on green, purple, and blackbirds

I finished and finally framed the painting Edgescape: Fenn earlier this week… it will be exhibited in the HWAT showcase exhibition for the duration of April 2010.

abstract fen painting, east anglia, the fens

[Edgescape: fenn, mixed media on canvas, 90cm x 90xm, 2008-2010]

I added a few more glazes over the lower section of the canvas to get a more of a yellowy-green, and the upper section is a purplish-reddish dark brown-violet. I got slightly obsessed with the subtle degree of merging and how it related to a simple lowland horizon – which also explains my term edgescapes as the series title for these large paintings…

detail of fen painting, green brown

[fenn, detail of painting edge, with white wood frame]

Fenn as a title (archaic spelling), I hope is quite self-explanatory, alluding to a marshy, often flooded lowland landscape – a landscape that, prior to the 17th century when much of the low-lying land was irrigated for agriculture, is what much of the East Anglian landscape would have been like. This painting (fenn) is more of an abstract, sensory response than a depiction of a landscape scene; partly landscape in the implied horizon line, but also as an organic surface greatly magnified. I can’t do these large paintings quickly (I started this one in the early summer of 2008, a few weeks before it was needed for an exhibition) – it seems vital for these paintings to evolve over time…

Note to self: the poet John Clare lived in (or perhaps just wandered through) the deepest part of the fens, a landscape that stirs up the metaphysical mind…

For a morning respite from all things art-related, I pottered about in the garden, and soon spied this little fellow, a blackbird in the willow tree… a composition most pleasingly serendipitous in its contrast of colours (echoing fenn) – and the wriggling worm in the blackbird’s beak is further echoed in the curls of the willow branch… he was waiting to make a safe return to the nest…

blackbird in willow tree

The male blackbird was taking it in turns with his female mate to gather worms for their hungry offspring. They had decided to make their nest in a large, tangled pile of recently pruned clematis and so I was unable to get on with clearing the area – so I temporarily sectioned it off with some chicken wire fencing…

I also spent a lovely afternoon out at the coast with an artist friend – both of us are avid beachcombers and find much creative inspiration there. I found all of these delicately purple-hued pebbles, which I placed on a green algae-covered piece of driftwood to photograph my hoard, which glowed more pink in the late afternoon sun…

purplish red pebbles

I also liked the contrasting textures in this dense, clumpy thicket of reddish-twigged bushes with the softer beige grey grasses – serving a purpose in reducing the impact of wind erosion on this exposed part of the coast…

dunwich heath

and these trees, in a nearby old wood, looked almost petrifed

dunwich trees

I feel quite lucky to be less than thirty minutes from this stretch of the coast…

dunwich cliffs sea