3.9.06

Return to Autumn


We almost succeeded with our tomatoes this year, but they are reluctant to ripen, so the Hovel is scattered with piles of reddening fruits in every corner. Yesterday autumn came moaning down the chimney, cloaked in grey. My heart lifted and things in my head clunked back into place. For the first time in weeks I felt the urge to stomp across the fields and indulge in artistic scribblings. Squeezing out a limited tertiary-ish palette and grabbing a few implements, I almost scampered up the street, as the rain clouds squatted overhead and the air smelled moistly earthen.


There seem to be a lot of cows about this year - more than last. I don't mind cows - milkers are fine. It's bullocks of a Certain Age I loathe. Like fourteen year old yobs, they try to hustle you, belligerently glaring and kicking the dirt. "Oy, you - looking at ME?" . To my dismay, the same herd which had been occupying my favourite walk all summer were still there. But bigger. And with even more attitude. There was a gate between us though, so I decided to turn my misfortune round and whiled away 15 minutes drawing the brutes.



There was a horrid moment when they came right up to see what I was doing. Mutual mistrust on both sides. But I do like the shape of cows; such satisfying bellies to draw. And typically, just as I was starting to enjoy myself, they lost interest and wandered off...leaving the way clear for me to continue.



It's quite odd to go from colourful, tight fantasy illustration to drawing or painting something right in front of you. And something I am much in need of. I had an itch to paint, but wasn't sure what. I was within a mile of the village when I decided just to plonk myself down, stop looking for the perfect subject and 'do' whatever there was in sight. It started to drizzle. I set myself the achievable goal of two five minute watercolour sketches, the only aim being to enjoy myself with the techniques and not get wound up with trying to create a masterpiece.





And they weren't; these initial 'notes' are the bits you don't often see; they aren't particularly pretty, and they certainly aren't minutely and factually observed. But I wanted to capture the atmosphere and movement of the seedheads and grasses, and also to let rip with a bit of freestyle scrawling. These are for me. It was fun. I don't really care about the end bits, it was the getting there that mattered; scratched the itch. Then it got damper and thoughts of a pot of tea began to distract me. An hour later I was sat cosy at my desk, working at my present paying job - a brightly cheerful and eye-bustingly intricate poster of baby mermaids for the 5-7 magazine. I yearned to be back on the edge of the fields in the wind and rain, scratching away in the gloom.

23 comments:

natural attrill said...

Oooh I love them! they are so loose, so different from your other illos (which of course I love too) its just really good to see different styles.
Penny.x

joanna said...

Your 'notes' are simply beautiful, Gretel - I love 'em, love the movement in the one of the grasses. I adore this time of year; the freshness and crispness of autumn is a welcome relief after a rainy/muggy/oppressive summer. Ahhh, I feel better already :)

Daisy Lupin said...

Love the grasses and the seedheads watercolour sketches, they really sum up the beginning of autumn.

tlc illustration said...

Don't you love it when Autumn really 'hits'? It brings a whole new energy charge. I'm feeling envious of your nature-painting outing. Glad you got to do it! (The cows are darling as well - love their round shapes).

Thanks for the vicarious walk.

Joanna said...

Love your caows. I find them really hard to draw along with horses. Cows have all there bones showing through in funny lumps, it just does not seem to work for me. Had a close encounter with them on our last morning in scotland. We enjoyed watching them as the gently nosed the car, the stove, and look confusingly at the tent and us. I only put a stop to it when one with a horn thought the car might be a good ictching post!

Love your watercolour sketches I really must do more of that.

michelle said...

These a beautiful little sketches. Accuracy isn't important if you can feel the wind and smell the field just by looking at them.

Steph said...

ahhhh...so nice to pop over here for a visit. Like a mini virtual vacation.

Sue said...

I know what you mean about cows' bellies! And I love your description of 'Autumn moaning down the chimney cloaked in grey'.
The loose seedhead watercolours are great. :-)

Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

Love your cow sketch and so delicate are the water paintings.
You also have a beautiful way with describing things.

tea
xo

Tea & Margaritas in My Garden said...

p.s.
Hi pg....yes I`ve read all of Phil Rickman`s books so far. I think he has a new one just out or on it`s way. Thanks for reminding me about his site. I have been there but not for awhile.

tea
xo

Gail said...

What a lovely post Gretel - it's good to get out there ... I find the summer too much sometimes and the change of seasons seems like such a relief!
I love the sketches of the cows and the 2 watercolours (masterpieces in their own rights!) ;)

Lisa (oceandreamer) said...

what a truly wonderful way to spend ones time on a fall day! love the watercolors, I happen to think they ARE particularly pretty!

Nostalgia at the Stone House said...

I think your seedhead sketch is quite beautiful!
I have heard that you can ripen tomatos well, by placing them in brown paper bags for a few days... or maybe it's an old wives tale?!

Aaron Paquette said...

Those sketches take the cake. Great Greta! These works are sublime!

lettuce said...

oooh lovely - green tomato chutney?

The cows are great, they really have the essence of cow-ness, and I love the watercolours.

Looking forward to catching up on Trinity.

Chichi Parish said...

Your watercolour sketches are gorgeous.
ta ta
chichi

Anonymous said...

really love the watercolour of the cowparsley.
its me muddy red shoes, having troble commenting because of beta blogger, so have discovered that as anonomus I can, strange but true, thats why havnt said much of late but still pop by often.

Rosa said...

Each of your watercolors are as pretty as the next. What a talent! Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Connie and Rob said...

Everything I have seen on your blog is just beautiful. It is always such a thrill to see how the finished product looks...always amazing.

Take care,
Connie

Ulla said...

Lovely post - telling us that FALL is here. I particularly like the wildflower paintings, very fleeting and lovely...

Maya said...

Beautiful and poetic sketches Gretel!
Whispers of autumn and colours of the rain!

missed you,
x
Maya

lorna said...

Wow- they are wonderful! :o)

memphismemory said...

Beautiful ~ everything.