caralockhartsmith

stories and illustration

Primroses in the Path above River Tweed

primroses

April 30, 2017 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Shadows of Plants

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May 26, 2016 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dappled Light

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May 26, 2016 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Wild Garlic, Celandine and Feather

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Wild garlic is pestilential in the garden, but the swathes of it beside the river allure me.  Just as visually it takes to rain, so it takes to shadows and sunlight. I think those are the leaves of dreaded ground elder peeking through. This patch was just beyond the bridge that goes under the road that leads to Edinburgh.  On the inner walls of the bridge is scrawled some nasty grafitti, which I did not take a photograph of.  It suddenly appeared, in large pink letters, last summer; gradually it is fading into the background, becoming something that is just there, rather than an eyesore, which it was when written first in that gaudy scrawl. Coldstream  like everywhere else it has its little pockets of sin…

April 17, 2016 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Flowers by the Path

flowers by the pathIn Liddesdale, hill farming country right on the edge of the Middle Marches, where the sheep roam the hillside without barriers, and the fields are full of rushes, the profusion of flowers and the variety of flowers is markedly greater than in arable farming country, however conscious the crop farmers are of conservation and the limited use of pesticides. Last year in Liddesdale along just one mile long stretch of roadside I counted about a hundred varieties of flowers. This patch of flowers was beside a small off-road path which led down to the track of the old railway, now long disappeared.  One walks down to Kershopefoot, above the River Liddel, with trees on each side, and beside the track hundreds of orchids growing.

August 16, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peonies for My Birthday 2

Peonies 2

June 19, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , | 2 Comments

Peonies for My Birthday 1

Peonies for my Birthday 1

June 19, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , | 8 Comments

Flowers by River Tweed

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Now that, on May 1st –  (when as children, if we said “rabbits” before talking to anyone, a present was allegedly in the offing) – drizzle, mist, obscured horizons and general chill dankness has descended on the Scottish Borders, here is  a memory of walking by the River Tweed just a couple of days ago under the warm sun of late April.

May 1, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

River, Crows, Flowers, Herons

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Crow Over Cornfield

Whenever I get near the crows, they hop away just too far, or fly away just too quickly – I wanted to get an Adieu Vincent image, but instead managed to capture this serene-looking crow flying  on its lonesome high above the barley. The swallows zip about, coming out in photographs like flyspecks.

I am walking late in the afternoon, feeling a need for some fresh air.  I climb up the muddy path to the Lees, and there is the rustic signpost in the distance.

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Close-up it looks more sinister:

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I take some pictures of the hills beyond the barley, beyond the curve of the river, as when I do the illustrations for The Midnight Hare I want to use authentic scenes, even if I move things around, as there is a difference in atmosphere when real places are used.  I use a kind of generic shorthand for horizons, and I think it is about time to get rid of this generic shorthand way of dong things.

I like the way the coloured fields fold into each other, and the way every angle changes the light:

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This contraption has been sitting at the edge of the barley for some time. The crows perch on it.  What is it for?

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Down by the river, my thoughts change, and I think about other work. Last year I painted a canvas, now sold, based on the flowers that grew on a bank on the other side of the Lees.  Seeing the flowers along the river bank, an idea comes to me to paint a similar canvas, but with for background the deepest colour of the river at the top, fading down to an earthier but still darker colour at the bottom, with some of the pale grasses thrown over this canvas, and the names of the flowers painted on top of this: marsh woundwort, rosebay willow herb, st John’s wort, balsam, ragwort, sorrel, peppermint … won’t think or talk about ths any more, as if I work something out completely beforehand I lose interest in the process and don’t get round to carrying it out….

