Statues in Milano, Italy
Statues in Milano, Italy

If you believe access to Art is an essential component of a life well-lived – assuming basic critical needs have been met – then you might decide to live in the Northern city of Milan. Architectural beauty exists on almost every street corner in the city centre of this commercial metropolis, and it is a visual and spiritual delight. When you also factor in the high probability of coming across sculptures of this quality, adorning a facade or the entrance to a doorway, you know you are in a place where life and art coexist and complement each other. It was E. M. Forster who said, ‘Only connect the prose and the passion and both will be exalted’. I think he was on to something.

Landscape painting in mixed media materials
Landscape painting in mixed media materials

This is a mixed-media landscape painting on canvas. It is semi-abstract and expressionistic in terms of technique and style but there are elements of perspective and simple spatial devices employed in the work. It reflects my day-to-day experience of living in the understated yet dramatic Fenland landscape of East Cambridgeshire. The word ‘till’ is interchangeable with ‘until’ and I have tried to suggest both meanings in this piece. Working with the land is about understanding time and intervals of time, it is about the importance of rhythms of activity and inactivity, of waiting, of anticipating……until. It can also refer to a vault; a place to hold treasure.

The heavy texture of this painting combines gesso, sand, plaster, marble dust, bitumen and oil paint. The materials have a direct relationship to the physical qualities of the land and I feel this gets me closer to the reality of earth. I apply the materials with a variety of tools, scoring, carving and digging back through the surface with multiple layers. I often work outside the studio so that I am not constrained by the need to keep materials and paints in check. I enjoy working in the open air…. like walking through the landscape, it is a liberating experience.

Landscape painting in mixed media materials
Detail
Landscape painting in mixed media materials
Detail

Breckland or the Brecks is a wild landscape of dark forests, open heathlands, sandy soils and iconic belts of pine trees that straddle the Suffolk and Norfolk border. On the edge of the vast Thetford Forest lies Brandon Country Park, a beautiful location, particularly at this time of the year. Naturally, I had my camera with me and here is one of the photographs I took this morning, just as the sun appeared. For the photographers who may be interested, I was using the Panasonic Lumix G9 and Olympus 12-40 lens.

I am reliably informed that Autumn is the best season for finding unusual Funghi in the forest and I wasn’t disappointed; there were mushrooms in abundance. In retrospect, I really should have brought along my macro lens and tripod but this handheld shot will give you an idea of what you can find.

Amanita. muscaria is a bright red-and-white mushroom, and the fungus is psychoactive when consumed…..you have been warned.

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Lisbon is a city full of beautiful ornate buildings displaying rich architectural details and often with highly decorative tiled surfaces. This large scale photograph is a montage of a selection of images taken earlier this year in and includes buildings located on the main avenues leading down to the Alfama district.

This is a large oil painting on a 122cm x 92cm professional quality canvas. It is semi abstract and expressionistic in terms of technique and style. It is however, based on nature and the abundant growth seen in the hedgerows of the fenlands of East Anglia. Trees, brambles and woody shrubs such as hawthorn, blackthorn and field maple make up a mature hedgerow. The material and paint is applied with a variety of tools including brushes and palette knives. The surface is built up in heavy impasto layers and translucent glazes over a period of time. I have been influenced by the contemporary artists Anselm Kiefer and Gerhardt Richter.

…..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