Seven Trees For Seven Sisters

This optimistic little painting was given to me by Christopher Corr. I’d told him about my idea to put seven trees on the roof of the new tower at Seven Sisters in Tottenham. Seven Sisters got its name from a sacred grove of seven elms that grew there in the seventeenth century. Christopher was very enthusiastic, but it has proved more difficult to convince the tower’s owners of the benefits of having trees on their roof. What follows begins with a Twitter thread I first posted in March 2019. Continue reading “Seven Trees For Seven Sisters”

Frames of reference

The Moving Landscape

From the top of my house I have a clear view to the Severn Estuary. Storms from the south west follow the course of the river, changing the landscape by the minute, I can only watch and marvel and draw. This year, more than ever, this view has been the focus of my work. Continue reading “The Moving Landscape”

Frames of reference

Selborne

Selborne was the perfect rendezvous, being halfway between London and Salisbury. We came down and Howard Phipps came up and we met in the middle, in a field just off Gracious Street, the car park of the Gilbert White Museum, where we transferred the contents of Howard’s car boot to ours, in preparation for his exhibition in the Rowley Gallery window. But not before a lovely sunny walk around the outskirts of the village. And this map, embedded in the vicarage wall, dated 2 June 1953, is as old as I am. Continue reading “Selborne”

Frames of reference

The Dorset Coast

The Dorset Coast: from Chesil Beach to the Isle of Purbeck.

Living in south west Wiltshire I am frequently drawn to neighbouring Dorset to walk some of the paths along its geologically varied coastline. I like to draw or paint on location, and I subsequently develop a number of my observations into wood engravings or linocuts. Both are methods of making relief prints, the former being a very English art form developed by Thomas Bewick in the 18th Century, where the engraving is made on highly polished end grain boxwood, which on completion is inked with a roller and printed by hand, in my case using an Albion Press made in 1862. Continue reading “The Dorset Coast”

Frames of reference

Open Country

We’ve got a new window display for October – Open Country: Wood Engravings of the Wessex Downs and Coast by Howard Phipps. It’s a display that celebrates Howard’s love of the West Country and Dorset in particular. These are patiently wrought images, slow-grown evocations carved in wood and printed in exquisite detail, they always seem to capture the essential timeless spirit of each particular place depicted. Continue reading “Open Country”

Frames of reference

Epping Long Green (2)

We first discovered Epping Long Green a week ago – Epping Long Green (1) – but then realised we’d only seen a part of it, so today we came back to explore its full length. We started from Epping Green and walked west, retracing our steps from last week as far as this fingerpost. Then we turned around and walked back and continued east to the furthest extent before returning to where we started from. But not before a quick figure-of-eight turnaround in the woods. Continue reading “Epping Long Green (2)”

Frames of reference

Sowing Seeds

In January I went to live and work in a small tribal village called Badanga in Rajasthan, India, along with international and national artists for two weeks. We were all selected to participate in the annual Sowing Seeds residency program, which has been hosted in different towns of Rajasthan for the past seven years. This was the first to be run at the farmhouse of Chiman Dangi, artist and founder of Sowing Seeds.  The whole village, especially the children, were very excited. Continue reading “Sowing Seeds”

Frames of reference

What Is Paintable?

Through The Trees

My primary interest in painting for the last 40 years has been how to depict and respond to a range of landscapes. Before I can begin to think about painting a place, there has to be a specific reason to do so, and the place must have a particular resonance with me. My recent work can be divided up into three groups: paintings of Tuscany and Umbria, paintings of Andalucía and paintings of the Thames Estuary around the RSPB reserve at Rainham Marsh, not too far from my home. Continue reading “What Is Paintable?”

Frames of reference

The Empty Streets

A friend kept phoning us in the mornings of late April and early May. She was, rather against her will, still gallantly fulfilling her duties at an office in Oxford Street. She disliked being there and feared the possible consequences in mid-pandemic. But the reason she kept phoning was to tell of her exuberance in the early mornings at being able to walk the length of Regent Street alone and in the middle of the street. She described the complete peace and quiet in the utterly empty street free of people, free of traffic. Continue reading “The Empty Streets”

Frames of reference

Pantalica

Sitting here on lockdown, having earlier walked our prescribed exercise route, carefully plotted through burgeoning local parks and side roads, the trees and hedges heavy with blossom and alive with birdsong, more-so it seems than ever this year. Strange contrast with the quiet tragedy unfolding around us, the closed doors and closed curtains and the quiet ambulances in the streets. I’m itchy to be away from here but there’s nowhere to go. So I’m looking back through old photos and I find myself in Sicily, two years ago when we were free to go wherever we pleased. We were staying in Syracuse, on the island of Ortigia, and each day we went off in a different direction. On this day we headed inland, due west to the ancient prehistoric site of Pantalica. Continue reading “Pantalica”

Frames of reference