Friday, 28 December 2018

Gloaming 3 Besides the pond oil on board

Gloaming 3 Besides the pond Heights Farm Lancashire oil on board
Do we imagine things in the gloamin? Do we really feel a real change in energy?  I'm referring to that point or moment when the dark descends to a  hush and all birds fowl and animals mark a distinct end point in the daily song of the land. Almost as if  mother nature holds her breath a hush or  stillness much like that in a moment of silent prayer a meditation. In the trees next to my favourite Barn a small owl squeaks its way into the evening and up on the hill top by the pond movement carries on in silence.

Night slides over the land as does dawn in an endless planetary dance. So powerful is our earth and yet so fragile, the gloaming is like the wings of a butterfly. I've come to be a regular by the pond though most days are wet.This piece is a remembered one,  a look a lingering  moment and then a dash down the hill up and over the increasingly bogy style where the brood mares live and into the studio to paint. Te greatest stress is have I marked the floor which equates with paint it get it on and dont touch it.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Gloamin 3 Some thoughts arising from painting in the gloamin

So far I've sketched and painted the gloamin in pencil charcoal water colour and mixed media. Fairly quickly in my slightly smaller than A4 sketch book. This time I took a small selection of oilsWorking in oils and a 24x30cm board. This medium gave a different feeling, more measured more thoughtful.

"The last white cloud, fragile but still complete,  floats above a darkening strip of blue grey. the cloud glowing above a ridge until enveloped by rising night is reflected in a pond atop the Heights. The heights a barren thin soiled stretch of poor pasture high above Wheelton and the coastal strip below.

When I think of painting or walking at nightfall or dusk, especially in view of the coast I had never thought to look away from the setting sun. I always watched westwards looking to the last glimmer of sunset.  I was blinded probably by the oranges and reds and bright spectaculars. Yet I liked what I saw when I turned Eastwards today and I watched in the coming night.

The action of looking for the dusk  for nightfall for gloamin introduced a whole new range of colours and hues. I say looking for the dusk not at the dusk,  because I don't think that you can look at the dusk, you can only look for it. More than that, I should say you can only feel for gloamin. Its not day its nothing thats clear gloamin messes with our senses. It's all so indistinct, changing, lowering, fragile, light imperceptible different yet becoming the same. Boundaries between hard and soft are gone, wet and dry land are morphing sky and earth all the same. As we walk we stumble, distances become altered steps become dangerous and as our vision decreases so our other senses that we have forgotten are more attuned. Sounds magnified and feelings concerns enhanced. There is a moment a hush a silence a common bond almost a prayer when all birds and animals quiet themselves pre dusk. If your lucky you hear it and you feel the bond as we take watch on the torments of the night and await the sun.

Visually,  now I'm not even sure whether I actually saw the colours I painted, they seemed okay then and as usual back in the studio doing my tidy up bit I had to work hard to leave the painting be. Here in this gloaming world without the sun,  darkness true darkness doesn't exist. Cold exists increasingly exists. Gloamin in between day and night except when maybe you light a lamp and destroy your vision of the new night.  Is that why gloaming is now an old word. Did we forget it existed when we turned on the switch and burnt our personal bridge between day and night. Is this lack of gloamin awareness the reason why we don't seek a bond between god and self, nature and humanity? Afraid of the dark?  Not any more see I have a switch! Look I can see, feel  the warmth from the gas heating, I can look at television.

Do we forget to live the day, celebrate the experiences of a moment that have been lived since time began.  Did we leave that existential daily experience to become buried in the detritus of the everlasting electric day?  We no longer bother to use many of our human innate intuition skills. Maybe we are loosing our senses."

Rob Miller Dec 10th 2018

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Painting the Gloamin 2 Sketch book

Gloamin 2

Across the fields towards Pleasington Lat light

Farmhouse behind some trees Dole Lane early
dusk after the rain

Images glanced at and remembered in no particular order
Gloamin abstraction
Evening sky after rain acrylics

The Lake District is and as always been a perfect place for a painter and fell walker.  

“ For me, wherever I am, the inspiration for my landscape paintings comes from both painting and walking in the land. I see this as a meditation which provides me with a direct sense of place. For me, making a painting is like writing prose or a poem, both an expression of a feeling and an impression of a place. Depending on the nuances of the paint the wind or sun my work finishes somewhere between abstraction and figurative. “

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Painting the gloamin

Gloamin 1.

Writing as a Landscape Painter on the subject of painting landscapes of the Moors and Valleys of Lancashire in winter. I always feel slightly down at heart when November ends and the evenings draw in with  full dark  at about 4.30pm. In the past especially when I returned from painting in Southern Spain I ignored this feeling of melancholia by  painting away at a canvas with oodles of bright colour only to have to scrape it all off and paint it again because it didn't feel quite right. My partner and friends aghast at my actions. I've worked hard to make myself a painter whose responsive to what's around me and its difficult for me to switch that lever to off. My  paintings would change as the sky lightens at the end of January. The worse case scenario is a wet Lancashire winter which sometimes lasts until Easter when spring and colour bursts forth.

Around that time I had a number of large commissions which called for bright spring light. Luckily my studio was and is windowless so that my bread and butter work could carry on under bright lights from the English Lighting Company along and a blaze of colour that bounces from one painting to the next.

This year I'm going to try something new and welcome melancholia by walkin and drawin in the gloamin this weird time of the day and year.  I'm taking my cue and inspiration from Poets who are Land based. Like Wordsworth, Jaccottet plus the excellent work of Scots Poets such as Alexander Grey, John Stuart Blackie and Kathleen Raine who describe the daily living made from scratching the poor soil of the uplands. Winters good for poets, for them its a time to sit in front of the fire, reflect and make poems. The same can be said for painters.  How to maintain interest in gloom can be read as how to maintain interest in the day.

Gloamin 1 drawing mixed media on paper Charcoal, ink, watercolour

With this in mind I set out to conquer melancholy.Once started and in the painting zone in winter  I find it hard to tear myself away. Though I know the benefits of good fresh air and exercise. To do this I set my alarm for 4.15pm, strap my fitbit to my wrist, get into my buffalo jacket pick up my sketch bag and I go and make drawings. I'm lucky that in  just a few minutes walk from my easel and tables, up a track there's  an old rough stone wall to sit on. From this vantage point a view of soft browns emerge the top of tree branches brushing a greying orange sky, high above deep grey blue clouds arce. To my right above a hedge of stunted scrag end Hawthorne blown lateral a cold grey colour block of sky turns dark. This is a good place for drawing the living landscape drawing with charcoal and watercolour. Further into the wood an enormous chattering group of Crows emerge as they scold a fox or another walker and his dog. I wander over a still green field, onto the flat ridge top its crusty inch of soil spotted by outbreaks of millstone. Over the field a view of a steadfast copse of ancient twisted beech is loosing itself in a smudge of brown. Beyond all this a still glittering band of sea stretches from Barrow down along Lancashire's silver coast, to Liverpool and North Wales. A splendid place that is quintessentially Northern. To the west a dimming orange horizon spreads up to a silver blue that shivers between the trees. This is the gloaming the moment of near dark a still light lingering and flickering as the winter sun slowly ebbs away.

Fact check I use the word gloaming because I like it very much. I first heard it in the poetry and songs of the Scots and of late via an Irish group of musicians. According to the dictionary it's also an old English word descended from the Norsk settlers. Here's a dictionary definition of Gloamin. which is a very very old word,…/roaming-in-the-gloaming/,