13 July 2013
I think that it is apparent what I am wanting to do with this work, but I did set myself rather a challenge.
The first two arches set the scene I hope, ancient Aquino (post Roman though, as the church is made from Roman ruins). While no longer serving the Romans, the arch still stands proud, its full height. I need to sit patiently and work at the detail on that when the work is dry. But dominating (gently, soflty), is my favourite church, Madonna della Libera. I have taken liberties and simplified the town (in Roman times it was protected by a moat).
The second arch is based on a fabulous watercolour from the 1800s. It is evidence that the water has long been flowing along what was once a Roman road. In the original it is an idyllic scene, very romantic. Again I have simplified it, and taken only what suits my purposes.
The viewpoint for the first two arches is looking up at them, as we look at the ancient past. The second two arches are taken from photographs, so the viewer is looking directly at them.
The third arch shows the industrial use of the water, with the means of controlling the flow established. It is still an attractive sight, if one forgets about what it should really look like.
The fourth arch is surrounded by the ugliness of the current industrial buildings. The more the vegetation is cleared to protect the arch the more ugly industry is exposed. I have painted this in a darker setting, as it is very much a dark period in the history of this monument.
The fifth arch, looking ahead to the future, has the viewer slightly above with a lower vanishing point (compositionally) so he gets an overview of what might be achieveable. I have reluctantly left out the base of the arch for two reasons: to put it in to scale I would need to have taken up too much of the canvas, and I don't believe that this will be fully uncovered in my life time. I have " uncovered" as much as I think is feasible in the current situation with the paper mill using the water and taking up so much of the area in front of/behind the arch.
I am impatient to do more, but must wait to push and pull the colours back and adjust the tonal values. It is a really hot day and the painting is all quite "tacky"... the paint wont flow on that surface, so it's time to take a break.
I think that tomorrow and Monday morning will see the basis of this all completed, and then the task of bringing it to life has to wait until next weekend. That is the biggest challenge, but also the most rewarding part.
Today I am grateful also for good drying weather for oils.