|Pennine Gold above Clivager Burnley Lancashire 100x100x10cm Oil, acrylic and varnish on canvas|
For the last three years this painting has hung on the gallery wall at falcon Mill Bolton as part of the Open Studio event. Every year I've taken to over painting it because I was unhappy about it. All in all its taken about 7 years to get this far with this particular scene each year it becomes a little more removed from present day realism. To many narratives maybe. I think I'm over it now that I've come to terms with the main narrative.
My Dad cycled along this road from Burnley over to Todmorden in the 1930's. His story of the trip one of many is ingrained on my family memory. A keen hobbyist he recorded many of his adventures in a wonderful copperplate hand. At his time of cycling the scene would have looked very different. An major open cast mine and many pit shafts dominated what was a very industrial landscape the open stretch of moor covered in a smog that rose from the mill chimneys and engineering works as well as the railway that dominated the straggling towns of Cliviger Bacup Todmorden Cornholme.
I came up here once back in 1976 on my way to a job interview in Bradford. I had just bought a mini which clanged its semi broken exhaust pipe from Liverpool via Blackburn. This was before the M62 was built. Proper Northern that experience was driving through many winding roads. I stopped for a packet of chips and a pint in the Waggon and Horses. Afterwards I put on my old Army Coat and left the car in Cornholme to walk up Stubley Lane climbing steeply up a brow away from the busy works and smog out onto the open moors. Lapwings and curlew and lark calls and songs vied with the sound of many sheep in the green fields. The slag heaps still black and the land along the road pitted like Flanders fields were chewed into a green turf by the many sheep. The miners were on strike then and Thatchers ruined country was very divided. Jobs were scarce, by the time I got to Bradford the teaching job that I had applied for had been cut.