This is an acrylic painting measuring 80 x 80 cm on canvas. It is based on the landscape of the Great Fen, thought to have once been covered by Whittlesea Mere. I have been exploring various acrylic mediums and application methods to create illusions of depth with the merest suggestion (please excuse the pun) of topographical details. The apparent speed of execution is just that….an apparition. There are upwards of 3, possibly 4 paintings buried in the decayed vegetation and peat bogs of earlier compositions.
If you are searching for the site of the Mere today you should not be looking for low-lying areas, as you might expect, but rather for very slightly higher ground. The reason for this strange phenomenon can be found by thinking about what happened to the land when it was drained.
The Great Level of the Fens is the largest region of fen in eastern England: including the lower drainage basins of the River Nene and the Great Ouse, it covers about 500 sq miles. It is also known as the Bedford Level, after Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford, who headed the so-called adventurers in the 17th-century drainage in this area; his son became the first governor of the Bedford Level Corporation. In the 17th century, the Great Level was divided into the North, Middle and South Levels for the purposes of administration and maintenance.
Please note that this painting uses iridescent paint and changes quite significantly depending on the angle of view. It is therefore quite difficult to convey the subtle shifts in tone, colour and luminance through the medium of photography.
‘Solstice’ 80 x 80 cm
‘March Levels’ 80 x 80 cm
‘NightFall’ 80 x 80 cm
‘Meridian’ 80 x 80 cm
‘Meramid’ 80 x 80 cm
I have been developing a series of semi abstract images that I call ‘The Light Series’. They represent a personal response to the landscape of the East Anglian Fenlands and are focused almost exclusively on the changing qualities of light and atmospheric conditions; different times of the day and times of year can be seen in each work. The Fenlands consist of a patchwork of reclaimed land, reed marshes, meandering rivers and ‘arrow straight’ man made waterways. In these digital reproductions it may be difficult to see the soft colour and tonal shifts; the final images are a product of successive layers of acrylic glaze applied heavily and then carefully erased to reveal veils of colour.”
‘Days stretched calm and plain to the horizon, as though we rose out of peat and will dwindle in a rumour of fog’
Words by Emma Danes
This is an acrylic painting on a high quality canvas frame. It belongs to a group of paintings I have called ‘The Light Series’.
This painting is part of ‘The Light’ series. It measures 80 x 80 cm and is based on the landscape of the Cambridgeshire Fenlands. The effect of depth and translucency is achieved by a process of layering and erasing. Paint has been thinned with a glazing medium, liberally applied with large brushes then partially removed with an assortment of old ‘T shirts’ and cloths. The parallels with stratification, sedimentation, accretion, erosion geology are potentially poetic yet alas coincidental………….ah, but are they?