Tuesday, 29 January 2013

"Snow.." by Pete Brown

11:53pm, Sunday, 27th January 2013
I love it!
It was going to snow all the previous night and all day on Friday 19th of January here in Bath and as we all know goddam everywhere!  It is such a transformational, transcient event that it simply can not be ignored and when it comes I can not get enough.  So that ‘eve of snow’ - the Thursday night - it was as close as it gets for me to the night before a major exam.  Replace sharpened pencils, the favourite ink pen, lucky gonk and last minute revision with a cleaned, feshly laid out palette, grounded boards and canvases of ALL sizes, a stock take of thermal layers, gloves, hats.. (with spares) and the gonk - my faded red cap.

Day one, as it was relentlessly snowing hard small icey crystals, was a complete write off and I returned home with 4 aborted attempts to soggy, cold, excited sledged out kids with stories of snowmen and collisions on the slopes, a grumpy dad.  I painted over the weekend and found myself more relaxed on the Sunday and when darkness fell took the little ones sledging on the pitch and put which overlooks Bath on the northern slopes.  It was fantastic but while I was there was taken by an amazing view of Bath I’d been told about by locals for the last 20 years which I had always dismissed and ridiculously or arrogantly never checked out. Well add a twilight extended by luminous lilac snow to it and I had a 20 x 40 painting in my head.  It was one of a few I worked on until this Friday just gone but the one that has stuck in my head.  I’d work on it early darkness/light in the mornings and late light/darkness at the end of the days.  Painting twilight involves mainly memory and anticipation and particularly trying not to do too much when it is dark!  The paintings are not yet photograghed.  Most of them need more work on architectural detail and drawing which I knew I could sort out on overcast days later on.

For now, here is a pic of my first day’s madness - the easel at the end of an attempt at early light on that Friday. The pallette is mainly snow, the turps is ice and the glaze medium - a slush puppy (the view incidentally is to left of shot):

The last day - snow had melted in Bath and I had to make a trip to Yeovil.  I drove through a winter wonderland and on the way back with a hour of light I was desperate to try and capture that amazing cold white and tried to paint a couple of fields of deep snow:

In Bath we don’t just knock up snowmen (no I did not do it - 3D and me do not mix well!):

I got very annoyed when I’d ask people how the snow was where they had come from.  They consistently got it wrong.  They’d say “Oh it’s really bad!” “You mean no snow””No tonnes of it””Well that’s GOOD not bad!”
I know it is dangerous for the elderly and for those who are self employed and are forced to look after the kids and lose work, it’s not great.  But particularly on those first two days I just met people who couldn’t stop smiling.

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