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I acquired my love of nocturnes or ‘moonlight’ paintings when I first discovered the work of John Atkinson Grimshaw in Leeds City Art Gallery. They have a fine collection of originals on display and I thought they were wonderful. It was my first visit to the gallery since I had started painting and I was there to see one of my paintings exhibited there. I was very proud to be among such a collection of artists in my hometown gallery. However the highlight was the amazing paintings by Grimshaw especially the nocturnes. They were so delicate and magical and even though done in oils I was determined to have a go with watercolour. This is based on one of my paintings of the Yorkshire Dales in a place called Hag Dyke near Kettlewell. I thought it would be an ideal subject as it contained the classic Grimshaw hallmarks – skeleton trees and a lonely house with windows lit. Apart from the light in the windows I used only two colours for the painting which were French ultramarine blue and Payne’s grey. As well as homage to a great Victorian artist it is also a good example of a tonal painting. From very early in my painting life I realised the importance of getting the tones right so was quite used to working with a very limited palette. It took a while to do as there is a lot of detail in the trees and the dyke itself but I was probably a bit more patient back in those days. It wasn’t until much later that I was brave enough to include the enigmatic lady in my moonlights. Any Grimshaw admirer will know who I am talking about.
December 29th, 2018
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