These last two months have not been a good time for this painter artistically. At the purely practical level, it has literally been too cold on far too many days to use the studio; and more fundamentally I’ve been distracted by other matters and have not probed sufficiently into new subjects and new ways of treating subjects.
My early February post illustrated me getting stuck in a groove, painting what I know I can handle. The two last paintings made the point:
I hoped the treatment gives a slightly eerie sense to both compositions. The ‘scene’ is of course purely imaginary though all the elements are at Avebury, a place and landscape which inspired 28 paintings in my ‘Avebury Landscape’ series several years ago. These could well extend the series. Although I gave up visiting Avebury, after some 60 years, 7 years ago, clearly it still resonates strongly in my imagination.
Similar Avebury elements are arranged slightly differently in the new painting, with a Toytown-type windmill replacing the telegraph poles – actually it is a formalised version of an earlier sketch (much liked by Anna Bader). Though there is now no windmill in the Avebury landscape, the name of the archaeologically resonant ‘Windmill Hill’ just north west of the village gives a tiny clue as to what once was. Here the childish whirl of the sails sets off turbulence in the skies, this curviness contrasting with the strict pattern of vertical lines on which the painting sits: it is painted on cardboard extracted from the packing of a parcel (there’s a paper there: ‘Courier and Courioser: the influence of on-line shopping on painterly creation’ by A. Mason, Sent Packing, 2019, forthcoming).
On the left, below, is the sketch from which the above derived; and below, right, is the one good painting I’ve done in this period (in my opinion, see post of 7 March below) which provided the structure for the coloured one below it.
I think this paining, ‘Landscape out of focus’, makes the point that getting the structure right is only half the battle (at best)! And how right I was to start again rather than to try to ‘improve’ ‘Spare landscape.’
Not much of a harvest over two months; but the weather is now supposed to be warming up and, sadly in one sense, all the NT sheep have now returned to Orford Ness. So, however much I’ll miss them, their departure frees up quite a lot of time – for painting?