Detail from a much bigger oil painting’ A Falling Romance’ work in progress ….
Looking down onto Cora Linn …
Looking across to Bonnington Linn
An old postcard looking up to Bonnington Linn. Details of the upcoming exhibition
In the days when The Falls of Clyde was on the ‘must paint’ list for artists, visitors were able to get to the base of Bonnington Linn to paint the scene. There was also a little red iron bridge, now unusable, over one of the cascades to the rocky island in the middle where the two falls separate, which housed a temple. The island is covered in trees so I have no idea how much remains.
The experience of the waterfalls then must have been more intense. Coupled with the fact that since the 1930’s the hydro electric has ‘stolen’ the water, subverting it though the power station. My guess is that action alone caused the Falls of Clyde to fall off the ‘must see’ list!
Unbelievable luck for this group of contemporary artists ‘Romance of the Falls’ as coincidentally the river have been running in it’s full glory again all summer due to repairs to the substation. So, in part, we have been able to see what Turner, Wordsworth, Naismyth, Burns and countless others greats saw. The left hand cascade on the old postcard is now-a-days usually dry, though not at the moment, so go soon if you get a chance.
Researching the history, I found an old etching by a nameless etcher.
I decided to imagine myself into the view from below, using the etching as inspiration. Many of the romantic paintings and engravings of the past show naked nymphs prostrate at the base of the cascades too. Not a naked nymph in site during my walks in the beautiful woodlands by the Clyde this rainy summer so decided against nymphs!
I began and soon realised what a flipping difficult task painting a waterfall is. I don’t want to paint a portrait but somehow portray something about flow, power, movement, energy, growth in a semi abstract way.
Water coming from the sky, over the falls and into the earth.
Wow and I thought painting seascapes was hard!
The first layer of paint came out as a pretty but fantasy-like waterfall picture. Hmmm, ok, but not what I had in mind… more walks …. more layers of paint …. more and more respect for the unknown etchers level of detail and truth about the landscape ….
To be continued …