This is the second painting in a new series on Sawley in Lancashire. The day was a beautiful one when I sketched and photographed the river at this bend; its where the Ribble meets the road to Bank Top and Grindleton. It was the kind of day when you can feel a presence, a quivering in the air almost like someone walking next to you, but when you turn to see them and smile there is no one there, Wordsworth would have have called this a beautiful day in gods creation and Turner would have bestowed on it a sublime majesty. In the distant past the view would have been down river to the proud Abbey of Sawley but the powers that be at the time knocked it down two hundred years ago; thus denying generations of locals the benefits of the beatitudes; and a wonderful place to be; I suppose I shouldn't continue to write the next paragraph but as its in my mind I may as well say it, the same thing is happening in British society today as the government knocks away the 2000 year old building blocks of this Christian land, without any due care to the fragile spirit that feebly still binds us together with love and compassion, thus leaving the generations to come to blindly feel their way across the stony infertile ground of their souls, forgive them for in their haste to be the perfect administrators of their plan, they know not what they do.
I unearthed this painting by chance in the storeroom at ascot studios the other day, having not had sight of the work for well over a year. I quickly photographed it so that I could share it with you, this is its first viewing as far as I know; The Painting is of a lone man walking away from the valley; his face partly turned and nondescript , he is wearing a business/work-suite. I painted this work from memory of a guy who walked in front of me up Swinshaw Moor near Water some five years ago, the gentleman wore a suite and ordinary shoes, the weather was wet and cold, a not untypical Rossendale Valley summers day. There was no path in the area and I have often wondered about the story behind the image. I was dressed for the hills as they say with my sketching bag, stout boots, waterproofs etc and I sort of shadowed the guy for a while to see if he was okay. He moved fairly easily across the difficult terrain and so once we had both reached the ridge top I sat and watched him continue onwards towards Crawshawbooth making a drawing in my sketchbook. I wrote in pencil On Longridge Fell across the bottom of the painting at the time of its completion in the studio some four years after the actual event, Longridge is a simular ridge to Swinshaw across the Ribble watershed, but the guy is definatly the one on Swinshaw Moor; Maybe I had walked across Longridge Fell the week before? Whatever there is something definitely male about the image or concept of the lone man that strikes a chord.
Winter Willow and River Ribble at Ribchester bridge.
70 cm x 50 cm
Acrylic on Canvas
Heavy snow fall meant I had to get out of the studio at Ribchester before I was snowed in, way back in January. I managed to stop the car number of times and quickly sketched and photographed this wonderful old tree in the wintry dusk. The river was sluggish and cold.
Whalley Nab and distant Pendle 70 cm x 70 cm x 4.5 Acrylic on Canvas
This paintings has taken its time coming to a conclusion, the northern light, affected as it is by the near expanse of the sea and the ever present moisture laden atlantic sky is a subtle light that moves and shimmers as it wills. Walking along Moor Lane high above the valley at the top of the moor your met wiuth a great view if ever there is one, and one thats as good and as pleasing as any I have seen. Today is a shimmering green day, a thin cloud covers Pendle and the suns rays refract in all directions. At the top of the ridge above Brierley Farm the road dips steeply the light plays of the edges of the trees or bounces across the fields to refract away elsewhere, thicker cloud creates an amused viel.