"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson

"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson
"Sour Milk Gill" From the award winning painting series.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Real Roman Piece of Work.

"The Old Roman Wall"
By James Swanson / Traveler Greg
20" x 28" Oil on Linen
Only the Roman's would think of putting up a wall in the middle of nowhere to seal off their territory. 
 Gate of Hadrian's Wall.
Well, maybe not the only ones, but you got to love their gusto to split a land in half with a giant wall. And not just a wall it's a monument to these giants of history.
All photos are from travelers Greg photo album.
Hadrian's wall was erected by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 122AD. It was put up to keep the unruly hoards of Picts and Vikings out. Only a small section of the wall is left today.
Traveler Greg from Preston

And this is where we meet up with our new Traveler Greg from Preston. Greg went on one of his photo expeditions to the wall to try and capture it and sent us some photos. 

Hadrian's Wall extended west from Segedunum at Wallsend on the River Tyne to the shore of the Solway Firth, ending a short but unknown distance West of the village of Bowness-on-Solway. The wall is entirely in England and south of the border with Scotland by less than one kilometre in the west at Bowness-on-Solway, and 110 kilometres (68 miles) in the east.-Wikipedia

Some Questions The Artist had for Traveler Greg: 
Was it your first time to the Wall?
Greg-"I've known about Hadrian's wall since childhood... and this must have been my fourth or fifth visit, with or without family. But this time I just went there on my own to get photos of it...and had a brilliant bright sunny day."

How far from Preston was it?
Greg-"About 100 miles north of Preston.. .. 2 hours on a train plus a half hour bus ride."
Any thing special happen that day there? 
Greg-"I encountered a couple of monks.. carrying a cross.. on a pilgrimage from Lindesfarne to Carlisle across England via Hadrians wall footpath."
The photo that I will work with from Greg.

 Traveler Painting"Hadrian's Wall": When I started painting the UK, this is one of the spots that I wanted to paint. I only knew of Hadrian's wall, because a friend named his start up ad agency after it. 
I had Traveler Greg from Preston down for another spot to paint, but when I found out that he had Hadrian's wall shots I made a quick U-turn.
"The Old Roman Wall":
The canvas sketch. I rubbed the linen canvas with some thinned out Venetian red paint and then sketched in the composition from my sketchbook.  
I painted in the darkest darks first to start the painting. I pretty much always start that way. It just sets up the painting.

 I put the greens in next to get a good idea of how the colors were going to work together on the canvas.
 The blues painted in next to start putting in some depth.
 Painting is all blocked-in. The front hill and foreground are the next areas parts of the painting I tackled.
At this point in the painting, I felt I needed to make a big change in direction in this painting. The grasses that I put in the foreground were getting in the way of the wall. The greens weren't separating well from other areas of the painting.
 Done. I made some drastic changes to the painting to get it to work the way I wanted. First, I changed the mood. I used the late summer sun light that I saw around me here at home, to warm the painting up. I wanted the focus on the wall, so change in lighting did that. The bush that was there in the top I made bigger to keep the eye from running off the painting and bringing it back around.

"The Old Roman Wall"
By James Swanson / Traveler Greg
20" x 28" Oil on Linen
This painting was one of the ones that I didn't give up on. There were a few times that I'd put it away, and not touch it for weeks. I guess, I was just looking for the key that would open up its gate.
 Traveler Greg from Preston did something the Picts and the Vikings couldn't do. He captured Hadrian's Wall, and really came through for me and this project. He has opened up his photo albums to this project, so I know we will see some more of this fine Traveler and friend.
Next up, back to Italy to met up with some Ash!
The Artist and Traveler painting project in always on the look out for more places to see. If you'd like to take part contact me here with your story.

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Have a good travel story and some fun and interesting pictures and we can get started on a painting journey.E mail me here with
name, place, and a few pics of the spot,and I'll get back to you.