On a bright day I get the background down. I spend time carefully blending my colours, six of them in bowls. I’ve chosen a palette of Charcoal grey, burgundy, olive, and lighter hues of white, grey and a creamier colour to add some warmth. I love nothing better than painting twilight, or thunder storms brewing, but for this piece I want to keep the light predominantly calm and not to feel cold once it hangs in the light, bright space of the council reception.
I work quickly, instinctively, gradually covering both panels. At this stage there is little detail, only the rough shapes of trees, shore and sky. It’s a thrill to work so large and I love it, revelling in the freedom of moving swathes of colour around such a large surface and beginning to see a hint of what this painting will become. Once this first layer is complete, now follows a period of waiting for it to dry (at this time of year the studio is freezing, and drying times frustratingly long) before the next can begin.
Studio tune of the day: Beethoven’s 5th Piano Concerto ‘Emperor’ – this glorious piece always makes me feel energised! essential for gearing up to work big.
There’s a particular stretch of the river that I love as it winds it’s way up towards Melton.
From one side at this bend you can see the boatyard with it’s tangle of rigging, masts, hoists and crane. On the other, an expanse of mud too deep for boats to navigate. This is the home of Lapwing, Gulls, Knot, Oyster Catchers and Little Egrets. As the tide comes in and the water envelops the gulleys and mudflats, they fly up in flocks, the Knot especially, twisting and turning in looping formations that skim the water. The Lapwing, as seen below, fly slower, alternating from black to white as they turn, looking for somewhere to settle.
I love the juxtaposition of the noise and clamour of the working boatyard with this wild place. It is a place I return to time and time again to sketch, and it is the subject I have chosen loosely to portray in my painting.
In December I took delivery from specialist art suppliers Bird & Davis, of two enormous and beautiful linen stretchers. My painting will encompass both panels, with the landscape flowing from one to the other in a classic diptych. I hope to capture the light and atmosphere of the river Deben near my studio here on the Suffolk coast.
I have never worked on this scale before and am excited and daunted all at once to begin. So that I am able to begin work as soon as possible, the linen panels arrived stretched, primed and ready to go.
Welcome to my blog. My name is Emma Green and I am an artist based in Woodbridge Suffolk. I have been commissioned to create a special artwork for the new premises of Suffolk Coastal District Council for their new premises at East Suffolk House. Here I aim to keep a written and visual diary of the painting I will be working on and the beautiful Suffolk river that inspires it.