Monday, 4 June 2012

Oil Painting 21 - Pontcysyllte aqueduct

The big one! One of the wonders of the waterways, the longest and highest aqueduct in Britain and a UNESCO world heritage site. This Aqueduct is a terrific experience for any boater, as you pass over there is no barrier protecting the boater's side, and the thin cast iron trough the canal flows through, is pressed against the side of the boat giving the illusion of floating in mid air and a completely unhindered view of the 126ft drop. A bizarre phenomenon for a boater used to weaving underneath cities to now be floating above tree tops and the River Dee with birds flying underneath you.

Now, how to represent it? My gut instinct was to try and capture this drama from a boater's perspective, to sum up the drop from high up, but the feasibility of actually doing this was proving difficult. The popularity of this spot means there are usually boats waiting to cross so parking the boat in middle and trying a quick painting was impossible; then there was the towpath side, possibly a view peering over the barrier similar to Oil Painting 20 - Chirk Aqueduct, except to get the drama of the drop you have to wander to the middle of the Aqueduct and the towpath is so narrow that it is diificult for two pedestrians to pass anyway, let alone with an artist, a large oil paint soaked canvas and all the trimmings that come with producing the works entirely en plein air. 

I might have to swallow the exclusivity to 'on-location' with a painting from the top of the aqueduct and produce a further memory studio painting utilising the pencil sketches and dare I say it - 'photographs'. In the meantime, you get the 100% on location, 100% enjoyable to produce Oil Painting 21, looking up at the Aqueduct from the viewpoint of stood in the River Dee. The water study this year was coming in to play again, this time with more dynamism having a rushing river flowing around my sandaled feet! A big square painting produced during this Mays heatwave. Very lucky to be based in such a spectacular location with such weather.

Oil Painting 21 in situ

View from the Aqueduct of the painting being produced

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