Here is something a little out of the ordinary, definitely not my usual offering, but I thought I might share this with you. I created this video with my daughter, it was recorded two years ago on a handheld mobile phone; so all credit to her directorial and editing skills. I put down the audio track in the house because here in the Fenlands it is always windy and you wouldn’t have heard a single note. Did I hear someone say that would have been a wiser option? 🙂

For those who are interested, this is a Gretsch open back banjo, which I have now replaced with a Deering model. Recently, I have focused all of my energies on playing acoustic guitar and learning the Travis finger picking style. I have to say that the rhythmic style of frailing or clawhammer style banjo really helped with the finger picking. Sadly, I haven’t picked up the banjo for a year… the rest of the family are just quietly delighted.

This is an acrylic painting on a 100 x 100 x 4 cm canvas. I based it on the landscape of Roswell Pits, an 8-hectare nature reserve near the city of Ely in the Cambridgeshire Fenlands. It may surprise you to see me working with acrylics as I normally use a range of media including oil paints and cold wax, which I find more expressive. The inherent ‘flatness’ of acrylic paint can be an obstacle to more creative explorations of the natural landscape, but the medium has definitely improved dramatically in terms of versatility and range.

I have applied the paint here with a variety of hog hair brushes in an impressionistic style with many quick strokes of translucent colour. Some of you may feel that it is closer to pointillism in technique. I made the layering and depth of colour possible with the addition of various Liquitex acrylic gels, both gloss and matt. Slow drying additives were also used to ensure the soft blending and subtle gradations of tone achieved in the lower part of the painting.

To unify the surface and protect the painting from dust, UV rays and yellowing, a last layer of acrylic varnish was applied with a large flat brush.

The dominant feature of the work is the reflection on the lake and how the trees and sky have been transformed by the breeze blowing intermittently across the surface.

Roswell Pit: 100 x 100 cm on canvas
Detail from Roswell Pit, acrylic landscape painting
Detail from Roswell Pit, acrylic landscape painting

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 painting about music, rhythm and the rich aural textures and the timbre of sound. The chords and colours of the painting reflect my interest in the acoustic guitar, its tonal range and versatility. The curved and straight lines found in the shape and structure of the instrument are used to provide contrast and compositional harmony. Elements of Cubism are evident in the multi-faceted viewpoints and the intersection of foreground and background spaces.

‘Counterpoint’ 75 x 52 x 4 cm on Canvas
Detail
Detail