The High Bank, August Acrylic SOLD

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It is at this pont that I see a heron (that grey blob behind the grasses):

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As I creep nearer, I see that there are two herons, standing on stones in the river shallows:

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Now I am fairly close, but my camera doesn’t have much of a zoom, and also there are all these grass stems in the way.  I am nearly on top of the herons,  going creepy-creepy softly-softly, and am just gtting ready to rise slowly above the grasses and at last get a shot of some herons close up, when a woman and her dog go by on the path above the riverbank, and with a clatter of wings, the herons fly off across the river, and of course when I try to photograph them all I get is empty water.  A tad peeved, I walk on, and just as I get to the spot where the two herons were standing, a third heron flies up from its shelter in the lee of the bank. Off guard, I just shrug and move on.  Foiled again.

By mistake, I take a photograph that is of somethig unrcognisable, but is like some delicate voile in natural dyes, or an abstract watercolour:

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Time to go home. Grass is growing thick and flaxen, it bends in the wind, I wonder how to paint this abundance:

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The fields at ths time of year remind me of opening lines of “The Lady of Shalott”:

                                                 On either side the river lie

                                                 Long fields of barley and of rye

                                                 That clothe the wold and meet the sky

                                                  And thro’ the field the road runs by

                                                  To many-tower’d Camelot….

Nice one, Tennyson.

August 5, 2013 Posted by | Illustration, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Walking the Oxenrig Path

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It is a long time since I walked up over Oxenrig, which is where I go when I want to feel far away from roads and houses.  Later in the summer, walking up there, one sees hawks and hares, though this time there was little sign of wildlife. except for wood pigeons, which are ubiquitous. Noisy-winged birds,  I can even recognise the sound they make when disturbed, invisible, in a thicket of trees..  Instead of acres of wheat there is a lot of rape crop planted this year.  But the feeling of walking over the hills and far away is still there.

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A chaffinch on a treetop tweeted me up the road, where looking back I saw my husband walking along another route.  I wish I had taken a photograph of him rather than the chaffinch.  He is dressed for walking, in his gear and straw hat, and thinks I am taking a photograph of him. He looks like a French Impressionist out on the prowl for subject matter. He goes down one road, and I go up the hills, past the first poppy of the summer that I have seen, through the piles of stone, and out on to the path, taking a look sideways at the array of yellows, and the gate to the field:

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 Then on up the path. At the top of the hill I look back towards the farm, which no longer is the egg farm, but is still being used, I  heard activity in the sheds as I was passing, and there is a strangely old-fashioned tractor there, like something out of a fifties farm set, rather than the machines like small houses that thunder slowly along the roads round here.

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The road goes up and down, up and down, it is good for the respiration, I don’t notice that I have any asthma at all, inspite of the hills and the rape fields, possibly because it is so peaceful up here, and I am going at my own pace.

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At the bottom of a hill is this rather sinister-looking enclave, where they raise chicks, or maybe where they did raise chicks, I don’t know whether this is chick chicks or other chicks, anyway, I did see a hawk scything through their at low level last year, obviously on the qui vive. Everything is open now and looks a bit derelict, the pine trees make for dead ground cover, it is a bit of a Mr Todd kind of a place.

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So it is nice to see a healthy-looking bee among the plants outside:

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The path goes up and down, up and down, past the pylons which I have always found exciting, even when I was a child:

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Past the stream strengthened with stones caged in wire, this stream I couldn’t cross last summer further down the fields, as I was trying to find a short cut back to the town. Here it is almost dry, and looks more sinister than it is, as I am photographing facing the sun:

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I have walked quite a few miles now, there is no going back the way I came, so at each hill I look forwards to try and spy the gate at the end of the path. There is a small sheltered woody area, and then the path opens out, and there is the gate leading back on to the road, only a small road, which will eventually lead back on to the main Duns road, which will eventually lead me back to Coldstream, stepping into the verge when cars go by at a furious pace. There’s still some way to go:

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On the small road, the buttercups line the roadside, and I walk along the unfamiliar route (I usually turn back and retrace my steps) I am still taking pictures of the roadside as I go:

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And  I say hello to the same stream I saw, in its different guise, on the Oxenrig path, as it now crosses under the main highway . I am nearly home.

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June 19, 2013 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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