Something for the Weekend….

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

‘November is the pearl-grey month,

the changeling between warm crimson October

and cold white December,

the month when the leaves fall

in slow drifting whirls,

and the shapes of the trees are revealed,

when the earth imperceptibly wakes,

and stretches her bare limbs and

displays her stubborn unconquerable strength

before she settles uneasily into winter.

November is secret and silent,’

Alison Uttley

November has been a pearl-grey month, if not downright dank at times…there is a word, ‘petrichor (n.)’  – that conjures up that distinctive earthy smell rising from the ground after a rainfall… At present, the ground is so sodden and squelchy there is no chance of the aroma of freshly damp soil…

The damp and dreary weather certainly makes me want to ‘pull up the drawbridge’, close the curtains, light the fire and some candles and hibernate…but someone who went out in all seasons, walking, exploring, observing…was Nan Shepherd…

Born near Aberdeen in 1893, Shepherd spent a lifetime exploring the Caingorm mountains, recording in detail the rivers, rocks, animals and hidden aspects of this landscape. She writes with a beautiful poetic prose…this passage being one of my favourites…

‘The hands have an infinity of pleasure in them…the feel of things, textures, surfaces, rough things like cones and bark, smooth things like stalks and feathers and pebbles rounded by water, the teasing of gossamers, the delicate tickle of a crawling caterpillar, the scratchiness of lichen, the warmth of the sun, the sting of hail, the blunt blow of tumbling water, the flow of wind – nothing that I can touch or that touches me but has its own identity for the hand as much as for the eye…’ (p102-103 The Living Mountain, Nan Shepherd)

…and her thoughts on water…

‘…when a cloud bursts, or rain teems out of the sky for days on end without intermission then the burns come down in spate…the water , which streams down the hillsides, tears deep grooves in the soil, rolls the boulders about,  brawls, obliterates…becomes a moving sea. I love its flash and gleam, its music, its pliancy and grace, its slap against my body…all the mysteries are in its movement. It slips out of holes in the earth like the ancient snake…,’

The Living Mountain is a beautiful  book; it’s not about conquering the mountains, but about living amongst them, learning about the environment and the mountains as a living entity… The book might be slim but there is a whole lifetime of observations and experience packed into its pages…

A nature writer I have recently discovered is Nicola Chester. Living in the heart of the North Wessex Downs, she contributes to various publications as well as writing RSPB Spotlight: Otters. She writes a blog charting the changing seasons and landscape, the flora and fauna of her local landscape…her writing creates provides such a picture of this one small corner, from the overall countryside to the tiny, often overlooked, details… I find it fascinating and it certainly encourages me to look beyond the obvious when I am out and about or by the river…

 

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

 

My ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ is a very dear on-line friend, Alice Cox Humphreys…Alice lives in New Mexico and, although she dabbled with painting ‘decades’ ago, it is only within the last few years that she has taken up her paint brush again… Working mostly in watercolours, although she does like to experiment – (we often exchange material ideas) – Alice produces the most delicate, ethereal, semi-abstract paintings…

I love this one…such delicate washes, interesting marks…and of course, some of my favourite colours!!

Although this one is more representational it has a loose quality, so expressive…and a wonderful use of a limited palette…as is this one…

…and this one…

Alice also paints the most beautiful floral images…the brush techniques really show through in this one…

I love the way this is almost abstract; there is just enough information but still leaves a lot to the viewer’s imagination…

As with all the artists I have featured, or had contact with on-line or in real life, Alice is so generous with her advice, support and encouragement…in my head, when I am dreaming ‘big’, I imagine an actual ‘Instagram Artist of the Week’ get-together; a gathering where we celebrate our artistic endeavours and community…one day it would be lovely to meet… In the meantime, I have to enjoy Alice’s work virtually…imagining the landscapes that have inspired her work…

Do go and check out her Instagram feed…it is filled with the most beautiful work…as well as the odd image of blue skies and sunshine…something that is in short supply here this week…

I don’t seem to have done much painting this week; as the end of the year draws near, I have begun to take stock of my ‘annual achievements’, trying hard not to be too negative, too hard on myself for not doing everything I had intended…and this is leading me to make tentative plans for next year…one of which is to change website hosts and re-vamp my site. Now those of you who know me are aware that I am a technophobe, so this is a major plan, one that I am having to break down into baby steps in order that I don’t get so overwhelmed that I don’t even start. I want to include some studio shots – and have therefore spent some time looking at my ‘arty’ photos…and so far, after a dismal week, this is the only one I have that I actually like…

 

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

Oh well, as with lots of things, its a work-in-progress…in the meantime…I head back to the river…to read and ponder…

Carolyn J Roberts Artist

“I thought how lovely and how strange a river is. A river is a river, always there, and yet the water flowing through it is never the same water and is never still. It’s always changing and is always on the move. And over time the river itself changes too. It widens and deepens as it rubs and scours, gnaws and kneads, eats and bores its way through the land…

Are people like that? I wondered. Am I like that? Always me, like the river itself, always flowing but always different, like water flowing in the river, sometimes walking steadily along andante, sometimes surging over rapids furioso, sometimes meandering with hardly any visible movement tranquilo, lento, ppppianissimo, sometimes gurgling giacoso with pleasure, sometimes sparkling brillante in the sun, sometimes lacrimoso, sometimes appassionata, sometimes misterioso, sometimes pesante, sometimes legato, sometimes staccato, sometimes sospirando, sometimes vivace, and always, I hope, amoroso.

Do I change like a river, widening and deepening, eddying back on myself sometimes, bursting my banks sometimes when there’s too much water, too much life in me, and sometimes dried up from lack of rain? Will the I that is me grow and widen and deepen? Or will I stagnate and become an arid riverbed? Will I allow people to dam me up and confine to wall so that I only flow where they want? Will I allow them to turn me into a canal to use for their own purposes? Or will I make sure I flow freely, coursing my way through the land ploughing a valley of my own,” –

‘Aidan Chambers, This is All: The Pillow Book of Cordelia Kenn’

Well that’s all for this week; I hope you found something to interest you, and perhaps some further reading and artistic inspirations…

Enjoy the weekend,

Take care,

C

(If you would like to keep up-to-date with my work, please follow me on social media, or, for more of my ramblings, musings, offerings and other art-related ‘stuff’, please sign up via the link opposite to receive my monthly(ish) newsletter.

 

 

 

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