Statement, December 2021
The Stone Circle
My newest series of paintings adopts a determinedly abstract approach to the familiar Cotswold landscape. Prompted by an online course [delivered by ???] during the lockdown summer of 2020, I focussed on a nearby stone circle and on the views which it gives of the surrounding landscape, spending several months assiduously gathering images (on paper and in photographs), absorbing shapes and textures and light and colour under different meteorological conditions, at different times of the day, in different seasons. In the studio, I simplified what I had gathered, editing ruthlessly, reducing superfluous detail to a minimum, bringing out the essential. The aim was to see the landscape anew, conveying its defining features in a collection of abstracts rather than to make a single definitive representation of it.
The Barn and the Canadian Series
There is a clear link, it seems to me, between the Barn series, painted following a year-long part-time course at St Ives School of Painting, and the Canadian paintings created following trips to British Columbia a little later. Light, whether falling through the slats of a barn in high summer or through trees and across paths, fascinates me.
I was overwhelmed by the scale of the Rocky Mountains, whose reflection in the still lakes below doubles their impact. Light reflected in water, be it a lake or a puddle, is another favourite subject.
Eerie Silence – February 2021
This painting was created during lockdown. Like many, I took to going for a walk every day, marvelling at the silence of the roads and at the empty skies, clear of planes and their vapour trails. An underpass is not a typical Cotswold landscape subject, yet (perhaps influenced by the Coventry artist George Shaw) this bridge was a subject that I had long wanted to tackle. On one particular day in February, it presented itself to me in conditions which caught the mood perfectly. It is certainly a bleak vision: leafless trees silhouetted in wan light beyond a flooded tunnel.
The painting took a long time to complete, but I was rewarded for my efforts when it won the overall prize at this year’s Broadway Arts Festival.
Statement, May 2020
The seclusion imposed on us by the outbreak of Covid-19 has enabled me to spend extended periods in the studio; painting, drawing, potting and learning how to teach art online. This has also been a time for me to reflect on the direction which my work has taken over the last three years. I feel that my relationship with oil-paint has relaxed. I appreciate the flexibility which slower drying times offer and the opportunity which the the medium provides for layering textures and glazes. I remain fascinated by the play of light and shade, evident in all my work, portraits as well as landscapes.
In February 2020 I participated in a three-day workshop at Raw Umber Studios which equipped me with the technique needed to begin a series of portraits in oil. The first was of my dear friend Babs, for the previous version -in acrylic- had gone to hang in her daughter's home.
My creative output now extends to clay. I have been making tableware and decorative pieces, both hand-built and thrown on the wheel for several years now. The Clay Loft in Nailsworth has proved a stimulating environment and I look forward to returning there when lock-down restrictions allow.
Statement, October 2017
The darkness which has pervaded my paintings recently is beginning to recede as I continue to be intrigued by the effects of light.
By exploring new processes I am currently experimenting with different ways to create texture and surface, always allowing the paint to lead the way.
These paintings see a return to previous themes and ideas as I begin to include some more figurative aspects again.
Statement, April 2017
These recent paintings reflect my on-going fascination with light and its transient effects.
Light through trees, strong bright negative shapes, the play of light over curves describing their form, flecks, blocks, and most of all, stripes.
The rhythm of the light that hits you as you pass a fence or shuttered wall, the splay of shadows thrown on a path by branches overhead.
All of the paintings were created during 2016/17, a time of active experimentation with oil paint which pushed my work into a new direction.