Two watercolours of two views whick look in opposite directions West and East. The initial images were taken near the garden at Holden Clough by John. They set the tone and the narrative of a steep wooded valley with a bright aspect. Pennine mists rising away from a warming spring or autumnal sun. This captures the mood of The Grane. A valley steeped in Lancashires industrial past and having bared its soul to all that man can throw at it The Grane survives, a special place with beautiful woods, meadows, high moorlands and the shining waters of a series of deep reservoirs. My commissions narrative to capture the special nature of Holden Clough and The Grane for the family.
I selected eight mono colour small paintings from a series of pencil drawings that I felt showed some of the characteristics of The Grane and that explored some different views taken during walks through The Grane from near Holdens Wood. Wooded country walks never far from water made rare and more beautiful due to their location between Lancashires Towns.
Through a series of emails and telephone conversations we narrowed the choice of the final piece down to three works which are mentioned here in no particular order Springtime Holden Clough, Leys Farms and A view from the garden at Holden Clough. Luckily this decision was followed by a fine early spring morning. With everything fresh to mind I set off to Holden Clough. I found a corner out of reach of the fresh cold wind and made a couple of sketches to get a painterly view rather than a slavish, rote image from a photograph alone. Back in the studio I fairly quickly drew the final detailed drawing "A view from the Garden at Holden Clough". For me the use of photography must be checked out by on site sketches and preferably matched with pochade paintings to maintain my artistic integrity. If that’s not possible than a pochade in oil based on a slide show or short movie of the subject matter freshens the eye.
I transfered the work using both the final drawing and more gestural final sketches. The gestural sketches I try and do as much as I can from memory and if that fails I revist the view on location and restrict my work to charcoal or 6B pencil with watercolour. I use these as a reference alongside a brief piece of prose and a remembered poem.
Ted Hughes is one poet whose rural poems on Elmet share a love of lonly wandering set against a symbolic harshness of the beasts who live their lives. Hence the two sheep in the foreground and the lamb whose lonely cries became a backdrop to my sketches and wanderings.
Early phrases of each paining developing the topography detail and the frm of the hills and woods in oils on canvas
A view from the garden at Holdens Wood Haslingden Grane" 100x100cm oil on canvas
Below Springtime Holdens Clough Haslingden Grane 50x40cm Oil on Canvas
Right Leys Farm Haslingden Grane 50x50cm oil on canvas