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Late summer update

I have been updating my website, a task long overdue.

I am still working on a visual response to the poems of Catherine Swire which are due to be published by The Artel Press, Liverpool, in October with the title ‘SOIL’. This drawing of a young man (Catherine’s 17 year old son, Sam) is the beginning of a work based on the life of Prince Arthur, eldest son of Henry VII and elder brother of Henry VIII. He died at Ludlow when he was only 16 and buried with much ceremony at Worcester Cathedral where his exquisitely carved tomb is near the High Altar.

We were hoping to show these works next summer at the Ledbury Poetry Festival but have not found a suitable showing space yet. More to come on this subject – I am visiting the site of the 1651 Battle of Worcester in a few days on its anniversary on September 3rd. Both Prince Arthur’s tomb and this site are included in Catherine’s poems.

Portrait of a Young Man (2021)
charcoal on paper
30 x 22 ins. 76 x 56 cms

31 August, 2021

New Year: new landscape drawings

 

These new drawings have been made since the start of 2021 during the 3rd Covid Lockdown.  They are 32 x 48 ins, charcoal on primed Arches paper.  Priming the heavy paper with random brushstrokes produces a surface which the charcoal slides over and gives a more painterly effect which I am quite liking at the moment.

The drawings have been inspired by a series of poems by Catherine Swire in which she explores the layers of history in this ancient and romantic landscape of the Malvern Hills. They are not intended as illustrations to the poems but as my own response to her evocation of what she calls “trauma’s relics”. She writes that she is “drawn to the idea that land, the ground itself, has a kind of voice that demands an immanent kind of listening”.  The Iron Age fort known as the British Camp from where these two views were taken is reputed to be the site of Caractacus’s last stand against the invading Romans.  The Obelisk at Eastnor is visible in the top drawing, a memorial to a son lost in France in 1759.  Indeed the loss of young men is one of her themes, from the medieval stained glass in Little Malvern Priory which can be seen in the foreground of the second drawing (the only contemporary portrait of the young Edward V) to the tomb of Prince Arthur in Worcester Cathedral. These are winter landscapes and the flooded Severn coming down from Worcester is seen in the distance in this drawing.

I want to continue with more drawings when the restrictions of lockdown are lifted and I can get out and about more. The site of the Battle of Worcester for example at the confluence of the Teme and Severn, the chained library at Hereford Cathedral, the World War 2 Listening Station at Guarlford all feature in the poems.

I find myself in tune with the premise of the poems, that we see landscape through a prism of memory, folklore, history and that it is a palimpsest of centuries of human intervention and activity.

 

21 February 2021

November Lockdown 2020

It has been a peaceful month with plenty of time in the studio – which is the one good thing about lockdown.   I have mainly been painting apples, which I do every year when we harvest the apples in Coombe Beauchamp Orchard.  We also had a huge crop of quinces. These pics are snaps not professional photographs, I am waiting for easing of restrictions before I can arrange a session.

 

 

 

These are all 5 x 7 ins, oil on linen, unframed

I have also found three winter landscapes in mixed media on card:

 

 

These are all 4 x 5 1/2 ins mixed media on card, mounted but unframed.

The top one is a view of the Malvern Hills from Coombe Beauchamp Orchard, the other two are views from the Malvern to Paddington Great Western train.  Unknown country but somewhere in Oxfordshire.   I did them last winter but have only just had them mounted.  I haven’t been on a train since March!

5 December 2020

 

 

Field and Orchard exhibition at Hellens Manor extended to October 11.

 

 

The exhibition was due to end on September 27 but it has been extended to October 11, originally with the hope that the annual Big Apple Harvest event at Much Marcle would go ahead over that weekend.  Increased coronavirus restrictions eventually put paid to that, despite the best efforts of the organisers.  It would have been a great way to round off the show – all the local cider and perry makers are open to visitors who can watch them pressing and making the cider.  Hellens would have been making their own perry from their ancient avenue of old perry pear trees and the tearoom would have been open for delicious cakes and tea. The exhibition would have been a very appropriate attraction, replacing the usual apple identification and tasting which usually happens in the Great Barn.

