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Bank holiday blues -( and greys - and greens - and browns)

Water has been getting my interest. The Wey runs in the valley below us. I painted "Lock on the Wey" and this si the same stretch of water about a kilometre upstream. I wanted to celebrate the railway bridge seemingly, a quite alien intrusion into a natural scene. Or is it? The Wey here is strictly managed between manicured banks and there is a towpath that reminds you of its history as a one time freightway.


Let me share something of my creative processes with you.


Here is the first elaboration of the idea, doodled on the back of my dentist's appointment card!

The trees are the same size as the bridge, which is disappearing on the top edge. That did not matter: I knew that there was a great steel plate there. It looks like I was thinking of introducing a brick pier behind the left hand tree. There isn't one. If there had been it would have changed the balance, so in the end I dropped that idea.


I then went on to explore it a bit further in my A6 sketch pad.


Diagonals are explored - the tree that aligns with one of the trusses is picked up along with the pale stump next to it. I also ensured that I introduce some of the plates tying the trusses and taking forces below the running track. The horizontal lines under the bridge are to remind me that there were ripples in the water.


When i moved on canvas I arranged four equal vertical bands andI took everything back to the same level of abstraction so all the plates and rivets in the bridge are lost and you are left with this grey blue geometric pattern slicing across in the middle quarter of the picture. There are strong curves in the clouds and in the distant trees. I arranged the trees into a sort of Vee shape to echo the trusses. The banks allowed me to work in more sharp Vees and then literally to round them off with a curve in the tow path.


All the colours are quite muted except for the electric green grass in the bottom left Being near the water's edge it gets a lot of nutrients. You probably would not register it as being quite such a strong element in the landscape as you would experience it, bit you would not get this focus either. That's my intervention, allowing a contrast between the angles of the man made and the free forms of the trees.


When I looked at this painting I thought, I am getting more British. Shades of Nash. Watch out!




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