Saturday, 27 August 2011

Hebrides Croft A painting by Rob Miller RSA

Hebrides Croft
Work in progress
Acrylic on Canvas
Nearly complete a new Western Isles painting this one of two crofts in the outer Hebrides. Both crofts riding the winds above the grey Atlantic; with another rain shower bearing down from a leaden sky.

Its taken me a little while ( 18 months) to readjust to the northern light from the brightness of Andalusia and the sparkling light of France and South West England; in terms of mood, also of texture, tone and colour. Looking back across the A4 now battered, studio sketch book that I kept for 2010-2011 (3 pages left then a party) the questions that I asked myself are; How do you marry deep earth tones and greys with the sparkle of bright grasses or a lightening of the sky, how do I bring in colour to a shadow without it appearing plastic, gaudy or dreamt up...there was also the constant question of style verses what I would call poem ..and how much do you allow style to dictate the content/mood of what we paint? Do we discard something that's a beautiful poem because it wont fit a certain style. Trying to learn from past masters is always useful; Picasso abandoned landscape painting, Monet indulged in his colour studies, Mondrian abstracted into space, The fathers of modern western European painting, Cezanne just painted the way Cezanne painted, unaffected by others; Pissaro worked with a number of styles before finally giving them up finding them to restrictive and painting in the way he felt best suited his subject and poetry. Turner and Constable it could be said painted for the gallery and its to their sketches and outdoor studies that you turn to in awe aided by Ruskin's dictates. Neither does to abandon style mean get sloppy, do not abandon the constant pressure of producing pieces which show good composition, geometry, draughtsmanship and that you can mix colour or place them side by side

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Great Gable from Haystacks Innominate tarn. Two paintings by Rob Miller RSA

Great Gable from innonimate tarn Haystacks

Great gable from Innonimate Tarn 2

Light that is only just light, more a kind of mid dark, it has been that sort of Summer or that kind of August at least; Here are a couple of medium sized watercolours on French Arches 200lb  paper, painted mostly from memory in terms of the sky and atmosphere, in terms of the topography  helped by my sketches from a recent walk. Working on this Lakes project has made me more in awe of Turner and his peers  who ventured out in all kinds of weather with watercolour paper and paint and in awe of my own young adventures with my brothers.
Holidays spent in Buttermere as a young youth with my brothers Nick and Andy. Causey Pike was conquered in a heat wave but now a few days later we were at Haystacks, this was the first fell that we assailed, my brothers and I, on our own in bad weather, now some some 43 years ago. Our yellow plastic cycle capes bought from Blackburn's Millets store flapped and cracked  blowing in the strong wind, most times covering our heads and obscuring our vision,  wearing our shorts and sturdy shoes we wandered for what seemed a lifetime amongst the pelting rain, low cloud, tarns and rocky outcrops of Hay stacks, we had never seen rain blown upwards before.. Concerned for our safety and lost,  we peered over one precipitous fierce crag edge, and than another and then another, whatever the direction we  took and looked  we faced an abyss until a shaft of clear bright lit up the Gables unmistakable shape, across Ennerdale, this gave us an idea of the terrain around us and we were quickly able to take a bearing and with that found our way to Innominate Tarn and hence home. Home, a squelching, field, the flooded tent, the sodden sleeping bags that mum had made us, the wet fire wood, no hot meal tonight, the damp matches and a Buttermere thunder storm throughout the night. We were geographers, explorers, travelling in Nicks 10 year old Austin A30 which we pushed up every pass as we camped our way across the Western fells Tierra Del Gatesgarth.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Hebrides Painting by Rob Miller

the deluge
Isle of Uist detail

Am an t-samhradh
Summer season
Isle of  Mull detail

Details of two new works, that I snapped on my lummix this morning for this blog; they are a sneak preview of the South Hebrides series that I am now working on. I have been wanting to paint these for ages. They focus on the wonderful island scapes and seascapes down Uist then east south east  to Oban on the mainland. The works measure 60cm x 60cm acrylic and/or oil on canvas i(ncreasingly both), with a complimentary series of smaller watercolours and drawings in a variety of mediums and sizes. I generally paint the larger canvas works whilst listening to Robert Burns poem the wrestlin winds sung by  Dick Gaughan so I've added a link below for you to enjoy. Burns poetry says it all about the glory and death of fellow creatures in the wilderness and Dick adds a genuine touch of people at work in those hard lands.   More works and music to come. Until then beannachd, farewell.

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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

A track through a beech copse. A painting by Rob Miller RSA

A track through a beech copse
acrylics on canvas 50x70
I've been meaning for some time to revisit this painting, which I started a 18 months ago when Autumn was turning to Winter and the light was growing poor. Here it is now in its entirety re-painted on a hot summers day;  now it looks  just the same as on the day I went on my walk from New York to Whalley in Lancashire. The beech copse is a fine example of Lancashire woodland,  living high above the scarp of the Ribble Valley and the road through it is still quiet and narrow. I walked this way some 45 years ago on my way from Blackburn to Pendle summit and back a regular 18 mile outing if I had nothing else to do with my time (Such was my misspent adolescence.