Essex Field: August and extension news

By Sally Pudney on 25th August 2020

There are no longer piles of building materials in front of my studio door, so I have been seizing on times when the builders have not been on site to get my August field painting done.

Essex Field: August

This view is looking roughly westward, right down at the bottom of the field near the Roman River. It was a quiet, warm morning when I visited. I saw the buzzards again, over the fields on the far side of the river. For the first time in several months I was able to walk right down to the bottom of the field – the huge thistles have been cut down –  where I found a thick extensive clump of ragwort, which became part of my ‘snippings’ drawing, along with lady’s bedstraw.

The field had, as you can see, been ploughed since last month, and I’m curious to see what the next crop will be!

The hedges were thick with haws and sloes and blackberries, and I am going to ask permission to make an ‘extra’ visit and do a bit of picking!

Extension news : After all the problems, and the very slow start because of them, my extension has made huge progress in the last six days. The brick work and block work is completely finished –

so you can see where the big glazed sliding door will be, and the little window which will be for the downstairs loo. Yesterday the roof timbers started to go on –

showing the rectangle of timbers where one of the two roof lights will go in. Nothing is happening today, though, as it has been pouring with rain and is very wild and windy. I’m hoping the roof will be on and felted by the end of the week, although I know it will be the middle of September before the tiles go on!

New Greetings Card Pack: My lovely printers in Maldon, Point Graphics Ltd, are printing me another new selection of cards this week. I hope to have collected them in time to share in my newsletter which will be going out on 31st August. The ‘Summer’ pack, which were sold out in my shop, is now back in stock again; if you have any birthdays coming up these cards make lovely and really unusual birthday cards!

If you would like to be among the first to hear about new items and other ‘behind the scenes’ news then just type your email address in the box at the bottom of my home page and click subscribe. I only send out one newsletter on the last day of each month, and you can un-subscribe any time if you are no longer interested. 

I hope you are all still well and coping with this strange confusing time as we ease our way out of lockdown. When I was pushing my trolley round Sainsbury’s yesterday, it occurred to me that it feels quite normal to be wearing a mask for shopping,  and that itself is very peculiar . . . . . 🙂


By Sally Pudney on 10th August 2020

I’m not getting much painting done this month, because I have the builders in, and can’t get into my studio. I am planning on my monthly visit to the field, but whether I can get the painting done this month, or whether I have to play catch up in September, I’m not yet sure.

Those of you who have been to my house for Open Studios may remember that as you came in the back door there was a little lean-to room, and then a small step down into the kitchen. That little lean-to was the original coal shed and wood shed of this 1907 Edwardian house.

It was never build to be part of the actual house, although the house owners before me had knocked a door through the outside wall of the house to gain access to it.

It had no damp proof course, no foundations to speak of, and it was only single skin brickwork. It has always been something of a problem, and as time has gone on the issues of damp, cold, and ants (!!) became worse.

In February I took the decision to have it demolished and a proper extension built, taking the opportunity to make it bigger at the same time. The architect just got the plans finished as lockdown was beginning, and I was able to deliver the approved plans to my builder on 24th April.

Work finally started on 20th July, with a week of demolition –

and digging  of footings, which, on the Friday afternoon turned up the problem that there was a big sewer pipe running exactly along the line where the footings needed to be dug. That was just the first of what seemed an unending array of drains and water main problems, but eventually it was all sorted.

The foundations got ‘poured’ last Wednesday afternoon, one of the hottest days of the year! The engineering bricks have been laid almost up to the damp proof level –

and this morning the middle part, where the floor will be is being sorted out, and the bricks, sand, gravel and insulation have just been craned onto my drive as I’ve been typing this!

When it is finished the building will have a wide sliding door on the south wall, taking up most of the wall, with roof lights to the south and east. Inside it will be open to the roof, with a beam across. There will be a new outside tap, and outside lights,  a new downstairs loo to replace the old one which was demolished, a storage area for my paintings, and a small room  – I’m not sure how it will be furnished until I can actually see what the finished space will look like!

With a bit of luck it will be finished by the end of August . . . 🙂

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