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Down the lane

The resident artists at Farfield Mill decided to put on an a group exhibition in the Dover gallery called \’Design in the Dales\’ We all exhibited one piece of work. This was my piece entitled \’Down the lane\’ The country lane that runs behind the mill is a regular walk that Kim, my Springer Spaniel, and I take frequently and I was inspired by the hedgerows to paint this piece. I displayed this piece of text alongside the artwork. ‘Down the Lane’ My four-legged friend Kim and I often choose to walk to Farfield Mill either alongside the river Rawthay or down ‘The Lane’. The lane runs parallel to the road and ends up at the back of the Mill. About 4 o’clock each day I ‘down tools’, give Kim the nod; she knows where we’re heading for a 20 minute ‘breather’. She looks forward to the chance of exploring the hedgerows and I look forward to watching her and breathing in the clear fresh Yorkshire air. It’s my thinking time. I’ve had real moments of clarity on the lane. Fresh, creative ideas which have been lurking awkwardly in the back of my head seem to spring forth. My lightbulb moments! In the winter, the lane looks wider. The hedgerows shrink and with the lack of vegetation and growth, small gaps appear. Like the rabbit in ‘Alice in Wonderland’, Kim disappears into these new and inviting openings with a flick of her bushy tail, in search of new smells and adventures. When it’s windy I stop and listen to the eerie sound that the wind can make as it whistles and moans through the trees. My Grandpa called that sound ‘uzzling”. He would say “the wind’s fairly uzzling today”. I smile as I recollect that memory. When it snows, there is a place where two farm gates face each other allowing the snow to blow through the gaps across the lane. Huge snow drifts appear here and are beautifully sculpted into intricate shapes and patterns. The sight of nature’s craftsmanship can fairly take my breath away. Kim quickly transforms these sculptures as she jumps nose first into the drifts surfacing quickly with a goofy grin. Spring is my favourite season and when I hear the call of the ‘great tit’ I know that the lane will soon burst forth with new growth and vitality. A new beginning. The hedgerows are still low enough to look over and wonder at the sight of the fells. The appearance of The Howgills can change hourly dependent on the season, the light and the weather. Some days they appear to be covered in lush velvet, other times they are half hidden by low cloud or on occasions glow with warm light. The lane sounds different in Spring. The birds chatter to each other and the newly born lambs in the adjacent fields bleat incessantly, demanding their lunch from their long-suffering mothers. I laugh out loud as the lambs ‘popcorn’ vertically into the air before chasing off across the field at great pace to meet up in gangs with their new friends. In Summer the lane appears to shrink as the vegetation swells with the warm summer rain. The branches appear to stretch across the lane and almost shake hands in the middle making our walk, at times, almost impassable. The air is filled with midges, wasps and bees busily buzzing about their day. As Kim pops in and out of the hedgerow she can quickly get covered in sticky seeds and grasses that seem to cling to her coat in the hope of dragging her back to unfinished business. The air smells of freshly mown grass and the farmers, shadowed by their trusty dogs, can be seen busily moving their sheep from field to field. Autumn is my least favourite season as it signifies the end of something in my head. The end of long days and early morning sunlight streaming through my bedroom window. The end of evenings where I can take Kim out without a cardigan or coat. The lane starts to have an untidy appearance as the leaves begin to fall. However, as an artist, I can truly appreciate the colours of autumn and the leaves, before they finally let go and drift to the ground, ranging from yellow to deep burgundy. When the sun shines through the remaining leaves on the trees, the lane is bathed in a warm orange glow and the appearance of the new autumn berries appear like jewels. Kim likes to help me pick blackberries on the lane, one for the bag and one for her and I annually pick sloes to make sloe gin in readiness for Christmas. It is the colours of autumn and the hedgerows laden with jewels that have inspired my exhibition piece for ‘Design in the Dales’ and I have entitled my piece, quite simply, ‘Down the Lane’ Watercolour and ink

Artist

Ruth Clayton

Status

Sold

Size

A1

Price

£499

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