The Commission & Constable Country


Wicken Fen at Dusk
24 x 48 Oil/Linen

I delivered the commission yesterday to it’s home in Norwich. This is the best photo I have been able to get. Really happy that Catherine loves the painting and it looks really good on her wall!

I have been wending my way down from Scotland, via my Dad’s, Norwich and am now in south west London. Whilst I am down here I am going to meet the owners of the Blackheath Gallery where I am joining Deborah Paris for a show in September. Plus catching up with some old friends and my kids down here. Thanks to Barbara, a good friend from my years living in Teddington, for letting me stay.
However, probably the main reason for me being down here is that I am picking Barry up from the airport tomorrow!! We have been apart for five months. I can hardly wait to see him. It has been too long!

The weather was gorgeous yesterday and I had time on my hands, so I thought I would take the opportunity to visit the Flatford mill area. The clouds were typical Constable clouds, so it was a good day to explore.


Boat-building near Flatford Mill
John Constable (1776-1837)
1815
‘This portrays the construction of a barge at a dry-dock owned by Constable’s father. It is based on a tiny pencil drawing in a sketchbook at the V&A. Constable painted the landscape entirely in the open air. His biographer praised its ‘atmospheric truth’, such that ‘the tremulous vibration of the heated air near the ground seems visible’.’
(Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

The dry dock from a different angle.


The Hay Wain
1821, John Constable
‘Constable’s painting is based on a site in Suffolk, near Flatford on the River Stour. The hay wain, a type of horse-drawn cart, stands in the water in the foreground. Across the meadow in the distance on the right, is a group of haymakers at work. The cottage shown on the left was rented by a farmer called Willy Lott and stands behind Flatford Mill. Today, the cottage and river path are still much as they were in Constable’s time.

Although the painting evokes a Suffolk scene, it was created in the artist’s studio in London. Constable first made a number of open-air sketches of parts of the scene. He then made a full-size preparatory sketch in oil to establish the composition.

The painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1821, the year it was painted, but failed to find a buyer. Yet when exhibited in France, with other paintings by Constable, the artist was awarded a Gold Medal by Charles X.’
(National Gallery, London)

I think it’s quite amazing how similar the scene is after all these years.

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New painting

I laid out this new painting today. I have been working on the commission and it has gone through many stages and I think it’s finished now, but I just can’t get a decent photo! Very annoying.

Below is a photo taken from Buttercup Hill (my choice of name), where Missy gets to chase rabbits every day. The light was so gorgeous.

Tomorrow is my gardening day, so I better get to bed! I am always completely worn out after my Wednesday’s planting and weeding, but it’s really good to get out do some physical work. I just hope it doesn’t rain like it did today!

Next stage.

Here is the next stage of my latest commission. Just waiting for it to dry now so that I can work on it again. I am a little distracted at the moment with ‘stuff’ .. so not really up to blogging.. but working very hard nevertheless. Sometimes life is really hard… although I shouldn’t complain as most people have it harder.

Anyway, here is a photo of the fens where I took Missy (I was dog sitting) for a walk. My Dad lives near here.. you can see for miles! It’s The Wash, if anyone is interested, the coastline above Norfolk. Quite different from living in the valley between the Sangre de Cristos and the Jemez Mountains!

And here is another photo of some poppies on the edge of a barley field and Missy on my way back to my Dad’s house after my weekend in Norfolk.

My husband, Barry McCuan arrives in about three weeks. We have been apart since the end of January and I have just about had enough of being on my own!