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‘To know fully even one field or one land is a lifetime's experience ... A gap in a hedge, a smooth rock surfacing a narrow lane, a view of a woody meadow, the stream at the junction of four small fields – these are as much as a man can fully experience.’
Patrick Kavanagh ‘The Parish and the Universe’
I am interested in how landscape has been depicted in the past as well as the present. My 'hero' artists are all landscape painters and almost all are great painters of trees. The depiction of trees in British art has always been central to a national debate about who we are. My artistic interests lie in Brueghel; the Flemish 'world landscapes'; Dutch 17th century 'landskeeps'; the German and English Romantics; Neo-romantics; Ravilious and the Nash brothers. These evolving contexts for depicting landscape join together in a fascinating dialogue about so much more than just landscape.
Part of my concern is in considering how other artists and writers have represented Herefordshire. For this, I have, over the years, followed in the footsteps of Bruce Chatwin’s ‘On the Black Hill’ and the ‘Hatton Trail’, the Breinton Springs Circular walk. Recently my focus has been on exploring an overlooked pocket of the Borders during the course of a year, Stonewall Hill, which was depicted by the artist, Mary Rennell, when she lived at The Rodd.
Landscape for me is based not just on the evolving contexts outlined above but on attempting to understand how a patch of land can be represented though colour and composition. Part of my project is the search for a specifically local palette of colour which varies through the seasons. Herefordshire has its own unique range of green indicative of a sense of place. I am drawn to green like no other colour, it offers as much variety as the world is wide. Each tint is not only an equation of form and mood but has qualities one can only describe as mystical. Greens are complex organic hues and places constantly re-invent green hues through the seasons due to nature’s relentless drive. Greens can have variable weight and density, they can reflect the climate, the soil, the weather or the colour of the sky. They can convey the whole arc from youth to old age. Some of my landscape work has set out in praise of, and hopefully is, a celebration of green.
Today 'edgelands' - the shifting zone between urban and rural - have become part of that conversation. Edgelands from an artistic perspective introduces new categories as fit subject-matter for making pictures as our countryside is redrawn through the relentless force of progress as urban development and transport reshape our land. The chapter headings in Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts book ‘Edgelands – Journeys into England’s True Wilderness’ offers a catalogue of potential subject matter for the landscape painter: paths, dens, containers, landfill, water, sewage, canals, bridges, masts, wasteland, ruins, woodlands, mines, power lines, pallets, retail parks, businesses and airports. Edgelands as a topic embraces not only land set to one side such as wasteland, but also Sites of Special Scientific Interest, traditional commons and any overlooked patch of ground.
Following undergraduate study at Falmouth and Wimbledon Art Schools, I studied for an MA at Chelsea School of Art and an MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and gained awards from Barclays and as an Abbey Major Scholar.
I have had solo exhibitions in Hereford, the Midlands and London and contributed towards group shows in the United Kingdom and Europe. I have work in public and private collections in the UK and abroad.
My practice is based around painting and drawing with an earlier period exploring sculpture. It has been supplemented by teaching, running workshops based on drawing trees and the Big Draw such as 'A Journey through Herefordshire' at Hereford Museum and Art Gallery in October 2019.
'Footsteps' An exploration of Britain's literary landscape. The Chapel Gallery, Bromyard, October 2018
'Common Ground' A journey into Herefordshire. Hereford Museum and Art Gallery, September 2019
'Round the Year from Stonewall Hill: A Journey in Time and Space'. Hereford Museum and Art Gallery.