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

Old Barn Door

To my amazement, I found that over the past fifteen months I have scarcely put an image on to WordPress, whereas before I used to go out walking for miles, with my camera, come home and trawl through the images I had captured, then put a few on to this site; it was like a kind of diary. I am quite a hoarder, I realise; letters, photographs, emails, thingummies, boxes, books, pictures, unsorted reference material, cards, even old newspapers (though I do manage to throw them away, these days, hoarding newspapers is not a good trait). There is so much in the world, the older I’ve got the more I realise how little I know; and behind me fragments of my life pile up, waiting to be sorted into some kind of shape.

So, this is an image that appeared among the many hoarded, and I put it up here, somewhat at random. I liked the light through the cracks. This same image I realise, was put on my website in May 2014. The words are different, the place is further away, I will let it stay. One day I will go out into the landscape again, with my camera; but at the moment, walking is for my health only; my energy is with a fiddle, a banjo, a little tin whistle. a guitar, a turquoise patterned drum, and some bears.

This image is of an old barn across the yard of an old house in the Liddel Valley, which is the place that has captured my heart; though it is only when I go back there that I realise how deep this feeling goes. The countryside round about belongs to the hawks, and the hares, and the orchids. There is a room above the barn which had old papers in it, including some of my father’s plans, though these days I don’t know what is there. Massive stone steps with no railing lead up to this room; last time I visited I think the room was padlocked, and the steps were were clotted with the droppings of barn owls, which made me happy, as barn owls are the spirit of the place. For years after my son and I left the house they disappeared; and now they are back. At dusk and even late afternoon they can be seen, flying slow and low and white, sometimes mobbed by smaller birds. Their cry is eldritch. I have a stuffed barn owl in my studio. He is called Marvin, after a magician in a book called Parchment House, which was published many years ago. My young son, who was used to me writing poems, sat down and read it, and said: “I didn’t know you could write a proper book!”

May 6, 2021 Posted by | Photography, 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

Liddesdale

This is from a few years ago, which is not my usual practice. Lockdown has made me look into imagery, emails, letters – I am sorting out correspondence, turning up such a trove from the past. I know that many people throw things away, but I am not one of them. In a big chest, recently recovered from storage, layers of documents lie, and reading them ressurects something of what has vanished, including letters that my mother left behind when she moved down south; they are all higgledy-piggeldy at the moment, but trawling them throws scintillas into the darkness. There are letters from before my son was born. Maybe it is not healthy to dwell on the past, but then we are none of us that healthy at the moment. This photograph is from the place where my soul still lives, Liddesdale. The River Liddel (Liddle) is one of the Scottish/English rivers, though it is the Liddel Burn that marks the Border a few minutes walk from the old house where I used to live. Now I live in Coldstream, on the Scottish side, still a few minutes walk from the Border Bridge that crosses River Tweed. What will happen if we secede from England? Strange days indeed.

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reclining on the Wall

Memories of a summer in Liddesdale, that seems so far in the past. Is it my imagination, or is there a Lowry painting with the same imagery?

August 24, 2020 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Swan by the Border Bridge

January 9, 2020 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , | 6 Comments

Curled Leaf and Ice

December 26, 2019 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter River

December 22, 2019 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Other Side of the Glass

October 13, 2019 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

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