4th September 2020
It looks like physical exhibitions are impossible to organise for this year so I’ve decided to put on an online exhibition here on my website. Coming up in the autumn will be a livestream opening night, new work and a demonstration or two. Watch this space.
30th August 2020
The countryside is buzzing with people but also nature which has thrived over lockdown. Birds are chirping loud and strong, the bees are greedy for the heather and gorse, and the butterflies dance on the wind.
Summer on Carningli brings bright yellow from the gorse mixed with the ochres of the drying tall grass before the sun has bleached it white. The rocks are mostly weathered to white but now and again frost cracking reveals the sparkling bluish tinge beneath the surface. The raw power of nature seems to fly on every push of wind.
Gorse, Rocks, Heather. Carningli
12th August 2020
It’s so hot this week that painting outside is impractical. Paint dries too quickly to be able to work on it, even with a slowing medium. So shady walks outdoors, watching the light and the shadows have been the order of the day.
I will be grateful for the storm to break like everyone else, but the light has a fantastic quality through the trees. I’ve played with sketching apples in the late evening too and there is a real drama to the shadows which is exciting to draw.
I’ve been thinking for some time about the translucency of leaves. A particular dogwood that I pass often has beautiful red bark and green leaves that the light shines through so I’ve spent a few hot hours in a shady corner painting with inks, trying to capture some of the light and layering of the leaves.
Red Bark, Green Leaves. Ink on Paper
5th August 2020
Painting outside is never easy.
The clouds and the light are both wonderful, although ever changing of course, but for some reason my favourite places to paint always seem to be accompanied by free-roaming ponies, for whom I have a healthy and quietly distanced respect. These moments of encounter are not the Black Beauty moments of childhood fiction.
Ponies are attractive and fascinating but I have found them occasionally unpredictable. Quite frankly they’re a lot bigger and can kick a lot harder than I can. In some of my regular spots they now know I am of no interest but their presence does add a fricson of danger as I’m never quite sure that everyone knows the rules – I’ll ignore them if they ignore me!
Anyway ponies aside I managed to complete a couple of cloud studies this afternoon – sometimes the landscape is just a line to set off a powerful sky!
2nd August 2020
I’ve finished a view of Fishguard Harbour from Carningli, one of the most astounding views in Pembrokeshire. The light splashes off the sea there as if someone throws it down from the cliffs. You can watch the ferries carry people away to Ireland and looking the other way on occasions you can see Snowdonia.
This particular day there was an energetic, blustery wind which made waves and parted the clouds to give a silvery sunlight exploding from the water. I tried to capture some of the day’s energy in my painting and played with a new mix for the back layer behind my clouds. I love the energy of clouds and sea together and every day brings a different combination of light.
Gale and Bluster, Fishguard harbour
24th July 2020
One silver lining from the whole Covid experience has been that society has had a chance to re-assess, to re-think. I know I’m not alone in reviewing my arts practice at this time and with a bit more time on my hands I’ve been thinking about what interests me and what tangents to pursue.
Through my tangential wanderings I’ve gradually realised a few things. I paint better landscapes when I paint them outdoors, with the wind catching the trees and a range of insects landing in my painted clouds. I’ve also realised that good paintings need resilience – to keep working on a painting or an idea until I achieve a result.
Finally, I’ve realised that I can get bored if I don’t experiment and that’s probably a good thing. It pushes me on to play with materials and to take risks until I find a way through. That’s part of the making of my tree funghi series – an experiment with diluting the inks until a perfect ratio was found. After weeks of play I think I’ve found a result that does what I want it to and plays with light, layers and shape all working together.
5th July 2020
As luck would have it I had just ordered extra art supplies as we went into lockdown so I was well prepared for what became a daily ritual – an artwork a day. Subjects gradually became smaller and smaller as lockdown wore on and I moved from wide open landscapes to the curl of individual leaves. Until eventually the New Forest opened up as my playground again in June and it feels so good to be out in the open! Lots of sketches in the sunshine.
The routine of at least one artwork a day has paid dividends though, like recording a sky whenever I can. I’ve captured so many different connotations of clouds, all as fascinating as each other. And I’ve started to work on very different treatments and subjects. All power to hardwork and practice!
Below – outdoor painting again!