caralockhartsmith

stories and illustration

Garden Mirror 2

July 1, 2021 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Garden Mirror 1

A change of activity today. Trawling the garden, looking through the lens of a different camera. What have I not been doing over the past year? It is so strange to suddenly not work on something that I have worked on for a long time; and which now is out in the world, among strangers, in a universe I no longer understand from up here in the Scottish Borders, moreover a universe that I do not recognise from what it was long ago. I don’t like change. If something works one way, why do it another way? But that is just part of the not reading the instructions attitude. SO, having lost the camera manual, I bought a different manual, and its dinky erudition suits me fine. A beautiful day. My husband is out tending the vegetable plot, which is flourishing. The battered blackbird, Miss Ruche, with her back skull pink and bare from flying into the window many years ago, is the first to the bird table. She has her own small patch too, just outside the studio door, with her special sprinkling of mealworms and her bowl of water. Another blackbird seems to have caught the tameness and hovers nearby. We are OK, and the madness is for the moment elsewhere.

July 1, 2021 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Imaginary Pantomime

This is a painting I did quite some time ago, and sold, and this is scanned off a scan. The picture was larger, so I don’t know quite how I did the original copy. My first thought on looking at it again were that the cat’s back legs were an aberration, but of course, this is a small person inside the cat and their legs would bend that way. I can’t work out what creature the dog (this dog obviously inhabited by another small person) is looking at, probably something from out of the sea – I lived then in Berwick, which looks out over the North Sea. It is strange to look at it as I cannot remember what was going through my mind when I painted it, though obviously the theatrical element came through posters I was doing for The Maltings, the local theatre. The red on the Berwick Lighthouse in the background hasn’t been painted – possibly this detail was finished before the picture was framed for exhibition… anyway, there it is. Maybe some of these elements will weave their way into a new story. I have come across a lot of old material, in a drawer, under a bed. Not much point in leaving it there, really, in the dark, under a bed where only one person has slept, for two nights, over the last year and a half…

June 19, 2021 Posted by | Art, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Musical Bears, Page 3

Though this is really Page 1 of the story (words not yet added). I kept starting off with these wandering minstrels going down a road, but did not find the road inspiring, , it was kind of dingy, with bushes behind the bears which formed a barrier did not like, and lanky plants in the front to cover up the grey of the road – so I changed the tune and set them free to walk playing across grassland, untrammelled.

All the preliminary work on Musical Bears has been done now. I have decided to print out full size a couple of the more or less finished illustrations, and then make a little book, just under A5, of the others, and then send them out into the world to see how they fare. First I must take out all the lettering in speech bubbles (in case of foreign sales, which publishers like for picture books) and do some overlays on tracing paper.

So what shall I do next? All the things I have been putting off, like painting the outside of the studio with a beautiful Farrow and Ball deep scabious blue. Wonder of wonders, outside paint that is silk not gloss. Oh the horrors of that ancient sticky drippy smelly gloss paint. This blue paint is genius. But still, I have been putting off the task….

May 30, 2021 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cover: Musical Bears

This is my basic idea for a cover for Musical Bears. The yellow has come out darker than the original, which is a lemony cream. I am amazed to be using yellow, I never paint with yellow, but the book seems to be dragging the colour into itself. At the beginning all the colours were mauves and dusky reds, but over time the palette has changed. There is no logical reason for this. It’s like Music While You Work – sometimes Bach, sometimes Brel, no rhyme or reason to it. Might be The Specials. Or Ry Cooder. Or a selection of film music from a free offering.

So yellow makes an appearance at last. Maybe the lettering will be blue. There needs to be an image on the left hand side, a red and black butterfly maybe, and the lettering needs tilting to the right. Have found a way of overlaying lettering, quite by chance. I pressed the wrong key, pressed it again, and hey presto, the background disappeared, leaving the lettering intact. Sometimes it would help to read the instructions. My post-project plan: delve into the pile of How To books that are piled up on the bottom shelf of my computer desk.

When I send the book out on its rounds, I will take down everything to do with it on WordPress; but for the moment – stet.

May 15, 2021 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Abracazebra E

Another small square painting, I think there were only two paintings done from out of the book of printed-out drawings, at the end of which I find a neat label with my long ago address.

