Monthly Archives: April 2012

Valley of Bad Paintings

I have a favourite valley for painting. It’s near enough that I can dash there on a summer’s evening, and it’s almost guaranteed that no-one else will be walking there. Most of the time, I go there with my dog. We investigate things: streams and rocks, mainly. Sometimes we just sit, or even lie down on the springy mossy ground. In the winter, it can be a bit snow drifty, and it’s often hidden in mist.  Once as I walked right to the end (it’s a blind ending valley – the only way out is very steeply up) the mist lifted now and again to reveal the vast shoulder of the valley wall opposite. The mist makes things look even more huge than they really are. That valley wall loomed at me, towering up in a way that seemed impossible. It was quite exciting, and very still and quiet.

For some reason, although I love the valley, I can’t paint it. I tried painting there, perched high up on one side watching stormy clouds advancing towards me. It felt thrilling, but the resulting paintings were a bit crude.

oil painting on canvas, Darkness in Crosdale

Darkness in Crosdale, oil on canvas, 6x8

oil painting on canvas, Crosdale storm

Crosdale storm, oil on canvas, 6x8

On a strangely sunny evening a couple of weeks ago, I rushed out because the light was richly golden and I thought it might be hitting the side of my valley. Luckily, it lit up the hills even more when I arrived with my paints, and I tried to capture how it felt, sitting high up alone and looking at the vivid colours all around me.

oil painting on canvas, Crosdale

Crosdale, oil on canvas, 6x8

photo of dog above Crosdale

climbing out of Crosdale