Apocalyptic Blue

The paintings on this page are part of a series of paintings I did after a photo-shoot of famous architecture in London. I did a major demolition of these buildings. I offer no apology for that, I loved every minute of it. This is what is left of the front of the Old Bailey. The bird is a redstart and a near relative of its better know cousin the Robin. Incidentally, these paintings appeared in a magazine called Wildscape. It was a major thrill for me to see my work published alongside more famous artists, people whom I greatly admire and respect, like Robert Bateman, Terence J. Bond, Pollyanna Pickering. The technique I used was an idea I got after seeing some Chinese pottery. By keeping the background a monochromatic blue, it enabled me to paint the colour foreground in some detail and the subject still stand out in sharp relief.

The materials used, (for the art not the demolition) 
Acrylic on Masonite (MDF) using Rosemary & Co brushes.
Getting a photo of Tower Bridge from this angle was not easy. It meant standing out in the road in between the passing traffic and setting up a tripod! Suffering for ones art indeed! There is a strong apocalyptic feel to these paintings even though I was not a Christian at the time. I kind of had an end times story in my head which I attempted to put into images. Some people find the destruction of our national monuments and architecture offensive. It was not my intention to offend, to shock perhaps, but not to offend. What do I think now looking back in hindsight? Well, reading the book of Revelation, which describes the end and regeneration of the World, perhaps I did not go far enough! Revelation tells us, amongst other things, that there will be an earthquake that will level every city in the world. On a lighter note, I called this painting Tower Bridge Snipers, because the small wading birds are called Snipe.

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Well, someone just robbed the bank! The Bank of England never looked so inviting did it? Neither for that matter, did Mansion House in the background or the Bank tube station now inhabited by foxes. Atop the lamppost is a small black dragon, which you can see all over this part of London, the financial mile, or as it is known, to differentiate it from the rest of the capital, "The City". Perhaps there is some meaning to the presence of the dragon here. Perhaps we should take note who really dwells here. Perhaps its destruction might not be such a bad thing? The headless horseman is the Duke of Wellington. A strange thing occurred just after I had completed this painting. The next day I saw a film in which this statue had its head knocked off. One has to wonder.
The Royal Courts of Justice! Well after a bit of deconstruction on my part. It does look more suitably Gothic here and a perfect background for the subject. A veritable haunting of Owls. "The children of the night, what music they make" Lol. Their call gives rise to their other name, "Screech Owl" It is a horrible hissing screeching sound. Their reputation is well deserved. Never the less, they are beautiful birds and to catch sight of one hunting is a marvelous thing.

When I arrived at St Mary Axe I was a little disappointed with what I found, or rather, what I did not find. Not much more than an old wall on a busy thoroughfare. But that is part of the challenge the artist has, to make something out of what you have been presented with. In the background was "The Gherkin" as it is sarcastically referred to. A Black, egg shaped Building made mostly from glass. I deconstructed it down to a partial skeletal structure. So here it is "The Songbird of St Mary Axe, as I named it. Yes, I know, another Robin! 
I wonder how many People have walked past this place and not even noticed it?  It is on the corner of one of the busiest streets in London, the walk from Fenchurch St station to Tower Hill tube. It is the corner of the PLA building whose front faces the Tower of London, hence the ships wheel in her hands. I do not know who or what she represents, maybe Britannia. The thrush sitting atop a fallen bit of masonry is a Fieldfare. The whole thing is slightly out of season as this bird comes to our shores in the winter and this is clearly summer. Or perhaps, as this is set in the future, at least in my mind, perhaps things have changed, changed for the better too!
This was the first painting I did in this series. The Horizon is looking across the Thames south to north and has a lot of familiar landmarks though not in the right places necessarily. Artistic licence! The storm has just begun and the earthquake has not happened yet. But the crows are pensive and alert. These are not the typical English crows, they are Hooded Crows of the sort and colouring that you get in Scotland. One of them is leucistic that is it lacks pigment. But it is not albino which would have red eyes. The old tree and post with barbed wire and chains is just the kind of thing I like painting.
This painting was never finished. In fact, it is still standing in my shed. It was supposed to have a background of ruined buildings. Why did I stop? I just got other ideas and moved on. It is immediately recognisable as the Peter Pan statue in Hyde Park. The only bit I deconstructed was the low iron railing fence. The birds are  Coal Tits just passing through. I suppose it demonstrates the way I sometimes work. The background would normally have been painted after the sky but before the foreground. It was just the way this idea evolved.