Monday, 14 January 2013

Oil Painting 56 - The German Market, Birmingham

A big thank you is due to Birmingham City Council for granting permission for me to paint amongst the action during the visit of the German Market to the city centre. If you haven't been it is quite an experience, the large public spaces are taken over by wooden lodges each selling winter food, beer or Christmas trinkets. The permitted outdoor drinking gives a relaxed atmosphere and attracts hoards of the city's workers after a day in the office. Smells of garlic mushrooms and sizzling sausages permeate the air.

These German markets really come to life when the light dulls and the strings of lights that adorn each building make the whole market glow invitingly. I wanted an image that captured some of this bright artificial light in cold dull winter days. I positioned myself alongside the large carousel that dominates Victoria Square. I had clocked this an an interesting subject when I visited the market the previous winter. It proved a really interesting challenge, mainly moving, but even in the intervals where it stopped it never seemed to stop in the same position twice.

Masses of moving intense colours filling a composition. The painting was mainly completed in dull daylight although there was a golden hour everyday at twilight when there was still enough light to see the palette and painting but little enough so that the bright lights of the carousel made it scream out in the landscape.

I enjoy how recognisable but not complete horse shapes appear out of the puzzle of moving colour. The vertical railings looping around the ride cast really interesting moving patterns of light when the daylight had gone completely.

What wasn't so enjoyable was the barrage of fairground organ music you get if you stand for days alongside a carousel trying to attract custom. The tunes this one was playing even made the news when passers by realised that 'Dambusters' and 'Dad's Army' might not be appropriate in a German Wonderland!