Following some pretty wet weather the bluebells are out at Linacre. This time of year is one of my favourites for the stunning beauty of the beech woods and the carpet of bluebells that seem to hover a few inches above the earth, below glorious bright green canopy of the trees.
Each year, as soon as we reach the middle of April I start looking out for those telltale spots of blue that give hints of the glory yet to come. This year has been no different. The wild garlic is showing with those wonderful white stars, the anemones with their delicate petals and leaves and the bluebells with a heady scent that fills the air on a warm day. My inspiration for painting is from moments of peacefulness and connection, bluebells are a favourite of mine, something I love to paint and I never fail to be stirred by them.
I’ve completed a few paintings of bluebell woods, using various techniques. Its been fun experimenting, finding different ways of expressing the experience and communicating what I see.
This is an early painting. I was interested in contrast between the dark in the foreground under the trees and the light in distance between the trees and the remains of last year’s leaves still on the ground, the orange complementing the blue of the flowers.
Experimenting with a palette knife, enjoying the texture of the paint and building up the paint layering it on thickly.
And my most recent work this year, acrylic on board.
I’ve been invited to donate a painting to this exhibition and auction this year. Made my decision today, as the show will be in Sheffield it seemed appropriate to choose a local landscape scene. I settled on Trees on the Horizon. An acrylic on box canvass painted using a knife. I have used strong colours to represent the shifting tones and hues in the way the grass and hills stretched in front of me to the trees on the horizon. And here it is.
I’ve just uploaded a new painting to my website. I’ve been working on this for a few months off and on. It’s inspired by a walk I took earlier this year at Withernsea on the Yorkshire coast. It was a thoroughly breezy day, yet with a clear sky, the sun still felt warm enough to be on the beach. Not long after I came back I did a small 20×20 painting in acrylic that I was never that pleased with.
More recently I went back to the photograph and thought I would try a different approach using a palette knife to get more movement and drama into the painting. It felt like a dramatic day with a stiff breeze, a very low tide leaving the beach exposed with huge swathes of water lying on the sand reflecting the light of a beautiful cerulean sky. Although closer to capturing the feeling of the day, I wasn’t that happy with this version either, it was too broken up, not enough integration between areas and colour. So it sat on the wall for another few weeks while I occasionally gazed at it and wondered what might come next.
What came next was oil paint – I was looking at it one day and thought “I wonder what would happen if…….”
I love those moments with a painting – clearly something had been going on in my unconscious. I’m finding it increasingly important to have the patience to wait and see. To live with a bit of uncertainty not knowing where to go next, yet be willing to see what will emerge. What does emerge is often surprising and in this case a different result to what I would have got if I hadn’t been willing to wait.