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Research

"Although I read around my subject my research is practice based and begins out in the landscape responding to what I see, hear and feel. I sketch, take notes or photographs, pick up items such as stones or dropped twigs, even record sound. I often close my eyes and record sensations that way. These are the raw materials from which I develop my ideas (often as doodles or odd lines of writing), studies and then final works. "

 

Home - the Woodlands of North West Surrey 51N 040W

Work shown here represents a selection of images and notes - a stream of investigation and research that will progress eventually to finished works.

 

It is the quieter, colder seasons that interest me the most and I head to the woods from late autumn as leaves start to fall until early spring when the first new leaf buds appear. I think that sense of quiet and tranquillity is what I'd like to capture eventually in the finished works, though when I write about the woods it is often about secrecy, hiding and adventure, solitude and escape.

 

Where I live the woods were a favourite haunt of highwaymen in the eighteenth century. That sense of nerve, elan and Romanticism hangs about the place though I'm sure it was squalid and frightening too. The evidence is there in a local road name - Gibbet Lane - where highwaymen were hung and their bodies left to rot as a warning to other miscreants. 

 

Not knowing how these two ideas will resolve themselves is part of the fun of research by doing and making....   

Old Stump

Broken and decaying tree stump, sketched in situ. Charcoal and pencil.

I'm often attracted to broken old trees and stumps like this one. I love the shapes and texture.

Quiessence

Trying to paint an idea.

Although apparently dead the tree is in fact alive sensing the environment ,waiting to act when conditions are favourable. Acrylic and charcoal.

Notes on the winter solstice

In black sand, bandaged

Pale green to rust. 

On the upper branches powder and twigs. Turn thin and fine black : failing sun. 

You crawling rain.

Decay

Painting over a photocopied image.

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Wood light midwinter

In winter on grey days the woods turn monochrome punctuated by the green of moss and lichens

Bark - study

From memory letting acrylic flow and charcoal inscribe.

 

Treescape V

One of a small series of abstracts, These feel close to finished works.

 

Pathways II

more exploration of the pathway theme

 

Old Stump variation

The same  stump made as a studio study in charcoal and acrylic.

Playing with pattern and colour. Here's a crawling creature....

Roots diptych

A rough study in acrylic and charcoal based on sketches of root systems

Old Stump variation 2

Acrylic painted over photocopy of a snap of the stump. Its character shifts again. Something a little sinister perhaps?

Autumn - detail

A large work I.5 m high x 0.85m wide - door size I call it. 

I love the freedom of working large scale. This work is in a private collection in France. 

Woodland Soundscape

Created in the wood eyes shut - quick marks

I work like this to develop fresh ideas and perspectives. The words say - I stand alone with you in the evening cold, my hand pressed to your skin. The 'you' is a larch.

Sketch and study

Created outside in the wood - quick marks in ink, chalk, oil pastel and acrylic.

I drew the stump (left) and started to feel the tree it must have been once (right)

Woodland Abstract

more playing with shapes and ideas of related realities between the present and the past.

 

Woodland Abstract II

further work on related realities and the forces that link them; acrylic, ink and charcoal. 

 

The Meeting Place

Created on the ground outside in the wood - quick marks in ink, chalk, oil pastel and acrylic.

I work like this to let feeling, subject, senses and media coalesce.

Doodle

Thinking and sribbling about a birch tree.

Small doodles like these really absorb me. I do them a lot and do a lot of them. I can do them anywhere - in front of the TV, on a train and in bed before I sleep. 

Winter Shades

A colour study of pines on a grey and damp day.

 

Woodland Textures

Created on the ground outside in the wood - quick marks in ink, chalk, oil pastel and acrylic.

I work like this to let feeling, subject, senses and media coalesce.

Larch Tears - detail

A study building on marks and words from woodland soundscape.

 

Study - woodland shapes

Extending the idea of what is and what was. Literally playing with abstraction.

 

Pathways

A recurring theme for me. Pathways present choices, possibilities and uncertainties.

 

Way Marker - detail

the graphic lines of the paths and the spaces between them start to figure prominently.