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

Cyclops

This is the third book of poems by David Attwooll with pictures by Andrew Walton. The previous two books resulted from shared walks around Oxford. This last book circles around David’s final illness. He died in August 2016 from Erdheim Chester disease. One of it’s symptoms was a gradual loss of sight in one eye, and the poet’s increasing identification with Polyphemus, the giant cyclops from Homer’s Odyssey. There is a dark humour in these poems; David’s sense of fun is evident throughout. I met him only once, but I agree with his daughter, Kate AttwoollHe was… the most modest of men, instantly filling those who knew him with a welcoming sense of human possibility and kindness. So without further ado, here is the whole book, hand-scanned cover to cover by yours truly. Take it slow, and click on each image to get a better view. Continue reading “Cyclops”

Frames of reference

Six From Andrew Walton

More beauties were delivered to the gallery recently (not by bus), paintings by Andrew Walton, mostly done on site at his beloved Otmoor, an area of wild wetlands north-east of Oxford – A place with a rich history. Riots caused by enclosures, inspiration for writers, Lewis Carroll & John Buchan. A bombing range from WW2 and still an MOD rifle range. RSPB reserve, site of many murmurations. Continue reading “Six From Andrew Walton”

Frames of reference

Landscape – Paul Nash – Wittenham Clumps

I was in a room with many people. They were mostly grey haired and quietly dressed in the way of National Trust members. One or two young men stood intently looking. The room titled We Are Making A New World is the gallery in the Tate exhibition devoted to Paul Nash’s WW1 paintings. It is quiet except for the gentle tap of feet or the occasional mute whisper. The mood is that of a chapel of remembrance. As though the only person with a right to speak was Nash. The silence of these works is awe inspiring considering the ear shattering noise that would have dominated the scene, as well as the stink of shit, rotting flesh, tobacco smoke and cordite. We are silenced by the works hung on these walls. The older visitors seem to be wrapped in memories passed to them by fathers and grandfathers who had seen this for themselves. The young men I take to be artists come to understand how this great artist had made these images, witness to such pointless violence. Continue reading “Landscape – Paul Nash – Wittenham Clumps”

Frames of reference

Otmoor

Ot-orangemoon

I was born just after WW2. My parents had moved to Noke when they married in the early 1940s. We lived in a tiny cottage, totally lacking modern amenities. No electricity, water from the well and an earth loo in ‘The Elm Barn’, a shed with a grand name, all set in a third of an acre of orchard. An artist’s retreat from the hurly burly of war torn London. This was my world. Apple trees to climb, a stream to splash in, and a duck pond beyond the gate where my brother and I sailed catamaran boats whittled from elder sticks. Continue reading “Otmoor”

Frames of reference

Otmoor: Moonlight & Myths

OtmoorMoonscreen

I was born just after WW2. My parents had moved to Noke when they married in the early 1940s. We lived in a tiny cottage totally lacking modern amenities. No electricity, water from the well and an earth loo in ‘The Elm Barn’, a shed with a grand name, all set in a third of an acre of orchard. An artist’s retreat from the hurly burly of war torn London. This was my world – apple trees to climb, a stream to splash in, a duck pond beyond the gate where my brother and I launched catamaran boats whittled from elder sticks. The village was a place apart – a road petering out on the edge of the moor, smelling of cows and cow parsley, deep ditches fringed by pollard willows and a huge sky. This is the place my life started. Continue reading “Otmoor: Moonlight & Myths”

Frames of reference

Wittenham Clumps

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A couple of weeks before our walk around Burnham Beeches, I walked to Wittenham Clumps with Andrew Walton. We’d done the same walk five years earlier and afterwards Andrew had painted this little watercolour as a memento, here brightening up my sad old workshop wall. That was in the days before this blog; now I was keen to retrace our steps and record them for Frames of Reference. Continue reading “Wittenham Clumps”

Frames of reference

Moon Arc

moonarc

This large watercolour was painted by Andrew Walton to celebrate 12 walks with David Attwooll on Oxford’s Port Meadow. Their journeys were documented in Ground Work, an exhibition of painting and poetry earlier this year at Art Jericho. Moon Arc was not included in that exhibition but it is now on view in the window of The Rowley Gallery. Continue reading “Moon Arc”

Frames of reference

Walton’s Treat

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Tucked away around the back of Oxford’s Walton Street is the delightful Art Jericho gallery where a visual treat awaits the curious trek-cyclist, art-lover, flâneur, passer-by or Port Meadow pilgrim. An exhibition by Andrew Walton celebrating the Thames riverside from Jericho to Wolvercote. Continue reading “Walton’s Treat”

Frames of reference

Ground Work

blue hedge

An exhibition of paintings by Andrew Walton and poems by David Attwooll, presented by Jenny Blyth Fine Art at Art Jericho, 6 King Street, Oxford, OX2 6DF from 23 January until 23 February 2014.

GROUND WORK is the product of twelve monthly walks through the course of a year on Port Meadow and Wolvercote Common, an area of uncultivated floodplain that lies between the city of Oxford and the Thames. Continue reading “Ground Work”

Frames of reference