The Dorset Coast: from Chesil Beach to the Isle of Purbeck.
Living in south west Wiltshire I am frequently drawn to neighbouring Dorset to walk some of the paths along its geologically varied coastline. I like to draw or paint on location, and I subsequently develop a number of my observations into wood engravings or linocuts. Both are methods of making relief prints, the former being a very English art form developed by Thomas Bewick in the 18th Century, where the engraving is made on highly polished end grain boxwood, which on completion is inked with a roller and printed by hand, in my case using an Albion Press made in 1862. Continue reading “The Dorset Coast”
We detoured from the M6 via the M42 to the M40 and a few miles south of Warwick we arrived at Compton Verney to see the exhibition Ravilious & Co: The Pattern Of Friendship. There’s an echo of William Morris and Morris & Co in that title. It had been snowing when we arrived and the gallery was closing early. We only had an hour to look around. It was a mad rush with far too much to take in and too little time. I took this photo as we left, since photography was not allowed inside, and this tangle seemed a suitable souvenir of all the various artistic connections explored in the exhibition, not to mention the miles of twisting roads to get there. Continue reading “Ravilious & Co”
At the gate we met a man with a camera, overloaded with telephoto lenses, overexposed to the sun, returning to the shelter of his car. He’d taken up photography in retirement, pursuing butterflies over the Downs, but today there were too many people and too few photo opportunities. He’d seen Green Hairstreaks and Orange-tips but didn’t think he had any good photos. As we spoke, bright yellow Brimstones danced around his head, but too quick to photograph. “It’s the story of my life,” he said. Continue reading “Wood On The Downs”
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”
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”
For one of my 65th birthday presents recently I received a superb little book, now something of a collectors piece, called Seaside Surrealism: Paul Nash in Swanage by Pennie Denton. Continue reading “Paul Nash & Swanage”