Paradise

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I spent a number of days walking amongst the trees and gathering information for a series of paintings through drawing and photography; I absorbed the sights and sounds of the trees in the forest and found a way to recreate something of that experience in paint.

I am interested in surfaces and textures and the way materials can be combined to create tactile qualities. Cold wax can be applied in thin layers or heavy impasto. It can be scored, scoured and burnished like a rich stoneware ceramic glaze; it can left dry, broken, fragmented and uneven. I have included up a number of close up photographs to give some indication of the extremely rich and highly textured surface of the painting; you can also begin to see in the reflections, the depth and lustre contained in the burnished wax.

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
They took all the trees
Put ’em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see ’em
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
’Til it’s gone…

Joni Mitchell, from “Big Yellow Taxi,” lyrics written circa 1967–68

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New Forest Paintings

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A traditional portrait of the artist in monochrome. These are the paintings from the first week here in Woodlands, hope you like the ‘moody’ black and white photograph taken by my daughter Louisa….it’s a good option to show the texture of the works.

New Forest: Photographic reference for a series of paintings

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Reference material for my New Forest series of paintings; the colours in the early evening light are simply beautiful; so subtle and ethereal. I will be posting some examples of my current paintings in the next day or so; the photography should help with compositional ideas as I am working on a square format. I hope to reflect some elements of the textures and materials found in the Forest.

New Forest: Uprooted

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Walking in the Newe Forest near Ashurst this morning I came across this colossal uprooted tree. To give you an idea of the dimensions, I am about 5′ 8″, and standing next to it, my eye level was roughly at the centre of the root system. Paul Klee often used the tree as a symbol or analogy….I am beginning to understand what he means.

‘….the descent into the earth has to do with unearthing,
however provisionally and intermittently, structures and hieroglyphs
‘constituting the archaic ground and pulsating heart of phenomena, sustaining their ongoing change. It involves remaining more intimately true to nature than naturalism,
which treats the surface superficially, failing to understand its depth.’
i.e., non-simplicity and metamorphic vitality

Forest

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This is a large mixed media painting on a 122cm x 92cm professional quality canvas. It is partly expressionistic, partly impressionistic in terms of technique and style. The media, including bitumen, thick acrylic paint and an assortment of organic debris collected from the forest floor are applied with a variety of tools including brushes and palette knives. The surface is built up in quite heavy impasto and alternately glazed over a period of time. In places, the surface has been scorched with a heat gun to create unexpected interactions of materials and paint.

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.

Thetford Forest is the UK’s largest man made lowland forest with 18,730 hectares to explore. It was originally planted to aid the UK war effort. In common with many areas of East Anglia – including the reclaimed Fenlands – it is essentially a fictional world, artificial, planned and designed to resemble a forest. That it also happens to be an area of outstanding ‘natural’ beauty is a poetic irony. When I visited the Forest a couple of weeks ago for inspiration, I was informed by ‘Forest Rangers’ that the area I had just entered was private….I wasn’t happy but made my apologies and left. What part of rural England in the 21st Century England can we call ours?

http://www.artfinder.com/marketing/artwork/forest-0155/?scheme=dark&user_id=571453&size=large

Coronation Avenue, Anglesey Abbey

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This image was taken a couple of weeks ago in the grounds of Anglesey Abbey near Cambridge. For those who are interested, I used a Canon 5D2 with a 17-40 lens; the camera was on a tripod and I took 3 bracketed exposures to capture a wider range of tonal values. I only needed 2 of the files to achieve the balance I wanted between the sky and the land. The final effect was created with at least 2 additional texture layers, desaturation and selective sharpening, enhancing the illustrative quality.