I’ve been very active in the last month, with 4 paintings completed since my last blog. With just a month to go until my next exhibition I hope to complete at least 4 more, and several of them will be based on the industrial site that inspired my latest (above).
Abbeydale industrial hamlet is an old water powered forge and crucible works, dating back to at least 1713. Used to make agricultural handtools until the early 20th century, it has been open to the public since 1970, and is run by Sheffield Industrial museums trust. I have visited, explored, photographed and sketched it on a number of occasions, and particularly appreciate the times when the forges are lit, and blacksmiths ply their trade. This is a working museum, and whilst the vast tilt hammers that I have depicted in operation cannot be run, the wheel that powers them has recently been restored, and I look forward to seeing it run. Wheels, hammers and lungs is the first of a series, and the title refers to the ingenuity of a design that harnessed waterpower to drive the hammers, forge bellows, grinding and finishing wheels that enabled the mass production of scythes, an essential agricultural tool until the mid 20th century. I have also tried to give a sense of the claustrophobic, hot, dirty and noisy conditions which were the norm during the industrial period. It was an interesting challenge, as my technique and style do not lend themselves to indoor environments. I found it hard going at times, but am sort of pleased with the result. I hope you agree it was worth it.
The painting, along with many others, will be shown at the joint exhibition that I will be staging with my good friend Paul Dearden. In our own way, we each portray the essence of landscape, seeking to bring out the unique elements that define a location. I hope you can join us on the opening night, or at any other time during the fortnight – a photo cannot convey the reality of a painting, come and see the real thing 🙂