Morecambe Bay . Hesk Bank Mornings . Autumn . Oil Paintings-studies by Rob Miller RSA
By Rob Miller, Feb 7 2018 01:04PM
The three studies below are an autumn selection that form a part of a sequence of paintings of the Lancashire Coastline and the Morecambe Bay region of the Irish Sea. This area is renown for its silvery light caused by the shallow waters of the bay which acts like a giant mirror and the limestone outcrops surrounded by the dark Pennines and the Granite of the high Lakeland Fells. Its waters and landmarks are also a product of a century or more of ship building, Fishing, heavy and light industry, mining, nuclear and green energy. Fracking is the latest invasive action by man and though opinions are mixed it represents perhaps the greatest of dangers from pollution to the land and sea, time will tell.
The different lights of morning and afternoon have always fascinated me, the way the shadows alter and colours ebb and flow. I wonder if its only through the painters eye that this phenomena can be studied as opposed to the camera. Standing or sitting by the easel creating a number of paintings of the same scene almost like a delayed or continuous shutter. The ebb and flow of the tide, the patterns of current and the changes in wind and wave, along with the formlessness of the sea and sky, add to a sense of timelessness that can only be captured in wet fluid brushstrokes. There are patterns here that do replicate themselves Piet Mondrian was one artist whose work moved from a naturalist perspective to a formal kind of experimentation..much as an interior designer would create colour swatches from the landscape to inform the interior of a house.
Whether its in oils or water based media there are many challenges to creating a good marine or seascape painting that are all about the ability to select and use materials and how we manipulate paint. I cannot fault the article below written by Richard Johns for the Guardian Fri 5th Nov 2013. Its well worth the read Excerpt from The Guardian Today JM Turner The Master of The Ocean
"A broad sweep of cobalt blue, applied across a wet page with a few strokes of a loaded brush, sets the scene. The dampness of the paper gives the artist a valuable few seconds to manipulate the vibrant watercolour before it dries: enough time to add a disorderly flourish with the tip of the same brush (without pausing to adjust the colour) to indicate a fully rigged ship sailing into the picture from the left; and to work a neater, calligraphic pattern into the blue to suggest the rolling breakers of an agitated but unthreatening sea. The lightest of washes above and below denote the sky and a sandy beach, while a handful of darker yellow marks towards the bottom of the page indicate something else. With an economy that few artists have been able to match, Turner evoked a coastal landscape – the kind of marine view that he had created countless times before, in all manner of ways. It belongs to a group of several hundred rapidly made and highly expressive watercolours, sometimes referred to collectively as colour "beginnings", that form part of the body of preparatory studies, unfinished work and related items from Turner's studio that went to the national art collection after his death in 1851. If such works are experiments, they are so only in the loosest sense of the word, as exercises in imagination. After a lifetime of experiencing and imagining the sea, there was little practical value to be learned from such experiments, which seem to convey their maker's undiminished delight in the materials and techniques of his profession, and in the process of transforming unadulterated colour into a boundless seascape. "