May 2021 Exhibition


Plein air works close to home

In an unprecedented year of lockdowns I’ve been drawn to high ground: Whitesheet Hill, Monksdown, Win Green, Winkelbury Hill and Rotherley Down. To me this downland, run through with ancient holloways, feels archetypal. Surrounded by red kites, buzzards and, as spring emerges, cuckoos and larks, it is timeless. Nature is palpable here.

My plein air paintings are unpremeditated reactions to a landscape I love; the shifting light and the striking colour chords it throws up. Pale green ribbons fleetingly lit up against deep violets. Ever present distant blues.

When I set out to paint I try to simplify and to be instinctive. The best results involve a certain recklessness that allows the paint to speak for itself. My aim is to convey a sense of time and place in as paired down and painterly way as possible. This is a constant, but deeply rewarding learning process and a lifetime's endeavour.


Paintings and Monotypes made in the studio

“Islands are places where the imagination goes on holiday, ideas in physical form”
Philip Marsden, The Summer Isles

The studio works I’ve made in the past year draw on trips made before or between lockdowns. In particular a number of journeys in Arctic Norway between Bodø on the coast, through the Lofoten Islands and up to Tromsø; a land of islands, mountains and aquamarine waters. One of these journeys was in November, at that latitude a time of almost perpetual twilight.

These works are the opposite of plein air studies; based on memories or drawings made in the field, they’re an amalgam of an idea and a place; an echo of what it felt like to be in a wild landscape. Most of the paintings and monotypes* started as drawings, then fermented over time to emerge in the studio. Expressions of a desire to get out.

* Montotypes are paintings made in ink onto a plate, printed onto paper using an etching press. The printing process destroys the image on the plate, so unlike other forms of printing, every monotype is a one-off.


All the following works are currently unframed and will be available to view at the exhibition. Framing can be arranged.