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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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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.

 

IMG_9937John Wise, author of The New Forest: Its History and Scenery, first published in 1862, knew a thing or two about the New Forest.

He offered this suggestion: ‘The best advice which I can give to see the New Forest is to follow the course of one of its streams, to make it your friend and companion, and go wherever it goes. It will be sure to take you through the greenest valleys, and past the thickest woods, and under the largest trees. No step along with it is ever lost, for it never goes out of its way but in search of some fresh beauty’.

I followed John’s advice and followed the Ditchend Brook yesterday, which I have to acknowledge doesn’t necessarily sound promising, but ……..what’s in a name? Always look beyond the label

And there are many streams to choose from: Linford Brook, Dockens Water, Latchmore Brook, Ditchend Brook, Mill Lawn Brook, Highland Water, Black Water, Ober Water, Bartley Water, the Lymington River, the Beaulieu River and far, far more. I think I may have some titles for my work.

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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

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I have just started a 2 week artists residency in the New Forest in Hampshire and I feel energised by the possibilities. I will be posting a series of images based on my day to day experience of being here, in this ‘place’. My main intention is to produce a series of paintings that say something about the New Forest; not a new ambition by any means….but I will also be using photography to document my thoughts and ideas. I just need to allow myself to be absorbed by what I see and feel, to literally just be here… Let’s see what happens.

Sound Stage

Painting: Oil on Deep Edge Canvas Size: 95 H x 64 W x 2 cm
Painting: Sound Stage: Oil on Deep Edge Canvas
Size: 95 H x 64 W x 2 cm

This is an oil painting on a deep edge canvas using a cold wax medium. The cold wax process favors rapid execution and energetic marks or gestures, encouraging the creation of layers of translucent color, texture and impasto. Perspective is deliberately ambiguous and suggested only by changes in scale and the intensity of colour values. This painting is influenced by abstract expressionism and a deliberate simplification of forms.

This theme is a continuing exploration of landscape and nature, specifically the flat landscape of the Cambridgeshire Fenlands, but generally…all land. Sound Stage…….because I am interested in the history of the land, the accretion of time and changes wrought by man, the taming of nature, the exercise of control and imposition of order. The division and subdivision, ownership and stewardship. But more than anything else, the land is an endowment, a gift from one generation to the next.

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