Sunday, 31 January 2010

West Pennine Farms two mixed media drawings by Rob Miller

Top. Stanley Stacks and Crowthorn Farms.

Bottom. Higher Head Farm along Broadhead Road looking South
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Farmstead Types - National Overview by Jeremy Lake

Today the English, Pennine, upland farm buildings along with their stone walls and way of life are quickly disappearing under a cloud of glass and plastic conservatories and Gymkhana sheds. As the farm buildings are inhabited by new owner developers and new agricultural buildings are made of steel and concrete, the Pennine landscape now sprouts glistening strucures hiding behind steel CTV gates beneath ranks of massed wind turbines;

These farms, farmhouses and their simple, practical structures have always been a part of my art, as they have been to many English and European Landscape Painters. As a landscape painter, sat at my easil or sketch book the old farms would blend into the land as an almost inseparable unit to tree and branch. They are, it appears to the passing walker or artist as at home in the English landscape as anything made by nature, as any animal or flower. 

Whilst drawing and painting the farms I have often mused on how they became to be designed in the way that they are. How they happened to be and what occurred. Lately I have been asked the same question by others who are interested in painting this disappearing subject matter. In a short time I found that the farms, I painted were not always with us, it was parliamentary laws which grew them to benefit the nation and same that seeks to make them decline. Turner and Constable et al captured the farms development  as we today capture the farms decline.

I've cut and pasted here the appendix to an article by Jeremy Lake the archeologist and historian, that appears in Winchester Council Strategic planning Dept  planning background papers website.. though their are no credits apart from the authors name.  " An Introduction To English Agricultural History and Farm Buildings:- Their Development, Survival and Significance by Jeremy Lake" which is of interest in defining how the buildings developed. or at least the part that reflects linear style buildings more common in upland areas.

Farmsteads perform several basic functions: providing shelter for farmers and their families; the housing and processing of crops; the storage of vehicles, implements and fodder; the management and accommodation of livestock. Building functions can be usefully distinguished between crop processing and storage (barns, hay barns, cider houses, oast houses and farm maltings, granaries) and the accommodation of animals (cow houses and shelter sheds, ox houses, stables, pigsties) and birds (dovecots and poultry houses). These functions can either be accommodated within individual specialist structures or combined with others into multi-functional ranges.

The great diversity of farmstead plans (Figure 16) provides a very direct reflection of the degree to which these farm-based functions are located in specialist or combination structures and ranges. The resulting diversity of form and scale is the direct outcome of the significant variation in farming practice and size that occurs both over time and from place to place. Individual farm buildings, for example, could be:

• Small-scale and highly dispersed, as in the wood–pasture landscapes of the Kentish Weald and the Suffolk clays;

• Set out in strong linear groupings, especially in northern pastoral areas with little corn and longer winters and where there was an obvious advantage in having cattle and their fodder (primarily hay) under one roof;

• Arranged around yards, examples being the large aisled barn groupings of the southern English downlands and the large planned layouts built in accordance with ideas being spread through national literature and contacts.

A critical factor in farmstead planning is also the relationship of the farm buildings to the working areas within and around the farmstead and the farmhouse. The major working areas were trackways to surrounding fields and local markets, ponds and cart washes, the areas for the movement of vehicles and animals, the accommodation of animals and the platforms where hay and corn would be stacked, the latter prior to threshing in the barn. The size of the areas for stacking corn (known as rickyards in most of the country) varied according to local custom and the extent of arable crops kept on the farm.

Local tradition and status were the principal reasons for whether the house was accessed through the yard and buildings were attached, or whether the house looked toward or away from the yard. Internal access between dwelling house and farm buildings was a feature of farmyard architecture in much of Europe. However, in England from the 13th century it became much more common to have separate entrances, even where buildings and houses were joined. The role of women in the farmyard was commonly restricted to ‘milking cows, feeding pigs and calves, making butter and cheese, tending poultry, and occasionally tending with the hay and corn harvests’ (Whetham 1978, p.81), and hence led to the integration of processes such as brewing and dairying into the house and a formal separation of the house and gardens from the farmyard, especially in the case of post-1750 re-modellings and larger farms typically over 150 acres. In such instances, the house could face toward its own home close or garden.

