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.

‘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.

The Third Realm (2)
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

 

The River Great Ouse

This is a mixed-media landscape painting on a 100 x 75 cm deep edge canvas. Semi abstract and expressionistic in terms of technique and style, it is based on my day to day experience of living in the dramatic Fenland landscape of East Cambridgeshire in England. The heavy texture of the painting combines gesso, sand, plaster, bitumen and iridescent metallic paint. I wanted to create a work that was almost tangible in terms of its physicality and weight, a painting that could be seen as a piece of sculpture or stoneware ceramic. The materials used are applied with a variety of tools including brushes, palette knives, assorted scrapers and cards. The surface impasto is witness to an extended process of accumulation and sedimentation, very much akin to the layering of earth over time. I have been influenced by the contemporary artists Anselm Kiefer and Gerhardt Richter.

 

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The River Great Ouse
heavy impasto contemporary landscape painting based on the cambridgeshire Fenlands
Detail of The River Great Ouse

Way Head Drove

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This morning the low sun cast long shadows on the road to Coveney.  The farm vehicles were busy churning up the heavy clay soil and making new tracks along the lane. My road bike with limited tyre tread added to the precarious nature of the journey. It is a beautiful time of the year in the Fenland.

Till

Mixed Media painting on canvas:60 x 60 x 4cm

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This is a mixed-media landscape painting on a 60cm x 60cm deep edge canvas. It is semi abstract and expressionistic in terms of technique and style. It is based on my day to day experience of living in the dramatic Fenland landscape of East Cambridgeshire in England. The word ’till’ is interchangeable with ‘until’ and I have tried to reflect both meanings in this piece. Working with the land is about understanding time and intervals of time, it is about 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 the painting combines gesso, sand, plaster, marble dust, bitumen and oil paint. The material and paint is applied with a variety of tools including brushes and palette knives. The surface is built up in layers and glazes over a period of time. I have been influenced by the contemporary artists Anselm Kiefer and Gerhardt Richter.

River City

 

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River City

Acrylic painting on canvas 100 x 100 cm

I am currently working on a series of paintings based on the city of Cambridge in the UK.

This is a multi layered mixed media acrylic painting on a high quality canvas frame. I am currently working on a series of paintings based on the city of Cambridge. I don’t believe that we can ever really know a particular place or location, not in a purely objective way, not even through the ‘impartiality’ of a camera lens. There are so many different ways of seeing, understanding and interpreting; our view of the world is a subjective, personal experience.

I have developed these paintings through a sort of conversational process, an exchange of ideas and thoughts; of talking and listening. What you see here is the result of many such conversations; a constant give and take between what I think I have to say as a painter and what the painting has to say to me. The painting often contradicts me and frequently suggests that I may be mistaken in my views. Out of consideration for my feelings it may abruptly suggest alternative ways of progressing. I sometimes delude myself into thinking I am directing the conversation but I know that this human activity of ‘painting’ is a joint construction, a combined effort. What you see here is a partnership between planning and accident, conceit and humility, confidence and deflation, wisdom and foolishness, a conversation between friends……we were just talking about the city…..I expect the conversation will continue.