Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Willow Spotlight

Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches

I liked the light of this subject, predominantly in shade, with a few spotlights from the early morning sunshine picking out the Willows' branches. I particularly liked the orangey-red of the top of the Willow in the back centre of the composition. It's never easy to stop the eye whizzing out of the picture when following a river, but nature provided an old, fallen tree on the right bak to poke the eye back again.

Most of the tree work was done with my 1" household brush, layering subtle colours and tones on top of each other to give that sense of depth, with a few soft strokes of a more heavily loaded brush dragged over for the highlighted tracery.

I went out on Sunday morning, opting for taking some photos of the sun rising through the morning fog and frost, rather than a round of golf, and had a great time drinking in the atmosphere and watching the birds. Goldfinches were busily teasing out the seeds from the heads of the abundant Burdocks, a pair of, arguably, England's most spectacularly beautiful birds, male Bullfinches, were hopping along a hedgerow, keeping just ahead of me, and a three or four of the country's smallest bird, Goldcrests, were busying about amongst a thicket of brambles, with their tiny, mouse-like seeps calling out.

I stopped off at a local wood on the way home, where a stand of Beech trees was alive with Blue and Great Tits, all feeding amid the lush carpet of fallen leaves and Beech mast. It's great to be at one with nature sometimes - just to stop and watch as our fellow creatures go about their business of staying alive.

In sharp contrast, I watched a short video and made a donation to PETA, who do stirling work to promote the ethical treatment of animals. This film shows the bloody hell of a Chinese slaughterhouse, where, one after another, dogs who have been bred or stolen, are pushed into a room and are clubbed to death, or near death, before being skinned for making leather goods. It's sickening and harrowing, but needs to be watched. It was my birthday three days ago, and it would be a wonderful present if some of you would consider donating to PETA, whether you can stomach watching this gruesome short film or not. Here's the link: https://secure.peta.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=5&ea.campaign.id=34529&ea.tracking.id=H14LEA_C_FB


  1. These things happen everywhere in the world, in our oh-so-civil Western countries and probably not far from our homes, and they're all here to stay and probably get worse as we keep spreading on the planet.

    After having tortured myself with so many of these terrible videos I just came to realize that this is man's nature. We spare dogs in the West of course because we have made a habit of selling inbred puppies for a much larger profit (if only the Chinese knew!), but take rabbits or lambs or chickens or any animal we don't deem worthy of our Western mercy, and we'll happily commit the same flavor of brutality (Animal Equality recently posted videos of similar things happening to rabbits, in Spain... this time for meat but I don't think the rabbits cared).

    Adn then this horror is what allowed man to take pride of 'progress', and man will never give up his 'progress' when it will be time to (truly) choose. Millions of animals are tortured in labs for research, will the Western world ever give up research to spare animals? Is there anyone willing to make his child's health even slightly worse for the sake of mercy? Of course not. So the thing we're most comfortable doing is call out those who commit brutalities without such an elegant excuse.

    I'm horribly pessimistic... But all I see mankind do to cope with these horrors is hide them away in some other country so the consumer's hands are clean... 'Outsourcing', putting all the ugly business somewhere else, far from our daily lives and from our conscience. Just like we abolished slavery by having the slaves do their slave jobs in another continent, we'll probably 'get rid' of animal cruelty by making it happen behind heavier doors.

    I apologize for the terrible thoughts, but I suppose this is what the Internet is for.

  2. Regetfully, you're bang on the money Anonymous. If you were so inclined, you could actually go mad thinking about the hell that goes on behind closed doors, day after day after day after day, just to keep us humans alive. We are the top predator at the head of the food chain, and we are all guilty of these horrors, but I fear it will always be so, unless there is a massive ground-swell of feeling for our fellow creatures. It's a fact though, that whenever I post something similar on Facebook, there are next to zero comments, but my paintings get loads of comments. People really don't seem to care, or prefer to just put it out of sight as you say. Depressing isn't it?

  3. Is this also a 3 pigment painting. Today's , Jan7, was very impressive.

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