For once, my sense that I had reached the end of ‘a good spell’ proved unduly pessimistic (see post of 18 August). Just after it I went for my annual session painting – and talking – with Michael Horn in his Norfolk studio; and once again the inspiration of that studio, and Michael, worked. Most of the pieces were exercises of one sort or another, not meant as anything other than that; but one or two of them went a bit further and both pleased me and seemed to please Michael too.
Anyway, for better or worse, here is the complete portfolio of the 20 works, good and bad, that came out of another productive week:
Straight after breakfast on the first morning Michael sent me out to sketch: not a good start, for the landscape around his house is not particularly striking and in any case I have drawn/painted bits of it many times before. Still, one has to start somewhere so I first looked back up the lane towards his house, trying to make something of the rather unpromising 30 mph sign and a telegraph pole carrying one wire and then, further along the lane where an oil bowser was parked, toying with the visual juxtaposition of the curves of the bowser and the rectangularity of the bulky church tower which had now come into view. As the camera spotted, however, the real point of interest was the small ‘window’ back up the road into the village framed by the foliage.
The first two quick paintings (acrylic) pick this detail up and then glorify it by making the church tower visible through it (which it isn’t) rather than the reddish houses. I then started playing around with the various elements noted in the first two simple sketches, but now using ink wash to vary colours, keeping the basic ‘figurative’ composition but not attempting to depict reality.
From there, it was but a short step to move into one of my default positions and compose a geometric abstract:
Not a particularly good one, as it happens, and like numerous others I have painted (and thrown away), but since it looks so different from the preceding images I stress that nevertheless it derives from the two sketches with which the day began. Several of the ‘real’ features I saw first thing in the morning e.g. the telegraph pole in its actual position, are contained within this abstract.
Well, that’s 10 images already so I’ll stop there, halfway in numbers but only two days in. To be continued ….