Wednesday, 18 November 2020

sunset,houses of parliament, after Monet: Janet Driver 

Why did I ever attempt these paintings of sunset, so similar to those of Monet ? Well, I have always been drawn towards paintings by Monet... & I love sunsets... Then some years ago there was an exhibition of Monet’s paintings which included his London bridges and some of his beautiful sunset paintings...I was fascinated by the way Monet used colour in small dashes and dabs interwoven in such a way as to give the impression of vibrating light, either shimmering on water or shining through mist or fog...there was so much joy here !  and  I just longed to have a go at painting my own sunsets, using what I had learned from spending time with these paintings...knowing that if I first used these as a reference point, then I might be able to paint my own sunsets thereafter...   
This oil painting,above, is my first attempt...to understand how the water might appear to shimmer...and also how the misty effects could work as a foil for the light... It was, of course, incredibly difficult...and I cannot recall how many times I gave up in despair, and then came back again, determined to keep on trying, until it finally began to work...and at that point time began to fly as the painting took on a life of its own !

Several months later, I happened to see a very dramatic sunset behind the houses of parliament... by then we were living in Lambeth, not so far from the Thames and I sometimes walked our baby in a pram down by the river... there had been a heavy thunderstorm earlier that afternoon and the heavy clouds were still overhead even though the sun shone brightly, making for a really warm afternoon... and then a sunset that was brilliant in deep red against the heavy purple clouds that seemed to hang really low in the sky...and so I finally painted my own version... it felt symbolic at the time...just after the financial crisis began to unfold...and then those ten awful years of austerity and cuts...to say nothing of the dreaded Brexit vote, with so many difficulties ahead for MP’s:storm clouds indeed over the houses of parliament...But even though the tower seems to be caught in the storm, the bright sunset light holds the hope of another day...a new way forward after the covid pandemic...as the river flows swiftly on its way...


                                               Stormy Sunset,houses of parliament : Janet Driver

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