It is very disappointing for all concerned but in these troubled times we have come to expect plans to be changed and nothing is certain.

Meanwhile the exhibition is still attracting visitors and I am expecting a busy time this final week.  More anon.

 

5 October 2020

 

FIELD AND ORCHARD at Hellens : EXHIBITION PRICE LIST

PLEASE GET IN TOUCH WITH ME VIA THIS WEBSITE IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PURCHASING A WORK

        1. The Midsummer Mare  charcoal on paper 32 x 48 ins  £4500
        2. Summer Pasture charcoal on paper 32 x 48 ins £4500
        3. Lighthouse and Black Cattle oil on linen 30 x 40 ins £4500
        4. Herefordshire Orchard in Winter oil on linen 30 x 50 ins £5000
        5. Ewes charcoal on paper 36 x 46 ins £4000
        6. The Goat Octavius charcoal on paper 22 x 29 ins £2000
        7. The Arcadian Shepherd charcoal/graphite on paper 32 x 48 ins £4500
        8. Herefordshire Lane in May oil on linen 20 x 20 ins £2500
        9. Herefordshire Lane (red earth) oil on linen 12 x 16 ins £1750
        10. Eastnor Bull oil on linen 40 x 40 ins £4000
        11. The May Bull charcoal on paper 48 x 60 ins £5500
        12. Bull in a Flowering Meadow charcoal on paper 48 x 60 ins £5500
        13. Petrica (Valeni) oil on linen 12 x 10 ins framed £1350
        14. Plum Blossom and Petrica (Valeni) oil on linen 40 x 40 ins £4500
        15. Two Seasons in Arcadia charcoal/pastel on paper 32 x 48 ins £4500
        16. Great Rooted Blossomer sepia ink on card 6 x 4 ins £475
        17. December Orchard sepia ink on card 6 x 4 ins £475
        18. Pine Tree by the Sea/1 sepia ink on card 4 x 6 ins £475
        19. Pine Tree by the Sea/2 sepia ink on card 4 x 6 ins £475
        20. Pine Tree by the Sea/5 sepia ink on card 4 x 6 ins £475
        21. Quince oil on linen 8 x 6 ins £650
        22. Apple Blossom oil on linen 6 x 8 ins £650
        23. Golden Apple oil on linen 6 x 6 ins £600
        24. Small Apple Blossom oil on linen 4 x 4 ins £300
        25. Rose in a White Jug oil on linen 7 x 5 ins £550
        26. The May Bull framed giclee print 13 x 16 ins £250 unframed £200

FIELD AND ORCHARD opens Wednesday, 26 August and runs to Sunday, 27 September

We hung the exhibition yesterday in the Great Barn at Hellens Manor, Much Marcle, Herefordshire.  It is part of this year’s Garden Festival, which has been re-imagined after its cancellation in June due to the coronavirus regulations.  Hanging was hard work, negotiating the old timbers and irregular spaces, but Angus Macdonald has over 30 years of experience of installing exhibitions with his company C’ART Art Transport so he was able to come up with excellent solutions.  We were helped by old friends Peter Arscott and John Burns.

 

I am sharing the barn with this fine grand piano which I have seen played by Christian Blackshaw at some wonderful concerts at Hellens Music Festival.  It looks faintly sculptural and enhances the ambience.  Sometimes a hen wanders in to see what is going on, adding to the blend of art in a bucolic setting.

 

 

There are two new paintings resulting from my residency in Romania in 2019.  Here is a study of Petrica, who looks after the grounds of the manor house at Valeni.  I would have liked to show all the Romanian works together as although the rest are sold I could have borrowed them back for this exhibition.  However, I decided against this idea for various reasons.  The others can be seen in previous posts on this website when they were shown at the Courtyard at Hereford in January/February 2020.

