Unexpected Sources of Inspiration
As an artist, inspiration can strike from the most unexpected sources. For me, the COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to explore my local surroundings like never before. Taking long walks in my hometown, I began to notice the intricacies and hidden quirks that had previously escaped my attention over the years. It was during this time that the idea for my oil painting, 'Old Milltown,' was born.
I moved to the town of Mossley with my family in the late seventies, a town steeped in industrial heritage and remnants of the once-thriving cotton-spinning era. I was instantly fascinated by the old remnants of the industrial past of the town. I hadn't realised just how much influence this environment would have on my future self as i became an artist….
Stillness in the pandemic
Fast forward to February 2019. Although a terrifying and uncertain time, the pandemic brought a sense of stillness to the world in other ways. I began to appreciate echoes of the past that still resonated within the architecture of my home town. The old mills standing tall and proud, told stories of an era long gone but not forgotten.
Natures enduring presence
Nature seemed to reclaim its territory during those months of uncertainty. While strolling along the bridal path one morning, I was greeted by the sight of graceful deer, venturing closer to civilization than I had seen before. Birds, not seen for years, appeared in the skies, their vibrant colours adding magic to the landscape. It was as if Mother Nature was reminding us of her enduring presence amidst the chaos of the pandemic.
Capturing the essence of my hometown
Against this backdrop, the idea of capturing the essence of my hometown in a single painting began to take shape. I wanted to create a visual narrative that celebrated the links between industry and nature, the resilience of the people, and the unique landscapes that shaped my childhood.
A personal tribute
'Old Milltown' became my personal tribute to the town that moulded me. With a large-scale montage in oils, I aimed to intertwine various elements defining the town of Mossley. The industrial architecture of Woodend Mill, with its imposing brickwork and towering chimneys, took centre stage, representing the town's hardworking spirit and rich heritage.
Transport links, such as the railway lines that connected Mossley to the wider world, became intricate details within the painting. They symbolized the town's ability to adapt and evolve, mirroring the resilience of its inhabitants. The local wildlife, from the deer that graced the bridal path to the return of long-lost feathered friends, added a touch of enchantment, reminding viewers of the harmony between nature and civilization.
I found solace and inspiration from my studio in this celebration of my roots. Despite the turmoil and uncertainty that gripped the world, my exploration of Mossley's hidden treasures on my daily walks allowed me to rediscover the beauty that had always been present. As I put down the final brushstrokes on 'Old Milltown,' I felt a profound connection to my hometown and its history.
The healing power of art in dark times
I am optimistic that the painting serves as a testament to the power of observation and our capacity for inspiration, even in the darkest of times. It reminds us that beauty can be found in the most unexpected places, and that our past shapes us in ways we may never fully comprehend.