100 Days

#100

Earlier this year, on May 23rd, Jonathan Gibbs embarked on an ambitious series of small works, a hundred meditative variations, one every day for a hundred days and each one posted regularly on Instagram. He was inspired by the 100 Days Project, an initiative started by Emma Rogan in 2011 to repeat a simple creative task every day for the duration and to record each day’s efforts. Continue reading “100 Days”

Frames of reference

Kingswalden Park

This was another summer walk, back in July when it seemed like whenever we were not working we were walking. Walking had become our substitute for going out to the cinema, the theatre, music gigs, galleries, restaurants, shops, markets. Sometimes while out walking we might risk visiting a pub, but only if we could sit outside. Covid lived inside. Today we parked on the village green at Preston in Hertfordshire, beside the Red Lion pub. But its door was closed, its garden was empty and there was no public convenience. I needed a tree. I could think of little else, winding the village paths out to pasture and greatly relieved to find this welcoming field maple. Continue reading “Kingswalden Park”

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

Painting In Suffolk

Over the last five years I have spent most of my time focused on painting forests around the world, often with the aim to highlight the destruction that is happening within them. It has taken me to some incredibly beautiful and majestic places, introduced me to plants and trees that I couldn’t have imagined. However, one of the most surprising things I came back with after my first trip to Brazil in 2015 was how I then saw my home landscape through a completely new set of eyes. I suddenly noticed the curls in the leaves and twists in the branches everywhere, moving me to paint them. And although my work is still mainly focused on global deforestation I now regularly paint outside in my home landscape in Suffolk. Continue reading “Painting In Suffolk”

Frames of reference

Epping Long Green (1)

Epping Forest was busy. There was plenty of space for everyone to walk comfortably, but it seemed like social distancing among the trees had become the new normal, and the car parks were all full. Previously, as a last resort, we’d parked on the roadside at Baldwin’s Hill. The bonus was a glass of beer from the doorway of the Foresters Arms, before plunging downhill into the forest for a gently meandering walk along Loughton Brook. But today it felt safer to avoid the crowds, and instead of going into the centre of the forest, I looked for somewhere quieter on the outskirts. Continue reading “Epping Long Green (1)”

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

Painting Wytham

The experience of landscape and how to interpret it has been a major preoccupation for many years. In the 1960s as a student I made large abstract canvases which were in fact about space. It was the time of the first moon landing. Since then I have travelled a bit. To Canada, to India, to Spain, and here to the Lake District and Cornwall. I have made paintings and drawings in all these places. The vast scale of the Rocky Mountains, the heat of Spain, the colour and smell of India, the cold of the Lakes in December, all have presented me with the strange problems of how to get something out of these very different environments. But I always return to my home turf. One I have lived in for almost all my life. This year I began what I had hoped to be a project painting in the same location for most of the year. To this end I overhauled my gear and began work in the chill of early February high over Oxford looking down from Wytham Woods, a stretch of woodland covering a hill to the west of Oxford, owned by the university and the site of 70 years of ecological research. Continue reading “Painting Wytham”

Frames of reference

A Walk In The Nebbio

We’d picked up a little brochure of local walks from Tourist Information in St-Florent, and this one was just up the road from the spectacular black and white church of San Michele de Murato. It was listed as Balade dans le Nebbiu (stroll in the fog). The Nebbio is the region of Corsica inland from St-Florent, a hinterland enclosed by an amphitheatre of hills, that takes its name from the heavy mists that descend in winter. Today was not sunny, but thankfully we were not enveloped in clouds. Continue reading “A Walk In The Nebbio”

Frames of reference

Chasing Shadows

We’d been told to stay indoors and not go out, except for exercise and if so to stay two metres apart, breathe fresh air, think separate thoughts and cast our own shadows. Stay safe, take care and not go viral. It was the sunniest Sunday I’d seen in ages, the car parks of Epping Forest were overflowing, all of us fleeing the city to escape the epidemic. That’s how it felt, as if there was protection here. Continue reading “Chasing Shadows”

Frames of reference