First of the year

As a painter of landscape who doesn’t function well in the cold I have to take my opportunities to paint when I can at this time of year. Its always a great feeling to get the first painting of the year executed, an occasion to celebrate and a time for optimism.

Painting, First of the year

Almost complete, First of the year at the location in Frome Vale.

We’ve had a run of very fine weather recently and last Thursday I knew I would feel I had wasted an opportunity if I didn’t get my act together and go painting. I decided to investigate the location I painted twice last Autumn as the possibilities of composition had seemed numerous then. Its something of a challenge I set myself that wherever I set up my easel I should be able to find a painting regardless of the apparent mundanity of the scene so I was determined that I wouldn’t waste time tramping around choosing where to establish myself.

In Winter and Spring when there are no leaves on the branches, compositions are more structural and the background becomes more prominent. Although the river is always present in the vale it doesn’t necessarily appear in my paintings because of the cladding of colour draping the trees and banks. Today I was compelled to represent the water, it was unavoidable. A few weeks back the river was in flood, a smooth, quick flowing murky mass, but now it was back to normal, burbling and bubbling over the rocky river bed. As I painted the branches I noted that their forms were mixing in with the flow lines of the water behind which appealed to me. Form must stimulate my senses at a certain level and the way different things like geological features and flora can be similar to each other reflects my idea of the oneness of everything, shared origins and interdependence.

This painting was more or less completed in 2 hours. I think the speed and instinctive brush work brings an appealing texture to the completed canvas.


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