Four leaf clover

'Four leaf Clover' 2008. Painted on silk by Paula Carnell. copyright 2013
‘Four leaf Clover’ 2008. Painted on silk by Paula Carnell. copyright 2013

Four leafed clover was painted between January & April 2008. It shows the view from my studio window. It was one of those ‘eureka ‘ moments where I realised I had my perfect subject and was looking forward to spending the next twenty years or so painting it.

This row of poplar trees had been familiar to me all my life. Although I’d only lived around Castle Cary since 1989, I grew up a few stoops along the main train line from Cary, in Dorset. My father, being a train enthusiast, enjoyed taking my mum, brother and I on train jaunts. Castle Cary as a main connection point and was often a station we would be going through or waiting at. As well as the distinctive Scots Pine trees along the road side at the station, this very distinctive row of Poplar trees could be seen on top of the hill above the station. Quite a landmark but not just from the station.

They weren’t a tree I was completely fond of as they reminded me of the opening sequence to that 1970s TV drama, ‘Secret Army’. A very lonely and depressing avenue of Poplars that signalled the beginning of a scary and depressing drama. When not travelling on trains we had many a family holiday driving across France. Nothing like a hot plastic car seat for several hours to put you off a landscape.

So why have I called this painting ‘Four Leaf Clover’? A year earlier, in 2007, the owner of this field had allowed Greg & I to have our wedding blessing here. My two sons were 7 & 9 years old at the time. About three weeks before the ceremony I was walking around the field with them and we were looking at the various wild flowers that were growing there. It was then that I realised I hadn’t ever talked to them about clover and the particularly rare ‘four leaf’ variety. Reaching into a healthy clump I picked a stem aiming to show the three leaves only to find I’d picked a four leafed one! Imagine my excitement! The poor boys had no idea thy I was so excited and obviously then couldn’t relate to their supposed rarity! I kept the leaf and had it framed in a small glass backed oval. I was more than happy to sell the painting, along with the framed leaf, but since the trees were felled it became a harder painting to part with. It’s also one of my husband’s favourites so it hangs at the end of our bed and I spend much of most days looking at it!

The next painting I painted of these trees is ‘Last Sunset’, shortly after they were all felled in October 2008

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