The development of the farmhouse has been the subject of regional and national studies (Barley 1961, for example). Farmhouses can tell us much about the former prosperity and development of steadings, such as the major phases of rebuilding that affected parts of southern England in the 15th to early 17th centuries and the wealth introduced through cattle rearing in parts of northern England in the century or so after 1660. In summary, the most common farmhouse plan of the medieval period, traceable to the 12th century, has the main entrance in one side wall to an entrance passage (usually with a door opposite) that separated an open hall (to allow smoke from the fire to escape through the roof) from a lower end, which could house a kitchen, services and in some areas livestock. The hall served as the main living and eating room, status and space determining whether there would be an inner chamber (for sleeping or a private area) beyond. By the end of the 16th century, farmhouses in most areas of England (except in the extreme south west and the north) had been built or adapted into storeyed houses with chimneystacks. There was a strong degree of regional variation, for example in the positioning of the chimneystacks and their relationship to the main entrance. From the later 17th century, services in some areas were being accommodated in lean-tos (outshots) or rear wings, and from the mid-18th century houses that were more symmetrically designed (with central entrances, chimneystacks on the end walls and services placed to the rear of the front reception rooms) became standard across the country. As a general rule, farms over 70 acres needed to look beyond the family for additional labour, and so rooms for live-in farm labourers – usually in the attic or back wing of the house – became a feature of many farmhouses.

The predominant farmstead plan types, which are closely related to farm size, terrain and land use, are listed below. There are many variations on these themes, particularly in the manner in which fully evolved plan groups can, as a result of successive rebuilding, contain elements of more than one plan type.

Linear plans

This group comprises farmsteads with farm buildings attached to, and in line with, the house. It includes some of the earliest intact farmsteads in the country.

The earliest examples of linear plans are longhouses, which served as dwellings for farmers’ families and housing for cattle. Each longhouse had a common entrance for the farmer’s family (accommodated at the up-slope end of the building) and livestock, the cow house being marked usually by a central drain and a manure outlet at the lower gable end. Longhouses were often found grouped together and associated with strip farming of the surrounding fields. Documents and archaeological excavation indicate that they had a widespread distribution in the north and west of the British Isles in the medieval period, but that in much of lowland England they were either absent or being replaced by yard layouts with detached houses, barns and cow houses from the 14th century (see, for example, Gardiner, 2000 and Figure 17). Such re-buildings are commonly believed to be associated with the decline of smaller peasant farmers and the emergence of a wealthier peasant class. Longhouses, and their variant types with separate entrances for livestock and farmers, continued in use in parts of the South West, the Welsh borders and the northern uplands and vales into the 18th and 19th centuries. Those built in or before the 17th century were originally entered from a passage, which also served as the entrance to the house. However, during the 18th century social pressures led to the provision of a separate dividing wall and byre door, and to the demolition of some byres and the conversion or rebuilding of others to domestic or new agricultural use (barns, for example). The piecemeal rebuilding and conversion of both lower end and house-part that this permitted tended to discourage total reconstruction, inevitably limiting the ability to respond effectively to changing requirements. These later changes are clearly visible in the buildings, as is evidence about the size and layout of the original byres, and of the arrangement of the passage (against which the stack heating the main part of the house was positioned) that once formed the common entrance to these longhouses as a whole. The initial dominance of the longhouse in some areas is significant, since, as a house type capable of almost infinite adaptation, it exerted considerable influence on the subsequent evolution of farmsteads.

Linear layouts (including the laithe house of the Pennines) are now most strongly associated with the hill farms of northern England (North East, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber). A major reason for the persistence of the layout in this location was that it was suited to smaller farms (of 50 acres or less) needing fewer buildings – other than for the storage of subsistence levels of corn for the household and livestock, and the housing of some milk cattle, poultry and pigs. The close proximity of farmer and livestock during the winter months was another factor, cattle being stalled indoors from October to May. It was also a layout ideally suited to building along the contours of a hillside and so this farmstead plan remained in use in upland areas of England into the 19th century.

