Charles & Camilla in Ely

Prince Charles with Camilla in Ely, Cambridgeshire 27.11.2018

No one could ever accuse me of being a Monarchist and I know you must be thinking this is not my usual usual genre but, I was in Ely marketplace this morning, I had a camera with me and so why not.

I couldn’t be certain what Camilla was saying to Charles but I think given the body language, he may well have been taking directions.  To be fair to both of them, they spent a great deal of time talking with the people of the town and they seemed to be upbeat and enjoying the experience…..they really tried to talk to everyone, now that is professionalism.

White House Road..not a hill in view

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White House Road: Fenland

I think late Autumn and Winter are probably the best seasons for landscape photographers living in the Fenlands.  I know that Cambridgeshire doesn’t have the dramatic landscapes of the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales or even the Trough of Bowland, but it does have something special.

At this time of year the landscape maintains a gritty and determined resolve.  There is a complete absence of pretension and prettiness.  The uneven roads and tilted telegraph poles, the isolated columns of tall trees,  vast skies with fields stretching to the distant horizon makes me feel as if I have been cast adrift on an open sea.

John Clare: The Fens

There’s not a hill in all the view,
Save that a forked cloud or two
Upon the verge of distance lies
And into mountains cheats the eyes.
And as to trees the willows wear
Lopped heads as high as bushes are;
Some taller things the distance shrouds
That may be trees or stacks or clouds
Or may be nothing; still they wear
A semblance where there’s nought to spare.

The River Great Ouse

The River Ouse, Cambridgeshire, Sunset
The River Ouse, Cambridgeshire

There was a magnificent sunset this evening in Cambridgeshire and I captured the evening light on the River Great Ouse, not far from Wicken Fen.The sun had just disappeared below the horizon and the sky became a kaleidoscope of colour. The image was taken with a Fuji X100F on the Velvia film simulation setting.

Wicken Fen by Peter Corr

‘Wicken Fen’ by PeterCorr

These are the vast open landscapes of the Cambridgeshire Fenlands that influence my paintings. This image was taken with a Fuji X100F a couple of days ago when the sky was particularly dramatic.  I have carried out some basic editing – mainly tonal adjustments and sharpening – using Silver Efex Pro2. I have to say the Fuji is a great little camera, easy to take with you and it produces really good jpg’s with the Acros settings. You can’t really tell from the photograph but it was an incredibly blustery day out in the Fens….the clouds were racing across the sky. Really should have used a tripod and a long exposure to capture the movement; maybe next time.

Arcadia by Peter Corr

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‘Arcadia’ by Peter Corr 122 x 92cm

This is a large oil painting on a 122 x 92 cm canvas. It is semi abstract and expressionistic in terms of technique and approach. It is however, based indirectly on nature and more specifically on the hedgerows of the fenland in East Anglia. Trees, brambles and woody shrubs such as hawthorn, blackthorn and field maple create an exuberant entanglement of chaotic growth.

The material and paint I have used is applied with a variety of tools including brushes, palette knives and assorted scrapers. As you will see, the surface is built up in heavy impasto layers and translucent glazes accumulating over a period of time. I have been working on this piece for a couple of years now and it has undergone numerous changes; that is just part of my process. Some of you will no doubt see the influence of the contemporary artists Anselm Kiefer and Gerhardt Richter.

 

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Detail of ‘Arcadia’

…..And what you thought you came for
Is only a shell, a husk of meaning
From which the purpose breaks only when it is fulfilled
If at all.
Either you had no purpose
Or the purpose is beyond the end you figured
And is altered in fulfilment.
There are other places
Which also are the world’s end, some at the sea jaws,
Or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city—
But this is the nearest, in place and time,
Now and in England.

From a poem by T.S. Eloit

‘Till’ A landscape painting by Peter Corr

 

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‘Till’ by Peter Corr 60 x 60 cm

The Fenlands are highly productive agricultural land and at this time of year, farmers can be seen ploughing and tilling the earth in readiness for the next year. The tilling blades comb the topsoil, mixing and aerating as they are dragged across the fields. I have used plaster, oil and cold wax medium, alternately scoring and layering the materials to recreate the furrowed surface. The late evening light at this time of year has a warm soft glow that I have tried to capture with gold iridescent paint.

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Detail of ‘Till’ by Peter Corr

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Detail of ‘Till’ by Peter Corr

How should you title an abstract painting?

‘The Three Realms’ by Peter Corr

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‘The Three Realms’ by Peter Corr

For me, a title is an important element in the creation of a painting. I know that many abstract painters use numerical systems to identify and classify their work. I prefer to title each image and through the invention of the title, try to enhance the life, associations and potential relevance of the work. In this instance, I really wanted a title that would express in a very direct way, the inspiration and the key components of this painting which of course relate to landscape. The title of this painting therefore is relatively straightforward; it refers to the three realms of earth, sky and water. I wasn’t aware until later that ‘The Three Realms’ has other, in many ways more interesting connotations. In Nichiren Buddhism ‘The Three Realms’ are, according to Quora:

(1) the realm of the five components

(2) the realm of living beings

(3) the realm of the environment.

