Apple, Cherry and Pear Leaf – a painting a day
This painting has been framed and is for sale
size 6 in x 6 in, 15cm x 15cm
I had said on Twitter that I was going to stop myself from doing another picture with an apple in it…sort of, these three leaves have all undergone a selective process of winding down for winter, the tree has been extracting and storing in the roots what will be useful in the spring and neatly sealing off and jettisoning what will not be needed. All deciduous plants do this, they just each do it in a slightly different way. The apple leaf is slightly dotty, the cherry is beyond over the top and the pear is dark and a little deathly. Some of the best colour in the garden is quite unexpected, the brightest reds are on the blueberry bushes, the subtlest tones on the Forsythia and bright lacy yellows on a tall Thalitricum. The spurge Fireglow or Amberglow is yellow and orange and looks as though its unravelling in a nice way.
DIY Dad is sanding as I write, he has been at it all day, he has taken to running a thin straight piece of oak over the surface to check that he has got it perfectly smooth and flat. We have had a few conversations about the concept of perfection. That part of the day did not go smoothly…the children have been removed by the grandparents for their own protection, this was never going to be nice. My belief is that if you have to search flat on your belly for a fault, it really isn’t worth bothering with. I also believe that eventually when you’ve sanded off the obvious, then sanded some more for the undetectable to normal human beings fault and then sanded some more to make the first two sandings match up and then gone over it again for some ghostly grey marks that could be anything …how thick will the floorboard end up? How deaf will you have become from the noise? ear protectors or not…how ratty will your wife be?
Yesterday I went to Middle Farm, it was the best deal on juicing in the vicinity although it is a way off. I missed the local man who has built his own press (he’d packed it all away) and I asked Wobblegate but they were in the middle of changing over their pressing equipment. Other places were asking so much per litre to juice it was not viable for me.
In the end it cost slightly under 87p/litre and would have been less if I had taken more recycled bottles.
I took apples from the community orchard, my own cookers and some pears from the orchard. The pears were washed windfalls as the tree is pretty tall, too tall to pick without a ladder.
The pear juice is very mild but extremely pleasant; adding a few pears from our tree would probably give it a bit more zing as ours are very strongly flavoured. A giant’ Bag for Life’ full of fruit gave nearly six litres, the small spicy apples are aromatic and dry they gave six litres for the big bag, the cookers Newton Wonder gave 11 litres per bag and the mixed orchard apples yielded 10 litres per bag.
The apple juices range from fruity and sharp (the mixed bag) to sweet and very mellow for the spicy apples. The cookers are in between. I have made a solid layer in the base of the freezer. Lots of people stop and watch at Middle Farm ,it was very busy with families due to half term, so it was a sociable event even if the guy pressing had very little to say. Other people arrived before my apples were finished, they were carrying two great baskets of apples, some possibly cookers and some deep red skinned sweet apples with a bloom on the skin like a grape. Inside I had a look at their huge range of apples for sale, there were more than ten different English apples for sale. I looked at their Peasgood Nonsuch and their Charles Ross to see if it would help me decide which of the two apples the latest query apple is. The problem is they are quite similar, Peasgood being the parent of Ross. The biggest apple in the sample was 9cm across (I say was because I ate it), which makes me think it could be the parent and not the son. I would love to grow an apple with such a brilliant name Peasgood Nonsuch sounds Shakespearean almost. There is no more space for trees however.
In between the departure of the children and the arrival of the hired sanding machines we were trying to decide what to do with the walls of this room. It was done up for sale five or six years ago and as a result is as neutral and boring as semolina and a less attractive colour. The carpet was cream, the ceiling white and the walls sort of magnolia, well they are now the colour magnolia goes after a while, it seems to get a slightly fleshy pink tinge like vintage corsets that have been washed for years. I hate it and I’ve been hoping that it won’t scrub up. Equally I’ve been hoping that it will scrub up as the decorator is only booked for a week and it will take him that to erase all the grot and build damage on the hall and landing. We both loath painting, in my case as a result of doing too much in the past, in DIY ‘s case because he’s not big on fiddly stuff which doesn’t even merit a large noisy machine. I must have decorated half the rental accommodation in the Thames Valley in my youth. I painted places I only lived in for six months, in some I did murals, now I find it all a bit too much. Then of course I was generally getting rid of garish tasteless wallpaper or lime green walls or a whole northfacing flat painted powder blue (shiver) now things have changed and the problem is uniformity and lack of colour, the tyranny of neutral and pale. I say tyranny because it never lasts more than a few years without looking dirty and scuffed, but there is also a tyranny which says only neutral will do as it sells. I decorate to enjoy myself not with a view to saleability, neutral can be stifling.
#149 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog