12 August 2015

Sunset and Moonrise ... Redux

Sunset and Moonrise at the Turf Locks Hotel
You might recognize the image, sort of, its art after all, not a photograph.  But a real photograph exists and it captured me with its funky mystery, a mystery that became more and more curious as the painting developed.   I can't tell you what is being hauled under the tarp or why the tug and and whatever is being tugged require a blue hose floater all around.  But UK John probably has a pretty good idea since he was there.  I'd love to know.  Where is the hotel?  How can turf have locks like the Erie and Panama canals do?  Maybe none of these questions matter, but its fun to have them while in the painting process because usually you are just going along with the flow, solving problems you understand from all the years the paint played its tricks and worked itself out into something that was never really planned.
I added a port bow light to insure this elderly workhorse stays safe in the dark.

12" x 16" 
watercolor and gouache on Arches


john said...

Wow Nina, this is lovely! the colours are just beautiful. This is great to see!

I can tell you a bit about The Turf Locks pub if you like. The reason the pub is there is a bit of a long story, which begins in the year 1286 when the Countess of Devon, Isabella de Fortibus, instructed a weir to be built on the river near Exeter, thereby blocking the river and controlling the flow of shipping into Exeter, which affected the local fishing and trading industries. In 1290, trade with Exeter's port was restored, only to be blocked by a new weir built in 1317 by Hugh de Courtenay, 9th Earl of Devon (Isabella's cousin), who also built a quay at Topsham. Because of the blockages on the river, boats were forced to unload at Topsham and the earls were able to exact large tolls to transport goods to Exeter. For the next 250 years the city petitioned the King to have the waterway reopened, to no avail, until 1550 when Edward VI finally granted permission. However it was by then too late because the river channel had silted up.

In 1563, Exeter traders employed John Trew of Glamorgan to build a canal to bypass the weirs and rejoin the River Exe in the centre of the city where a quay would be built. Work began in February 1564, and was completed in Autumn 1566 The canal had three locks with vertical gates – the first pound locks to be built in Britain. There was another weir built along here, in an area which is still known as Trews Weir.

Isabella, in her time, was one of the richest women in England and lived in Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight, an island which was also part of her property. The area of Exeter is still known as Countess Wear.

There are a number of pubs along the canal, The Double Locks pub, at the site of the double locks, and the more remote Turf Locks Hotel at the very end of the canal, where it exits into the Exe estuary.

During the reign of Edward III, a ship named the Alice was recorded as discharging her cargo at Le Torffe. Torf in German is the word for peat, indicating the root of the name. Because of the shifting channels in the estuary, even in the Middle Ages ships often could not reach the port of Topsham and had to unload at Turf. The remote location of the hotel meant that certain services were difficult to obtain. In 1957 that the hotel was given an electricity supply (a generator) and it was only connected to the national grid in 1965. Nothing much happens round here very quickly.

A bit of a long history for you, I've tried to keep it as short as possible and still have it make some sense. Lovely painting Nina and great to see!

nina said...

Thank you John, I am sure if I'd known Turf Locks history the painting would have come out very differently. I love your photography, over the years I've taken many journeys with your art. You must have great stamina to walk through it all.

Love, nina

john said...

Well I think your painting is lovely as it is Nina, I always enjoy seeing your work go up here. Hope you keep them coming. I wish I could have more time to walk, as it's something I like doing very much. Much love and thanks, John

chickory said...

so good. that late summer warm wash over it all was pitch perfect for this visit. always holding you in light friend. think of you more than you could know. Also love to Suz in africa if she's ever around