Linear plans have often evolved as a result of gradual development, for example in the rebuilding of a lower end for the cattle as service area for the house, and the addition of new cow houses, stabling and barns in line. Linear layouts will often be associated with loose scatters or even yard arrangements of other farm buildings.

This site gives an excellent prace of Landscape Painting and is well worth a visit.

Yosemite Valley Painting by Rob Miller (final Draft)

Yosemite Valley Acrylic on Canvas 61 cm x 123 cm

I think that there is nothing more daunting for an artist than taking the final steps of a commission especially when the commissioners, in this case a young executive couple who are no strangers to art have been eagerly awaiting its arrival. The subject matter that they selected from their honeymoon tour of some of Americas National parks was an inspirational  image of Yosemite Valley that Paul shot after a long and hard drive. The landscape he said, was amazing, "once you have climbed steeply out of the valley through many rock tunnels etc , you come out into the open to a sublime view". A full length, image of that breath taking valley, Yosemite. Painting that wild and barren, sublime landscape in a way that represents its sheers size and scale is itself an onerous but enjoyable task. In doing so, I had to rely mostly on my personal knowledge of high mountains from walks that I had undertaken in the Alps and Norway along with these words from Wordsworth.

"Over the dark abyss, intent to hear
Its voices issuing forth to silent light
In one continuous stream; a mind sustained
By recognitions of transcendent power,
In sense conducting to ideal form,
In soul of more than mortal privilege.
One function, above all, of such a mind
Had Nature shadowed there, by putting forth,
'Mid circumstances awful and sublime, 
That mutual domination which she loves"
Wordsworth The prelude section 79/80

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Rob Miller. Drawing:- The road to Edgworth drawings 4,3,7. Ink & Charcoal on paper

Rob Miller. Drawing:- The road to Edgworth 4,3,7,. Ink & Charcoal on paper

Drawings along the Road to Edgeworth Winter 2010. n0s 6,2,5 West Pennine Moors. Rob Miller

Rob Miller. Drawing:- The road to Edgworth nos 6, 2 and 5. Ink & Charcoal on paper

Some notes on the area.

I’ve always found this a great place to drive through in either direction and better still a fascinating place for walks and explorations.

Information courtesy of Turton Local History Society. Large areas of the West Pennine Moors are designated ‘Open Access’ see Ordnance Survey map explorer series No. 287 Explore 90 square miles of unspoilt moorlands, numerous reservoirs and beautiful woodlands Discover hidden valleys and explore some of the many historic villages. Enjoy getting close to nature – see curlews, peregrines and brown hares. Wander the long distance walk, the Witton Weavers Way – the full 32 miles or one of four shorter circular walks.

White Horse Broadhead Road.

This Inn and all the adjacent buildings date from the Enclosure Act of Edgworth Moor in 1795 when the ‘new’ roads of Broadhead and Bolton Road were laid out to straddle the ‘ancient highway’. This crossing formed the new village centre and still houses the Inn, Post Office, Craft Shop, Grocers, Butchers and Pharmacy. Holdens ice cream is second to none! The village Medical Centre shares a car park with the White Horse. Turning right past the Edgworth Cricket Club ground we return to the Barlow Institute.

West Pennine Walks by: Mike Cresswell.

This is the book for all those who love Lancashire, and for those yet to discover its hidden charms. There's superb walking in this compact area nestling in the south-east of the county; rushing streams, narrow valleys, stone-built villages and welcoming small towns; and all so accessible by car and public transport. The 30 routes, all of which are circular, are between 2.5 and 13.5 miles. They can be split and linked, giving up to 100 walks to cater for all tastes and abilities. The first edition appeared in 1988; Mike has now re-walked every route, taking account of changes in the man-made landscape ranging from new gates and stiles to an entire new motorway.

