Monday, 29 December 2008

The bull's hollow

One of the few ponds around where I grew up is really a rather small lochan - a little loch, if I stick with Scottish terminology.

It's the bull's hollow, a depression where a peaty bog developed along a small area of open water. It's in the middle of forests, woodlands, a bit of moorland and heathland, and like so many other landmarks it has a story, which I told a couple of weeks back in my blog [see here for the story].

In any case: it was one of our first destinations for an afternoon walk, and while the rest of my family continued walking, I stayed back and after a few sketches in the moleskine (some of which I posted in my blog here), I did these two pastel sketches, trying to capture the stillness of the water surface. It was so still and so clear you couldn't really tell what was the reflection and what the actual tree.

Water reflections #2
Water reflections #2,

pastel on board, 25x35cm

Water reflections #1
Water reflections #1
pastel on board, 35x25cm

And as a belated add-on: here are some photos from the day:


Katherine Tyrrell said...

I love Water Reflections #1 in particular - there's a very satisfying organic feel to it.

I'm finding that the question of portrait vs landscape format and where to crop gets much more interesting when you have trees and reflections. Should you crop tops of the trees in reality or as reflections and, if so, which - or can you do both?

I can see that you've maybe been having a similar debate.

Gesa said...

Thanks, Katherine, yes... that was my first composition, but then I wondered about the blue sky; for a while I would avoid landscape format for landscape, and instead used an almost square format or portrait. But, I agree with you on #1... it's almost as if it tells more of a story than the second one.

As for the reflections, I primarily stuck with what I actually saw. My viewpoint was a couple of metres above the water surface, so the reflections end where I saw them end. Also, I suppose because scale and distance were more immediate and near (e.g., when compared with your cp sketch of the pond), I would have had to move much further away to get the sky reflection.

Laureline said...

I really like the composition and texture in the second piece. It's lovely.

Lindsay said...

It's so lovely to have a place where we can all indulge our watery passions. Thanks Gesa for the art and the photos!

Nice Stats this week too, K.

annie said...

Thanks for including the story of the bull's hollow, Gesa, which I had missed on your blog (at 9, I would have been terrified. Wonderful how being 13 makes a difference, and then, together, these experiences give us a foundation to appreciate and later to express the eerie). I like having the Slide beside your paintings--that place is so saturated with atmosphere that I think one could study it a long time. I keep going back to that last slide, for some reason--all those dark trees and slivers of light in the reflection -- wondering what you might do with it.

Gesa said...

Many thanks, Laura, Lindsay and Annie. Yes: this is already providing such a good place; I am quickly getting rather fond of it :)

That's such an interesting point, you're making, Annie: about how those experiences do provide the basis for expression in a variety of ways. Yes, definitely.

I hadn't been at that place for a few years, and though it was only one afternoon, it made it into something different, added something to it; and the clarity and intensity of the reflections is something I won't forget that easily. Yes, am curious myself what I may do with it... :)

Jeanette said...

I do like the reflections of the slim trees in the pool of water. I can also identify with the eerie feel of the place as there are similar places here. You've captured that feel very well in this piece.

cathsheard said...

That single greyish blue tree in the bottom sketch really rocks! Love it.

africantapestry said...

Love your pastels Gesah, and especially the colours you've used.I enjoyed seeing your photos too. It gave me a little insight into your sense of creating...seeing a scene and interpreting it Gesah-way on paper.Great!

vivien said...

mmm I can see this being the source of a fascinating series

In answer to Katherine's questions I tend to prefer more reflection and less reality in these sort of scenes - more ambiguity that way and a reliance on the reflection (maybe distorted, broken by wind or reeds adn lily pads etc) to explain the reality above. Lots of interersting variations and possibilities to play with here though.

I too have a love affair with the square format or portrait, rather than a landscape format Gesa.

Really like the pastel and the slide show adds to it. It makes me think about exhibitions IRL - a slide show of photographs, alongside the paintings, might sometimes work to increase the atomosphere and understanding for visitors

One show I did the gallery had a tape of sea sounds playing (!)

Gesa said...

Jeanette, thank you - one of the nice things over the past week at my parents is that I had a good look at the eerieness and these sketches clearly helped. As I said before in one of my posts: it's a bit scary and all the same intriguing. It's an interestig set of experiences to draw on for art. I am getting more confident in doing something like that. Very nice.

And, yes, Vivien: I think the slides work well, and your use of audio sounds great too: if it's about atmospheric sense of place, the more senses you can draw on, the better, I am inclined to say?

As for the reflections: the use of the dry and chalky pastel was an experiment. They are drawn in an exaggerated way, and I'm pleased to get a feedback from several of you which is similar to my own thoughts: that this works rather well. And, Cath and Ronnell, many thanks, too: the blue grey trunk was another experiment and I'm pleased I picked that one up. The colours are very different to my summer colours, and it was easy to pick them, something I was quite happy about.

I hadn't thought of a series, but I am getting excited by the thought. I don't have that many sketches, impression of the hollow, but a few to go by, and the reflections are definitely the starting point. Let's see...