Mementi

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This is the Ponte della Maddalena (Bridge of Mary Magdalene) across the Serchio river in Italy, also known as Ponte del Diavolo (Bridge of the Devil). We visited last year on our way to Lucca and I was reminded of it again recently when it appeared in Il Racconto dei Racconti (Tale of Tales), a magical film shot in spectacular locations all over Italy. It prompted me to go looking for more mementoes. Read more

Frames of reference

Lowestoft

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Ordnance Survey of Great Britain 1954, Sheet 137 – Lowestoft
(click on the image for a closer look)

A recent trip to Hastings lead to a Sunday morning treasure hunt in Roberts Rummage, a small living room piled high with loosely sorted items and belongings of past lives. My friend Christopher and I spent a couple of hours searching the stacks of china, jars of buttons and drawers of brass wear and the excitement is the unknown item you will stumble across, the joy of cleaning it up and the new life and place it will have in our lives.

I often think of the life items have had and if you could trace them back where they would take you. Amongst the old board games I discovered this map. Having grown up just outside Lowestoft I was thrilled, it felt like a gift to trace back the villages and towns I have known all my life. Read more

Frames of reference

Unknown Countries

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I’d not been to Hastings before. Strange to admit, especially since I lived in Maidstone for three years just 30 miles away, though that was over 40 years ago. Hastings was where John Martyn lived but, as much as I loved his music, we always by-passed the town on our way home from Brighton. Read more

Frames of reference

Radical Times

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Radical Times is the title of an exhibition of paintings by Stanley Whitney at the Lisson Gallery. I walked here via Church Street Market, past the antique shops and the exuberant fruit & veg stalls. Read more

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Downland Landscapes

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Downs Study from Beachy Head

This series of landscape works has been painted entirely on location. They are a direct response to what I saw and the experience of being in the landscape. I have always worked from direct observation and never seen the point of working away from the subject matter. That is because I do not paint pictures of things, I make studies. Read more

Frames of reference

Around Sudbury

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Sudbury is a place we often pass through on our way to somewhere else. But this time we stopped for a closer look and pretty soon we realised we’d already done this walk before. It all fell back into place.

The market town of Sudbury has a unique feature on its doorstep. The Sudbury Common Lands make up some 115 acres of water-meadows on the flood plain of the River Stour. Cattle and horses graze here, as they have for a thousand years, and the area is crossed by footpaths, making it perfect for a peaceful walk. Read more

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Around Shoreham

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I’d often wondered about Shoreham. It’s famous as the inspiration for many of Samuel Palmer’s bucolic paintings, but on the map it’s surrounded by motorways, an edgeland bordered by the M20, the M25 and the M26. I suppose I’d worried that it’s spell must have been broken. But then after a recent visit to Ankerwycke, also on the rim of the M25, I realised that magic can persist. Read more

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A May Garden

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The first of the poppies has unfurled. There’s a cluster of about twelve of them on one plant just waiting to pop open one morning – what a sight that will be! Though I fear the predicted rain might put the mockers on their fragile display. Read more

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Generation Painting

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In Cambridge to visit the recently opened Heong Gallery, a former stable block in the grounds of Downing College, transformed by architects Caruso St John into an elegant space for the display of modern and contemporary art. Read more

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Walk To San Gimignano

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When we arrived in Tuscany the weather was quite wet and cool for the time of year, but for such a spectacular walk we waited for the weather to clear so the visuals would be at their peak. Sometimes finding the start of a walk can be the hardest part, we set off from Colle di Val d’Elsa on a disused railway line that has been turned into a cycling route to the splendidly named Poggibonsi. We did a left, walking through glorious wheat fields (see above) the fields are green/yellow at the moment interspersed with poppies but will turn a fantastic golden yellow come the summer. Really quite something to see but way too hot for serious walking of any distance. Read more

Frames of reference