caralockhartsmith

stories and illustration

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

The Travelling Musical Bears

This is a finished illustration, the first one, for Page 5 of “Musical Bears”. The first version was much darker, as it is an evening scene, but up north the summer is light for longer; and besides the first version was far too dreary. I made the mistake of trying to change things in watercolour, which just does not work, as more than a couple of layers and everything goes a murky grey; or at least that is what happened in the first version. The colours of this book should be up-beat; so this is keyed nearer to how I want it. Any extra layer or correction was done with crayon. I have generally gone back to my usual way of illustration, which is sepia ink and watercolour. The image is A4 plus bleed, so my scanner doesn’t quite manage this. I had to scan several times and then cut and paste, which was quite a process; but if I get a publisher and need to produce my own scans then an A3 scanner will be in the offing. The story is about travelling musicians, a kind of person I have a fondness for, though in this case they are bears (bit of trouble with the fiddle bowing arm if you are a bear). A couple of other commissions have cropped up at the beginning of the year, so I will be working on them as well; but it is fun to have got started on finished work; it is such a different process from the original sketching out. Like writing, there are two distinct phases; for me, at any rate.

January 29, 2020 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy New Year

December 31, 2019 Posted by | Art, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas, Season’s Greetings, and a peaceful New Year.

December 16, 2019 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Painting, Uncategorized | , , , , | 6 Comments

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