This is a new ‘painting in the spotlight’ regular feature on my Studio Chat which will enable me to share and discuss my finished paintings with you. For this first Spotlight feature I’ve chosen: ‘Reflected Glory’. This is one of the first of my Mills Series of Paintings. I started it last year, during a programme I was a participant on (Find Your Voice). I completed it this summer. It is available for sale.
First, let me give you some background into my Mills Series. You can read about my interest in mills here. Ever since childhood, I have had a fascination with the Lancashire cotton mills. My father is from Manchester, UK and I have memories of driving ‘up North’ (I grew up in the south) and the murky views of the grey landscape, with the mill buildings rising up. Huge, dramatic, austere, yet connected and fitting with their surroundings. For me, the mills became synonymous with Lancashire and a metaphor for a sense of belonging and fit. This belonging and sense of place, in turn is part of my fascination and exploration in my paintings.
Painting in the spotlight-Fascinations
I now live surrounded by these amazing buildings. My studio is based in an old spinning and weaving cotton mill! I am fascinated by their history and their importance in our Industrial heritage. But I am also somewhat in love with their physical beauty-the colours, textures, peeling patinas, even (or maybe especially!) in decay. In this series of paintings, I am trying to reflect some of that physical drama. I developed ‘Reflected Glory’, and others in the series, using layers of paint, glazes, marks and paper. The layering enables me to create a depth and feeling of age, whilst the marks-the lines and patterns reflect the textures and materiality. The text comes from vintage books dating back to the early 1900s. They are detailed texts about spinning, weaving and the management of the mills at that time and were kindly donated to me by Louise Fletcher.
I start the painting intuitively, using a limited colour palette. The final palette here has evolved from a more saturated palette. The muted tones felt more in keeping with the ethereal beauty of the mills and the Northern landscape. I create studies and drawings on location as a start point and use sketchbooks to explore my ideas and thinking as I go. The evolved shapes here have a sense of the imposing structure of the mill and weaving sheds. The rich textures relate both to the buildings and the fabrics that were produced in them. They all mix together in my mind!
So far I have created 7 paintings in this series, of which this is the largest. I have a feeling that there will be quite a few more!
I do hope that you have enjoyed this new painting in the spotlight feature and please do drop me a message to let me know what you think.