Table Work

In my Scottish studio, I work on a table. Constructed in pine, it is rather battered but stable and came from a farmhouse in Gloucestershire. It was given to me by Lily Messenger, who had lived in Rodmarton before moving to Amberley, the village where we lived at that time. As our next-door neighbour, Mrs Messenger also lent me an attic room in which I worked for several years until we moved to Scotland in 1990. Before marriage, she had been Lily Bucknell, from a family of blacksmiths and wood-workers and who belonged to the Guild of Gloucestershire Craftsmen. This is only significant because my own Guild membership led to meeting highly skilled artists and craftsmen from whom I learned much concerning materials and ways of making things. Continue reading “Table Work”

Frames of reference

The Leaves Of Southwell

I was reading Up The Forest! one of the many contributions to Arboreal, a book I got late last year. It’s a wonderful compendium of woodland writings, a bumper book of tree stories. In this particular story Sue Clifford recalls her Nottingham childhood, Nottingham Forest FC, the coal mines interwoven with houses, fields and woodland, Robin Hood, Sherwood Forest. Continue reading “The Leaves Of Southwell”

Frames of reference

For John Hubbard

This short film was made for the exhibition, Littoral: John Hubbard in Context at the Luther Brady Gallery in Washington, D.C. in 2013. “People found it fascinating to learn more about where he lives and how he works. His singing was quite a revelation.” It’s a lovely portrait and a touching memorial to a deeply romantic artist. John Hubbard died on 6th January 2017. He was 85. Continue reading “For John Hubbard”

Frames of reference

Trees: Irene Kung

I found a book under the Christmas tree, a souvenir of Italy. It’s full of spectacular tree photographs, apparently caught by flashlight; night-time dreaming trees suddenly startled awake. They are by the Swiss photographer Irene Kung –

“In my way of working it is possible to reinstate the tree to what I felt. That is exactly what I do with my work: I remove everything unessential in order to show the tree as it is, as I feel it. It is intuition, it is irrational: rationality can be misleading, sentiment cannot… I return the tree to what I have felt – its essence… A positive and fruit-bearing message in the face of crisis.” Continue reading “Trees: Irene Kung”

Frames of reference

Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi

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Ivan Bruschi was an antiquarian and collector and founder in 1968 of the Fiera Antiquaria in Arezzo, the first and still the largest antiques market in Italy. He was inspired by his frequent visits to London’s Portobello Road. After his death in 1996 his home was opened as a museum, but without labels. It’s a treasure-trove of anonymous artefacts, a cabinet of curiosities. Continue reading “Casa Museo Ivan Bruschi”

Frames of reference

Livres De Poche

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Barjac brocante, hot day

Dear Chris, I’ve just got back from Le Gard & Ardèche. Here are some sketches from my trip. I bought some old Livres de Poche paperbacks and painted on the pages. I like the quality of the paper. Hoping all is well, good wishes, Chris. Continue reading “Livres De Poche”

Frames of reference

A Walk In The Park

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Asked recently to frame this print I was told it was a map of all the trees in Kensington Gardens & Hyde Park. It sounded too good to be true. I wished it was but I knew it wasn’t, but it was a good excuse to go and check, to visit the trees on our doorstep, too often taken for granted. So we came for a closer look, through the rose-scented Orme Square Gate and into Kensington Gardens. Continue reading “A Walk In The Park”

Frames of reference

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. Continue reading “Around Shoreham”

Frames of reference