Interpretation No. 8: Ronda cluster above the El Tajo Gorge
Readers of the Daily Norm will know that following my beautiful trip to the Amalfi Coast in June, I embarked on a series on new gouache paintings. I have loosely labelled the collection “interpretations” because they are not so much landscapes as interpretations of a landscape – a simplified landscape with the details of urban structures stripped away so that the focus of the audience can be placed on the general shape made by a town or a cluster of buildings, rather than the details. This is particularly striking where generations of people have built up towns in the most hostile of landscapes, such as the cliff edges of the Amalfi Coast. The result is the development of a group of buildings which look almost out of place and surreal when set against the harsh unapologetic backdrop of nature. It is this contrast which my interpretations seek to emphasise.
There was no doubt that having been inspired by the vast rocky coastal crags of Amalfi, I would be likewise moved to paint by the mountainous planes and combination of town versus harsh seemingly unconquerable landscape which characterises the small urban sprawl of Ronda. I set about working on my first Ronda “interpretation” almost as soon as I caught eyes on the views. This first work is the result, a painting which, unlike the Italian works which have gone before it, loses the blues and purples of the Amalfi Coast, and is instead painted in the warm reds, ochres, bronzes and russets for which the arid Southern Spanish landscape is famous. And these colours are not works of fiction – for the El Tajo gorge on which Ronda stands is very much a fiery orange colour, which glows ever more robustly red as the sun sets upon it. It’s an awesome sight, and made for the perfect inspiration for this continuation of my Interpretations collection.
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