In a meditative manner, to the music of Eric Satie’s gorgeous “Trois Gymnopedies”, I attempt to describe how working close to nature but in the city is a major influence on my painting, blending with my technique to create my artwork. In fact, place and painting are inseparable. I am greatly influenced by the light and beauty in Wales and around the Swansea area in particular. Most of my paintings inspired by the bountiful beauty that surrounds me, the sounds as well as the images. You might even notice the odd inspiration that made it to be a painting too (as well as the odd painting of my inspirational Swansea). Welcome to my Attic Art Studio and the place that inspires much of my artwork. https://vimeo.com/104913701
I painted this post fauvist portrait of my husband, Seamas, as a birthday present. The strange thing is that the further the way one steps from the painting, the more it resembles him!? I called it the “Image of Him” because some have said I have also “caught” his resemblance to his father in this portrait also. Hence ,as they say back in N Ireland where Seamas hails from, he is the “image of him!”
This self portrait is inspired by a painting by Matisse, “The Green Line” or “The Green Stripe”, also known as the Portrait of Madame Matisse, which was a portrait of his wife. I just loved, the name, the use of different colours in the background and the bold use of different colours on the sitter’s face, particularly the “green line”.
I have tried to re-interpret this effect in a post fauvist or refractionist way. I have heightened the colours created by light following on different parts on my face, head and shoulders to show how light creates so many colours that our perception “washes” out or blends into one composite image.
I love painting snow, whether brillant midday sun, blue-tinged, snow or pinky sunset snow. I love how blues and pinks hover above the snowy white. I love the snow’s power to transform, to turn a plain town into a lovely town, and a lovely town in something quite majestic. In “Crick and Surrounds” the lovely village of Crickhowell is transformed into a picture-postcard beauty by the snow and the dramatic background of the snow glistering hills. It is hugged by the hills behind or cwtched as they say in Wales. This closeness to nature is heightened by how I have bunched up the buildings and how I have tried to drape bright invigorating winter light and reassuring black velvet shadows across the roof tops. The fluffy clouds and soft blanketed snow lying sturdily across the roof tops are in contrast the cool blue streaks of paint and there is something almost edible in this effect, it almost contains a child like yearning in it’s invitation to explore this crisp wintry ice creamy joy.
Oil painting on linen canvas – I use a linen canvas with a white covering for certain types of painting such as landscapes set in Wales as there is a particular type of “Welsh light” that can be captured accurately on this type of canvas. It is extraordinary how a canvas is so conducive to a certain “national light” but all light is different depending on where one is located in the world. My husband hails for the north of Ireland where the light is brighter and more shrill, high pitched, more crisply blue white, whereas in Wales, it is often slightly or noticeably softer and in certain places tinged with warmer yellowy white. Although in this painting which is heading towards West Wales, and towards the Irish Sea the light has become more crisp and slightly tinged with blue. One can almost feel the lung filling fresh air in the blowing clouds and nasal tinging blue sky.
This is another refractionist painting – I was drawn to this painting because I love the colours that come alive not only in misty backgrounds but in backgrounds in the sun, viewed from the more darkened interiors of the wood as in this painting. I love the cool blue of the distance trees and the purple mingling with the ground and the purples there sliding across the ground, following the sun’s light into the dark of the wood. I love the spectrum of colours in the light and how the light is refracted by the tips of the trees, the last burnished leaves and the spindly branches. It produces a kaleidoscopic effect of colour.
“This is another ‘refractionist’ painting and is almost an inverse of ‘Up Cwmdonkin’. Instead of the refracted light creating a stain glass effect falling on the outside fringes of a wood, here it illuminates within the hidden chamber of a forest, which gives it a heightened, magical or enchanted feel. It feels like a secret wood of childhood fantasy and imagination. I like how the brilliant rainbow colours contrast with the jet black and how the inner sanctum of light is framed naturally by the surrounding trees, inviting one into the shower of light and colour.
But is this scene too good to be true? Is there a Brothers Grimm malevolence here, in this painting? Do the black trees signal a menace, a foreboding or do these encircling trees call one into a place of wonder and a child-like joy, where the light and colour, silence and peace rain down and let the soul rejoice? Or is it a broody chimera? Depends on your own imagination, I suppose!”
This oil painting is of a lovely country walk down Gower Peninsula, outside Swansea. Over the stile and down to Brandy Cove where brandy and other illegal booty was smuggled to shore by the frequently visiting smugglers that dropped their ill gotten gain here and in various other coves littered around the Gower coastline. I like the way the sunlight catches the tips of the tree leaves, like a translucent membrane between the brillant bright summer light beyond the stile and the darkened wood behind it.
This is quite an unusual painting of Tenby into that the tide is fully in, and the boats bob on the lapping multi coloured strips of water, which add a crispness to the West Walian light and a rich vibrancy to the coloured Tenby terraced houses, which cwtch the Harbour and lighten the spirit with a sea-salted breathiness.
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