Fenland

Fenland By Peter M Corr

Photo book

Book Preview

Followers of this blog will have an idea about the number of photographs I have taken of the Cambridgeshire Fenlands. I had many images on this theme and collated them in a book using the Bookwright software. What you will find here is an edited collection and some of these shots you may have already seen. Most of the captures included were taken during the Winter of 2020/21 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic; maybe that is why they are so dark. For me, these are archetypal images of the land I walk across and cycle through every day. It is where I live. Others will see this place very differently but this is a personal interpretation of the landscape, the roads, tracks, rivers, dykes, droves and the wetlands of East Anglia.

River Great Ouse at Earith, Fenlands

Submerged agricultural land is quite common at this time of year in the Cambridgeshire Fenlands but I am always struck by the sheer incongruity of scenes like this. This image was taken near the village of Earith and shows the impact of controlled flooding from The River Great Ouse.

A mountain bike is a gift to anyone interested in landscape photography and I really should have considered buying one before. Yes, even here in the flat mountain-less terrain of the Cambridgeshire Fens there are endless opportunities to leave the road and follow byways and trails across the open countryside. Photographers are always in search of different vantage points, new perspectives and fresh ways of representing familiar scenes. If I left the road on my old hybrid bike it was impossible to progress more than a few yards and then a puncture from a thorn or sharp stone was more or less guaranteed. Well, I have just discovered that a mountain bike is an entirely different proposition…who knew?

I stumbled across this wall of abandoned haystacks just off Adventurer’s Drove near the village of Pymoor. The reason I stopped had nothing to do with the haystacks but the discovery of three World War 11 ‘pill boxes’ in various states of decay. Local farmers had clearly been using them over the years as makeshift storage for agricultural supplies etc. There is no doubt that these defensive bunkers are very powerful and evocative structures, immediately conjuring a host of memories and images from the past. As I reflected on the purpose and role of these buildings I looked towards the haystacks; a hallucinatory image of submarine wreckage briefly materialised at the side of the road.

‘Neu Wald’

This highly textured painting on a solid oak block has just been sold to a collector in Scotland. Oak has a very dense grain and provides a resilient surface for the cold wax process. A variety of tools can be used with confidence to create a range of natural textures and fine surface markings. Multiple layers of wax have been used to generate the illusion of depth and translucency.

‘Neu Wald’ (detail)

I have just been working on a commission based on one of my recent New Forest paintings. It has taken over two months from start to completion and I am genuinely pleased with final outcome. For those of you who have worked on a commission before you will know that they can sometimes be problematic. I think it is extremely important to be clear about the nature of the painting process and to communicate this through discussion with the other party.

Each painting is inevitably unique and few artists would be able to recreate an existing painting or exact copy unless the style owed more to photographic realism and/or geometric precision. You will see from the close up details that this painting has been developed through the application of successive layers of oil paint and cold wax medium. The raised surface and tactile nature of the work embodies the textural qualities of the subject matter.

Landscape painting of a forest, heavy impasto and texture