This curiously naive image acquired its principal colours of orange and yellow from one of my earliest paintings (14/03) which was otherwise scraped off the board. The four buildings, including the concert hall top right, were then added; they are part of the complex of buildings making up Snape Maltings, now entirely owned and managed by Aldeburgh Music not only as the focal point of the annual Aldeburgh Festival but as a major performance and educational centre and visitor destination throughout the year.
The place, and the imagined viewpoint some 10m up in the air west of the bridge, are very familiar to me, though that the view became this particular painting is entirely due to one brief moment. Once when walking over the bridge in 2014, I noticed that three flags along the quayside were all stretched out horizontally to the north in a stiff southerly breeze; and that simultaneously the strangely placid surface of a full tide carried clear reflections of vertical poles and curvaceous brickwork beneath the bridge. The boat, based on the Thames barge Cygnet which resides here, is normally tied up parallel to the quayside – in fact I have never seen it moored as shown here; but tying it up artistically at right angles to the quay provides a horizontal complement to the bridge and to the distant horizon, and a counterpoint to the vertical mast and poles. So, in fact, this image is not really about Snape Maltings as a place; rather is it a study in verticals and horizontals which happened to catch my eye at a particular moment at that place.
I’m not sure about the clunky sun incidentally: its colour balances at the top of the image that of the bridge at the bottom. Such a conceit is banal and probably unnecessary and, suspecting the painting may well be improved sans soleil, I may well remove it.
The painting was exhibited at the Halesworth Gallery, Suffolk, during September, 2015. It did not sell and it still has its sun. I notice that the image here does not show the sun in its full, circular glory nor, for that matter, a short stretch of river with reflections under the bridge in the foreground.