Folly Hill Return

Faringdon skbook

July just before the Olympics I sat on Faringdon Folly Hill. Bright sun. Clear colour. White Horse Hill in the distance. From the west a ripple of coloured bands. Wavering smoke rainbow. Drawn through the Vale of the White Horse by a squadron of the Red Arrows as they practiced for the Olympics. Paul Nash battle of Britain paintings enacted just for me.




Now March 2013. I return to Folly Hill. This time of year the daffodils are usually nodding in the sun. The air is flecked with occasional snow flakes. Across the Vale the ridgeway is covered in snow. It is so cold the watercolour is very slow to dry. A buzzard swoops and mews. Jays chatter. The wind stiffens fingers. Only so much can be done before the cold forces me to pack up and head off to Great Coxwell Tythe Barn. William Morris likened it to a cathedral. I have it to myself except for a few pigeons.




Andrew Walton / The Rowley Gallery

PS: Dear Chris, I hope you are having a good Easter out walking somewhere amid trees and photographing and writing. Oxfordshire is still cold. Yesterday I spent most of the day working on these watercolours based on work done last week in the open. Very interesting process translating sketchbook stuff into studio work. There will be another episode from Port Meadow soon but I have work to do on it and have been distracted by the White Horse Hill. Love, Andy.




Frames of reference

3 thoughts on “Folly Hill Return”

  1. I like the live paintings better than the studio “translations”, which I read as pieces of design. I’m not really sure
    whether “fine tuning” comments are appropriate, but, I’ll risk it : I feel there is a little too much “control” in
    And this is not to diminish the work in any fashion. As Giacometti said : An attempt is everything. I appreciate
    work that indicates a search, and not a demonstration of ability.

    1. Well I had a look at your work Peter and it seems we might be dealing with similar concerns as I’m guessing we are approximately the same age. The 1960 Basic Design theory of art education which is presently explored in a display at Tate Britain had a huge impact on my work. It was very theoretical and studio based. I’m lousy at theory and it took me a good decade following college to rediscover working from first hand experience. I love painting outside. It involves so many wonderful and unexpected things. The images I make in the open air have a freshness when they work I hope. I’m limited though in what I can do like that. Therefore working back in the studio while things are still fresh allows me to do other things. I like design. I like pattern and the playfulness that its possible to enjoy when free from copying. These 3 small watercolours of the White Horse Hill are not faithful representations of the place. They allowed me the freedom to play with the decorative qualities yet I hope retain something of what it feels like sitting on Faringdon Folly Hill under Lord Berner’s tower gazing across the vale to the Ridgeway. I like both ways of working.

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