Changing Crops, Changing Landscapes
Observations in the countryside
I work in the landscape, and I notice the changes. My interest in changing crops and changing landscapes has come about through the EEC and political impact on farmers and the countryside.
The first notable changes in crops were the ‘set-aside’ fields. Farmers were paid to keep fields idle, to set aside arable land and leave it untended and unused – it was cheaper to do this than to pay the high cost of storage of grain in the EEC coffers.
The poppy seed, the longest lasting of all seeds, sprang to life and clothed the landscape in a mantle of vibrant scarlet.
Inventive farmers looked for alternative and acceptable crops and the countryside continued to change in appearance.
Crops of flax/linseed — the softest of soft blues to amethyst in colour – in shadows and shades of purple and cobalt, this crop took over from set-asides. These fields of ephemeral transient beauty looked like water – blue in the landscape. The field responded to the sun, to the temperature, to the light. One minute open flowers, the next with the sun behind the cloud, the flowers closed, and by afternoon the whole crop was asleep ’til the next day, and then awoke only if the weather was right. It could stay a dull dank green. For a painter this was the most watched field.
The strident yellow rape screamed into the landscape – wall to wall blinding violent yellow as far as eye could see. My painting territory, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire – yellow from border to border – mile on mile of screaming mad yellow along the M11.
My perception of landscape painting will not ever return to what it was. Wherever I go the unusual juxtaposition in landscape impacts on me, the short-term visitor, and dictates a new way of seeing.
Pip Carpenter is a printmaker and painter of great talent and energy. She has helped me make the creation of this web-site a reality by her wonderful enthusiasm and encouragement. A self-confessed new technology ignoramus, she has nevertheless been free with information, time and research during a very busy period in her own studio. She has been an inspiration to me for many years with her phenomenal artistic output, and her constant good humour.
Thank you again, Pip! Christina.
We’ll see what we can find. You might have a look at the links page in the meantime.
Author- Pip Carpenter.