size 6 in x 8 in 15cm x 21cm artists soft pastels on cartridge paper
Today I looked at the devastation the frost had produced in the garden and the devastation that the boys had produced in the kitchen and in disgust I went out with a neighbour to Sheffield Park. No way to run a household I know but sometimes you need to get out. There was morning glory in the sunshine but morning misery hung resentfully on the house wall it had been – 3 degrees centigrade.
The frost had clearly caught the gardeners out at Sheffield Park too, the Gunnera was not ready for winter, the giant stems stood still but the enormous leaves hung like umbrellas broken and half melted. At first in a frost when the temperature is still low the tender plants look fine, then the sun gets to them or it warms up and the frozen leaves turn to seaweed and darken like so much wilted spinach.
I took a small sketch pad and did a pastel of one corner of the top lake. It was a mess but it held the memory of the scene long enough for me to make this version when I got home. I also sketched my neighbour and that sketch was pitiful. The patches of colour on the water were great rafts of brightly coloured leaves which had fallen with the frost. Many trees had dropped a carpet of leaves the Ginko had not got its full autumn colour but many of the leaves were down on the path.
When I got back I rescued a few more plants and checked to see what we are due tonight, nothing quite so dreadful, the dahlias can wait a day or two. We have got used to damp mild autumns that stretch beyond Bonfire Night but this is not going to be one of them. Luckily DIY Dad has finished the heating.
#146 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog