early yesterday morning there was a heavy dew and a pearly light which lit the moisture on the grass and crops, not as pale as frost, palest blue sky over palest green lines of winter wheat


and the sky was half covered with thin cloud.


so I worked on a charcoal drawing from memory and imagination, remembering all the fields I saw in Old Woman’s Lane in Cley, with their different patterns of drilled wheat or barley, and the electricity poles with their cross-crossings making a different pattern across the landscape from the hedges and lanes, and the drilled lines. trying to make a rhythmic composition that expresses the textures and patterns, condensing my felt experience of these fields.


I started two paintings


one quite small, to get a feel for how colour/paint/mark-making might work


and a bigger canvas begun


layering and trying to find the same rhythms as in the drawing


then I built up the fields with their lines. the drawing was my most important reference; I saw that the foreground hedge was not solid – there was a lighter section that needed to be put back in. this worked well, the layering allowing mark-making back though the light layer back to the dark.


looking at the drawing I could see that I’d lost the drama of the electricity wires swooping right down to the horizon, so I worked back into the sky


I’ve put a lot of paint on this canvas, so you really can’t see much of my deeply textured gesso brush marks



here it is as finished as I could get in the fading light. it will be interesting to look in a couple of days with fresh eyes in a good light. but I think this is going in an interesting and productive direction.


a closer look in a better light


I think I need the acrylic to be a bit juicier for this when I get the brush involved


but over all it’s a brave step I think


started a new one today so here’s the first charcoal


felt I needed something a bit bolder


and the basic underpainting steps in place. note we have the evidence of people and machines – a flat-bed truck and a tractor in the charcoal drawings, which I hadn’t put into the painting at this point.

I think I must go and see the Paul Nash exhibition at Tate Britain.