Wednesday, 28 August 2019

An oil painting of Pendle Hills Big End The Commissions final piece oil on canvas 50x50cm by Rob Miller

An idyllic relaxing rural painting of Pendle Hills Big End Seen from the pasture lands below Little Mearley Hall Clitheroe
oil on canvas 50x50cm

One of the many thoughts that used to run through my mind , when as a school boy I sat looking out of my school window across the playing fields and roof tops towards Wilpshire and onwards was that Pendle is the final industrial fell  before the Ribble Valley leads to the Craven Fault the Yorkshire Dales. A sort of end of civilization as I knew it. Beyond this point if you kept walking you would end up near Cape Wrath without touching another town..

I've tried to paint a piece of that thought or kept that thought going as I painted. So, the final stage of painting focussed on getting the light quality and the greens to have depth in the shade whilst sparkling in the sun bated pastures and hill sides.I also wanted to create a sense of movement with the cumulonimbus clouds, wind moving across the brasses tress and into the distance.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Pendle Commission Oil Paint on Canvas 3 Penultimat

Pendle Big End Commission Paint on Canvas 3 50x50cm
Penultimate stage

This is a snap shot of the penultimate stage of a commission to paint Big End of Pendle.

I've taken a look after a couple of days letting the oil paint dry and decided to rework some parts of the painting so that I can bring out the contrasts made by cloud shadows. I particularly liked the sharpness of the dark cloud on the tip of Big End and to draw this out I've made the cumulus clouds a little more hazy. Next, I've always liked the beech copse which has remained unchanged for millenia. I  had a hard job trying to separate it, make it more defined and allow it to add more depth to the overall paintings structure by leading the eye over the ridge. As ever I need to do this by simplifying the trees and brush marks.

I've abandoned the idea of sheep in the foreground, the main geological  narrative here is the towering gritstone or millstone bulk of Pendle above a sea of limestone. The main Pendle narrative is the mystical shadows and the ancient events that took place here from neolithic times that still has people walking up the hill every halloween.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

A painting in oils of Sharp Edge Blencathra Painting in mixed media

Sharp Edge Blencathra  First wash of water colour
78 x51 cm

This is one of many drawings and paintings I've made featuring Sharp Edge which is a favourite English Lake District walk of mine. Especially so, in a cold snowy winter when the rock freezes and the grass slopes become ice fields. There's a real feeling of danger  that you can never forget. When your back down the valley in the pub that's what you remember. What you never remember is the tired legs and heavy breathing as you slog to the bottom of the ridge. Then once on rock and ice the feeling is electric and very exciting. Of course it's not Alpine as lacks the height but the steepness of the edge is there and it could be a section of an Alpine or Scottish Mountain ridge.

This drawing was started some time ago last year when the grasses were getting to that deep ochre colour and contrasting nicely with the pale grey of the volcanic rocks, the sun still high enough to cast deep shadows onto the steep rock walls of the main mountain behind Sharp Edge.

Sharp Edge 1000 x 90 Oil on Canvas

This oil painting which faces downwards into the valley was made about three years ago and found its way to a Gallery in Windermere and thence elsewhere. Ive reposted it here so that I can point out the prominent grass shoulder on the right, this is the same shoulder  that's pictured at the bottom of the  drawing at the top of this post.. 

As with all the others works I will attempt to remember to post regular updates. Many thanks by the way for all the comments to date.This wil eventually join its same size partner on the wall at the Lingholm Kitchen.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Pendle Commission Oil Paint on Canvas 3

We now have a title for this piece which is "Big End Pendle". An old and accurate name which describes this very steep slope perfectly. 

My apologies for the large signature on this 50x50cm piece It was made on my Iphone 6 plus mobile screen which isn't at its cleanest when my hands are full of oil and all over its touch screen. Also for those who have asked I will dig out my stage 2 image and post that soon.

About managing the process of painting. I have as ever interchanged the sky with others, as August in Lancashire, turned darker, colder and wetter. Yes, I am much influenced by my walks rather than photographs. As I progress through a paintings time on easel, the weather and tone can change. I don't think that makes for a problem , unless I run out of patience with myself (which is sometimes a very good thing) or the structure of the painting isn't right. Lately after the storms have gone by, some hours later a clearing patch of blue will be followed by lines of magnificent cumulus that reach all the way from earth to heaven. Inspired by this I set to and repainted the sky's light and I'm finally happy with it. 

I do love this part of my home county,  it has a freshness to it. Despite the sometimes gloomy bulk of Pendles Big End the area is wonderfully light and airy and the grasses and trees are bright leafed. |I think this may be due to the Reef Limestone  outcrop that rises just to the left of the painting. I suppose this is why this part of Pendle is so similar to the three peaks whereas the Sabden and  Roughlee areas tend to echo the Millstone Grit morands across the valley in the South Pennines.

I once walked through here on my way to Bell Busk Farm near Coniston Cold from Blackburn with my brother one school summer holiday when we had grown bored with Whalley New Road and wanted adventure.  On another occasion in the 6th Form my Geology teacher gave a wonderful day tour exploring the reef limestone, all its amazing fossils and geological and geographical circumstance. Mr James died some years later I heard,  to young. He was an exuberant inspiration to me and many others.. Happy memories.  I climbed in the quarry sometime later and badly hurt my back  not a good memory though the back pain has been a constant reminder of the place.