Friday, 28 December 2012

Post 30 Coming to an end

Is this my last and final post on art, weather and related activities? Yes I'm afraid so but I do intend to start a new blog in the new year pretty much focusing on similar things but with perhaps less of a conscious eye on the weather.
I have really enjoyed posting on here and I have to thank Oliver Moss for asking me to do this  in the first place.
The idea was that I, along with a number of other artists,would produce a 30 day weather diary which Oliver would use as part of his research for his studies...anyway it has become much more for me. It's more like a habit now which I won't be able to stop any time soon!

So to the past few days...since the beginning of the Christmas holidays almost as if on cue the weather has been awful. It's been wet,wet and wetter. Again so many people in this country have had their homes flooded and travel and routine life has been disrupted and thrown into disarray.
Gloomy weather today

The crisp cold and clear days earlier in this month are sadly missed.

Love these warm colours on a really cold day
Trying to capture those sunsetting colours

Sun setting over the Cheviots
Another detail
Looking towards the Cheviots  100cm10cm Oil & wax on canvas

In and amongst the festivities and general distractions to my daily routine I have been beavering away taking photographs anytime we have managed to get out.
 Between the rain and general gloom there have been periods of some decent weather.

Fading light at Back Bowden

Late evening sunshine amongst the trees

Colder and blustery
Looking up

Back up to Peniel Heugh
Frustratingly we haven't had one climbing day in the  last two weeks. Two trips this week were abandoned and we had to content ourselves with a brief walk on the beach and another to Saint Cuthbert's Cave  via Greensheen Hill. Oh well at least we managed to get out and whatever the weather there is so much to see and reflect on in the landscape around us.

Wet and windy with a tiny hint of brightness out in the distance
Light on the sand

Malachite green against the sand
Foamy froth

Rain on the sand
Bed of rocks

 I continue to be inspired by the natural world and the landscapes of the Borders and Northumberland still continue to absorb and feed my imagination and creative need to paint.
I know they are only a very tiny part of a vast world but these landscapes have a way of surprising and challenging me constantly and I doubt I will ever become tired of being in them and experiencing all the different weathers and conditions that they have to offer.

Braw views

Looking forward

Looking back

Work in progress

Sketch book this week...

I'm not sure when my new blog will be up and running yet but you'll be able to find it through the home page of my  website.

So if you have been reading and viewing, I hope you have enjoyed it and thank you!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

29 Cold weather colour

 Now already into December and the weather has turned decidedly wintery. On the clear, bright days I've really wanted to get out and photograph as much as possible.The low lying sun has been no less intense and interesting in how it shapes the landscape.

Natural rock shapes illuminated by the winter sun
Water seepage turned to ice glinting in the sun.

Ice cold

This time of year has such a different feel and sense with the air cold and the ground damp and hard beneath your feet. Bouldering is a completely different prospect now...cold hands and snow (last w/k !) covered rock makes it feel a good deal more challenging.

Last of the sun, Ruberlaw in the distance.

 Through the week if we do get out for a walk it's with torches along a country road. At the week ends, always late to get out or if out I've never been in the right location and haven't managed to see a full sunset yet. However the sillouetted  hills and trees have a very real magic of their own.
Sun setting out of view.
Snow covered Cheviot Hills
Recent work has been studio based. I've been working on a couple of commissioned paintings which is always a challenge.Although I often use exaggerated colour I couldn't justify in my mind why I was using such an intense orangery colour in one of these paintings. To be honest  although it looked appealing enough I felt a kind of fakery in what I was doing. It gradually occurred to me that this intense orangery colour is very much in evidence in the landscape at this time of year.
Decaying ferns,heather, grasses and dead beech hedging which line many of the country Border roads appear to shine brightly in the midday and very early afternoon sun. So it's not that unusual that bright intense oranges should feature in some of my  recent work.

Work in progress. Oil & wax on canvas.

Quick sketch book pastel drawing.

You never can be too sure with the weather.I was over in Ireland a couple of weeks ago visiting my sister. I optimistically packed my bag not bothering to take a warm coat thinking that the weather would be mild. Little did I know that - 4 degrees was the night time temperature with the day time temperature not getting above 0 the whole time I was there !

Early morning walk near Manorhamilton

Frost covered holly.

Out on one our walks we noticed this...snow like flakes on the tree branches. Looked like cotton wool from a distance !

More cold weather on the way, wrap up warm and dream of summer.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Post 28 Day and night

It's strange to think that already the  clocks have changed and we're at that time of year again. For most people, me included, this entails getting up when it's still dark and getting home from work when it's just about to get  dark.
The lack of daylight let alone sunshine is part of life that is something we all just get accustomed to.
The contrast between the weather recently has been like day and night , one day beautiful sunshine with crisp autumn air, the next day wind, rain, cold and grey skies.

 It's not surprising then that spending time outdoors is at a premium.....Last Saturday was a decent enough day , bouldering in Northumberland was possible and even warm when the sun shone.
Beautiful autumnal colours at Back Bowden
 The rock was dry in the main but the ground was totally sodden and every boulder problem was preceded by vigorous stickie drying with old tea towels...tiresome to say the least. Oh well at least I had  an excuse for slipping off  the odd boulder !

We did a reckie trip the following day along to Ravens Crag and Kyloe in the woods...incredible how wet the rock is. It's turned green and slimy in parts and with the exception of  the hard bouldering overhanging wall, the rest  of the crag remains sodden and somewhat neglected.
The wet weather has certainly taken it's toll on this hidden gem deep in the woods.

And so to matters of art....I've found it difficult to  get back into a routine after the holidays . I've had no problem at work (busy) but disciplined activity in the studio, well that's another story. I found it difficult to pick up where I left off. I read here that to keep your motivation in tip top condition you should endeavour to maintain an unbroken chain of activity. Basically this means doing something creative every day even if it's only for an hour here or keeps things moving and  oiled.

Finished studies in oil and wax on board (see post 26)

I think there is a good deal of truth in this, it's like having a pot simmering away....something is on in the back ground so when an idea hits you, you'r ready to go, and hopefully quick on the up take.

So with this thought boiling away in my head I forced myself into the studio,tea drinking and pondering I sat for a while before I had a good clean up. I then started work and before long I was well immersed  in painting again. A good feeling.

A pre bouldering walk along the beach at Bamburgh was blustery and very cold

Wind swept sands

Bowden Doors

Looking towards the cloud covered Cheviots

Dank conditions looking out from Ravens Crag

Wet seeping rocks

Magical trees on the track to Kyloe in the woods just before sundown

More seeping walls at Kyloe in the woods
Well I can't sign off without mentioning Hurricane Sandy...incredible scenes from the US , Haiti and beyond.
So many, many unfortunate people are being badly affected by our increasingly turbulent and unpredictable  global weather systems.
The sheer size of this hurricane nearly 1000 miles across, and the havoc and destruction it has caused is something else, awesome indeed.