By Rob Miller, Sep 19 2017 11:42AM
Since my last Lingholm article, almost a year ago I have spent some time developing a number of new lines and themes based around the views of the Main house from the Walled kitchen Garden. I have also revisited the Local fells and meandered alongside the Lake shore. I've also spent some time making a series of en plain air pochades 24x30cm of the small areas of the Garden and Green house on the micro areas that interested me visually. On any normal day my artistic focus is usually and totally based on my views of a landscape or a coastal scene. Its work that I have been engaged in for some years. So it was a good and valid use of time to tear myself away and explore afresh all the new challenges that engaging within a micro landscape would throw up.
The image above is one of five studies in Wallace Seymour acrylic paint titled "Kitchen Gardens, East Gate and flower bed". The warm Victorian Manchester brick stands out against the cool Cumbrian blue slate and local stone of the main house and chimneys in the background. It replicates a part of the Lakeland gardening theme of the grand houses. The theme starts with the taming of nature, then containment and finally its replacement. A riot of blue and mauve flowers contrast with a shock of yellows constrained in tidy edged flower beds. For the painter at first sight it seems that the canvas has been made, that the colours are already chosen, that the structures of planting determine each brushstrokes and that its only the movement of plants in the wind, the changing light and seasons that create nuances and circumstances to be explored. On a deeper level I also became very interested in the individual shaped/ forms of flowers such as this study below titled "Lingholm Kitchen Garden Allium." Plants also compete for light and space and I was interested to see how they work together as in the lower oil titled "Lingholm Kitchen Garden Daisies and Carnations"
The problem with painting flowers is that there are so much going on with all the structural aspects of each plants, the bed layout, the colour, form seasonal changes. Though the studies in both acrylics and oils had helped me to look at the House and Garden I felt that they were to detailed. I felt myself moving more towards a colourist abstraction as in the detail below titled "Lingholm Kitchen Garden Sunlight and wind North Bed June 17"
This abstraction fitted into the direction that I needed my work to go in. I need the viewer to recognise Lingholm and the plants as well as taking an abstracted visual journey. The whole issue of developing a body of work on the estate was about creating a 20C impression that moved 2D art further along the continuum of modernism since Lakeland artwork was begun by the likes of Beatrice Potter in the 19C. It became important to me, whilst I sat painting amongst the flowers to represent their colour as well as the overall feeling of joy that emanated from the Kitchen and from the garden as people enjoyed their day. The flowers created a warm colourfield that lift the cool lakeland greys.
The greys here are not the drab urban grey of a dull day. Generally its fair to say that a typical start to a lakeland summers day is a soft silvery one that turns gold as the suns strength grows. Its a subject matter that has attracted painters and poets to this iconic part of the world and has contributed to world heritage award for this very beautiful landscape.As in my oil painting below titled "Early Morning down by the Lake at Lingholm"
Grey mist lies over the valleys and lakes, it's the hope of the suns presence to warm the coolness of the day that makes the expectation poetic. How the tendrils of mist lift aloft to show towering steep crags and shrouded woods. Cool silvers changing subtly the wonderful bright tones of the day. Whether you see this from the Lake shore or from your boat as in the pochade oil painting below titled "Causey Pike and the Lingholm Foreshore viewed from Mid Lake" The lakeland artists day is one of continued visual fascination throughout the day.
Towards the end of June I was fortunate to meet with met with some members of the Keswick Art Society and we arranged along with the Seymour Family for me to give a talk in the Stone Room on the "Derwentwater Fells triptychs" and their preparation. Alongside Pip and Rebecca from Wallace Seymour fine art who gave a talk on their amazing fine art materials. After which we enjoyed a plate each of the mouth watering Lingholm Kitchen Scones and tea. At some point I hope to make the notes I kept into a further article on this site.
The area surrounding Lingholm is full of wonderful places to explore, walk and paint both along Derwentwater from Newlands down to the Castle Crag and beyond. As ever I made use of this when I packed my pochade box of paints to get out and about. I produced a number of smaller paintings in oils. An example is the painting in oils titled "Dalehead in July" below.
All the works featured in this article are available directly from myself and can be seen at the Lingholm Kitchen where prints are available.