Oil on canvas – 76 x 102 cm
Many of my paintings are very detailed and this one is no exception. It was painted over a period of three years or more and perhaps the end result is over worked, there is always a risk of that when it comes to composing pictures like this. In order to create this image I have referred to hundreds of photographs seeking suitable images with the right eye level and lighting. I don’t have a problem with using photographic images, in any case I would never have had the time to make all of the drawings that would have been required.
The abbey in the background is part based on the ruins of Athassel Abbey situated just outside the town of Golden in Ireland. Most of the gravestones and statuary come from Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington near to where I live. The trees and wildlife have been sourced from various places including the Lea Valley which is also close to my home. If you interested in seeing the work in progress then there are a number of images in the blog section on my website.
So why did I paint this picture? I have always been drawn to the gothic imagination. I like ruins and overgrown cemeteries, twisted trees and cobwebbed staircases, places with atmosphere. In some ways this picture is a homage to Arnold Bocklin’s ‘The Isle of the Dead’, a painting I have admired since my childhood.
My painting depicts a scene overgrown and abandoned, buffeted by the forces of nature and currently flooded. There is no sign of any human presence instead it is home to various kinds of wildfowl while a swan searches for a mate. The rosy light of early dawn is creeping in from the right and mist is rising from the surface of the water. We could be looking at a scene set in the future when much of the land is flooded, hence its title ‘After the Floods’.
This is a picture which invites contemplation, the subtle colours pulse with light and if one lets the eye meander then there is much to see. I have tried to make this picture as perfect as possible whilst accepting that although perfection is something to aspire towards it will never be attained. But how many artists would go to the lengths that I have gone to in order to create their image and how many would have the technical skill or the patience to produce a work such as this?
This is a different photograph of the finished painting.