Saint Bartholomew: Don’t Look Now

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Saint Bartholomew (Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14, Acts 1:13) never set foot in Milan but his statue has been the talk of the town for the past four and a half centuries. Just ask Mark Twain. Then again, the tradition of Bartholomew, which purports that he was skinned alive and beheaded in Albanopolis, Armenia (modern-day Turkey), is the stuff of legends. Bartholomew, now the patron saint of tanners, is usually depicted with a large knife and holding his own skin.

In many ways this image reveals the power of compact modern digital cameras to capture detail. When I took this shot of the famous statue of St Bartholomew in the Milan Duomo I was aware of the father and daughter figures to the right of the frame. However, I didn’t fully appreciate the significance of their body language until I edited the image later.

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Paradise

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I spent a number of days walking amongst the trees and gathering information for a series of paintings through drawing and photography; I absorbed the sights and sounds of the trees in the forest and found a way to recreate something of that experience in paint.

I am interested in surfaces and textures and the way materials can be combined to create tactile qualities. Cold wax can be applied in thin layers or heavy impasto. It can be scored, scoured and burnished like a rich stoneware ceramic glaze; it can left dry, broken, fragmented and uneven. I have included up a number of close up photographs to give some indication of the extremely rich and highly textured surface of the painting; you can also begin to see in the reflections, the depth and lustre contained in the burnished wax.

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
They took all the trees
Put ’em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see ’em
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
’Til it’s gone…

Joni Mitchell, from “Big Yellow Taxi,” lyrics written circa 1967–68

New Forest Paintings

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A traditional portrait of the artist in monochrome. These are the paintings from the first week here in Woodlands, hope you like the ‘moody’ black and white photograph taken by my daughter Louisa….it’s a good option to show the texture of the works.

New Forest: Photographic reference for a series of paintings

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Reference material for my New Forest series of paintings; the colours in the early evening light are simply beautiful; so subtle and ethereal. I will be posting some examples of my current paintings in the next day or so; the photography should help with compositional ideas as I am working on a square format. I hope to reflect some elements of the textures and materials found in the Forest.

New Forest Residency: The Blacksmith

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My 2 week residency here in the New Forest is in a studio above a blacksmiths workshop and I work every day to the accompaniment of the sounds of steel being heated, beaten and methodically shaped. Lee, pictured here, is a highly skilled craftsmen and he produces a range of very fine architectural pieces. I will show you some of his work in later posts.

New Forest (Ditchend Brook)

 

IMG_9937John Wise, author of The New Forest: Its History and Scenery, first published in 1862, knew a thing or two about the New Forest.

He offered this suggestion: ‘The best advice which I can give to see the New Forest is to follow the course of one of its streams, to make it your friend and companion, and go wherever it goes. It will be sure to take you through the greenest valleys, and past the thickest woods, and under the largest trees. No step along with it is ever lost, for it never goes out of its way but in search of some fresh beauty’.

I followed John’s advice and followed the Ditchend Brook yesterday, which I have to acknowledge doesn’t necessarily sound promising, but ……..what’s in a name? Always look beyond the label

And there are many streams to choose from: Linford Brook, Dockens Water, Latchmore Brook, Ditchend Brook, Mill Lawn Brook, Highland Water, Black Water, Ober Water, Bartley Water, the Lymington River, the Beaulieu River and far, far more. I think I may have some titles for my work.