Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Somerset Levels



Many years ago when I lived in Somerset I travelled around a lot in my job. The Somerset Levels was one section of the country that I travelled through at least once a week. I loved the willows that grew there and how they were harvested for basketmaking. The industry is celebrated in the form of the Willow Man (sometimes known as the Angel of the South), a 12 m (40 foot) tall willow sculpture by artist Serena de la Hey that can be seen from the railway and the M5 motorway to the north of Bridgwater.

I loved the shapes of the trees and the shadows and light that played around them and the marshes. This image was one of those views of the Levels, painted in acrylics quite a long time ago, but it always brings the image of those drives and views into sharp focus for me. Unfortunately the image isn't great quality. Low light levels this time of year cause havoc with photographing art.

I've spent the last two days (yes Saturday) in meetings. They were lengthy and wordy and filled with people I didn't know but I survived and came away with what I wanted for the organization I work for. Working for a volunteer organization can be a challenge as meetings do tend to be outside working hours. Overtime doesn't exist and resources are limited. However, I've done it for so long that the hardship becomes part of the experience and spills over into real life at times.

I have been so busy this week that I haven't had much time to devote to drawing or anything related to life on the farm. I have a few sketches completed but nothing more. In weeks like this, I feel distincly deprived when I can't draw as much as I like. I miss that chance to get into 'the zone' and escape. I still have to start on the set of oil paints that I bought and I lie in be dat night and think about those tubes of paint - their colours and the buttery texture. I want to smell turpentine and linseed oil and get paint on my hands and on the old shirt that I wear when I paint. As hard as you try, you always (or I do anyway)manage to get paint on your clothes. You touch something or absentmindedly run your hand through your hair and you are transformed into a multicoloured zebra. Its part of the charm.

Tomorrow I will draw and paint. Something, anything.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenette , Gosh sounds like beautiful country where you live. I live just north of Toronto and hope I can travel out that way one day. I sure would like to try oil painting. I know if there was only more time in a day Hope you don't get too much paint in your hair... lol...Your friend from Drawspace. Brian David.

am-art said...

Jeanette - as someone who also lived on the Somerset levels for many years - this sketch brings back wonderful memories. Funnily I have been thinking of this are recently and longing to paint the willows and the flatness of the landscape. Aren't Serena de la Hey's willow men wonderful? I've driven up the M5 more times than I care to remember. Sympathy for working Saturdays - which are now my Mondays (our weekend is Thursday and Friday, here in the Magic Kingdom).

Jeanette Jobson said...

Hi Brian, good to see you here. Paint in the hair is all part of the fun of it!

The Levels are wonderful Anita. They always appealed to me as I drove past them. The light seemed so unique there. And the willow men, oh yes, such amazing things indeed. So besides climate and culture to adjust to, you also have new week structurs too. You will look back on this adventure with pleasure too I know.

Katherine said...

Jeanette - I'm posting on your blog but it doesn't seem to show up..........odd??? Is this the Blogger Beta transition again?

What I said was this is gorgeous!

Jeanette Jobson said...

Blogger has its moments over the last couple of days Katherine. I don't have the beta version so perhaps that is why there are problems? Technology defeats me sometimes.

And thank you. The Levels are a wonderful place that I always think fondly of.