The excitement for me as an artist lies not in exploring the unknown but in how I can effectively organise a visual arrangement that reflects the atmosphere and intensity of an environment, evoking a precise moment of the day under specific light and conditions. I hope you enjoy the work
Feature of the week 18/02/2018
I have painted this bridge where I used to live several times before I returned to depict it again in 2016. It brought back memories of hearing the first train rattling past at 5.15 am. In those days I had little money for travel and I dreamt of exotic destinations that the train might take me to. In fact it is primarily a link-line that runs between Limehouse and Stratford!
Eventually I did travel on this line to Amsterdam via Harwich, crossing the bridge and catching a brief glimpse of my
Bridge over the Regent's Canal
house as the train flashed by. It was March 1985 and Holland which I had never visited, was cold, rainy and windswept. The light was grey, translucent and watery. I saw many wonderful paintings but the one that impressed me the most and to which I return again and again, was Vermeer’s ‘View of Delft’ in the Hague. I thought of it when I viewed this stretch of water and the bridge two years ago when I did a ‘walk-about’.
I have tried to convey something of the space and airiness that one observes in the Dutch masters, usually as a result of the reflections from the water. This openness is obtained in spite of the constrictions due to the narrowness of the canal streets and tall houses.
Another aspect of this composition I was intrigued by was the towpath disappearing out of view. I have walked the path many times, always wondering will appear round the next bend. In this instance the wedge shape of ‘The Ragged School Museum’ comes into view preceded by the trees of ‘Winter/Summer in Mile End Park’, but large and mature now. On the left, are the modern, bijou residences that have replaced the Guinness Trust red brick blocks of flats from the 1930s.
I mostly remember solitary walks early on Sunday mornings before even the anglers had set up. I was a woman on a mission as there was a bakery in Ben Jonson Road named ‘Walls’ that made bread rolls on the premises. They were very good and sold out extremely quickly. I would do a circular tour returning home via St Dunstan’s Churchyard and Flamborough Street.
This painting, which I began in Summer 2016 has taken a while to arrive at a point where I’m happy to share it. Although small 16” x 16”, it appears to retain a certain scale and in fact it might seem strange how a small image can sometimes suggest broadness and breadth. I have had to reduce the number of activities taking place in order to create the lightness and airiness I was aiming to capture. The jogger looks modern, intent and purposeful but I wonder what the figure shuffling along mid-distance is thinking?