I returned to the location underneath the M5 just between Oldbury and West Bromwich, which I posted about in January, to take some nocturnal photographs as possible starting points for paintings last night. I went with my photographer friend and colleague, Laura Gale, whose expertise and equipment, and her enthusiasm was invaluable. I just directed! Not unlike the location in my other paintings, it is very nondescript and hidden, easily passed in the car, but as you go under the bridge you enter a very intense, visually rich and murky world, that is at once quite frightening in it’s scale and darkness and with the noise of the traffic above, yet simultaneously beautiful and otherworldly. This otherworldly quality was further enhanced by the still water of the canal and the enormous, crystal clear reflections of the underbelly of the motorway. It looked like you were viewing a giant sunken ship in the water. It was quite deathly and unsettling. We took loads of photos in about two hours in the cold, and I’ve come away with a thousand ideas.
As we walked back to the car and drove away into the relative normality of the Smethwick night, I think we both felt like we had just visited another planet. It had been an amazing night.
Thanks again, Laura.