We’ve a windowful of wood engravings and linocuts from Howard Phipps. They’re all in black & white but get in close and see the detail and they’re as colourful as you could wish for.
They’re a net to catch the colours of memory. This bright filigree draws me in, I examine the detail and try to think backwards to unravel the process of carving the cuts into the woodblock, and it’s beyond me, I just can’t get my head around how he does it, it makes me dizzy, I get lost in the branches and can’t see the wood for the trees. I may as well try dissolving a rainbow.
I like this quote from Samuel Palmer. He’s referring to William Blake’s illustrations to the Pastorals of Virgil, but I think it fits Howard’s engravings just as well.
“They are visions of little dells, and nooks, and corners of Paradise; models of the exquisitest pitch of intense poetry.”
Then this comment from Nigel Norman on Instagram.
“Each one is like a window into a timeless, peaceful & better world.”
They’re bright moments held in the palm of his hand.
As the month goes on we’ll share the window with oil paintings by Robert Newton. We’re waiting for the paint to dry. Please check later for updates.
Update: Sunday 13th March
A consignment of oil paintings, fresh off the easel, just arrived from Robert Newton. All inspired by woodland walks during 2020 and 2021. I’ll slowly introduce them to Howard’s wood engravings, so they gradually get to know each other. They’re very different, but they say opposites attract. I think they’re two sides of the same coin. They’ll complement each other.
“I’ve been on with the paintings for a while – mixing, comparing, eliminating, adding, pondering; do they work together or too busy and overworked? I must confess I’m now seeking simplicity in my latest paintings.”
“I have a strong bond with woodlands near home and of those where I grew up (Lands Wood, Winlaton Mill) and Gibside Estate. Many a summer holiday building camps and tree houses or just climbing the biggest tree and looking, because you can!”
Update: Wednesday 23rd March
There are a few more of Robert’s paintings in the window now, sharing the space with Howard’s engravings and linocuts. I think they’re enjoying each other’s company. They compare and contrast. They’re kindred spirits.
And they seem to be attracting admiring glances from passers-by.
I tried making a few introductions. Here’s Howard’s Winter Stubble Field coupled with Robert’s Meadow.
Robert’s A Clearing, Evening Sun & Howard’s Edge Of The Wood, Broadchalke.
And Robert’s By Green Lane with Howard’s Wayside Ash Tree.
Update: Friday 1st April
A March window has just now been extended. They’re getting on so well together, they’ll share an April window too. They’ve lots in common. Lots to talk about, quick reflections and long conversations. Looking and seeing.
Watch this space.