I did most of this by the banks of the river at Hue. Scooters and small motorbikes are a major form of transport here and there are lots of them. The group of people changed in this one, but the woman in the sunhat stayed. They were a family or group trying to sell tourists trips on dragon boats and boy did they try – though they left me alone – perhaps they thought I might sell them a picture.
The land in Vietnam from north to south is heavily utilised. There are paddy fields everywhere and quite a few water buffalo. Many people work on the land. It looks like hard graft – reminds me that there might be some gardening to do when I get home.
We left the enchanting town of Luang Prabang on the banks of the Mekong and travelled into the hills on some very dodgy roads to Vang Vieng on the Nam Song River which looks quote impressive with boats going to and fro along it. Then you see people wading across it , sometimes barely knee deep. The town looks down at heel compared to Luang Probang, but I managed to hire a bike and explored the surrounding countryside. This is the dry season and those who cant afford irrigation pumps leave the paddy fields for pasture for their cows. The fields have raised sheltered decks dotted about.
This small roadside farm could have been anywhere in the world, except that the fencing was made of bamboo. I was cycling back to Vang Vieng and had an hour to spare so why not paint it. I like the almost meditative aspect of sitting down painting, pausing a while, and studying the view in front of me. Even if you come out with nothing the time spent in contemplation is worth it.
Things are getting a bit hectic around here. I am off on holiday shortly and I needed to get an exhibition up and running yesterday. I am also just completing a commission that came in last week and when I come back from holiday I have another exhibition. This painting is for that later exhibition. The exhibition is about the local landscape and I need a bit of time to assess this latest effort and see whether I want to include it. I may be forced to as I need 30 pictures.
I apologise for another version of sunlight through trees on consecutive blogs, but in mitigation they are in different media.
I mentioned in previous blogs about walking with a group of French visitors who had come to Southport. On the Saturday we had a sunny walk, taking lunch on the beach at Formby. I posted a painting I did of the scene on 24th October. This is another painting based on views I saw, that day, on our way to lunch, walking through the woods to Formby and then on to the beach. I have done another, very different version of these woods. I’ll post that in my next blog.
I tried to keep this painting very loose; spraying the paper with water and then throwing paint into the dampened area after which I then drew into and painted with a brush. As I was building up layers of paint I spayed in masking fluid both on dry and damp paper at differing times of painting, so the masking fluid covered different colours and tones.
The other week when I went to get some reference material for an upcoming show, low morning sun-light exploded in between the leaves and branches of the willow trees which sat in the drainage ditches along the road I travelled on. Fortunately I had my camera beside me and I was able to snatch a few snaps. Even better was the fact that I managed to keep the car on the road at the same time and no passing motorists were harmed in the taking of these images.
I have been assembling and framing the paintings for the show and will be taking them in next week for hanging. I had forgotten about these images until I came across them the other day when I thought that I might make something out of them.
I did the original sitting by the river at the end of June and posted it at the beginning of July but thought that it might be worth having another go in the studio. I loved the different levels the river had created and their shadow lines and the light reflecting off the damp mud. I also scattered some animals about, all of which I had seen as I walked along the river. Having climbed over a fence to get there, solitude and calm abounded on this still summer’s morning.
I am just completing my local series. I wanted some long format paintings and selected this view which I have painted before. It is the road out of Birkdale, across the low lying moss away from the sandduned coast. In the early morning the light is low and casts long shadows and concocts mysterious shapes in the distance.