Useful contacts:

Blackburn Visitor Centre (general information) 01254 53277; email: or visit
Countryside Services (information and events) 01254 691239, email or visit
Great House information centre (West Pennine Moors information) 01204 691549
L.C.C. Countryside Service 01772 534709

The Country Code

Be safe – plan ahead & follow any signs
Leave gates and property as you find them
Protect plants & animals & take your litter home
Keep dogs under close control
Consider other people

Monday, 25 January 2010

London The Thames and Parliament Drawing by Rob Miller

A drawing in Ink and pencil on paper.
Work in progress.

'The River Thames late on a winters afternoon.'
The drawing was  undertaken at the end of a walk
on Boxing day 2009.

This is the second in a series on Cities and water
following Manchester's Bridge water Canal, my apologies for Liverpool
the city of my late youth and my twenties for not drawing you first;
but you will be next.

Completed cities work on canvas can be seen

Ridge Series 2 Winter. Painting by Rob Miller

Ridge Series 2 'Winter'
Acrylic on board
60 cm x 120 cm

work in progress

The first series of ridge dealt with the change or personal journey
that a person goes through on crossing from a significant moment in a life into
another. In landlocked cultures in the East Ridge or Zuma in Tibetan denotes a journey.
In Western traditions this journey is more often seen as crossing to the further shore.
The five Ridge works are titled ; Still dark, Dawns Rose, First light,  Dawn and finally Morning light.
Each work measures 24" 48"and shows a sometimes indistinct figure.
The figure is walking across open land high above Waterfoot on the Pennines
towards the Eastern light which grows brighter. The wall denotes the crossing point.
The figures solo journey is largely an internal one. In the final piece morning light the figure has disappeared altogether along with the wall.which marked the crossing point of the ridge.
The works were shown at the Stockport Open, the Octagon Theatres as 4 pieces and individually at
various Galleries. See for images and brief details.

This second series moves away from the internal journey. Ridge in Winter is the persons journey against
external influences. The first one featured above and almost complete is Winter. As in the first series the crossing point, the ridge is still the same featured by a wall with gaps through which shines a weakening sun which is being over run by blown snow.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

East Lancashire Drawings by Rob Miller

The second white farm
Charcoal and pen on paper.

This white farm was the target that we aimed for at the top of the hill, 
when we, my brothers and I dragged our picnic trolley
back from York to Little Harwood in 1963.
A long journey by any standard for someone aged about ten.

The big dipper
Charcoal on paper.

The view of the 'big dipper'  from the second white farm.
A long descent and ascent in the road to York.

A soaked overnight. Hoddlesdon moor. Drawing by Rob Miller

"A blustery Violence of air and a soaked overnight"
is a great line from Ted Hughes. The use of overnight as a noun
gives weight to the lived experience of being outdoors.

Mixed media drawing
Rob Miller

John Constable 1776-1837.

I've cut and pasted an excerpt from the Tate Britain catalogue on John Constable. Whose sketches in oils and completed works had an effect on artist developments in the 19C. No matter what the art historian or critic may say, from a painters perspective there are clear links between his painterly life and ambitions and those of Cezannes who was born in 1939 two years after Constables death in England.

Keen to give his landscapes a broader historical or literary significance, Constable quoted lines from the ‘Summer’ section of James Thomson’s famous poem The Seasons 1727 in the Academy catalogue:
The desert joys
Wildly, through all his melancholy bounds
Rude ruins glitter; and the briny deep,
Seen from some pointed promontory’s top
Far to the dim horizon’s utmost verge
Restless, reflects a floating gleam.’

