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”

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San Michele De Murato

Stuck inside my quarantine cell on a sunny April evening, sheltering from the coronavirus epidemic outside on the streets, sunlight and birdsong streaming through the open window, remembering how freedom of movement was once taken for granted, and how quickly we’ve adapted to our new limited horizons. I tell myself it won’t go on forever and escape into daydreams and memories of last year in Corsica. This was our first view of the church of San Michele just outside the village of Murato. Continue reading “San Michele De Murato”

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A Jaunt To See Jenner

Yesterday, in need of exercise on a bright Spring day, I walked down to the Italian Gardens at the north side of Kensington Gardens. I made sure that I was socially distancing all the way. Though this was relatively easy. Not many people about. Continue reading “A Jaunt To See Jenner”

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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”

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Among The Trees

In the incongruous setting of London’s Southbank, among all its heavy-duty architecture and its everyday hustle and bustle, there is a safe arbour in the concrete jungle, a quiet sanctuary of beauty and harmony where we can remember the trees. The Hayward Gallery’s surprising exhibition Among The Trees reminds us of the many ways in which we have forgotten our close arboreal connections. Continue reading “Among The Trees”

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Spring Paintings

For March we’ve got a wonderful new window display of paintings by Debbie George, a garden of spring flowers to enliven these grey, wet days. We’re hoping they’ll work their magic and inspire the sun to shine again, and transform our winter weary street with a carnival of colourful new life. Continue reading “Spring Paintings”

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At The Hepworth Wakefield

We were on our way home, driving back to London by a circuitous route, still dazed and drained after my mother’s funeral, going through the motions and not really focussed, just not wanting to arrive too soon. From one Barbara to another. It seemed a fitting tribute to visit the Barbara Hepworth museum to remember our own Barbara. After a beautiful eulogy these beautiful sculptures can be remembered as a monument to her passing. Somewhere to pay our respects on our way home. Continue reading “At The Hepworth Wakefield”

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Carpentry In Kyushu

My aunt is a traditional Japanese carpenter who works on building projects using time-honoured methods. She is commissioned to do large and small buildings. I was fortunate to join her for one of the larger projects. She works much like an architect and hires other professionals when needed. She plans all the logistics and makes all the joints and also works on-site. Continue reading “Carpentry In Kyushu”

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