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Woke up this morning feeling incredibly sad. Hard to express the emotion but I just needed to get out of the house and away from my life for a little while. I really am not well enough to have done such a thing but occasionally you have to push if just for your own sanity, I suppose.
It was absolutely pissing it down with rain but the escape of it, it felt like a somewhat charming addition. Not a warm one, I certainly wasn’t comfortable, but it’s good to be out in the fresh air.
I had a drive around the Wye Valley, revisited Bigsweir bridge, where I’d been much earlier in the fall. It’s interesting to see the contrast from then and now, how different the feel of it is in the early fall in cool sunlight to the grim looming cloud of the oncoming winter. The rain was just incredible, with roads flooding everywhere, water flowing down paths in the hills underfoot.
I confess I’m not a fan of rural life, or of trees, I have a lot of gripes with its inaccess, and the rising levels of poverty as jobs leave the area and support is being reduced are startling. Trying to see beauty in an area with so much isolation, destitution, and suffering, I find it very hard to separate the aesthetic and the living, not least because the rural setting is what has been responsible for so much of it. It’s difficult not to be resentful, but I can appreciate that it’s beautiful, even if I do have wet socks.
I find something very calming in blending and clean lines. I don’t know what it is, but during times of struggles, especially with my mental health, little has a more positive impact on me than painting.
It’s not easy, my hands are pretty well knackered, the joints have trouble holding together without the assistance of tape when doing things like this, but the pay off for the positive calmness of creation is immense.
One of my favourite things to paint is particle trail-inspired tracks on space-like landscapes. Blended blues, blacks, whites into a deep and sombre emptiness.
Inspired by NASA’s Astrology Pics Of the Day, I’ll load up a canvas and ragroll and blend for hours. Working and reworking the paint until I find pause to go ‘that’s it!’
Over the blend goes chalk outlines; swirls and spirals, lines darting off in this direction and that. I don’t always follow them but it’s a good guide to have, showing me where the canvas should be loaded with activity and where it should be empty.
Over the chalk goes acrylic ink to set a clean outline and add some boldness, gently going over and over, layering and building it to stark white streaks.
Lastly comes the white acrylic. Using a fine brush I go over everything, making the contrast as high as I can, adding artefacts to emulate stars, planets, and debris.
While the end result may not always be true to the actions of observed particles, the process is a soothing blessing, if a challenge in itself.
Some additional paintings in this style