Golden light is streaming through the trees and into your eyes when driving towards Hereford on the A417 and M4 in the early days of Autumn. A rain shower creates small pools of reflection in some of the leaves which have already fallen. They reflect the golden light which lifts my heart as I journey through the highs and lows of a challenging time.
The roads have been heavy with commuters and holidaymakers. The hard-shoulder has a scattering of over-heating cars and the stationary vehicles from minor shunts between the over-eager and often fractious families. People rushing not having time to appreciate the cloth of leaves that is beginning to pool under the trees or the threads of golden light between the tree trunks.
It’s a heat that has not been fully felt by my mum as she has become less and less mobile. She stood at the door of her house looking out at the garden she would no longer go into. The garden she tended for years until the breaking of a hip meant that she could no longer enjoy the creativity and enjoyment of gardening. Shrubs would quiver as she approached with the pruning shears, but now they were enjoying a chance to spread their branches until a gardener was instructed.
The painting of “All That” captures the moment of travel and a storm of emotions. The gold is mirror effect foil – look into the pools of light – what do you see? It all reminds me of a favourite poem by W.B. Yeats called The Cloths of Heaven. Old age seems to be treading on her dreams. She created the embroidered cloth in the garden which is dappled by the light through the oak trees. Change being inevitable but feared. Yet it is light, warm and embracing.
There was no sketching prior creating this painting. Having spotted the splashes of blue whilst journeying I knew it was a particular moment that creates it’s own type of light. The image was in my head quite clearly, after I had reviewed photographs that I’d taken over the last four years in Queenswood, Hereford and in Sussex. It was how to translate those thoughts to the canvas?
I did a couple of test squares. I trialled a solvent based paint, which was described as giving a hammered texture effect by it’s maker. This only seemed possible by really flooding the surface. That was not going to upscale to a canvas 100 times bigger. So I returned to acrylics and brushes. The colours flowed on to the canvas to build up the layers of the background tones. Creating painting with layers will ensure that it changes tone in different lights.
I then did a test of a texture gel to see what sort of finish I could get for the flowers and leaves. This was applied originally by brush which made the results too choppy. Then, abandoning the paint brushes, I picked up a green flower support stick which I’d brought back from my mum’s house. Rolling, thwacking. pressing.
Firstly to paint the thinner trees in greys and silvers, and then the pattern on the larger trees that I’d laid down. And finally the foliage and flowers. All of this led to the creating a painting with texture, which is expressionist, which allows the imagination to create the bluebells amongst the long green leaves. I even managed to remember to stop and take a few pictures along the way which can be seen below.
The story behind the final painting “The Blues” which is part of a series inspired by the theme of Light is in the next blog. “The Blues” was SOLD in exhibition in July 2017.
It’s observation at reasonable speed as the coppice comes in to view at the top of the road incline. The braking for the corner and narrowed road for the bridge has been completed as the trees are passed.
Repeated each time I journeyed back to Hereford in the winter months of January and February over the last two years. Each time adding to the picture building in my mind of movement in the stillness and the cool colours of the season. It wasn’t always raining of course.
Every time making me feel lighter as I got further away from the concerns, emotions and shades of darkness that lay in the distance from where I’d travelled. Being close to being back to the comfort of home. Then a few days of uplifting respite and the distraction of concentrating on work before starting the journey again.
The painting’s name reflects the comment of someone who saw the piece and said, “Pretty in pink”. The lead actress of the film of the same name, released on February 28th 1986 – just happened to be called Molly Ringwald. “Wald” is wood in German. “Ringwald” is painted in acrylic sometimes mixed with luminescent medium, plus silver acrylic. On a cotton primed canvas 40 x 50 x 1.5 cm.
See more about the mediums and unusual tool used for painting Ringwald in the next blog.