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Overground Underground
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Dawn Chorus - 2010/11

Throughout spring I have been immersed in bird song.  Rising before dawn, I worked for 2 hours, rapidly sketching my response to the birds; for the first hour I couldn't distinguish colours so worked in monochrome.

Identifying individual birdcalls was not my intention, (l can only recognize a few), but rather to weave together an integration of experience into an image, capturing "The saturated moment" (T S Eliot)

Some definitive sounds were given shape and  colour eg, Cockerel - terracotta zigzags;

Blackbird - Prussian blue loose loops and swoops; Collared Dove - silvery linked loops and the Chaffinch - gamboge Orange staccato strokes. Trains, planes and traffic are black or brown slashes  and the church chimes became Cadmium yellow strokes. Visual effects are evident too, frost patterns on the  windows, a waning moon over rooftops and one lit window.

These paintings have been worked from my sketches, some catch the immediacy of the moment while others are composite images of a particular morning.

Overground/Underground - 2010/11

The limestone rocks of the Peak District are riddled with caverns containing the unique Blue John quartz.  I have often painted  the area of the caverns.

This year I obtained permission to work inside the 4 main caves which are open to the public, spending a whole day in each, sketching and painting.

From these underground sketches and sketches from outside I produced 4 paintings

Dawn Chorus