This morning the low sun cast long shadows on the road to Coveney. The farm vehicles were busy churning up the heavy clay soil and making new tracks along the lane. My road bike with limited tyre tread added to the precarious nature of the journey. It is a beautiful time of the year in the Fenland.
This image was taken a couple of weeks ago in the grounds of Anglesey Abbey near Cambridge. For those who are interested, I used a Canon 5D2 with a 17-40 lens; the camera was on a tripod and I took 3 bracketed exposures to capture a wider range of tonal values. I only needed 2 of the files to achieve the balance I wanted between the sky and the land. The final effect was created with at least 2 additional texture layers, desaturation and selective sharpening, enhancing the illustrative quality.
This is a mixed-media landscape painting on a 103cm x 76cm deep edge canvas. It is semi abstract and expressionistic in terms of technique and style. It is based on my day to day experience of living in the dramatic Fenland landscape of East Cambridgeshire in England. The heavy texture of the painting combines gesso, sand, plaster and oil paint. The material and paint is applied with a variety of tools including brushes and palette knives with the surface is built up in layers and glazes over a period of time. I have been influenced by the contemporary artists Anselm Kiefer and Gerhardt Richter.
Each image in this Fenland Landscape collection has been created using a series of texture layers with additional editing in Adobe Lightroom.
‘Even here, we go carefully, for cartography itself is not a neutral activity. The drawing of maps is full of colonial echoes. The civilised eye seeks to view the world from above, as something we can stand over and survey. The Uncivilised writer knows the world is, rather, something we are enmeshed in — a patchwork and a framework of places, experiences, sights, smells, sounds. Maps can lead, but can also mislead. Our maps must be the kind sketched in the dust with a stick, washed away by the next rain. They can be read only by those who ask to see them, and they cannot be bought’.
In nature time is always occupied; endlessly engaged, transforming surfaces, altering appearances….. staining and corroding, layering and revealing, cleansing and encasing.
This image uses successive layers of cold wax, allowing for heavy impasto and fine incisions with a variety of tools and instruments. It is based directly on the landscape of the Fens seen within a ten mile radius of Ely cathedral. Most days I am out on my bike, cycling through this landscape in all weathers…I stop to draw, take photographs and just allow the scenes to etch into my memory.
I added some details to this composite image; birds circling the tower. I think it works better than the previous shot.