Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Fir Trees Knew

Well here is another newly finished oil painting. I haven't mentioned sizes - this one, and 2 others called "Hedgerow Song" & "What the Hawthorn told me " which I posted earlier, are 20'' x 16'', and they all go round the deep edges of the canvas, too. Its becoming a series..

Each one starts from being in a specific place on this land. I go to a place that seems to pull at me, and I take a canvas & a pencil, & I draw particular shapes I see there. I love this part of the process, its like a dance. It requires really looking , & reproducing what I see carefully, & yet it requires care-freeness too, the feeling of dancing with the many Spirits of that place. I have to lose control to allow the dance in, but if I am just slapdash, I will lose the tautness of the line, the specific beauty of what I am recording. There is a lot I don't know yet about the craft of drawing, but using it for this particular purpose is both a discipline and a playing.

This painting started early last summer - this drawing stage usually doesn't take very long - an hour or so perhaps. I knew the painting required lots of dark tones out of which the brighter, richer ones would spring. But when I had painted a 1st layer across the canvas - a long slow process - it just didn't work, didn't come together at all. All that mixing of colours, matching of tones - now what ?

Well, as often happens with paintings , it sat in the studio for months, troubling me. Until sometime last month I realised that something, someone, had whispered in my ear what to do next. When I moved the painting round 90 degrees I saw how to continue it, and after a relatively small amount of further work.. there it was complete .

The Place that called it into being is where big fir trees stand at the edge of a field, where the land drops into a cwm. When I look at the painting now I remember how the needly branches catch the light & dance in the wind.
I had fun photographing this painting both outside and in the studio, so here are 2 pictures of it.

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