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Back to the Irthing Valley

"A Break in the Clouds, Irthing Valley", watercolour, 24 x 35 cm

I have been clearing out and tidying my studio, and in the process I have been looking through my old paintings. I found this one that I painted about ten years ago, when I used to live in the Irthing Valley in North Cumbria. I think I was unhappy with it at the time because the clouds at the top were too dark and rough, but now I really like the sense of dramatic light and I'm not so concerned with a 'finished' appearance.


  1. Good morning Keith!... I love this morning's "cast aside"! It encompasses everything we both search for in our very separate... yet paradoxically... very similar creative goals - drama.... light knitted together as a visual impression of authenticity.

    WOW! My usual heaping tablespoon of words... but they translate the fact that your painting this morning struck a very strong chord in my heart.

    Isn't that the reason that we paint... each of us???


    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

    1. Good morning Bruce, on a day here of clear sunshine and unseasonally warm temperatures. Yes, ultimately it's all about pinning down those special moments - of light or atmosphere. This painting jumped out at me as I was leafing through, so that's the definition of success I think.

      I'm glad it struck a chord with you as well.

      All the best,

  2. Really a WOW moment having a closer look to this watercolor painting. Fantastic mood and composition, awesome sky!!


    Best regards and may the light and colors always be with you!

  3. Keith, your style hasn't changed. It's still everything I seek in painting.
    That said however, this is one that 'hit me right between the eyes'.
    Can I say WOW!

    1. Hi Barbra Joan. I'm glad you like the painting. It was interesting to see my style back then, and how little it has changed.

  4. It certainly has Wow factor about it Keith. Maybe some shadows on the landscape in places would help. Even when there is a dark stormy sky and sunlit land there is often shadows on the land.

    1. Yes, I often used to put a shadow across the foreground in those days. I don't know why I didn't in this painting. Maybe I thought it would create too much of a 'tunnel' effect.

  5. Fabulous!! Keith, one of the first things that struck me about your paintings when I first started following you were your dramatic and skilfully executed skies. This one hits the spot for me for sure. And even before I'd read your reply to Barbra Joan I had thought to myself how little your style (and palette) has changed over the years. It's always interesting looking back over our older work as we see them through fresh eyes unencumbered by the thoughts of what we had been attempting to create and any disappointments we had felt. Great work Keith.

    1. Thanks for your comments, John, and I'm glad you like the painting. I agree with you about the value of looking back at old work: Sometimes when we are worrying about making progress, it's easy to get too concerned with the small steps and forget about the journey.

  6. The opening in the clouds gives the entire image a wonderful feeling of freedom. I can almost feel myself disappearing into another dimension.

    1. Thanks Diane. Yes it really draws you into the painting.


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