I mentioned in previous newsletter that I took a painting trip to New York for a week. It was a tremendous experience, but when I got home I was very much in need of a bit or rural!
To indulge myself, I took my oil painting easel down to the allotments here in the village of Pilton where I live. I used to have an allotment though, like many others, I found that the upkeep was too much for my busy life. I’d go away painting for a few days and my carrots would be strangled with weeds. Essentially, I’m better at painting them than growing them.
Deciding the view a for an allotment painting
Unfolding my easel, I looked about for a few minutes. I have discovered that you must be quick in choosing. Looking for ‘the perfect view’ is like looking for ‘the perfect partner’, you tend to end up with nothing.
I set up looking down to the stream, catching in the facing hill with its trees along the ridge at the back. There was a bonus flock of sheep too. Sheep seem stationary creatures at first, but start painting them and you notice they move about all the time. I set to work.
It was October although it was warm, almost like early summer. The trees were still in full leaf, with the company of a butterfly which flitted and danced about as I worked.
I was pretty happy with the result and it seeded (sorry for the pun) and idea for a larger painting.
I concluded that Painting the Pilton allotments was the ideal antidote to jet lag and the ferocious ‘New York Minute’.
A bit of history of Pilton Somerset
Though there has been a church on the current site since 725, Pilton is first is mentioned in The Doomsday book (commissioned by William I) and later administered by the monks of Glastonbury Abbey which is a few miles up the road.
Their vast Tithe Barn still survives to this day. The Glastonbury monks, however, did not survive, as Henry VIII got rid of the lot during the reformation in the 16th Century.
Many of the local houses are built from the local blue lias stone. Pieces of this stone pop out of the ground with every ploughing, so I suppose it was used as a necessity though its very tough stuff and we have structures in Pilton that have been there for well over 500 years.
The other notable thing about Pilton is that it is the home of The Glastonbury Festival where our modest parish of 900 swells to over 200,00 for a week or more in June. Incredible for music and incredible for takeaway food too.
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