This topic is definitely becoming an obsession. Thanks to Peter Stubbs from Edinburgh I am able to show you some of his wonderful images of old engravings which feature life on, under and alongside piers. This is a very early engraving of Leith Harbour created in about 1700. Leith is the port of Edinburgh on the Firth of Forth. Sadly we don't know the artist but I love the movement that has been achieved.
Here we can see Leith pier from the west. This engraving was made in 1775.
And a couple of coloured engravings giving views of Leith Harbour and accompanying activity.
A different perspective on Leith Harbour from the pier.
And finally Edinburgh Docks dwarfed by the sailing ships as couples contemplate a journey to foreign lands.
Follow this link for more wonderful images of Edinburgh and beyond on Peter Stubbs' site.
In contrast to these wonderful old images I have decided to show you some more modern paintings of piers, docks, jetties, wharves. This is particularly for those of you who are artists, always looking for a different way to create an image. As we are in Edinburgh we will look at some of the work of Joan Gillespie who studied under Alberto Morrocco, a painter you are about to meet in a couple of days. I have been looking for the appropriate spot to introduce you to Alberto and I have found it and it will be revealed in a couple of days! But back to Joan Gillespie and our piers. The first is Joan Gillespie's perception of Sunset Leith Docks. A dramatic contrast to the engravings.
And this is View from the Window, Collioure (Southern France).
Across the Atlantic the American painter Russ Potak also creates colourful images of piers. Here we have Hazy Habor with Dock and Boats.
And this is Woods Hole, Cape Cod.
I like what Potak says about style and being pigeonholed into doing just one thing, because the emphasis today seems to be on that. I have made the same comment re the sameness of much of the paintings of today. To further quote Potak: I paint because I can, and because I want to say something. That is all that matters really. Not what anyone thinks. Its my art. My language and I feel it needs to be what it is...Styles are for clothes anyway. I would say, my art can be loose, expressive, sometimes abstract, and mostly using the energy of strong colors or contrast. But that has variables too. I do not acknowledge parameters. The art must be itself. And that way, it always is true. Not forced.
If you are painting, sketching, moulding, photographing - listen to what your medium and subject matter are saying to you. If you can't hear the voice within the narrative you need to step back a little from your work. We hear better directions to follow when our eyes are perceiving what our heads and hands are producing.
The Hero Image today is an old photograph of the Flinders Street Rail Network where it meets the Yarra River and the Melbourne Docks. I want to dedicate today's Blog to my dear friend Diane Walsh who spent the early years of her life living in the Harbour Master House on the docks at the end of Flinders Street and the wharves were her backyard. Chuid eile i síocháin Diane.
Tomorrow we will look at piers from different perspectives and examine more to do with the techniques of painting.