 

 

Small fruit and flower paintings to round off the show.  I will post further information and a price list in my next post.

 

25 August, 2020

 

Field and Orchard at Hellens Manor

I am preparing for a solo exhibition ‘Field and Orchard’ in the Great Barn at Hellens Manor, Much Marcle, near Ledbury,  Herefordshire in conjunction with their garden festival.  It will run from August 26 to September 27.  There is free entry to the gardens, grounds and exhibition with donations to St Michael’s Hospice and Back to the Wild. Opening hours are Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays 10 am to 6 pm.  See their website:  www.hellensmanor.com for further details.

I see this as a kind of coda to my exhibition Another Country at The Courtyard, Hereford, in January/February of this year.  Some of the works will have been seen there but others are new or were not hung at Hereford.  Because of lockdown I still have the Valeni works which are due to be taken to Romania at some point so this gives me a chance to show them again, along with two new paintings on the theme.

The Great Barn is a wonderful building although it will be challenging to hang the work amongst all the old timbers.

 

The Great Barn at Hellens Manor

I will try to be there quite often and will give dates and times soon.  In any case Hellens is a lovely place to visit, set in beautiful Herefordshire countryside not far from the old market town of Ledbury.  Much Marcle has other attractions too – an interesting old church with an ancient yew tree and of course Westons Cider at the other end of the village.

More information to follow.

25 July 2020

 

 

Lockdown: work in progress

The coronavirus lockdown this Spring has been a strange experience for us all.  One good thing from my point of view has been the peace and quiet which has given me time to spend long uninterrupted periods in the studio. Perhaps because it was a year ago in April that we were in Romania I felt there was some unfinished business to be addressed.  While we were there I did some drawings for a painting which I didn’t have time to do before the exhibition at The Courtyard at Hereford.  This is a painting in progress of the Valeni manor house, showing Petrica, the plum blossom and the two dogs.  Petrica lives in the village and is employed to look after the grounds and chop wood, the plum trees were in full bloom when we arrived and the two dogs were always around the place.

Valeni manor house with Petrica and the Plum Blossom

 

16 May, 2020

Another Country closes at Hereford amidst rising waters

The River Lugg flowing across the A4103 as we approached Hereford on Monday, 17 February to take down the exhibition at The Courtyard.  The city centre was inundated by the River Wye that day but fortunately the arts centre was not affected.  My flood paintings seem more relevant now than they did when they were painted:  this one, Winter Flood, dates from 2009 and shows the Severn in flood at Worcester.

James Marsden’s opening speech for Another Country

Here is the text of James Marsden’s speech at the opening of Another Country.  James is a well known cider and perry maker at Gregg’s Pit, Much Marcle, Herefordshire.  He is also a respected environmentalist with an impressive record in high governmental advisory positions including Head of Policy at Natural England, and currently chair of the Policy Forum at Brecon Beacons National Park.

I like the way he weaves together our shared memories of the landscapes featured in the exhibition with his own areas of interest.  Please click on the link below:

Another Country at The Courtyard

Forthcoming solo exhibition at The Courtyard, Hereford

I am currently preparing for an exhibition in early 2020 at The Courtyard, Hereford’s Arts Centre.  It is titled ‘Another Country’ and runs from January 10 to February 15.

The nucleus of the show will be the paintings and drawings which I made following the residency in Romania in April 2019 and new works based on the countryside around the Malvern Hills.  Then the subject matter widens to include works exploring rural themes from the last decade.  The actual gallery at The Courtyard is quite small but I have been given access to a huge amount of wall space in the arts centre which will enable me to show large scale charcoal drawings and related paintings.

Further information and an online ‘taster’ catalogue which gives a flavour of the exhibition is available here:

Download Online Catalogue

29 November 2019