This small pencil sketch above shows the remains of two of Hadleigh Castle’s round towers against a roughly sketched landscape. It was made during the year of Constable’s first and probably only visit to the site with the Revd. Walter Wren Driffield, an old family friend and supporter of the artist. It forms the basis of the painting he exhibited fifteen years later.
"Unlike Turner, Constable entered the art world fairly late in life, and he made painfully slow progress once he was in it. Born at East Bergholt, Suffolk, the son of a prosperous corn merchant, John Constable spent several years in the family business before deciding, and obtaining permission, to study painting full-time. Before he went to the Royal Academy schools in 1799 (the same year that Turner, only very slightly older, was elected as an Associate) he had acquired some sort of grounding however: his spare time had been passed with the local plumber and artist, John Dunthorne; he had been introduced to the connoisseur Sir George Beaumont and had been shown his Claude 'Hagar and the Angel'; and he had made friends with two artists-cum-antiquarians, John Cranch and J.T. Smith, assisting the latter with his etchings of picturesque cottages and with his research on Gainsborough. Once in London, Constable studied Old Master landscapes in the collections of Beaumont, Beckford and the influential Academician Joseph Farington. Constable continued to study and copy the work of his predecessors for as long as he lived, constantly measuring their interpretations of the natural world against his own experience of it. In 1802 he exhibited at the Academy for the first time and also received an invitation to become a drawing master at a military establishment. This he rejected, having now set himself a more ambitious goal. Constable returned one day from Beaumont's collection 'with a deep conviction', he told Dunthorne, 'of the truth of Sir Joshua Reynolds's observation that "there is no easy way of becoming a good painter". It can only be obtained by long contemplation and incessant labour in the executive part ... I shall shortly, return to Bergholt, where I shall make some laborious studies from nature - and I shall endeavour to get a pure and unaffected representation of the scenes that may employ me'. He continued to make outdoor oil studies until the 1820S. Tentative at first, and carrying overtones of Claude and Gainsborough, his sketching had become by about 1810 a fluent and distinctly personal means of getting at his material, as can be seen from such examples in the Gallery as 'A Lane near Flatford and Dedham from near Gun Hill, Langham'. His great friend Archdeacon John Fisher found a parallel in Gilbert White's method of 'narrowly observing & noting down all the natural occurrences that came within his view', but the entries on natural phenomena in Coleridge's notebooks are perhaps still closer to the spirit of Constable's observations. The end to which his studies (in pencil as well as oil) were directed was the production of paintings for exhibition and, Constable hoped, for sale. The connection between the two types of work was, however, rarely simple. Many of Constable's compositions had their beginning in studies made years before, which he took up and further modified in studio sketches before proceeding to the final canvas. The Tate Gallery's 'Glebe Farm' paintings of about 1830, for example, derive from an oil sketch made around 1810-15, while 'The Valley Farm' of 1835 can be traced back through various intermediary stages to a drawing of about 1812.

"In his exhibition pieces Constable tried to synthesise the particular knowledge gained through his outdoor sketches and to realise those larger images of his native countryside which had preoccupied him, he said, even before he became a painter. Unfortunately, few others understood or appreciated what he was up to. His first major Suffolk landscape, 'Dedham Vale: Morning', was shown at the Academy in 1811 but passed unnoticed. His first sale to a stranger came only in 1814, when the bookseller James Carpenter gave him twenty guineas and some books for his previous year's production. To professional worries were added the frustrations of his long drawn-out engagement to Maria Bicknell, whose family opposed their marriage.

"Finding only occasional buyers for his landscapes, Constable was forced to supplement the allowance he received from his parents by undertaking portrait commissions and other 'jobs'. One of his earliest and largest efforts of this kind was the group portrait of the Bridges family, painted in 1804, while his later portraiture is represented in the Tate by pictures of Dr and Mrs Andrews. Faced with more sympathetic sitters, Constable revealed considerable potential in this field, as his portrait of Maria Bicknell shows. This was painted in 1816, a few months before they married. With a new confidence (and soon to be relieved of some of his financial worries), Constable set his sights even higher. Although 'Flatford Mill', exhibited in 1817, remained on his hands, he began the first of his six-foot canvases of river subjects, 'The White Horse', showing it at the Academy in 1819. This time his work was, his biographer C. R. Leslie remarked, 'too large to remain unnoticed'. Constable was finally elected an A.R.A. later that year, at the age of forty-three. Fisher bought both this painting and its successor, 'Stratford Mill'. The next two pictures in the series, 'The Hay Wain' and 'View on the Stour near Dedham' went to the Parisian dealer Arrowsmith in 1824 and created a lively, if short-lived, interest in France.

