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Landscape Painting – Rural minimal

Last summer I started my series of “Urban Minimal” paintings of the streets of Brynmill, Swansea. These paintings were my “Hollowed Community” project which were exhibited in the that year’s Madeinroath Festival. That’s not a typo, by the way. The festival organisers stipulate that you type it as one word Madeinroath, rather than three “made in roath”. Roath is a suburb of Cardiff, by the way. They also stipulate that the “in” in “Madeinroath” has to be in red too. It’s driving my spell checker crazy!

My “rules” for composition and painting this project were:-

  1. No cars

2. No People

3. Bright light. There must be shadows – at diagonals if possible.

4. Simplified forms – there must be little detail in the final painting. I want to explore the interplay of the geometry of shadows and man-made structures – the tension between the 3D buildings and the 2D shadows. Simplified blocks of colour.

These rules worked well in an urban setting, especially with the sea light we have in Swansea.

Since then, I have been caught up in my Gower Coastal Walk.

Worms Head Coast Watch Station
Worms Head Coastwatch Station

By my calculations, I have three, maybe four more Gower walks to do in order to complete the length of coastline but other commitments are keeping me from finishing. Firstly,  I have a pile of exam scripts to mark. I am rusty and I mark slowly these days. Secondly, a summer virus has made me feel under the weather.

I haven’t consciously applied the urban minimal rules in a non-urban setting. What’s the problem? The applying Rule #1. “no cars” and #2 “no people” rules is easy enough. As is #3 “Bright light”. Then there comes the difficulty. The second part of Rule #3 “There must be shadows – at diagonals if possible.” Walking late morning, mid-day day means that there are few long shadows and they are difficult to find on beaches too. Although, there have been a few.

Langland (SOLD)


Three Cliff Bay at High Tide.jpg
High Tide at Three Cliffs Bay  Limited edition large mounted print  (free postage)

[wpecpp name=”Three Cliffs at High Tide Large Mounted Print” price=”45″]

Finally, Rule #4 “Simplified forms – there must be little detail in the final painting. I want to explore the interplay of the geometry of shadows and man-made structures – the tension between the 3D buildings and the 2D shadows. Simplified blocks of colour.” I never really followed this rule to the letter as I thought details, such as window sills, and reflected light on glass, breathed life in pictures. It was knowing where to add detail and where to simplify that was important.

Coloured Sands at Three Cliffs
Coloured Sands at Three Cliffs Bay 

Limited edition large mounted print (free postage) 

[wpecpp name=”Coloured Sands at Three Cliffs Bay Large Print” price=”45″]

Here, I have just been very cautious about going “too far” with this in a rural setting. But I have been edging that way, such as with my treatment of sand. Other aspects of my composition such as clouds and vegetation have not really been “minimal”, not in a conscious way anyway.

I think I need to challenge myself and make myself think about how I am tackling these subjects. I think my recent paintings of rural buildings (that’s cottages to you) has been much more successful.

Port Eynon Shadow (SOLD Oil on Linen Canvas, 46x38cm, unframed)

You may well say are just rural buildings instead of urban buildings. Yes, but they are stepping stones. I am still thinking about how I apply these rules when there isn’t a building in the picture!

Afternoon in Port Eynon (Oil on linen canvas 33x41cm unframed) 

[wpecpp name=”Afternoon Port Eynon ” price=”280″ align=”left”]

Port Eynon Corner (SOLD)

If you want to buy any of these painting clink on the link below each painting or look through my Buildings and Streetscapes gallery.

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24 thoughts on “Landscape Painting – Rural minimal

  1. I love these paintings, whether or not they conform to your precepts. Are not rules made to be broken anyway? The Langland shelter is a particular favourite, btw. Good luck with the rest of the walks. I’ve not been out for a while – missing it hugely but I have to get my garden into shape more urgently. Ceri

    1. I think the rules are quite useful for giving me a kick up the backside. It’s great gardening weather (with hat). It makes a nice change from British summers where you hardly go out in your garden because of the rain!

  2. And that MadeinRoath would drive me nuts…

    1. Yes, it confusing, isn’t it?

  3. These are all quite wonderful, I lived in your area when I was studying Stained Glass at Swansea college of Art. They are very evocative for me, I hope when I come home I will be able to come and buy some of your work. (iI live in NY now)
    Best wishes, Elisabeth.

    1. Swansea used to be excellent for Stained Glass (I’m not sure if that’s still true). Lucky you, living in NY.

  4. They are real good!

    Bye for now —
    Neil S.

  5. I think you’ve moved from man-made to natural . fluently. I especially like Coloured Sands at Three Cliffs Bay

    1. Thank you, David. Perhaps I have been over-thinking this one.

  6. Really lovely paintings! I especially love “Rhossili Shadow”. I would like to see what is around the bend of the road – Neek

      1. Ah! Now I can sleep at night 😉

  7. Rhossili shadow is one of my favourites. I think I remember it from one of your walk posts. Interestingly enough it was the shadow that first attracted me.

    1. We are having an uncharacteristically long heat wave in Wales right now – it sums it up for me. Usually we are looking for sun but at the moment I am heading for the cooling shadows.

      1. We have the same record breaking heat!

  8. They just keep getting better. The less they contain, the more I like them..

  9. Ik vind de kleuren in je scghildererijen werkelijk spannend

  10. I love colour, thank you, Marylou.

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