Wacom Tablet Sketch 1
This is an acrylic painting measuring 80 x 80 cm on canvas. It is based on the landscape of the Great Fen, thought to have once been covered by Whittlesea Mere. I have been exploring various acrylic mediums and application methods to create illusions of depth with the merest suggestion (please excuse the pun) of topographical details. The apparent speed of execution is just that….an apparition. There are upwards of 3, possibly 4 paintings buried in the decayed vegetation and peat bogs of earlier compositions.
If you are searching for the site of the Mere today you should not be looking for low-lying areas, as you might expect, but rather for very slightly higher ground. The reason for this strange phenomenon can be found by thinking about what happened to the land when it was drained.
The Great Level of the Fens is the largest region of fen in eastern England: including the lower drainage basins of the River Nene and the Great Ouse, it covers about 500 sq miles. It is also known as the Bedford Level, after Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford, who headed the so-called adventurers in the 17th-century drainage in this area; his son became the first governor of the Bedford Level Corporation. In the 17th century, the Great Level was divided into the North, Middle and South Levels for the purposes of administration and maintenance.
Please note that this painting uses iridescent paint and changes quite significantly depending on the angle of view. It is therefore quite difficult to convey the subtle shifts in tone, colour and luminance through the medium of photography.
Fleur du Mal
This is a mixed-media landscape painting on a 60cm x 60cm deep edge canvas; it is semi abstract and minimalist in terms of technique and style. I have based the painting on my day to day experience of living in the determinedly understated Fenland landscape of East Cambridgeshire in England. The heavy texture of the painting combines gesso, sand, plaster and oil paint and is applied with a variety of tools and implements. The surface is built up in successive layers over a period of time….if you walked across it you would need to clean the mud off your shoes with a knife. You may detect the influence of the contemporary German artists Anselm Kiefer and Gerhardt Richter.
Garage du Palais, Lyon
“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really merely commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the planning, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chain of events, working through generations and leading to the most outer results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable”.
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.