Montserrat Agulles

Began in April 2010, Montserrat, Catalunya,

Completed, May 2010, Didsbury, Mancunia.

Walking towards the Agulles with Agula, the West face of Montserrat.  Looking like an ogre’s fortress made of hot concrete shot from the ground into fingers of stone, serrated.  There was a valley that dipped down to a dolmen, before rising up to Mordor, and as the trees marched upwards they shrank in size, exacerbating the monolith, the morning blue mist slashed across the mountain.

Montserrat Agulles MMX

Is it a monolith? I don’t know, its one big rock, but looks like lots of rocks, so it is a megalith? or is a megalith man made? the dolmen is a megalith.

Unfortunately because this is a photograph of the painting, there are so many colours missing, so apologies for the bleached look.  There should be brighter subtley changing colours in the path and the sky, and richer tones in the mountain, but well.

I did the original painting in one day, I wanted to get the pressure of Barcelona into the painting, but the anger and claustrophobia had been dissolved by the silence of the countryside.  I followed the same lines I took painting Glenn Coe, trying to catch anger again, another magic place.

Glenn Coe

Gearr Aonach MMVIII

However, Montserrat is calmer, I had more time and peace, and its a damn sight warmer.  So a slower brighter painting appeared.  I put the painting away until returning home and here are my notes on what work needed to be done.


MontSerrat Agules Path

Strengthen the sky

Blue glaze the forest and face.  make the sun rise behind the mountain.  Strengthen the foliage, by the path, make light shine through the leaves.

Things that bore me in paintings – When the artist knows exactly what the outcome will be before starting –

On the other hand, if the artist is reproducing something on a larger scale e.g. mural, then it would be stupid not to have a clear vision already.

What else is boring is when you can look at a painting and see all the stages easily at a glance- that the painting follows a simple formula – this layer of one colour, then straightforward layers of paint in the right places so the whole process is too well practiced and transparent.

Agulles trees before glazing

Before Glazing

I’m pleased with the path and foliage, after strengthening and glazing the colours of the path, orange yellow and violet really pull the eye making the mountain taller though more blue and orange glazes are needed on the mountain as it is still too close, its difficult to have the sun bleaching orange the two lumps on the right, and also have the dark edge created by the contrast with the sky, as well as the dusty haze.

The glazes on the path have dried too translucent, interplay between colours has gone, will need many more layers of glaze.


And there you go.

How the painting was constructed:

Pine frame using half lap joints, 1m by 0.6m (was supposed to be 0.66 so its a little narrow) cross piece and angle braces.

coat of starch solution, then a coat of rabbit skin with ochre.

The ground colour I used emulsion made from egg, damar, oil d’aspic, and cadmium red pigment.

Paint made from pigments and walnut oil.  Staining layer, thinned with orange oil

fatter layers with walnut oil paint

detail with walnut oil paint, and medium number 2 (damar, walnut oil, orange oil, equal parts)

Glazes with 9part damar, 4 stand, 2 venice turp 9 parts orange.

there are approximately 18 layers of glaze, not completely over the whole canvas understand.

I haven’t varnished it yet and debating wether or not to make a frame for it.

I hope you like it, it looks rubbish on computer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s