The Ways

Twelve framed hand-coloured linocuts by Liz Somerville in our window throughout August and September. They’re part of a suite of 48 prints called The Ways, celebrating four ancient paths through England. There’s also a limited edition concertina booklet of all the images in miniature. Continue reading “The Ways”

Frames of reference

Majesty

The Majesty oak is well named; it truly is majestic, /məˈdʒɛstɪk/, adjective, having or showing impressive beauty or scale, synonyms: exalted, august, great, awesome, elevated, sublime, lofty. It is all of these and more. It lives in Fredville Park at Nonington in Kent, alongside other exceptional trees called Beauty, Stately and Staghorn, but Majesty is said to be the finest oak in all of the British Isles. It stands 60 feet tall and measures 40 feet around and estimates of its age vary from 400 to 800 to the best part of a thousand years, no one knows for sure but it looks to me like it’s been here forever. Continue reading “Majesty”

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Wychling Wood

I saw this on an OS map and couldn’t not investigate. A place of worship symbol in the middle of bloody nowhere on the edge of a wood. It was a foggy, atmospheric day up on the North Downs, so I decided to walk three sides of a square through the wood to reach it. Continue reading “Wychling Wood”

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English Channel Paintings

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English Channel Sunrise

My sister rented a house in St Margaret’s Bay, Kent at the end of last week* and invited me too. I’d never been before and it was a wonderful surprise. It’s between Deal and Dover and great for walking along the cliffs, and there’s a nice pebbly beach too in the bay. Continue reading “English Channel Paintings”

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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

George Smart

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The Goosewoman & Old Bright, The Postman; c.1840. Private Collection

After 18 months of researching, writing, photographing and designing, my book George Smart, the Tailor of Frant: Artist in Cloth & Velvet Figures has finally been published. I first encountered George Smart’s pictures when I was a student at Maidstone College of Art over 25 years ago. I came across a few thumbnails of his work in a book by James Ayres and, despite being poorly printed, they jumped off the page at me and lodged themselves in my mind. Continue reading “George Smart”

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Thesis & Antithesis

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This might be a curio best forgotten, an embarrassing piece of juvenilia. Forty years ago this was my final year thesis at art school. Nowadays it would be called a dissertation. But really it was just an annotated photo album. I’d found a stripey beach towel which became a sort of security blanket for a while, it seemed emblematic of the striped abstract paintings I was making and I photographed it wherever I went. I put all the photos together in a book with lots of random quotes as if I’d swallowed a library, or more likely the Whole Earth Catalog and An Index Of Possibilities. It was all very 1970s and very pretentious, but what really strikes me today is how much it resembles a prototype blog post. Continue reading “Thesis & Antithesis”

Frames of reference