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Geese in the gutters


Does size affect what and how you paint?


I have been given a challenge to paint 10 pictures for an exhibition this year, with the stipulation that they should be able to fit the spaces where they can hang between windows.  These vary from 90 to 120 cm wide and I can hang them two deep. There is also a stipulation on the maximum I can charge for them, but that’s not for here. Leaving a bit of space horizontally and vertically so they can “breathe” om the walls I have chosen to paint them all on 41 X 56 cm (16 X 22 inch) canvases.


I have just completed the first two, starting with “Geese…” “Moon over water” was my starting point, two white swans over the moat at Ieper, “Geese” closes in on a pair of birds that also fly right to left, because I am left handed and it just seems more natural that way. I chose to paint Canadas because in the Autumn we have wonderful flights of them flying in the valley below our house and even over it to glean the fields after the grain has been harvested. This pair are silhouetted against a pink sky that could be either dawn or dusk.


However, I put them in a coastal setting, rising over mud gutters because I wanted to play with the patterns made by the receding waters and the way they catch the light. I know people who go wildfowling in Chichester Harbour, so in my imagination that is where they are, although the gutters I have seen are on the Blackwater in Essex.


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