Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Blackstone Edge

Blackstone Edge is a rocky outcrop running along the western flanks of the Pennines, dividing Yorkshire from Lancashire. Comprising mainly of blackened rocks and bogland it is a wild place attracting walkers, climbers and romantics. Take a look at some of the rocks and you will see names and dates chisselled in them for eternity. Go there at sunset and watch one of the best spectacles for miles around. I have sat and shivvered on many a winter night as I have sketched the view over Littleborough towards Manchester. I have cut my way up there through deep snow and on New Year's Eve 2000 I was up there with a bottle of champers watching thousands of fireworks emerging out of the Manchester gloom.
Daniel Defoe trekked across Blackstone Edge in 1774 and wrote: "Here, tho' it was but the middle of August, and in some places the harvest hardly got in, we saw the mountain covered with snow; but we found the people had a way of mixing warm with cold together, for the store of good ale which flows plentifully in these mountainous parts of the country make up for all the inclemency’s of the weather." Over Blackstone Edge "we had to travel through trackless drifts of snow."
For me the rocks provide interseting shapes and angles for paintings. This image is a small acrylic that I painted using a limited colour scheme.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Late Winter Light

Late Winter Light
I'm always exploring new ways of developing as I firmly believe that we should all be pushing ourselves to be better at what we do. That is easy said but for artists it is generally part of the creative drive. This year I am developing my expression and using the brush more spontaneously than ever before and this painting was one of those breaking points. I had been pushing myself for days almost getting to where I wanted to be but not quite achieving my goal. The midday winter sun looked glorious from my studio so I stuffed my camera in my pocket and went for a walk across the moor. I walk past this scene nearly every day but in that moment of intense creativity I suddenly saw the patterns of light and shade that I had been looking for. The painting was done in one sitting later that afternoon.