Stone and Water

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Painting: Oil Cold Wax and Mixed Media on Canvas

Size: 80 x 80 x 2cm

This is a cold wax mixed media painting on a high quality canvas frame. It is based on my experience of the Fenland landscape. It is not a visual record of a specific place, or a celebration of a well known structure or familiar location. 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.

“Bones are patient. Bones never tire nor do they run away. When you come upon a man who has been dead many years, his bones will still be lying there, in place, content, patiently waiting, but his flesh will have gotten up and left him. Water is like flesh. Water will not stand still. It is always off to somewhere else; restless, talkative, and curious. Even water in a covered jar will disappear in time. Flesh is water. Stones are like bones. Satisfied. Patient. Dependable. Tell me, then, Alobar, in order to achieve immortality, should you emulate water or stone? Should you trust your flesh or your bones?”

Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

 

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Close up detail of the painting surfaces

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Agios Georgios Church, Kaplica, TRNC

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Many medieval churches and buildings in northern Cyprus are being looted or destroyed, according to a report issued last month (2009) by the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, an agency of the United States government.

The report, “Cyprus’ Religious Cultural Heritage in Peril” was authored by Byzantine art history experts Dr. Charalampos Chotzakoglou and Dr. Klaus Gallas, as well as by the journalist Michael Jansen, who has written the book “War and Cultural Heritage: Cyprus After the 1974 Turkish Invasion”. They claim that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which rules the northern third of the island, and the Turkish military, have been supporting the removal of artifacts from abandoned Christian churches and selling them internationally.

From ‘Medieval and Ancient History News’

This is a photograph of the interior of Agios Georgios Church, in the village of Kaplica in Northern Cyprus.

Western Shore

Western Shore

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This is an acrylic painting measuring 80 x 80 cm on canvas. It is based on the landscape of the Great Fen, thought to have once been covered by Whittlesea Mere. I have been exploring various acrylic mediums and application methods to create illusions of depth with the merest suggestion (please excuse the pun) of topographical details. The apparent speed of execution is just that….an apparition. There are upwards of 3, possibly 4 paintings buried in the decayed vegetation and peat bogs of earlier compositions.

If you are searching for the site of the Mere today you should not be looking for low-lying areas, as you might expect, but rather for very slightly higher ground. The reason for this strange phenomenon can be found by thinking about what happened to the land when it was drained.

The Great Level of the Fens is the largest region of fen in eastern England: including the lower drainage basins of the River Nene and the Great Ouse, it covers about 500 sq miles. It is also known as the Bedford Level, after Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford, who headed the so-called adventurers in the 17th-century drainage in this area; his son became the first governor of the Bedford Level Corporation. In the 17th century, the Great Level was divided into the North, Middle and South Levels for the purposes of administration and maintenance.

Please note that this painting uses iridescent paint and changes quite significantly depending on the angle of view. It is therefore quite difficult to convey the subtle shifts in tone, colour and luminance through the medium of photography.