Can’t ever remember sending these images to anyone, there has probably been some upheaval I have forgotten about, and other things took over. But it is fun to find a project which I can launch into when Musical Bears is ready. All the base drawings are there, with a list of the words to look for at the back. Not a project that lands itself to translation; though it could be used as a fun vocabulary source, a search game, with words in both languages given. No problem with ange/angel, anyway. It is the angel who appears at the bedroom window and leads the boy and his cat away into the night.

I think the eagle could do with some work…. I wonder what kind of butterfly beginning with “e” that is…..

May 8, 2021 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Abracazebra R

For seven years all my possessions were in store. For some years before that I was in a state of flux. These 26 drawings and 2 paintings must have been done about 20 years ago, when I had studio in an old animal shed in Berwick upon Tweed. Others thought it was forbidding, but I felt all right there, through some strange times. I had a fiddle which I played upon now and then, and my music, and no money, which was just as well as the electricity board never managed to read the meter, in spite of being told about it, several times, and in spite of them installing a new meter; not a pipsqueak of a bill! For five years! Apparently I was living at no known abode, which defeated the computer of the electricity board. Anyway, whilst trawling through the mass of paper possessions that eventually came out of store I recently found a little book called Abracazebra, which is an alphabet story of a boy’s journey through the night, and through the letters of the alphabet, accompanied by his cat. All I have found are print-outs, but the originals must be somewhere.

However, Abracazebra has solved a problem. Knowing I was coming to the end of work on Musical Bears, and absolutely needing a project to keep me occupied, this is something that is already more than half there. These days I don’t have to scrimp and scrabble, so I can take my time. Do some walks with my camera. Do some painting. Draw from life. Examine the world around me. But working on this little book will provide me with something I can start on, as soon as the bears go travelling out into the world, hopefully playing their music to some appreciative listeners; though I’m not holding my breath, as these things can take a long long while. But I shall persist.

May 7, 2021 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Common Ground 2

I have no idea whatsoever where this painting is, I cannot remember painting it, but it is obviously a companion to a blue-violet painting of a moor at night. This is the landscape that is in my heart, out there in the central Borders, where I once saw, sitting hunched in a tree, a bird so large I still cannot believe it was not an eagle. These paintings contain emptiness. So different to illustrations, which are full of things – bears, banjos, outraged mayors, butterflies, mean fishmongers, canny seagulls, signposts, dancing children….The moors in the picture book I am creating are seen as places of hunger and desolation, except in the case of the blithe wee bear who chases a butterfly. The illustrations are nearly finished, the story is complete… I think I am spinning it all out, up there in my studio, aka the Tardis, which itself needs painting and patching. It always feels disorientating to finish something a project, so maybe I am putting it off. there will then be the hassle of trying to find a publisher, as there is no way I am going down the self-publishing line again; but being fond of the story, I will not be discouraged.

Soon, perhaps. I will make some more paintings, which I will lose track of – some get sold, some get given, a few are in the attic, where I don’t dare to go very often because it is eminently fall-out-of, having a door which does not fasten from the inside, and stuff and stuff, you have to cling on to the rafters and tippy-toe to avoid the stuff.

Onward…

March 30, 2021 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Common Ground

A painting so much less linear than the illustrations I am working on, just a small painting, I think it is a moor in the Borders, and it is no longer summer, and there are no people. Sometimes in the country when you walk out into less inhabited landscapes, gradually your relationship to yourself changes. Any other living creatures seem to own the place, they have their ways of living, and you are a stranger, and to be jinked away from. But being a stranger feels like a privilege, and one wants to go quietly, not to disturb the natural world going about its business.

January 2, 2021 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

Silver Water

A long time since I went out and stood on the edge of the Lees, and gazed at the river. The river that has been described, possibly by Burns, as “the silvery Tweed”. There is something about being under the strictures of this virus that has altered the way I inhabit the world around me. There is some curtailment of freedom that gets into one’s marrow. People being up near each other looks somehow strange. So however lucky we are in our own landscape, in our relative lack of stress compared to so many, all the same, something burrows into the mind. When I am out in my studio, there I don’t feel it. The birds come and go. The blackbird, who flew into our window at night several years ago, and looked so peaky last year I thought she was dying, with all her feathers fallen out where she had hit herself, and her bare back of skull this strange bent shape, almost like the head of a snake, and a miserable ambience about her – well, this autumn, she is back, with a new quite pretty ruff of grey feathers round the back of her neck, and is her usual, sprightly, somewhat forceful self. She is so tame, she never flies off when I open the studio door, but just stays where she is. She knows her name, she comes when I call: Miss Ruche, Miss Ruche.

December 26, 2020 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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