Finding more

Speyer Cathedral Door

Cathedral Door, Speyer

I’ve now been in Speyer for a little over three weeks and the more I look around the city the more I find I’m drawn to the detail. In a city of magnificent and very large buildings this may seem odd, especially when I look at them and I see so little detail. But, as when I’m out on the hill in Scotland, with everything being so big, I need to use a monocular to get a better view of things. This certainly allows me to see more of the subject but of course it creates strange views ….which I really like.

This morning I spent an hour or so just wandering around the outside of the cathedral. As I’ve said before, it’s a vast and magnificent structure and even in my first painting here, I only looked at a small section of it. This morning though, I started to look more closely at some of the smaller elements. In particular I found a great door, presumably constructed of metal that like the roof has oxidized to create rich colours. I was really taken with this but didn’t go up close – I just viewed it through the monocular. It reminded me of some of my landscape paintings and I may well attempt a painting based on it. When I got the photograph I took of it, onto my PC and was able to enlarge it with the screen magnifier I was amazed to find that the door had writing on it.

On the other side of the building I found a section of wall that I really liked. It was a big section made of different finishes of stone …presumably built at very different periods. There was a real abstract quality to it and viewed from a little distance away with the monocular it was difficult to judge to scale ….then panning around I realised that someone had park their bicycle against the wall….and the size of the wall it was leaning against became very evident.

Cathedral and bike, Speyer

Cathedral and bike, Speyer

I’m not sure quite how I may go about using these elements to create paintings, but I have started one piece that may lead in an interesting direction. On Friday (as I said in my last blog) I was taken to see the ancient baths. Rough stone stairs led down into the ground to reach a room. In one of the walls was a large opening and through this you could look down four or five metres to the bath itself. The walls enclosing the bath rose up to above ground level and it was an amazing sight. The stone, reddish sandstone I think had the remnants of what was possibly white paint covering them and everything was beautifully lit from above, creating a very vivid image, especially against the dark green / almost turquoise waters of the bath. I didn’t have a camera with me and so this wonderful image, that immediately suggested a painting to me, had to be remembered as best I could. In its early stages the painting suggests a landscape but I don’t know quite how it’ll end up.

It’s good though to get some work done and I’m already getting a lot of ideas for paintings and drawings – I’ll have to get more painting boards in …I have a feeling it’s going to be a very busy three months.

The Cathedral, Speyer

The Cathedral, Speyer

Irvine Studio Update
Finally, I’ve just heard that my studio back in Irvine is still in the hands of the builders. The refurbishment works at the Courtyard Studios were going well apparently … and then they started on my space in the old section of the building. The floor was rotten, and the dampness in the rear wall was more serious then expected! Oh well, at least I’m away while it’s been going on. My partner Anita though is going to use the space while I’m away and has been told that it should be ready by the end of next week. It’s going to be quite exciting to see it on my return – dry and draught-free with a bit of luck!

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