These could be thought of simply as, from the standpoint of a human being, the person, society and the environment.

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Detail of ‘The Three Realms’ by Peter Corr

The materials used in this painting include oil paint, pumice stone and cold wax medium. The heavy impasto creates an almost rough hewn marble like surface pitted and marked with successive layers of cold wax and oil paint.

After the Rain: Peter Corr

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‘After the Rain’ 80 x 80 cm on canvas by Peter Corr

‘After the Rain’  could be seen as a departure from the tonality and minimalist approach I have been using recently, but even so, this painting remains firmly in the realm of abstraction.

The weather here in England is a a limitless topic of conversation for all of us and we have just experienced one of the hottest Summers on record. However, the wind and rain is never far away and this painting reflects my experience of cycling though the Fenland landscape, experiencing alternate moments of warm sun, showers and gusts of wind.  In Cambridgeshire, the wind either carries you along on your cycle or stops you in your tracks. I can travel the same journey in half or double the time depending on the prevailing wind direction. I am increasingly convinced that the weather here in this part of the world is a living entity, a whimsical creature, a chameleon.

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Detail from ‘After the Rain’ by Peter Corr

In ‘After the Rain’ I have tried to convey a sense of movement and changing light, using angular shapes, a kaleidoscope of colour and dissolving  forms. You may detect the spatial devices of overlap, fragmentation and multiple viewpoints employed by the Cubists and later on, the Italian Futurists.

“……..Nobody would affirm that the tree grows its crown in the image of its root. Between above and below can be no mirrored reflection. It is obvious that different functions expanding in different elements must produce divergences”.

Paul Klee

 

Landford, New Forest

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‘Landford, New Forest’ 122 x 92 cm

This is a large mixed media painting on a 122cm x 92cm on a canvas frame. It was produced from studies created during my residency in the New Forest; the work is partly expressionistic and impressionistic in terms of technique and style. The key medium is cold wax and oil paint applied with a variety of tools including brushes and palette knives. The surface is built up in heavy impasto and scored, etched and systematically redrawn over a period of time.  The detail insert (below) should provide some indication of the rich tactile qualities encrusting the surface of the painting. My working method allows for various incarnations of the painting to present themselves before the final image crystallises. This work in particular has undergone numerous transformations. I originally had in mind a view of the forest infused with intense light and colour, but it has progressively mutated towards a more poetic and subdued interpretation of dusk in the forest.

I have been influenced by the contemporary artists Anselm Kiefer and Gerhardt Richter. If you have a moment, take a closer look at the detailed photographs to gain a more tangible sense of the textural qualities in this work.

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Detail from ‘Landford, New Forest’

Residual Cross

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‘Residual Cross’ 60 x 60 cm

This is one of a new series of paintings continuing and extending my interest in less conventional art materials. I have drawn inspiration from the raw and unadorned nature of the Fenland landscape and tried to reflect the rich tactile qualities of the earth  fusing tar, bitumen, hessian, oil paint and cold wax medium. My approach is gradually becoming more instinctive and physical, often working directly on the floor, scraping, dissolving and burning materials until unpredictable and unexpected transformations take place. When I reach a point were the image really begins to surprise and engage me, I have found a resolution.

The grid like imagery refers obliquely to the patchwork quilt of fields and enclosures as if rendered from an aerial perspective. The gouges, marks and striations echo the relentless impact of man and farming on the natural world.

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Detail from ‘Residual Cross’

The Kingdom of Mercia

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‘The Kingdom of Mercia’ 80 x 80 cm by Peter Corr
This painting is currently on show at The Old Fire Engine House in Ely, Cambridgshire, UK. The materials used include oil, cold wax, bitumen, pumice stone and plaster scrim. The title is essentially poetic and does not refer to a specific place or location; my recent landscape paintings are a reflection of my understanding and experience of the Fenland landscape of Cambridgeshire. I am interested in the evocative power of abstract imagery to engage us and to challenge our need to find meaning and purpose in what may appear to be arbitrary shapes, marks, tones and textures.    
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Detail:  ‘The Kingdom of Mercia’ by Peter Corr

River City

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‘River City’ 100 x 100 cm

River City is a mixed media acrylic painting on a canvas frame. It belongs to a series of paintings loosely based on the city of Cambridge. We can never really know a particular place or location, not in a purely visual sense, not even through the so called objectivity objectivity of the camera lens. There are so many different ways of seeing, understanding and interpreting; our view of the world is a subjective, personal experience. It changes as we change. The Cubists new a thing or two about perception.

I developed this painting through an exchange of ideas, thoughts and materials, you could call it a dialogue. What you see here is the result of many ‘conversations’, a constant give and take between what I think I have to say as a painter and what the painting says to me. A painting will invariably contradict me and tell me I am mistaken, on the wrong track. Sometimes, I delude myself into thinking I am in charge but I know my place; ‘painting’ is a collaboration, a combined effort, an ongoing debate. What you see here is a partnership between planning and accident, conceit and humility, confidence and deflation, wisdom and foolishness, seeing and not seeing.