caralockhartsmith

stories and illustration

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

A Christmas Lion

Deciding to put images on Facebook each day, or as near as possible each day, in the New Year, I decided to start early with an image of some time ago, a Christmas card. Still working on a picture book, Musical Bears, but after this is finished and ready to sent out to potential publishers (two months, three months?), I will go back to painting and to wandering in the countryside of the Scottish Borders, with my camera, looking mostly for small details that catch my eye. Until I inhabited in a place where one could walk where one wanted I never understood how Right to Roam changes one’s sense of where one lives. I thought it was an ancient Scottish custom, but no, it was basically set into law round about the Millennium. The only PRIVATE notices you see are round people’s garden, everywhere else you can just wander. Up the road is the Hirsel, the estate belonging to the Douglas-Hume family. Our local aristocrats are very popular, unlike some…

December 18, 2020 Posted by | Art, Illustration, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

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

Julia’s Bird

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

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