Day 30 Not a Beauty Spot, Oil on Canvas, 62x47 inches

This very recent (and still possibly unfinished) painting, gains it’s title from a trip I made in Ladakh. I was travelling alone and had hired a driver to take me to a remote and very beautiful monastery. En-route we passed through a superb valley and I asked the driver to stop so I could do some drawing. He said “No madam”, then emphatically, “This is not a beauty spot.” It really made me laugh. After some teasing he agreed to stop and we ended up spending the entire day in the valley where I was able to get my paints out and do some studies. Unfortunately the cold was brutal and only allowed for short bursts. It was only after some considerable time that I noticed, very deep in the valley, some tracks and poles. Apart from the road we were travelling on, this was the only sign of civilisation and it was unclear where the tracks led to or where they had come from (we had just gone over one of the highest road passes in the world!). On one hand I was utterly dismayed to see this human ‘litter’ but on the other (as with the painting “Passing Through” on Day 4) I foresaw that they could give a future painting scale and a grounding in reality. It is also important, I think, to acknowledge how few landscapes remain unblemished – even in this seemingly uninhabitable terrain.

Some photos of the area: