‘Now the warriors of winter they give a cold triumphant shout,
And all that stays is dying and all that lives is camping out.
See the geese in chevron flight flapping and racing on
before the snow’ Joni Mitchell
On the other side of the river, the land rises up, cloaked in trees. Scott’s Pines stand sentry, gazing down over the river. Here is Sutton Hoo, home to the legendary Anglo- Saxon ship burial and other earthen burial mounds which can just be seen on the horizon of the hill.
Apart from a couple buildings, I like to imagine that little has changed here. And it’s not just Sutton Hoo. The Suffolk coast is littered with clues to it’s past. Some have been taken by the sea but some like Barrow Hill ,which rises above Butley Creek, remain. It’s inhabited by cows now, signs of the excavations here 1978-81 still visible, their findings dating the site back to Neolithic and early Middle Bronze ages. These ancient sites contribute to the unique atmosphere of the coast here I think.
Back at the studio I am excited to find the big painting is dry and I am able to work another layer over the piece. Gently defining some of the clouds and a hint of branches on the trees. By the time I have finished it is almost dark and a gentle snow is falling.
I haul the painted panels into what little light is left. The boatyard and river has fallen quiet. On my stereo Kate Bush’s ‘Snowflake’ is playing.
‘I am Ice and Dust and Light, I am Sky….’
I look back at the painting, it is almost done.