Thursday, 19 May 2011

Great Gable two paintings in progress by Rob Miller RSA

Great Gable (South)
Acrylic on canvas.

Great Gable East
work in progress
acrylic on canvas

These two works are the first of the series and I suppose the trials and tribulations began here, I prefer the top view of Gable with the mountain cutting out most of the sky, looking dominant, and sublime; the lower painting of Gables East fellside try's to capture a typical spring blustery morning where shadows chase each other turning greys into mauve's, ochres and the new pale greens.

Is there a Lake District genre of Landscape painters?  Having done a quick check through popular paintings on google there are Heaton Cooper, Grimshaw, Glover and some  other Victorian painters,  I'm not sure, did the search for the sublime end in the Victorian times?  John Cooke and others in the last century have continued this work,  Melvyn Bragg seems to think so; but are these good artists in the minority? 
Despite the fact that many recent paintings have made the place look chocolate or biscuit boxy my memories of the 60's and 70's Lake District are not as such, hitching lifts up the M6 from Blackburn on the back of a bike, arriving in Keswick soaked, hungry and broke, wet tents and gear, sweeping rain, sleet and wet snow that was useless to climb on,  grey skies and moist, steep, cold, cliffs in the valleys and gullies of the Langdales, Buttermere and Borrowdale; plus the gritty influence of northern climbers like Don Whillans, 70's working class campsites full of jeans, beer, folk songs and revolution;

 As to why this never developed into a 60's, 70's NW school of landscape art in line with the northern Manchester  painters  or created a group to rival the SW Cornish artists I don't know? maybe the Lakes just got conceptualised out during academic studies and of course any artist studio was being overpriced and bought out by second home owners, Is there a northern landscape school of Art that includes Landscapes? I don't know.  Neither can I find a book on Lake District painters (A project for Melvyn Bragg?)  but having said that I must admit to not searching very hard for one....The landscape program on Channel 4 two nights ago featured many views of the Lakes and the Western Dales will that piece of work be developed.....

I think I'll have to paint all four Lake Districts the one with the early summer scuddy white clouds and blue sky, the one with clear skies and sharp coat of frost, the one with the grey battalions of mist and rain and finally the light bright greens and yellow of spring...I will have to re-read the maid of Buttermere by Melvyn Bragg,  Wordsworth and Wainwrights anecdotal commentary on the Western Fells.. anyhow this is writing and I'm a painter get back to the canvas you old fool you....
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Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Grane 2 A painting by Rob Miller

Grane 2
tramway and overhead lift engine room and ramps
mixed media on paper
Grane 2 is a painting/drawing in mixed media and is a part of a series of works that I have been doing based on the mining and quarrying activity in the West and South Pennines.

It occurs to me that Haslingden Grane is presently a wonderful place; the litter of the quarry is almost covered, the garbage no longer flies on the wind from the landfill site, up and down the valley birds of all dimensions fly, and deer bark in the copses of trees,  it is a land almost recovered from its 19C rape, which of course was the price paid for making this England great; it is a special semi flooded, valley above Haslingden a treasure trove for Industrial Archaeologists and  lovers of open moors and wooded cloughs and maybe my favourite valley in the West Pennines.However, not being 100% sure of the ambition that the current government or the next whoever they coalesce to be , will have in keeping to the green agenda, I've revisited Ted Hughes poem ,'Crow and the birds' and will append parts of it in some form or another on each a kind of "keep your eyes on this place please",  warning....
"When the Eagle soared clear through a dawn distilling of emerald...
When the curlew trawled in seadusk through a chime of wineglasses."
Ted Hughes Crow and the Birds

Monday, 16 May 2011

Grane 1 A painting by Rob Miller

Grane 1
Mine workings and quarry
Mixed media on paper
Grane 1 is a painting/drawing in mixed media and is a part of a series of works based on the mining and quarrying activity in the West and South Pennines..Each work has a section of Ted Hughes poem, 'Crow and the Birds', appended to it...(See Grane 2 for a bit of blurb)

"When the Owl sailed clear of tomorrow's conscience
And the sparrow preened himself of yesterday's promise."
Ted Hughes Crow and the Birds

Friday, 13 May 2011

Great Gable a painting by Rob Miller

Work in progress
Great Gable East
Acrylic on Canvas
One of my new works in progress; this a part of a series on the Lake District Western Fells they will be  in acrylic and in oil..This one the first is almost complete and the second is on the easel. A second series

Watercolours of France by Rob Miller RSA

Barge on the River Seine above Lamay

Saint Sean Forest Road La Foret D'Eawy

Monday, 9 May 2011

France Sketches

River Seine below Paris Isle De France Sketchbook notes
Charcoal on Paper

Castle above the River Seine near Rouen ,
Isle De France Sketchbook notes
Pen on Paper
Bedroom in an old Gite in Saint Sean by La Foret Eawy
 Monet is reputed amongst other Impressionist
to have used the Gites here. Certainly the bed seemed old enough
as did the very old man who ran the place
"salute et merci, bon chance monsieur"
 Paris Isle de France Sketchbook notes
Charcoal on Paper
Fields and woods
 Isle De France Sketchbook notes
Charcoal on Paper
Normandy Roads (Somme)
 Isle De France Sketchbook notes
Charcoal on Paper
Ps not at all sure about my French spelling

Monsieur Prichards German Barge Atelier (Bow)
Isle De France Sketchbook note
Charcoal on Paper

Monsieur Prichards Barge Atelier (stern)
Isle De France Sketchbook notes
Charcoal on Paper
I thought it worthwhile to blog a few sketches from the pages of my sketch book and upload them from my mobile phone whilst I was in France; which of course didn't work at all. IE IE IE AIE as they say in France.

The amount of time I waste on digital things is immeasurable; decor! but having said that it was raining and only the occasional barge ploughing its way up river to Paris passed the lady tramp on the bench and I, in my old battered, estate car; enchante madame, so what else could I do but cover myself and the car seat in charcoal,  chew on French bread and Cheese, listen to Debussy's rain drops are dancing and drink bottled water, (its no longer a car but an artists sewer, mental note must clean the car.) I met four French painters that day, one amazing guy and his wife Monsieur and Madame Prichard, who live and work on a German Barge named Atelier which is French for studio, the barge is based up river from Lamay,  Monsieur draws Political satires for the French National paper Le Monde along with producing wonderful River and town scenes from around the Isle De France. They were both kind enough to show me around their massive, old German Rhine barge and Monsieurs studio rooms...amazing, god was I envious, salute Monsieur...By the way, the sketches are made quite quickly so that I can register the geometry and draughtsmanship of a place, I then use them as reference points in the studio. Paintings will follow soon of the river Seine and La Foret de Eawy (Not sure about the last spelling) but fantastic place to paint so "viva la belle France"