Whilst travelling in Indian Kashmir, close to the Pakistan border I saw, deep in the valley below me, a group of army trucks snaking through the valley. This region has been heavily fought over and military presence is not an unusual sight – but to see them at such long distance gave them a silent, stealth like quality. Simultaneously they imbued the landscape with a humanity and sense of scale that it was otherwise lacking. This incredibly remote, beautiful and wild region has an otherworldliness – a look of pure fantasy – the trucks felt like an important tool to help ground the painting. They were dwarfed by their environment but they created the essence of something somehow more real. I sat and sketched by the roadside for this preparatory oil painting - with a box of colours on my knees and the canvas held down by rocks. The weather was bitter and I painted extremely rapidly but it was a huge pleasure to be able to absorb some of the character of this unique terrain.
Oil sketch done on site
Charcoal sketch done on site:
Preparatory study for the trucks: