05 November 2021

Corot, Corot, I know, I know,,,, gentle gloom


Evening Prayer Brunswick Heads, 3 November, 2021, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

Dark rainy springtime clouds have been visiting us for weeks now. Only a smattering of sunny days have allowed me to get to the beach to make anything. But happily, it has forced me into the studio to face my real inner demons.

These two studies are not great, but I was relieved to get out to work. The top one feels "too 19th century", as we say, but it is what it is. I accept it gratefully because I never know what I will make of a particular evening, from a particular light. Every session is an unknown destination. 

Last night was mostly clear with the usual bit of fuzz over the horizon line. They are out of order, the one below was done first, and I spent too long on it. 

The first one above was painted after the sun had set behind me, mellowing out the colours. It is my preferred time to work as I often say in these pages. It is that "Corot" moment when all the ardor of the passed day is seeping out, when one is left with sensuous grey forms still clasping fragile breath. Sometimes it feels like I'm trying to pick up a flower blossom, glued to the wooden deck after a rain.

A lingering light diffuses these gentle forms evenly as dusk penetrates the evening air, infecting it with its own gentle gloom. And the painter searches for meaning in these soft nuances of the twilight sky. 

The only problem is technical; how to still see the palette with this onslaught of the night? It is a great shame because although the colours on the palette are not easy to see, the sky still radiates with delicate light. 

The last image is a detail from the picture below. There are many paintings to be done from this idea. Somedays indeed, I come close to just painting the sky and ignoring the sea underneath, completely.

Evening prayer Brunswick Heads, 3 November, 2021, oil on canvas board, 30 X 25 cm

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