Winter Solstice

sketch-1545423093478.pngDark continues to increase during the winter until two thirds of the way through December.

Today is the shortest day, the 21st this year. The least sunlight, the cold drifts in under the doors. Subtle shades of black cover the sky. The dawn seems a long way away. Lights twinkle through chilled air and a steady drizzle drives into every crevice, making clothes damp and uncomfortable.

That dark is such a contrast to 6 months ago when the temperature soared to over 30 degrees and the sun had barely set before it sprang back up again. Bathing in heat then, we now sit in yellowed gloom from cheap low energy light bulbs. Colours are washed out, paint seems hard to differentiate from colour to colour.

Is it any wonder that northern lands cling to the classic religions that celebrate their most important ceremonies at this time of year.

Wassail and messiahs meld into a grand charge against the darkness. Dragging us forward into the new year and the return of the Sun.

Light and dark

IMG_20181121_001653_475

I was watching a programme about Joseph Wright, a famous painter from Derby who used chiarascuro to paint fantastic images, from blacksmiths at work to factories and landscapes. His first painting that was bought for the city of Derby. It was paid for by public donation. It was called the Alchemist. Later in his life he went on a grand tour of Europe.  He painted the volcano Vesuvius as an explosion of red lava and dark boiling clouds of smoke and ash.

I tried to do a quick digital sketch of what I saw but it was too complex to represent so I made up my own idea. This was drawn in ArtRage oils and the metallic setting was on about 50%.

I used the drawing tool on 100% for the wider brush strokes and 50% and 25% for the thinner lines. I also had the phone in its side so the image is in landscape format.