Tuesday 9 September 2014

Back to black and back to the Pennines

Raining stair rods over recent Pennine snows
Black and white mixed media on heavy duty cartridge paper
14.5 x 14.5 inches
Framed in black stained ash bespoke frame behind glass, mounted with deckled edge showing to all 4 sides

In my last post I mentioned how strong, compelling and appealing a black and white image can be. The focus of a black and white painting, drawing or image is realistically in tone and line and combinations of both.

Black and white tone allows you to express in an instant what colour takes a much longer process to visually express. Thus, when working with colour, my work takes on a different meaning or perhaps a different focus - mainly texture, 'colour' itself and light. 

For black and white drawing and painting the essence is upon the ambiance - the landscape a a whole. There is no hiding! As they say, 'it's there in black and white,' cut down to the essential ingredients - pure.

First snows of winter in the high Pennines
Black and white mixed media on 'Arches' 140lb (300gsm) Rough 100% rag contet watercolour paper
22 x 16 inches
Framed in black stained ash bespoke frame behind glass, mounted with deckled edge showing to all 4 sides

The same can be said for photography in many instances with many landscapes that persuade the artisan photographer to convert or think in terms of black and white and in so doing often such images say 'more' and make a stronger statement than introducing colour into the frame or composition. 

However, colour has it's moments too (for reasons explained) for photography and painting but as a parallel photographers and artists working with black and white have to work harder to evoke the essence of the scene since colour can be so easily distracting and black and white, as stated - pure.

Deep in the Pennines, on the high moors the landscape can appear 'flat' - void of interest in terms of colour. convert to black and white or think as an artist in terms of black and white and this upland world takes on a new meaning! 

The harshness of the environment with the abandoned homes and upland farmsteads disappearing into the landscape with the collapsing walls doing the same, broken and strung out along a much forgotten landscape makes you think in terms of line. Twisted and bent trees which struggle for survival in the thin soil agains constant high winds, their rough and ragged shapes against the skyline - thoughts of line again. 

Hills that appear and disappear in upland mists over soft tussock grass high amongst the abandoned land -  one can only think of tone, simple and pure as different shades of grey.

With thoughts and direction such as these I tread the upland moors with a great northern photographer Richard Littlewood who is a fantastic artisan who uses his camera to paint with the light and extract the pure raw essence from the landscape he knows so well close to his home town of Huddersfield. You only has to look at his portfolio to understand his empathy with his subject.

The landscape in these upland reaches appeals to us both in very similar ways - Richard with his camera and me with my sketchbook and pastels.

We return again mid September. I'm really looking forward to that!


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