Painting In Suffolk

Over the last five years I have spent most of my time focused on painting forests around the world, often with the aim to highlight the destruction that is happening within them. It has taken me to some incredibly beautiful and majestic places, introduced me to plants and trees that I couldn’t have imagined. However, one of the most surprising things I came back with after my first trip to Brazil in 2015 was how I then saw my home landscape through a completely new set of eyes. I suddenly noticed the curls in the leaves and twists in the branches everywhere, moving me to paint them. And although my work is still mainly focused on global deforestation I now regularly paint outside in my home landscape in Suffolk. Continue reading “Painting In Suffolk”

Frames of reference

Patience (After Sebald)

This modest, immensely enjoyable documentary is about one of my favourite books, ‘The Rings of Saturn’ by the German poet and critic W G Sebald, who was born in 1944, taught for much of his adult life in this country, mainly at the University of East Anglia, and was killed in a motor accident in 2001. It was first published in German in 1995, translated into English three years later and is an account of a walking tour of Suffolk, the people he meets, the places he visits, and the historical and literary reflections prompted by what he sees and senses, taking his mind around the world. Suffolk becomes a sort of palimpsest for his eloquent, precise, lugubrious, often drily witty meditations about war, death, destruction and decay, about memories and continuities and the feeling that nothing entirely disappears.

Grant Gee’s film should make anyone want to read ‘The Rings of Saturn’ and the rest of Sebald’s relatively small but exquisite oeuvre, some eight or nine books in all.

Philip French

Frames of reference

In Sebald’s Footsteps

I found this thread on Twitter, from Francisco Cantú. I asked to share it here and he said ‘Of course!’

I spent the last 3 days walking 24 miles across East Anglia, following the footsteps of W.G. Sebald in THE RINGS OF SATURN. It was strange, sad, and wonderful, like living inside a dream about your favorite book. For fellow Sebald fans, here’s a thread with some of what I saw.  Continue reading “In Sebald’s Footsteps”

Frames of reference

Tangle

Oil paintings and watercolours by Jelly Green and bronze sculptures by Freddy Morris in the Rowley Gallery window throughout May. It’s a meeting of kindred spirits. Both artists are woodlanders, each in their own way exploring the beauty of the trees. Both have been artist-in-residence in various treehouses. Jelly has painted in the rainforests of Brazil and Borneo as well as in woods closer to home. Freddy loves to forage for fallen branches, looking for shapely specimens to cast in bronze. Continue reading “Tangle”

Frames of reference

Another Walk In The Woods

Shepherd’s Cottage was a surprisingly elusive place for a rendezvous. I thought I knew where it was, just off the road by Staverton Thicks, the rambling old woods we’d visited a couple of times before. I knew it as Thicks Cottage, but I thought that was just another name for the same place. So when we arrived on the doorstep a bemused woodsman put us right. “The Shepherd’s Cottage is back up where you’ve just come, then left along the track. Careful though, it can be a bit sandy down at the bottom.” Continue reading “Another Walk In The Woods”

Frames of reference

Patience (After Sebald)

This modest, immensely enjoyable documentary is about one of my favourite books, The Rings of Saturn by the German poet and critic WG Sebald, who was born in 1944, taught for much of his adult life in this country, mainly at the University of East Anglia, and was killed in a motor accident in 2001. It was first published in German in 1995, translated into English three years later and is an account of a walking tour of Suffolk, the people he meets, the places he visits, and the historical and literary reflections prompted by what he sees and senses, taking his mind around the world. Suffolk becomes a sort of palimpsest for his eloquent, precise, lugubrious, often drily witty meditations about war, death, destruction and decay, about memories and continuities and the feeling that nothing entirely disappears. Continue reading “Patience (After Sebald)”

Frames of reference

At White House Farm

White House Farm at Great Glemham in Suffolk has 120 acres of historic watermeadows, arable land and woodland, home to a fine collection of ancient oak trees set in parkland grazed by the farm’s flock of Alde Valley sheep. The farm also hosts a continuing succession of residencies for artists, writers, makers and musicians, and each year the Alde Valley Spring Festival shows off their work. This year the festival theme was Quercus & Co, a celebration of the English oak, and featured an exhibition of paintings and drawings of veteran trees and woodland by Jelly Green. It was not difficult to find. Posters of her Puzzlewood painting led me from the A12 down the country lanes to the farm. Continue reading “At White House Farm”

Frames of reference

Lowestoft

HPSC0215-compressed

Ordnance Survey of Great Britain 1954, Sheet 137 – Lowestoft
(click on the image for a closer look)

A recent trip to Hastings lead to a Sunday morning treasure hunt in Roberts Rummage, a small living room piled high with loosely sorted items and belongings of past lives. My friend Christopher and I spent a couple of hours searching the stacks of china, jars of buttons and drawers of brass wear and the excitement is the unknown item you will stumble across, the joy of cleaning it up and the new life and place it will have in our lives.

I often think of the life items have had and if you could trace them back where they would take you. Amongst the old board games I discovered this map. Having grown up just outside Lowestoft I was thrilled, it felt like a gift to trace back the villages and towns I have known all my life. Continue reading “Lowestoft”

Frames of reference