I can’t understand why I have made no new posts since early August, for I much enjoy writing these ramblings and playing with images of my paintings. It’s not as though I’ve been away for long on a holiday; rather the reverse in fact, with much busyness here in Snape and in London. A couple of major issues have taken a lot of time but need not detain us here; but relevant to this blog, in the sense of being arty and cultural, are a number of factors, of which the most important is that I painted as much as I could in August. In particular, I finished at last the big painting of ‘Sizewell’ which I’ll put up in The Gallery when I have a good photograph of it.
I also went to three good concerts during the Aldeburgh Music ‘Proms’ in August, during which I finally located all the artworks assembled as this year’s contribution to the Aldeburgh Festival in June. ‘Nugatory’ is the word that comes to mind: how it is to be hoped that the visual arts will quickly become a significant part of the Festival based on, and indeed the artistic life of, the Snape Maltings under the new management of Aldeburgh Music.
One of this year’s better paintings is indeed of the bridge and quayside at Snape Maltings: it has been published in The Gallery and is meanwhile in the current exhibition at the Halesworth Gallery beautifully positioned, I would say, next to a painting by one of the contemporary local painters I much admire: Anna Badar. In fact, I own two of her works which hang alongside me as I key this. Another of my paintings is also in the exhibition: ‘Slashed red’ which has been in The Gallery for some time already.
In fact, Anna’s painting, and another of hers close by, are both of Mull landscapes in Western Scotland, and interestingly (to me anyway), both are in muted greys and dark browns. This is her response to insular landscapes where the light is remarkably bright. It is a response that had not occurred to me as I have visited in recent years the Isles of Lewis and Harris and have returned with results in my sketchbooks that hardly bear looking at: I failed completely to come to terms artistically with the unaccustomed brightness of the light. The thought is much in my mind at the moment for last week I was in Shetland. In some respects the visit, though confined to Mainland, was successful but I have come back with but one nugatory pencil sketch and a sense that, for reasons I do not understand, these beautiful landscapes of bright light, shimmering waters and endless skies just don’t inspire me. Technically I just cannot cope with them, but there’s more to it than that. Anna has shown me one answer – but then, that’s hers, not mine.