"In the construction of these large compositions Constable found the need of some intermediate stage between his small oil studies and the final canvases. Working on a canvas the same size as the final one, he tried to correlate the mass of diverse material that he wanted to utilise. The last work for which he painted one of these full-size, trial sketches appears to have been 'Hadleigh Castle', shown in 1829; the sketch is in the Tate.

"Although Constable never lost his affection for the scenery of the Suffolk-Essex border, he gradually extended the range of his subject matter. His visits, in particular, to Salisbury, where his friend Fisher lived and to Brighton, where he took Maria for the sake of her health, provided him with much new material. But it was Hampstead that became the main focus of his later work. The Constables first took a house there, in addition to their London home, in 1819. Thereafter they rented a house at Hampstead for part of each year, except 1824, finally acquiring a more permanent home there in 1827. In his painting Constable familiarised himself with Hampstead Heath by making innumerable studies of the same scenes under different conditions. The views westward from the heath, looking towards Harrow for example, were tried again and again, in much the same way that in earlier years he had repeatedly studied the view from Langham, looking down to Dedham and the Stout estuary. But at Hampstead Constable became more acutely conscious of weather as a continuous phenomenon, for ever altering the appearance of the landscape: he became, indeed, more aware of the changefulness of nature as a whole. In 1821 and 1822 he undertook an intense study of the most transient of all natural phenomena, the sky, producing dozens of cloud sketches, annotating them with precise details of time, wind direction and so on. In his larger paintings of the late 1820s and 1830s placid summer scenes gave way to more unsettled conditions: a choppy sea and figures scurrying before the wind in 'Chain Pier, Brighton' - the first glints of sunrise after a stormy night in 'Hadleigh Castle'; and in 'Salisbury Cathedral, from the Meadows', for which the Tate has a small sketch, the cathedral rising defiantly through thunder clouds while a rainbow arches overhead. Constable increasingly identified his own states of mind with these restless phenomena. When Maria died of tuberculosis in 1828 he felt that 'the face of the World is totally changed to me'. The following year, at the age of fifty-two, Constable was at last elected to full membership of the Royal Academy, only to be told by its President that he was 'peculiarly fortunate' to be chosen when there were History Painters on the list. In an attempt to counter the neglect and misunderstanding of his art he collaborated with David Lucas on a series of mezzotints after his works, accompanied by explanatory texts. Meeting failure even here, Constable wrote to Leslie: 'every gleam of sunshine is blighted to me in the art at least. Can it therefore be wondered at that I paint continual storms?'."

From "Tate Gallery: An Illustrated Companion", by Simon Wilson

Hoddlesdon Moor Painting by Rob Miller

West Peninne Moors.
There is rain and then there is moor rain,  a drenching,
soaking wet rain that seeks out every hole in your raincoat
and fills every corner of your boots.

Mixed media on paper.
Rob Miller

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Paul Cezanne, Article from the Washington National Gallery of Art USA

I've enclosed this article on Paul Cezanne taken from the National Gallery of Art Washington. Cezanne is most probably my main hero, not only for his patient skills, the way he explored his visions outside that of the gallery but also the way he represented an almost meditative visual journey of his home town in Provence.

A Scholar in Cézanne's Provence:

The John Rewald Collections at the National Gallery of Art
It seems fitting that John Rewald first discovered Paul Cézanne while crisscrossing Provence in the summer of 1933. Mirroring the painter's lifelong engagement with his home landscape, Rewald was to make Cézanne's depictions of the pays d'Aix and its inhabitants the primary focus of his scholarly life. Rewald was introduced to Cézanne's art through a chance meeting with Léo Marchutz (1903–1976), a young German artist then living in Aix, and the two set about photographing the various "sites Cézanniens" in the surrounding countryside. This systematic undertaking—a photographic repertory of the sites Cézanne depicted—can be seen as the distant seed of the catalogue raisonné of Cézanne's paintings that crowned Rewald's career.

