 February 2018

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

1 February

The supermoon sets in a pale sky, a ghost of its former self, dissolving into the morning light. I take the camera outside into the garden to catch its last few seconds above the wood. The “blood” effect may not have been visible here, but the increased size and brightness make it magnificent.

The day changes and becomes wet and cold.  I work methodically through the preparation of boxes, and pack paintings to be sent to an exhibition.

All text & images ©2018 Carol Saunderson