Once a year I walk up to Gaddings Dam reservoir on the high moors between Todmorden and Walsden. It was built in 1833 to feed the needy mills below that used steam processes. They’ve mostly gone and the pentagon-shaped reservoir would have gone too but a group of local people bought it. Through the year they repair it and maintain it to the required standards. When mill stone blocks fall into the water divers have to retrieve them.
In one corner there's a parcel of sand and whenever there's a sunny day people use it as a beach. On a splendid sunny Sunday afternoon I went hiking in the hills and passed the dam. There were about four people swimming in the water and the others on the sand. I took a few photos with Stoodley Pike in the background and my mind started whirring....this could make a painting of sorts I thought. I took more photos not knowing what I was doing to paint. A woman was wading out into the water to a couple of friends and I thought this might make a good photo. However when I returned home nothing jumped out at me. The photos seemed too decoratively "nice". Thankfully in the "Gaddings Dam" directory on my hard disk I found a wintry photo of the water which I must have taken when bleakness suffused everything. With the choppy water and rain-laden clouds it appealed to me and I thought I’d paint it. Here is the result done with two knives.
Without finicky details to capture this canvas was soon covered. I mixed paint and spread it like lemon curd across the linen. It was soon finished and I dotted in a few people on the sand, the only time I used a brush. I added the woman I’d seen wading into the water but it looked too contrived somehow and I scraped her out. All the while Pipi the cat looked on with bored complacency.
This small painting can be yours for £2,668 and I can post it off tomorrow after pottery class. This week we’re making balaclavas from hippopotamus pooh. We’ve been asked to bring pegs for our noses but I’ve bought a World War One gas mask from ebay. I can’t wait.