There is no doubt that the same impulse to document comprehensively—to fix for posterity—led Rewald to choose the National Gallery of Art as the repository for his photographs, documentation, and personal library. Rewald thus enshrined his legacy at the same time he ensured that his scholarly materials would forever remain the basis for the continuing study of "his" beloved artist. The current exhibition in the Gallery's Library, organized in conjunction with Cézanne in Provence, includes items that document John Rewald's passionate interest in Cézanne. Rewald's annotated dissertation, early publications, site photographs, and object files are on display, along with a small selection of rare books on Cézanne collected by Rewald. Unquestionably, the department of image collections' holdings of site photographs, the Gallery Archives' complement of Rewald's scholarly files, the more than 10,000 personal books held in the National Gallery Library, and the exceptional collection of Cézanne's paintings and graphic works make the National Gallery one of the premiere destinations for the study of Cézanne.

Click on the link  Cezanne images  to go to John Rewalds iconic images of Cezannes hoome town and the places he painted in Provence.

Friday, 22 January 2010

West Pennine Moors. Drawings by Rob Miller.

Grey Skies moving slowly above drifts of snow high on the
West Pennine Moors
Charcoal and pen on paper
Rob Miller

Grey Skies, a hint of blue and a farm. high on the
West Pennine Moors
Charcoal and pen on paper
Rob Miller

Grey skies, farms and white snow
West Pennine Moors
Charcoal and pen on paper
Rob Miller

"The Last of the snow" Painting by Rob Miller

West Pennine Moors. The Last of the snow.
Walking down to Entwistle Reservoir from Blackburn Road
Mixed media on paper

Monday, 4 January 2010

Chaigley Paintings by Rob Miller

Field Corner Chaigley 70 x 70 cm Rob Miller

Currently, while I sort a number of things out on my return to the UK from Spain  I am back in Turton in the West Pennines. In order to kep working on my art I have taken up one of the small studio spaces in Ribchester's Bee Mill.  So far I have completed a series of paintings on the the Cotswolds and begun a new project; This project is about retracing the steps that I made  as a young man; in short a series of walks that I did when I was aged from about 14 - 17 years of age, mostly on my own but many times with the Blackburn Ramblers socierty and my brothers Andy and Nick.  Cezanne who was a great walker in his own home area, and both likewise Constable and Pisarro, these guys where three landscape artists which were prominent around my fathers easel back, I was heavily influenced by them at the time; they formed in many ways how I saw the landscape; and they formed a large part of the discussions that I had with my father; now I aim  to revisit the walks and the works of those three great artists; mostly I desire to see how much I have been influenced by them, especially Cezanne. The walks are mostly around the Ribble valley and its surrounding hills and ridges. As a prelude, I've also begun a series of drawings and work in mixed media on the River Ribble, this river and its tributary the Hodder are great fishing rivers, 

I'm writing this outloud so to speak; Another project is to do with looking at Monet's work on London, based on some sketches that I did whilst over the Christmas break whilst staying with Barbara at her sisters in Chippenham Mews. .

Snow has been the theme of the weather so far, its been quite deep at times, and makes for some picture postcards views, I do miss the warmth of the Iberian Peninsular anyone near Barcelona over the next couple of weeks can check out my exhibition as part of the Global Present Arte I missed the opening due to a complex mixture of airport staff strikes and airports being heavy in snow, I'd welcome your views if you see the Barcelona show, mean-while there is much to do here.

The good news is that I shall shortly be back on broadband and so happily I shall be able to upload the new work that I have been doing; equally I shall be able to share with everyone some of the work that I did in 2008 which was stored away whilst I was in Spain.

I attach two of the paintings here. I made them in late summer 2008, a typical north English day, blue skies and showers white fleece summer clouds racing overhead from the sea which could suddenly turn black and drop gallons of heavy water.

Last Harvest Chaigley 70 x 70 cm Rob Miller

Stydd Wood Abstract Painting 1, Rob Miller

Stydd Wood Abstract 2 30 x 30 cm Rob Miller

Stydd Wood Ribchester Abstract Painting 2, Rob Miller

Stydd Wood Abstract
Mixed media
30 x 30 cm
Rob Miller