I thought I'd introduce you to a few of the paintings which will be in my show next month.
This is a painting which I did from a series of photographs taken along the London Embankment over several nights in February last year.
Carousel at Night, London Embankment (Oil on linen, 32 x 32)
My working method is to take a large number of photographs of a subject with a digital camera - that allows you to take hundreds of photographs, so you are constantly note-taking as you walk through your subject. I use a Nikon DX with a skylight (essential kit in sandy conditions!) and a graduated filter (to heighten the cloud contrast).
A digital camera means you can take photos not only of the compositions that catch your eye, but note-take close-ups of textures - bark, stone, water - and also just turn round and face the other way to contextualise the image. Sometimes it might be a flock of birds in a nearby tree, or a small dog that was barking at the time, or a bit more of the interesting building just to the left, or cloud formations. Sometimes quick and fleeting photos turn out to be the most evocative and interesting ones - you can get too caught up in something that, at the time, you think is 'the' important image.
It's important just to make the most of your time on-the-spot, and a digital camera is a huge advantage over the old film cameras, where you had to think very carefully about not wasting any of your 36 frames. Obviously I compose each shot with the same care as I would with a film camera. but it means you have much more freedom to create material.
I will go back to the computer with several hundred images and review a days work from a location. Sometimes I will have to go back and retake work. As I run through the images, several will jump out, hopefully both as strong images abd also as capturing what it felt like to be there that day (or night). The aim is to capture the sense of the uniqueness of that place on that particular day at that time.
For Carousel at Night, I spent many hours on the Embankment taking photos of the beautiful lights on the water, and the people promenading along the riverside. I was standing on the steps of the bridge across from Charing Cross Station looking towards County Hall. The trees are bare because it is winter (and it was very cold!) You can see the London Eye in the top left of the painting. I liked the contrast of the Houses of Parliament in the distance, symbol of power and authority, contrasting with the simple pleasures of the brightly coloured merry-go-round in the foreground and the big circle of the London Eye.
The painting will be at Duncan R Miller Fine Arts, 6 Bury Street, London SW1Y 6AB from 24 February - 16 March 2012.