The valley trembles...

Aug 18, 2018

So I've been using cold wax for a couple of years now and have experimented with different surfaces but have always returned to the Arches paper.  I really like the absorbency of this paper but wanted to scale up.  The main sizes you can easily get hold of are their 23 x 31 cm and 31 x 41 cm pads and the loose sheets which are 56 x 76 cm.  Having been used to painting on large canvases I really wanted to get hold of one of their  9 m rolls which are 130 cm wide!

Took a bit of tracking down and a lot of patience but after trying for a good 6 months some stock did come in to an art suppliers based in Germany.


So having tracked this massive roll of paper down I was keen to get cracking... Once I'd decided on the size I wanted to cut which was basically the size of my worktop I then had the challenge of trying to flatten the paper!  Had all sorts of fun and games using paperweights and basically anything I could get hold of to keep this paper flat whilst I taped it down!... including Rebecca Crowell's oil and cold wax book!

The next challenge was applying paint.  With oil and cold I predominantly use the squeegee and a palette knife but I was struggling to achieve the effects I needed at this scale.  So I tried using one of my soft brayers which created some beautiful gauzy type effects which were just perfect for the image I was trying to achieve ie hazy early morning sun rays coming through a turbulent sky.

I was really pleased with the final image and loved how much the Yorkshire dales was once again creeping into my work.  The next challenge was to name this big beast and I felt it really need something unique to compliment the drama in the image itself. Luckily for me I have a poet in the house and was privileged to be able to use a line from one of Nick's poems... "The valley trembles under this thin slip of a morning...."

So that was that, painting completed, named and reading for framing.  Framers, Artworks, did another fantastic job on this but it did make me realise that painting this big on paper results in a very heavy frame!   Lots of lessons learned for the next big painting! 

So this is "The valley trembles..." at Art in the Pen in Skipton and I am really pleased that at this painting's first outing it actually sold!  

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