This week I harvested my first ever crop of potatoes.
These were late potatoes planted in exuberant mood at the height of the summer having been on my new allotment for 6 weeks.
I was desperate to plant something as you can imagine after having waited years to get a lotty.
They grew like topsy for weeks but then the frost got them – yes – they were undercover – in a polytunnel in fact – but it was a hard frost.
So I dug them up – but not before I had to scrape away the slimy, putrid dead leaves and stalks – and was amazed how small they were given the amount of top growth there was – they were veritable triffids to look at let me tell you.
Just this small accomplishment and failure has shown me just how hard it is to get crops to succeed with all the elements against you. I appreciate now those groundswomen and men who know their onions and produce effortlessly year after year.
Anyway – I am very much interested in people working with the land and love old images of country people harvesting their crops.
In my day sketch book I drew this old lady with her arms full of freshly pulled beetroots and carrots – her knarled fingers straining to contain them all.
Contrast that with the photo of my potato crop.
This week I am also completing work on a series of british wildlife paintings evoking frosty crisp early winter mornings.
As a result I am researching hares and foxes and badgers and needed to warm up my hare sketching.
So I found some brilliant hare photos by a lady in Brittany – who had taken a few gorgeous and engaging hare shots. I donated to her for her work.
After having done another sketch in my day book of another fieldhand in long skirts I drew the hare on top. Then I decided to paint him red and add white gouache to the highlights on his body.
The result makes me think of that slightly twisted and unsettling film called “Don’t Look Now” with the red cloaked child appearing between scenes of Venice populated by Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie…
That’s all for now – and if you are already scratching your head about what to get for an animal loving person for Xmas then may I point you in the direction of some mad hares I painted earlier?
These are archival 8×10 inch prints ready to slip into shop bought frames.
If you click the first image you will be whisked away to my gallery to see more.
Enjoy – Alison